• Laura RuppEmail author
  • David Britain


In the conclusion we summarize our main findings in each chapter. Amongst these are the occurrence of the East Anglian Subject Rule (EASR) and the apparent role of discourse-pragmatic factors in motivating grammatical variation (viz. Cheshire in J Sociolinguistics 9:479–508, 2005) like the Northern Subject Rule (NSR). We conclude that the versatility of verbal –s lends support to the concept of functional shift and our ‘Iconicity Hypothesis’. Additionally, we highlight that the phenomenon of verbal –s is best understood by combining insights from historical linguistics, functional grammar, formal syntax and language variation and change. Amongst other things, historical linguistics has shed light on the emergence of verbal –s, language variation and change has documented its variable uses, formal syntax can help predict and understand grammatical constraints on verbal –s, while functional grammar has shown that apparent non-agreement is not dysfunctional (Barlow in A situated theory of agreement. Garland, New York, 1992; Folia Linguistica 33:187–201, 1999).


The East Anglian Subject Rule (EASR) Grammatical variation Discourse-pragmatics The ‘Iconicity Hypothesis’ Historical linguistics Functional grammar Formal syntax Language variation and change 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of HumanitiesVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of EnglishUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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