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Variety and Variability

A Corpus-based Cognitive Lexical-semantics Analysis of Prepositional Usage in British, New Zealand and Malaysian English

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Imran Ho-Abdullah

Research into varieties of Englishes around the world has received much attention from scholars. This book offers a new perspective from a cognitive inter and intra lexemic analysis of prepositional variations in Malaysian English and contrasts them with similar prepositions in New Zealand and British English. Based on corpora data from the three varieties, the author provides usage types analysis of the prepositions at, in and on. The analysis exploits cognitive approaches to prepositional polysemy and gives a motivated account of prepositional variations across varieties. The book offers a wealth of corpus based linguistic data and explanation to our understanding of variations in prepositional usage in different varieties of English. The distributional frequencies of various usage types are provided to illustrate the variation.

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Preface ..................................................................................................... xi List of Tables ......................................................................................... xiii List of Figures ......................................................................................... xv List of Abbreviations ............................................................................. xiv 1. Variety and Variability .......................................................................... 1 1.0. Introduction .................................................................................... 1 1.0.1. Malaysian English as a non-native variety of English ........ 8 1.1. Research on Malaysian English ..................................................... 9 1.1.1. Sociology of English in Malaysia ..................................... 10 1.1.2. The sociolinguistics of Malaysian English ...................... 10 1.1.3. Malaysian English as interlanguage ................................ 13 1.1.4. New perspectives on Malaysian English ......................... 14 1.2. Scope of Inquiry ........................................................................... 16 1.2.1. The choice of varieties ...................................................... 17 1.2.2. Why look at lexemic variations? ....................................... 18 1.2.3. Why prepositions? ............................................................. 20 1.3. Prepositions in variation studies .................................................. 21 1.3.1. A sociolinguistic approach to prepositional usage ............. 22 1.3.2. A corpus linguistics approach ............................................ 25 1.3.3. A lexicographical approach ............................................... 28 1.3.4. Historical and dialectal variations ..................................... 29 1.3.5. A cognitive linguistics approach ........................................ 32 1.3.6. Summary of prepositional variation studies ...................... 33 1.4. Closing remarks ........................................................................... 33 2. Descriptions of Prepositional Meaning............................................... 35 2.0. Introduction – the search for a productive framework of analysis .................................................................................. 35 2.1. Categorial status ........................................................................... 36 2.1.1. Defining “prepositions” ..................................................... 37 2.1.2. Prepositional verbs ............................................................ 40 2.1.3. Phrasal verbs ..................................................................... 44 2.2. Some issues relating to the semantics of prepositions ................. 46 2.3. A critique of several descriptions of prepositional meaning ........ 49 2.3.1. Lexicographical descriptions of prepositional meaning .... 50 2.3.2. Grammatical compendia descriptions of prepositional meaning ................................................. 54 2.3.3. Prepositions as thematic role markers ............................... 68 2.4. Cognitive linguistic approaches to prepositional meaning .......... 69 2.5. Closing remarks ........................................................................... 70 3. A Cognitive Linguistic Framework for Prepositional Usage .............. 73 3.0. Introduction ..................................................................................... 73 3.1. Background - Cognitive Linguistics ................................................ 73 3.1.1. CL accounts of prepositional meaning .............................. 74 3.1.2. CL lexical...

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