Projekt Dr. Uwe Vosberg

Dr. Uwe Vosberg:

"Variants and varieties: Contrasting (selected) predicate structures in British, US-American and Canadian English"


The research project aims to contrast selected and so far widely neglected variation phenomena involving predicate structures in three standard varieties of present-day English, including British English on the one hand and the two transatlantic national varieties on the other, with a special focus on the situation in Canadian English. By means of corpus-based (empirical) analyses, the project attempts to identify (general or different) trends and developmental stages in processes of linguistic change, discover distributional patterns, and (according to the tenet "more formal, more form") discuss the particular degrees of explicitness in connection with the corresponding question of the presumably higher degree of formality in British English or, vice versa, the more colloquial character of American English.

From both a synchronic and partly diachronic perspective, the following (and many other) variation phenomena will be taken into account:

  • 'Do'-support with the lexical verb 'have' as in "I haven't (got) / don't have any / the faintest idea." / "I have no idea."
  • The type 'problems (that are/have) to do with'
  • Non-finite complement clauses as in "He can't stand seeing / to see her."
  • Complex verbal structures of the type 'have/take a look'
  • 'Tough'-adjectives (and 'fit') plus infinitive (act/pass) as in "The book is easy to read / to be read."
  • Pseudo-passives of the type "The housing market was headed/heading for a crash."