Matt Tyler and Jim Wood publish in Linguistic Variation

Matt Tyler
February 20, 2020

Matthew Tyler and Jim Wood have published an article in the most recent issue of Linguistic Variation. The article is entitled “Microvariation in the ‘have yet to’ construction”, and reports on results from the research of the Yale Grammatical Diversity project. The ‘have yet to’ construction refers to sentences like ‘I have yet to visit my grandmother’, meaning ‘I have not visited my grandmother yet’. While most dialects of English have some version of this construction on the surface, it turns out that its syntactic properties vary across speakers in systematic ways. This article presents quantitative data relating to the construction as well as a syntactic analysis of the variation. It discusses several issues in detail, including the status of “have” as an auxiliary or main verb, the question of where and how the negative meaning is built in, and the status of various other ‘yet to’ constructions, such as the ‘got yet to’ variant (as in ‘I’ve got yet to vist my grandmother’), which is acceptable to only some English speakers. Broadly, the article is also intended to show how quantitative data and formal analysis can be combined to yield a deeper understanding of the formal properties of language. 

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