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English Department, University of Zurich
What’s behind variation with (A) LOT (OF)? A view from World Englishes

In English, lot is used in the complex quantifier a lot of (as in a lot of fun) and as a degree adverb (e.g. a lot more helpful, a lot better). Both constructions show variation in contact varieties of English, either in the way that elements from the construction are absent (as in (1) and (2)), or in extended uses to novel contexts, as in the use of the degree adverb with difficult in (3).

  1. (1) it's also fun but ø lot of influence eh? (ICE-Fiji, S1A-079)
  2. (2) There’s a lot ø nice place you can to (ICE-HK, S1A-094)
  3. (3) It looks a lot difficult now and we have to rely on Newcastle and Sunderland to lose games. (THE TIMES OF INDIA, 7th May 2016)

In this talk, using data from fieldwork and corpora, I take local uses of a lot of constructions in varieties of Indian English as my starting point. The focus will be on the process of grammatical nativization in World Englishes. I will show that notions like ‘contact’ and ‘transfer’ sometimes provide only a partial view of the process. Instead, taking a look at evidence from a broad range of Englishes (standard and non-standard) may provide us with a better understanding of local(?) uses of a global language.


Marianne Hundt is Professor of English Linguistics at Zürich University. Her research interests range from grammatical change in contemporary and late Modern English to varieties of English as a first and second language (New Zealand, British and American English; English in Fiji and South Asia) and language in the Indian Diaspora. She is the author of English Mediopassive Constructions (Rodopi, 2007) and New Zealand English Grammar – Fact or Fiction? (Benjamins, 1998) and co-author of Change in Contemporary English. A Grammatical Study (CUP, 2009). She has edited various monographs, and since 2013 has been co-editor of English World-Wide.