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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In our contribution, we discuss language variation observed in the field of World Englishes from the perspective of language typology and universals research. The major motivation behind this approach is the assumption that, as contained linguistic systems, varieties are constrained by essentially the same mechanisms as languages. Taking the idea of cross-linguistic, and in that sense universal, generalizations as a starting point, we proceed to discussing patterns of variation in different Englishes encountered worldwide. In so doing, we draw on the concepts of markedness relations, frequency, semantic maps, and implicational hierarchies, feature bundles, and complexity, offering possible (and plausible) explanations for the patterns of forms encountered in language data. Our contribution also includes an assessment of angloversals and vernacular universals, as these are generalizations specifically related to World Englishes. We conclude our study with a discussion of postcolonial Englishes in relation to language contact, second language acquisition, and contact-induced grammaticalization.

Keywords: angloversals, complexity, feature bundles, frequency, implicational hierarchies, markedness, semantic maps, typology, vernacular universals, universals

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