Title: Be going to versus will/shall: does syntax matter?
Authors: Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt # ×
Issue Date: Dec-2003
Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.
Series Title: Journal of English Linguistics vol:31 issue:4 pages:295-323
Abstract: This study offers a novel account for the variation between the two major syntactic options to
express futurity in English, BE GOING TO and WILL/SHALL. The focus of attention, unlike in many previous studies, is chiefly the choice speakers of American and British English
make between future markers with reference to syntactic characteristics of the surrounding
text. On the basis of an empirical analysis of spoken data, this study demonstrates that future
marker distributions seem to be sensitive to four factors: (1) contexts of negation, (2) contexts of subordination, (3) IF-clause environments, and (4) sentence length. More specifically, there is a positive correlation between syntactic complexity and the likelihood of the
occurrence of BE GOING TO instead of WILL/SHALL. The analysis proposes that an issue
with economy and online processing constraints might be responsible for the sensitivity of
future marker distributions to syntactic context.
ISSN: 0075-4242
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Non-KU Leuven Association publications
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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