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Highly polysemous verbs in New Englishes: A corpus-based pilot study of Sri Lankan and Indian English

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Chapter Summary

The analysis of New Englishes has spawned a vast amount of literature over the past few decades. Linguistic research into new postcolonial Englishes extends to aspects of both structural nativization at all linguistic levels (i.e. the emergence of local forms and structures of English) and language functions as well as speaker attitudes. Within the area of structural nativization, processes of semantic acculturations of the English language to new socio-cultural contexts have also been described, including, for example, meaning shifts of individual lexical items (cf. Nihalani et al. 2004) and the emergence of culturally motivated collocational patterns (cf. e.g. Ooi 2000). What has so far been neglected, however, is a corpus-based and quantitative approach to gradual changes in meaning preferences of polysemous lexical items. Inspired by Gilquin’s (2008) innovative approach to highly polysemous high-frequency verbs in American English, the present paper reports on the results of a comparative corpus-based pilot study of the two verbs give and take in two New Englishes, i.e. Indian English and Sri Lankan English, and their historical input variety, i.e. British English.



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