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Passive Voice in American Soap Opera Dialogue
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of English.
2015 (English)In: Studia Neophilologica, ISSN 0039-3274, E-ISSN 1651-2308, Vol. 87, no 2, 152-170 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study makes use of a large amount of 21st-century corpus material in order to examine a number of differences between the be-passive and the get-passive in contemporary American English. Previous studies on 20th-century material have indicated a decline in the use of the more frequent and more formal be-passive and an increase in the frequency of the rarer get-passive, especially in written American English. The present study is based on the Corpus of American Soap Operas; this corpus may be seen as an attempt at representing spoken language, which makes it a new departure point for the study of passive voice in English. Frequencies for the two constructions are tracked across the first decade of the century, and the number of true passives is estimated based on manually examined subsets. The differences between central be- and get-passives are discussed in terms of semantic preferences, colloquialization, and stylistic prescriptivism. Since prescriptive influence is assumed to be a factor in the use of passive voice, other indicators of prescriptivism (relativizer which, pied-piping of wh-relativizers) are also examined.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala Univ, Stockholm, Sweden., 2015. Vol. 87, no 2, 152-170 p.
Keyword [en]
passive voice, be-passive, get-passive, adversativity, grammaticalization, colloquialization, prescriptivism, American English
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265941DOI: 10.1080/00393274.2015.1049831ISI: 000362089200002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-265941DiVA: diva2:866932
Available from: 2015-11-04 Created: 2015-11-04 Last updated: 2015-11-04Bibliographically approved

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Schwarz, Sarah
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