Activities

Grammatical Variation Activities

Grammatical Variation

How do you usually form the past tense of the verb 'to be'? Do you or your friends ever use non-standard forms? If so, can you observe any pattern? Make a list of non-standard past tenses that you hear during the course of an average day at school/at home/among friends.

Make a list of non-standard grammatical constructions you come across while listening to the radio or watching a television programme. Programmes that feature members of the public - radio phone-ins or 'reality' television shows - are ideally suited for this activity. Try and categorise each construction according to the following criteria:

  • Do you and your friends use it or not?
  • Do you associate it with older or younger speakers?
  • Do you think it is peculiar to certain regions?

Listen to a selection of recordings on this site (between five and ten from different parts of the UK) and make a list of non-standard grammatical constructions. Try and categorise each construction according to the following criteria:

  • Do you and your friends use it or not?
  • Do you associate it with older or younger speakers?
  • Do you think it is peculiar to certain regions?

Look at the list (below) of 'unmediated' recordings featured on this site. Listen to a couple of recordings - one from near where you live and another in a different part of the country - and list any non-standard grammatical constructions. Try and categorise each construction according to the following criteria:

  • Do you and your friends use it or not?
  • Do you associate it with older or younger speakers?
  • Do you think it is peculiar to certain regions?

‘Unmediated’ recordings can be found at the following locations on the home map:

Research Task

Keep a diary of non-standard grammatical constructions you hear in your community - at school, at home, when socialising with friends. You could analyse your findings in a number of ways as follows:

  • Which constructions occur with the greatest frequently?
  • Which constructions appear to be age-specific?
  • Which constructions do you feel are peculiar to your area?
  • Which constructions never occur in formal situations?