Predicting Definite Article Usages in New Englishes: Variety Outweighs Genre and Syntactic Function in Nigerian English
Languages of publication
Variability in the use of the defi nite article in New Englishes, and in particular, Nigerian English has received the least attention from a quantitative, probabilistic and predictive perspective. The present study narrows this gap by not only assessing the extent to which article use in Nigerian English varies, but by also simultaneously testing out previous claims found in similar varieties, using similar corpus data from the Nigerian component of the International Corpus of English (ICE). Following theoretic framework for article use by Hawkins (1978) and Prince (1981), Wahid (2013) found that variability in defi nite article usage in New Englishes is more predictable on the basis of genre than on the basis of variety. Revising Wahid’s method and reconceptualising same theoretic frameworks of Hawkins and Prince, together with a comparable corpus sample of 8674 defi nite article the from ICE-Nigeria, the extent of article usage variability in the Nigerian variety is not only shown but also that variety outweighs genre and syntactic function predicting article usage in New Englishes.
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