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The revived subjunctive

Kapitel i bok
Författare Göran Kjellmer
Publicerad i One Language, Two Grammars?
Sidor 246-256
ISBN 9780511551970
Förlag Cambridge University Press
Förlagsort Cambridge
Publiceringsår 2009
Publicerad vid Institutionen för språk och litteraturer
Sidor 246-256
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511551970...
Ämneskategorier Språkstudier


The reintroduction of subjunctive forms in Modern English is a fascinating story of the reshaping of an important section of the language. Verb forms like be shared in (1) It was decided that this proposal be shared were extremely rare up to less than a century ago, not to mention negated forms like not use in (2) Most dermatologists suggested that you not use these soaps, but today they are frequently met with in AmE and beginning to appear in BrE. Not surprisingly, the recent restructuring of the verb system has attracted the attention of linguists and resulted in a number of articles and at least one full-length study, Gerd Övergaard's The Mandative Subjunctive in American and British English in the 20th Century (1995). In the following, certain aspects of the process will be discussed. After a general background, dealing with the definition of terms and the history of the subjunctive in English, the discussion will fall into three parts: why the subjunctive returned in AmE, why it returned in BrE and why not occurs before the verb in negated subjunctive constructions. To illustrate my points I shall be making frequent use of the 57-million-word CobuildDirect Corpus, a corpus containing British (chiefly), American and Australian contemporary material from a variety of mainly written sources. (For a description of the corpus, see Sinclair (1987) and, for example, the Website http://www.titania.cobuild.collins.co.uk)

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