Studies in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
Unprecedented uses of the English present progressive
Abstract. The proliferation of networking services and the speed of communication has found its reflection in the development of the Internet language (see Crystal 2006, 2008). Short messages posted with high frequency are immediately relevant and, perhaps more importantly, guarantee that information conveyed will reach the addressee within seconds. All this cannot but have a marked impact on linguistic change. A case in point is the unprecedented use of the progressive forms in Modern English. In this paper we shall claim that the massive use of such forms can be explained by the changing nature of communication. In our analysis of the progressive forms in English we adopt Langacker’s (1990, 2000) analysis of the progressive coupling it with the conceptual blending theory (see Fauconnier and Turner 2002). The analysis is based on data coming from English native speakers’ posts on Twitter and other internet communication services.
Keywords: present progressive, conceptual blending, semantic change, cognitive linguistics
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