The Lancashire dialect

Project description

In this project we aim to investigate what makes the Lancashire dialect distinct from other dialects in the UK. While dialectologists have traditionally concerned themselves almost exclusively with accent and vocabulary, we focus on grammar. The question we are particularly interested in is twofold: (i) how can grammatical variation and change in dialects be accounted for by linguistic theory, and (ii) in what ways does this variation lead to new theoretical insights? As such, our investigation can be seen as part of a more general trend, on the Continent and in the UK, towards integrating theoretical approaches to grammar with the study of dialectal variation (see e.g. the studies in Kortmann, Bernd (ed.) (2004) Dialectology meets typology: Dialect grammar from a cross-linguistic perspective, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, or the publications to have come out of Syntactic Atlas of the Dutch Dialects project, which involves a large number of scholars and fieldworkers in Holland and Belgium). From an even wider perspective, the project links in with an increasing overall interest in regional variation, witness e.g. the wonderful new BBC project Voices.

In working towards a comprehensive analysis of the grammar of the Lancashire dialect we are drawing on several sources of data. First, we are making extenstive use of electronic corpora. Some dialect material was already available but for our purposes we have seen fit to compile a new corpus as well, based on recordings from the massive North West Sound Archive (housed in Clitheroe Castle, Clitheroe, in the Ribble Valley in Lancashire). In the future we intend to supplement these data with information obtained through fieldwork, e.g. questionnaires. In fact, we are actively encouraging our students to go out, collect and analyse samples of Lancashire data in the context of their studies.

In terms of research output, our first paper is Siewierska, Anna & Willem Hollmann ‘Ditransitive clauses in English with special reference to Lancashire dialect’, which will appear in Mike Hannay & Gerard Steen (eds.), (2006), The English clause: usage and structure. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. As we acquire more data, we will expand our research to other areas of the grammar as well -- just watch this space!


Willem Hollmann
Telephone: +44-(0)1524-(5)94644

Anna Siewierska
Telephone: +44-(0)1524-(5)94473

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