Mapping unity and diversity world-wide

Mapping unity and diversity world-wide: Corpus-based studies of New Englishes. Ed. by Marianne Hundt and Ulrike Gut. (Varieties of English around the world G43.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2012. Pp. xiv, 294. ISBN 9789027249036. $143 (Hb).

Reviewed by Abhishek Kumar Kashyap, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

This book presents empirical studies on a wide range of English varieties, covering several linguistic phenomena, including modals, quasi-modals, tense, aspect, verb complementation, particle verbs, and relative clause constructions. The book contains an introduction by the editors and eleven empirical studies. The studies are primarily based on the sub-corpora of the International Corpus of English.

The first five chapters concentrate on tense and aspect. In Ch. 1, Gerold Schneider and Marianne Hundt study tense, mood, and aspect in five Englishes from inner and outer circles, which include Indian English, British English (BrE), New Zealand English, Fiji English, and Ghana English. In Ch. 2, Peter Collins and Xinyue Yao study four quasi-modals (also called semi-modals), namely have to, have got to, be going to, and want to, in a range of English varieties. They observe a gradual decline in the use of modals and a rise in the use of quasi-modals in inner-circle varieties, with AmE leading the change.

Johan van der Auwera, Dirk Noël, and Astrid De Wit, in Ch. 3, explore the use of need as a modal auxiliary and as a lexical verb in four Asian Englishes—Hong Kong English, Singapore English, Philippine English, and Indian English—and quantify their use in comparison with BrE and AmE. In Ch. 4, Dagmar Deuber, Carolin Biewer, Stephanie Hackert, and Michaela Hilbert examine, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the use of the modals will and would in six New Englishes (i.e. Fiji, Indian, Singapore, Trinidadian, Jamaican, and Bahamian) and compare it with usage in BrE. In Ch. 5, Michaela Hilbert and Manfred G. Kurg present a quantitative and qualitative study of the use of the progressive in press reports and editorials in Maltese English.

Three chapters focus on verbs. In Ch. 6, Marco Schilk, Tobias Bernaisch, and Joybrato Mukherjee study the distribution and usage of the complementational patterns of three verbs (i.e. convey, submit, and supply), which they categorize as ‘transfer-caused-motion’ constructions in Indian, British, and Sri Lankan English. The following two chapters include studies of particle verbs, a class of verbs also known by other terms (e.g. phrasal verbs), which is beginning to attract the attention of World Englishes researchers. Lena Zipp and Tobias Bernaisch, in Ch. 7, study the use of particle verbs with up (e.g. take up) in nine varieties of English, and in Ch. 8 Gerald Nelson and Ren Hongtao study the use of particle verbs in African Englishes.

Two chapters attend to an area of grammar that has been seldom examined in World Englishes: relative clause constructions. In Ch. 9, Ulrike Gut and Lilian Coronel present a study on relative clause constructions in Nigerian, Jamaican, Philippine, and Singapore English, and Christian Mair and Claudia Winkle investigate the usage of cleft sentences in a range of first- and second-language English varieties in Ch. 10. The final chapter, by Nicole Höhn, investigates another lesser-studied linguistic phenomenon of World Englishes: quotatives. Specifically, she attends to the use of be like, go, and say in Jamaican and Irish English.

In sum, this book serves as a significant addition to the existing literature in the field of World Englishes.