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LVLT talk: Heike Pichler (Salford) & Stephen Levey (Ottawa) 'Tracking grammaticalization in synchronic dialect data: General extenders in north-east England'

Date: 2 December 2010 Time: 12.00-1.00

Venue: County South C89 (Meeting Room 7)

We are delighted to welcome Heike Pichler (Salford) and Stephen Levey (Ottawa) to the Language Variation and Linguistic Theory Research Group. They will give a talk entitled:

Tracking grammaticalization in synchronic dialect data: General extenders in north-east England

Abstract

General extenders (GEs), i.e., clause- or phrase-final constructions such as those illustrated in (1)-(3), constitute a locus of rampant variability in contemporary varieties of English. In this paper, we present the results of our apparent-time study of 783 GE tokens from a corpus of north-eastern English in order to build on recent variationist work which claims that GEs are undergoing grammaticalization in contemporary varieties of British English (Cheshire 2007; Denis Ms.; Levey fc.).

(1) You have to speak clearly and stuff.

(2) There's no sort of racial tension and things like that.

(3) They'd rather have pot noodles or something.

The focus of our paper will be on outlining the methods we have elaborated to track the grammaticalization of general extenders in synchronic dialect data. Drawing on the combined resources of the frameworks of grammaticalization and variationist sociolinguistics, we operationalize hypotheses about grammaticalization as factor groups for quantitative analysis. Whilst we follow Cheshire (2007) and Tagliamonte & Denis (fc.) in how they operationalized decategorialization, we diverge from previous studies in our operationalization of syntagmatic length and semantic-pragmatic change for quantitative analysis. Application of our methodological apparatus to our corpus data reveals that (i) grammaticalization proceeds at varying rates across the cohort of GE variants; (ii) the changes associated with grammaticalization do not proceed in lockstep; and (iii) different changes are spearheaded by different social groups. These results contribute important insights into the mechanisms underlying the ongoing grammaticalization of GEs, and foreground the utility of a variationist approach in tracking the evolution of discourse-pragmatic features in contemporary varieties of English.

Details

12.00, Thursday 2nd December 2010.

County South C89 (Meeting room 7)

ALL WELCOME

Event website: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/groups/lvlt

Contact:

Who can attend: Anyone

 

Further information

Associated staff: Kevin Watson

Organising departments and research centres: Language Variation and Linguistic Theory (LVLT), Linguistics and English Language

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
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