Marina Dossena University of Bergamo “Sense and sensibility: Verbal morpho-syntax in nineteenth-century Scottish emigrants’ letters and the intersection of standard and vernacular usage.”
This paper discusses verbal morpho-syntactic features in a corpus of nineteenth-century letters written by encoders of Scottish origin, whose levels of education vary quite considerably. The aim is to identify the features which appear to be most resistant to anglicization, paying particular attention to instances of the so-called Northern Subject Rule, and to modal auxiliaries. The aim is to shed more light on Late Modern English beyond the materials currently available for the study of this variety, especially as far as Scotland is concerned. Data compiled to date will be examined against data available in the recently-launched Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing, 1700-1945.