Spoken English in Korea: An Expanding Circle English Revisited
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Englishes from expanding circle countries are often stigmatized, and deviations from so-called ‘standard’ varieties are commonly viewed as errors or mistakes. Yet such varieties demonstrate the ability of the English language to change and evolve within and across sociolinguistic boundaries. Adopting a corpus-based approach, this study focuses on one potential area of morpho-syntactic innovation in the English spoken by young educated Koreans: the omission of plural marking on the noun, which ultimately leads to a reduction of plural redundancy. The investigation of plural marking in contexts where plurality is indicated through lexical or semantic means shows omission rates of 30% after quantifiers and numerals and 20% in instances where plurality is given through context. This makes the reduction of plural redundancy a potentially emerging pattern of morpho-syntactic variation in the English spoken by this cross-section of the population. The findings suggest that further research must continue to examine the emerging linguistic patterns of different English-speaking communities within national boundaries.
KeywordsMorpho-syntactic innovations Plural marking Reduced redundancy Spoken language
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