Was/Were-variation in non-standard British English today
In this article, the past tense system of the verb to be in modern informal spoken British English is investigated. Variation is endemic, but an in-depth investigation across individual dialect areas shows that three generalization strategies can be distinguished. Of these, two lead to a straightforward simplification of the system (was-generalization and were-generalization respectively), whereas the dominant mixed type has remorphologized the Standard English (StE) number distinction and replaced it by a distinction according to polarity. A cognitive explanation is advanced for the pervasiveness of this at first glance rather complicated system.
Published online: 27 June 2001
Cited by 19 other publications
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Cheshire, Jenny & Sue Fox
Jankowski, Bridget L. & Sali A. Tagliamonte
Rupp, Laura & David Britain
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