Universidade de Vigo

A new research project awarded to LVTC


On 19 Dec 2016 it was announced that the LVTC research team led by Javier Pérez-Guerra has received funding from the National Programme for Excellence in Scientific and Technical Research (Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness), to carry out the R&D project "Variation in micro-diachrony: linguistic choice in 21st-century English" (grant FFI2016-77018-P;  funding obtained:  50.000 €, plus one four-year PhD research position). Team members: Javier Pérez-Guerra, Ana Elina Martínez-Insua, Rosalía Rodríguez-Vázquez and Evelyn Gandón-Chapela. The project will receive support by the "work team" of our senior researchers David Tizón-Couto and Nuria Yáñez-Bouza. The PhD students Sofía Bemposta-RivasCarla Bouzada-Jabois and Yolanda Fernández-Pena are also associated with the project.

This proposal builds on previous initiatives by this team in projects funded by the national R+D plan, dealing with linguistic variation from a diachronic perspective, and aims to undertake a study of alternation in contemporary English in a short time space: the micro-diachrony 1960-2010. Alternations may lead to examples of microvariation, as evinced by the existence of options or “choices” of linguistic expressions. In particular, this project tackles the functional and communicative consequences of the paradigmatic variation observed in syntactic, thematic (in the sense of Systemic Functional Grammar) and processing (issues of complexity). The methodology is empirical in all cases because the study of individual cases of microvariation departs from real examples taken from two electronic collections of texts in English of the decade of the 60s (Brown corpus) and the early years of the 21st century (Crown corpus). This project will deal with, among others, examples of microvariation in the order of constituents within a phrase (complements and adjuncts) and a clause (topicalisation, dislocation, extraposition, inversion), with options of non-finite complementation in the verb phrase, with the characterisation of free adjuncts and absolute constructions, borrowing elements of linguistic complexity, as well as with the thematic organisation of texts and their functional potential depending on the text type. This research will be based on results provided by the automatic, semi-automatic, manual categorial (part-of-speech), syntactic and functional annotation of two small comparable corpora (approximately one million words) of contemporary American English writing.