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The Journal of Linguaculture Centre for (Inter)cultural and (Inter)lingual Research, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi

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Patterns of Verbal -s in the Varieties of English Today

Christina Bismark
Published Online: 2013-02-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10318-012-0001-y


The occurrence of the verbal ending -s with non-3rd person singular subjects is a frequent phenomenon in varieties of English worldwide. It has been attested to fulfil a wide range of functions in addition to its Standard English use as a person-number marker. This paper is to characterize the various factors which condition the use of nonstandard verbal -s. It will discuss their areal distribution and give an account of the frequency with which each of the conditioning factors is attested. Based on this characterization, a group of core constraints will be isolated, the specific character of which will be shown to have facilitated their stability, endurance and spread.

Keywords: subject-verb agreement; verbal -s; non-standard varieties; constraint; Northern Subject Rule; regularization

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About the article

Published Online: 2013-02-08

Published in Print: 2010-06-01

Citation Information: Linguaculture, Volume 2010, Issue 1, Pages 3–23, ISSN (Online) 2067-9696, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10318-012-0001-y.

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