Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: In search of grammaticalization in synchronic dialect data: general extenders in northeast England
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: In this article, we draw on a socially stratified corpus of dialect data collected in northeast England to test recent proposals that grammaticalization processes are implicated in the synchronic variability of general extenders (GEs), i.e. phrase- or clause-final constructions such as and that and or something. Combining theoretical insights from the framework of grammaticalization with the empirical methods of variationist sociolinguistics, we operationalize key diagnostics of grammaticalization (syntagmatic length, decategorialization, semantic-pragmatic change) as independent factor groups in the quantitative analysis of GE variability. While multivariate analyses reveal rapid changes in apparent time to the social conditioning of some GE variants in our data, they do not reveal any evidence of systematic changes in the linguistic conditioning of variants in apparent time that would confirm an interpretation of ongoing grammaticalization. These results lead us to question Cheshire's (2007) recent hypothesis that GEs are grammaticalizing in contemporary varieties of British English. They additionally raise caveats with regard to the assumption that the linguistic conditioning of GE variability in contemporary data sets is the product of change.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 15, Issue 3.

Return to TOC.

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page