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  1. #1
    seba_870701 is offline Member
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    Default Concord in Australian English - thesis

    Dear teachers and experts!

    [intro]
    Next (academic) year, I'm going to start writing my MA thesis in linguistics. To get my project proposal approved, it's supposed to be original, contain a linguistic problem, short description of the research procedure, and finally, the expected results of the research. I came out with the idea of writing my thesis on the differences between British English and Australian English in terms of applying the rules of concord, i.e. subject - verb agreement, with the special emphasis on collective nouns (and other potential areas of language where the phenomenon could be observed). To collect the data for the analysis I decided on using the extracts from the British and Australian papers, both popular and serious papers.

    [questions]
    My question are as follows:

    (1) Do you think that the idea of writing the thesis on concord and differences in its use between 2 varieties of the English language is a good one? Or should I look for another topic? And, if it is not such a bad idea, ...

    (2) ... do you know any reliable/credible resource where I could possibly find theoretical information about concord in Australian English? Presumably, Australian grammar book, or linguistic articles on the subject.

    (3) And, finally, could you recommend me some newspapers I could use in my research, with a short comment on its reputation, both in UK and in Australia?

    Many thanks to anybody who could possibly help me with this problem!

    Sebastian Nawara

    PS

    You can also contact me via PM, or e-mail that you can find on my profile in 'contact info' section [I can't put it here, because the moderators will probably remove it anyway ]
    Last edited by seba_870701; 19-Jun-2009 at 23:41. Reason: PS added

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Concord in Australian English - thesis

    This page links to about every imaginable language corpus, so you might find some sources there:
    David Lee's Corpus-based Linguistics LINKS
    I think concord is interesting, but is there that much to say on collective nouns? Australian English is closer to AmE on this, if my memory of a discussion on the subject serves me, but then is there that much to say on the topic? If you broaden the scope, I think it might be a meatier topic.

  3. #3
    orangutan is offline Member
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    Default Re: Concord in Australian English - thesis

    I don't know if the Australian part of the ICE corpus is out yet, but that might be a good place to look.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Concord in Australian English - thesis

    Kangguru is a free Australian magazine publish in Indonesia, you may check the website if you like it.hopefully it's helpful.

    Kang Guru English Language Magazine from the Australia Indonesia Partnership

  5. #5
    seba_870701 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Concord in Australian English - thesis

    I'll definitely browse through the David's Lee Corpus, and now when it downed on me, I'll also try to find the resources on similar websites. Thank you all, for that suggestion and help!

    I've recently came across an interesting position: "English in Australia" (from the series: Varieties of English Around the World). I think that might be my starting point for going deeper into the topic of the thesis, Tdol

    I find collective nouns interesting in terms how they behave in some context, i.e. how strictly they 'comply with' the rules of subject-verb agreement, because it can be analysed from different perspectives. Namely: syntax, semantics, pragmatics.. In Jong-Bok Kim's Hybrid Agreement in English, he develops the issue claiming that "subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement are
    reflections of index agreement." Or, at least, I understand it so.

    Do you think that expanding the thesis to the issue of concord in general (GENDER, NUMBER, CASE, and PERSON) is a good idea? Wouldn't it be too general?

  6. #6
    orangutan is offline Member
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    Default Re: Concord in Australian English - thesis

    Index agreement is a standard notion in the HPSG framework (though some recent work tries other approaches). The relevant chapter in Pollard and Sag (1994) is worth reading if you haven't already.

  7. #7
    seba_870701 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Concord in Australian English - thesis

    No, unfortunately I haven't read it yet.
    I see I really have to make up for some backlogs before I actually start writing my thesis..

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Concord in Australian English - thesis

    Quote Originally Posted by seba_870701 View Post
    I'll definitely browse through the David's Lee Corpus, and now when it downed on me, I'll also try to find the resources on similar websites. Thank you all, for that suggestion and help!

    I've recently came across an interesting position: "English in Australia" (from the series: Varieties of English Around the World). I think that might be my starting point for going deeper into the topic of the thesis, Tdol

    I find collective nouns interesting in terms how they behave in some context, i.e. how strictly they 'comply with' the rules of subject-verb agreement, because it can be analysed from different perspectives. Namely: syntax, semantics, pragmatics.. In Jong-Bok Kim's Hybrid Agreement in English, he develops the issue claiming that "subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement are
    reflections of index agreement." Or, at least, I understand it so.

    Do you think that expanding the thesis to the issue of concord in general (GENDER, NUMBER, CASE, and PERSON) is a good idea? Wouldn't it be too general?
    I was thinking about number in a wider sense than collective nouns, as number is a rather fascinating and slippery beast. I have only read the first part of the article as I will have to sign up to see it, but does he look at sound? You'll hear people say 'There's two things...' who'd never write it.

  9. #9
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Concord in Australian English - thesis

    Quote Originally Posted by seba_870701 View Post
    i came out with the idea of writing my thesis on the differences between british english and australian english in terms of applying the rules of concord, i.e. Subject - verb agreement, with the special emphasis on collective nouns (and other potential areas of language where the phenomenon could be observed).

    (1) do you think that the idea of writing the thesis on concord and differences in its use between 2 varieties of the english language is a good one? Or should i look for another topic? And, if it is not such a bad idea, ...

    Personally, i agree with tdol's first impression that it would be a trivial task. You will find that both british and australians use both the singular and plural in group nouns in almost free variation.
    Do you have some preliminary data that suggests a difference? If so, are you going to attempt an explanation along sociolinguistic lines, or merely do correlation tests?

    (2) ... Do you know any reliable/credible resource where i could possibly find theoretical information about concord in australian english? Presumably, australian grammar book, or linguistic articles on the subject.
    you'd ideally want to search the
    Australian journal of linguistics : Journal of the australian linguistic society.
    Australian review of applied linguistics .
    Journal of English linguistics.


    (3) and, finally, could you recommend me some newspapers i could use in my research, with a short comment on its reputation, both in uk and in australia?
    the major daily newspapers in australia are
    The Australian (sydney), the Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney), The Age (Melbourne); the Courier Mail (Brisbane). These are available on the web. There are others.
    r.

  10. #10
    seba_870701 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Concord in Australian English - thesis

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I was thinking about number in a wider sense than collective nouns, as number is a rather fascinating and slippery beast. I have only read the first part of the article as I will have to sign up to see it, but does he look at sound? You'll hear people say 'There's two things...' who'd never write it.
    No, in the article, he only quotes the written evidence accounting for his claims. But as you pointed out, in speech people make much more mistakes than in writing. I'm not entirely convinced this is the are where I should look for the inspiration, because it seems to me that the only conclusion I could reach by analyzing concord in speech is that people use different grammatical forms even more freely than in writing.. Unless one wants to contrast these two things..

    Or do you think to the contrary, or maybe I have misunderstood something..?

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