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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31968

Title: Social and Linguistic Correlates of Adverb Variability in English: A Cross-varietal Perspective
Authors: Waters, Cathleen
Advisor: Tagliamonte, Sali A.
Department: Linguistics
Keywords: Language variation and change
Issue Date: 11-Jan-2012
Abstract: Linguistic research on adverbs has taken many forms: typological, morphological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic. However, little work has been conducted on adverbs using the tools of quantitative sociolinguistics, and most of that work has focused solely on morphological variation of the -ly suffix. This work addresses the lacuna by examining two adverb phenomena using quantitative variationist methodology. Data come from two large, socially stratified, sociolinguistic corpora of vernacular English. The two corpora contain data collected in Ontario, Canada and in Northern England, and are comprised of the speech of over 150 speakers across all age groups. In the first case study, I examine a claim in usage guides (e.g., Swan 2001) that North American English widely permits pre-auxiliary adverbs in canonical, declarative sentences, while British English prohibits them unless accompanied by contrastive stress. As I show, the varietal differences in speech are not only minimal and unrelated to stress, but instead are highly circumscribed. In addition, I demonstrate that the positioning of adverbs observed here must involve post-syntactic processes. The second case study examines variability in the discourse adverb "actually" and several related adverbials (e.g., "really" and "in fact") and examines the path of grammaticalization (Traugott & Dasher 2002) in the two communities. I demonstrate that Canadians, regardless of sex or education level, prefer the more grammaticalized forms of "actually"; in the UK, the more grammaticalized use is less common, though some young men are leading a shift to the more grammaticalized pattern.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/31968
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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