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New trends and methodologies in applied English language research III

Synchronic and diachronic studies on discourse, lexis and grammar processing


Edited By Sofia Bemposta-Rivas, Carla Bouzada-Jabois, Yolanda Fernández-Pena, Tamara Bouso, Yolanda J. Calvo-Benzies and Iván Tamaredo

This volume includes eleven papers pertaining to different areas of linguistics and organised into three sections. Part I contains diachronic studies which cover data from Middle English to Present-Day English and which explore phenomena such as the status of extender tags, the distribution of free adjuncts, post-auxiliary ellipsis, and the use of ‘ephemeral’ concessive adverbial subordinators. Part II comprises studies on grammar and language processing dealing with topics such as the interaction between syntactic and structural complexity and verbal agreement with collective subjects, the influence of distributivity and concreteness on verbal agreement, the interaction of complexity and efficiency in pronoun omission in Indian English and Singapore English, and the methods and approaches used for grammar teaching in modern EFL/ESL textbooks. Finally, Part III revolves around lexis, discourse and pragmatics, with papers that discuss the development of the discoursal representation of social actors in Argentinian newspapers after the military dictatorship, the construction of women’s gender identity through positive and negative emotions in women’s magazines, and spelling-to-sound correspondence on Twitter.

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Verbal agreement with collectives taking of-dependents: Syntactic and structural complexity as determinant factors (Yolanda Fernández-Pena)


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Verbal agreement with collectives taking of-dependents: Syntactic and structural complexity as determinant factors1

1.  Introduction2

Variation in verbal number with collective nouns has been a topic widely investigated in recent decades from various and varied perspectives (Dekeyser 1975; Levin 2001, 2006; Depraetere 2003; Hundt 2006, 2009; Annala 2008, among others). Nonetheless, the influence exerted by the of-dependent which often accompanies some collective nouns on this subject-verb dependency has been largely disregarded. With the exception of Keizer (2007), Traugott (2008a, 2008b) and Brem’s (2011) investigations on the grammaticalisation of some of these collectives or Dekeyser’s (1975) observations on the bias towards the plural number that such of-constituents evince, the variability and the syntactic implications of this prepositional constituent on verbal agreement have not been sufficiently explored in the literature.

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