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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: A variationist perspective on discourse-pragmatic change in a contact setting
Author: Stephen Levey
Institution: University of Ottawa
Author: Karine Groulx
Institution: University of Ottawa
Author: Joseph Roy
Institution: University of Ottawa
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: French
Abstract: The emergence of être comme as a quotative verb in Canadian French is easily construed as a case of contact-induced change by virtue of its superficial similarity to the rapidly diffusing be like quotative (Tagliamonte & D'Arcy, 2007). We pursue the inference of contact-induced change by undertaking a quantitative analysis of French and English quotatives recorded from speakers in the bilingual city of Ottawa between 2008 and 2010. A series of real-time cross sections enables the longitudinal development of the quotative system of each language to be tracked. Analysis of the data confirms that être comme is a change in progress, but not a wholesale replication of its English counterpart. Although the results do not refute the role of external causation in the emergence of être comme, the available evidence suggests that an external source is neither the sole, nor even the preferred, motivation for the emergence of this innovation.


This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 25, Issue 2.

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