Divergent patterns of variant tag questions in Pakistani English: A corpus-based comparative study





Inter-variety comparisons, Pakistani English, variant tag questions, World Englishes


The research explores the divergent patterns in the native and non-native Englishes in terms of variant tag questions (VTQs). It explores the forms and functions of variant TQs in two native (British and New Zealand) and two non-native (Indian and Singaporean) varieties with a major focus on Pakistani English. The components of the International Corpus of English, henceforth ICE (Greenbaum & Nelson, 1996) of the said varieties, have been used in the research. Each ICE component consists of a one million-word corpus of the regional variety of English. Importantly, each ICE team follows a common corpus design and a common annotation scheme, in order to ensure maximum comparability between the components (Nelson 1996). Each ICE component samples the English of adults (age 18 or over) who have been educated through the medium of English to at least the end of secondary schooling. For the data collection, random sampling technique has been used. Data sets were then analysed through AntConc 3.5.9, a corpus analysisng toolkit. All the possible tags were extracted through the said software and the collocation were then studied. The results revealed that VTQs are under-used in non-native Englishes while least used in Pakistani English. As for the forms of VTQs, unlike Singaporean and Indian speakers, Pakistani speakers follow the native speakers and observe the rules in the formation of tag questions. The do operator is equally prominent in the VTQs of all varieties.


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Author Biographies

Zahida Hussain, Department of English, Government College Women University, Faisalabad, Pakistan

Dr Zahida Hussain is currently serving as an Assistant Professor at Government College, Faisalabad. She has worked as visiting lecturer at the Department of English Linguistics. Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan. Her research interests include Pakistani English, corpus linguistics, multidimensional analysis and genre analysis.

Muhammad Asif , Department of English, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan

Muhammad Asif received his M.Phil. in English, Master of Education, Master of Arts in Pashto and Cambridge CELTA. He is a PhD Candidate at the Department of English, International Islamic University Islamabad, Pakistan. He served at reputed national and international universities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States. His research interests include second language acquisition, learning technologies, quantitative research methods and Pakistani English. 

Ayesha Aslam, English Language Center, University of Central Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.

Ayesha Aslam received her MS in TESOL, Master in English Language & Literature, and Post Graduate Diploma in English Language Teaching from reputed universities in Pakistan. She serves as a Lecturer in English at the English Language Center, University of Central Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. She has additionally taught English language for years to undergraduate students at renowned national universities.

Muhammad Asim Mahmood, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Government College University, Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Dr Muhammad Asim Mahmood serves as a Dean, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan. He has authored many research articles published in national and international journals. His research interests include register variation, corpus linguistics, genre analysis and Pakistani English.


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How to Cite

Hussain, Z., Asif, M., Aslam, A., & Mahmood, M. A. (2021). Divergent patterns of variant tag questions in Pakistani English: A corpus-based comparative study . Pegem Journal of Education and Instruction, 11(4), 370–378. https://doi.org/10.47750/pegegog.11.04.36