Past Tense BE: old and new variants

Anna-Liisa Vasko

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


This paper discusses the variation and geographic distribution of past tense BE, with particular attention to non-concord of postitive past tense forms. In presenting the variants WAR and WONT it goes beyond the widely documented WAS/WERE and WAS/WEREN'T variation.
The data come from casual conversations with local residents of Cambridgeshire born around the turn of the 20th century and positioned at the lower end of the socio-economic scale. This material is included in the HELSINKI CORPUS OF BRITISH ENGLISH DIALECTS (HD), a collection of tape-recorded interviews gathered in the 1970s and 1980s by Finnish fieldworkers. HD was completed in 2006 and is now being incorporated into into the HELSINKI ARCHIVE OF REGIONAL ENGLISH SPEECH (HARES), an audio archive of the recordings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Methods XIII : Papers from the Thirteenth International Conference on Methods in Dialectology, 2008
EditorsBarry Heselwood, Clive Upton
Number of pages10
Place of PublicationFrankfurt
PublisherPeter Lang
Publication date2010
ISBN (Print)978-3-631-61240-8
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings

Publication series

NameBamberger Beiträge zur Englischen Sprachwissenschaft
PublisherPeter Lang GmbH
ISSN (Print)0721-281X

Fields of Science

  • 612 Languages and Literature
  • Cambridgeshire
  • dialect
  • speech

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