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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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List of Tables xiii

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List of Tables Table 1.1 Composite features of English-using societies (Moag 1982:16) ...................................................................... 4 Table 1.2 Gregory’s categories of dialectal variety differentiation ........ 6 Table 1.3 Gregory’s categories of diatypic variation .............................. 7 Table 1.4 Prepositional usage differences between British and American English (Benson et al. 1986:21) .................... 29 Table 2.1 Jackendoff’s (1977:56) lexical categories ............................ 37 Table 2.2 Comparison of number of senses for at, on and in in three different dictionaries ................................................ 52 Table 2.3 Prepositional meanings of at, on and in (Quirk et al. 1985) .............................................................. 61 Table 2.4 Prepositional meanings of at, on and in (Downing & Locke 1992) ..................................................... 62 Table 2.5 Prepositional meanings of at, on and in (Celce-Murcia & Larsen-Freeman 1983) ............................. 67 Table 4.1 Basic structure of the LOB, the WCWNZE and the Malaysian Corpus .................................................. 122 Table 4.2 Basic statistics for the LOB (Press) Corpus, NZC and MC ...................................................................... 125 Table 4.3 Rank list of 25 most frequent prepositions in the LOB (Press), NZC and MC ...................................... 126 Table 4.4 Absolute and relative frequency of the 25 most frequent prepositions in the LOB (Press), NZC and MC .................. 127 Table 4.5 The relative frequency of at, in, on across the different corpora ................................................. 129 Table 4.6 Examples of collocates of at-Spatial, at-Temporal and at-MMI ......................................................................... 133 Table 5.1 Distribution of different at usage-types in the MC, NZC and LOB (Press) ........................................................ 142 Table 5.2 The contribution of each individual cell to the total chi-square value for Table 5.1 ........................... 144 Table 5.3 Kruskal-Wallis 1-Way ANOVA: Mean rank difference between corpora: at ............................................................. 145 Table 5.4 Means and standard...

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