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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on some features shared by “Old” and “New” varieties of English. “Old” refers here to varieties of English spoken in Britain only (i.e., English English and/or British English). They represent the longest-established varieties of English and are part of the hardcore of the L1 or the “Inner Circle” of Englishes. “New” varieties, in this context, are ones that have arisen in colonial or postcolonial contexts (the “Outer Circle”) and also comprise historically L2 varieties, such as Irish English, that have evolved as a result of language shift. This chapter examines three syntactic features that show similar developments in both New and Old varieties: the use of some modal auxiliaries, especially WILL/SHALL, some “extended” uses of the progressive, and finally, combinations of these two, especially WILL/SHALL + be V-ing. All three display convergent developments that suggest a leading role for the New Englishes rather than the Old varieties.

Keywords: convergence, Old varieties, New varieties, modal auxiliaries, WILL/SHALL, progressive, be V-ing

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