Mayowa Akinlotan Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB) „Genitive alternation in New Englishes: The case of Nigerian English.”


This paper is concerned with influences on the forms of possessive expression in Nigerian English compared to influences reported in other Englishes such as British, American, and Canadian. The study examines and compares independently the four commonly investigated determiners of animacy, text type, prototypicality, and topicality, and it also shows the extent to which variation is attested in possessive form alternation in Nigerian English. The evidence adduced was drawn mainly from the Nigerian component of the International Corpus of English (ICE). More than 3000 data, mainly written register attestations of alternation, were analyzed. The findings suggest that animacy is the primary determiner of possessive expression form in Nigerian English. Prototypicality and syntactic weight/length, which have also been shown to exert strong influences, evidently have very little influence in this variety of English. Because multilingualism is widespread in Nigeria, these patterns likely indicate grammatical structuring partly or wholly derived from local Nigerian languages that have no such alternating system.

Keywords: genitive alternation, Nigerian English noun phrase, animacy, syntactic weight.

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