Variation of English passives used by Swedes : A corpus-based study of the usage of be-passives and get-passives

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för språk (SPR)

Abstract: This thesis investigates the grammatical constructions of be-and get-passives and their usage by Swedes writing in English. The investigation is based on findings from four different corpora, two of which were compiled for the purpose of this study. The first one, SWENC (the Swedish English Newspaper Corpus), contains texts from online newspapers and a corporate newsletter written by Swedes in English. The second, BESC (Blogs in English by Swedes Corpus), contains material collected from blogs written in English by Swedes. The results from these corpora are compared with results from the press sub-corpora of the native English Frown (American English) and F-LOB corpora (British English). The results show that Swedes writing in English use passive constructions to a similar extent as native English speakers do within the news genre. Furthermore, Swedes writing in English use significantly more be-passive constructions within the news genre than the more informal blog genre. Lastly, the study shows that Swedes writing in English use get-passives, and that they are considerably more common in the informal language used in blogs than the more formal language used in online newspapers.  

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