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Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

By David Crystal

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Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases

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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.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Language Variation and Change Vol. 25, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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