Willem B. Hollmann
The present chapter introduces the new perspectives on language variation and use that have resulted from investigations of language corpora. Two major analytical approaches are discussed: corpus-based and corpus-driven. The chapter first introduces the corpus-based approach, illustrating how it has been used to document systematic patterns of language use which often show that intuitions about use are wrong. The chapter then illustrates the corpus-driven approach, showing how corpus research of this type can uncover linguistic units that are not detectable using the standard methods of linguistic analysis.
Lisa J. Green and Walter Sistrunk
In this chapter, we build on earlier research and approaches to structure and meaning in African American English (AAE) in presenting an overview of syntactic and semantic properties in certain areas of the AAE grammar. In the first part of the chapter, we discuss the system of tense and aspect marking in AAE in light of preverbal markers. In addressing the meaning associated with the markers, their syntactic placement, restriction on selection, and morphological properties, we highlight generalizations that identify the tense/aspect markers as members of a grammatical class and distinguish them from auxiliaries such as do, have, and forms of be (is, am, etc.). The second part of the chapter is an overview of syntactic and semantic properties of complex clauses in AAE that are formed with embedded question constructions and negation constructions.
The structure of the basic clause in Katukina-Kanamari is, to a significant extent, conditioned by the internal structure of the verb phrase, which is starkly parallel to that of noun and adposition phrases. Depending on its internal make up, the verb phrase generates, for the same verbs, two patterns of transitive clauses, ergative and accusative, neither of which is synchronically derived from the other, but the latter appears as highly restricted in distribution. It also yields two patterns of intransitive clauses, one primary, the other resulting from an intransitivizing voice process. Since the basic transitive clause shows a clear syntactic hierarchy between its two arguments, intransitivizing voice is seen as of primary formal motivation: promoting the agent participant to subject status, a far more central need in this language than the functional motivation for relegating the patient participant to either adjunct status or no expression at all.