Center for the Study of Language and Society (CSLS)

Center for the Study of Language and Society

Three vernacular determiners in York English: jointly deriving evidence for processes of change

Dienstag, 03.03.2020, 16:15 Uhr

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Veranstaltende: Forum Language and Society
Redner, Rednerin: Laura Rupp, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Datum: 03.03.2020
Uhrzeit: 16:15 - 17:45 Uhr
Ort: F-123
Lerchenweg 36
3012 Bern
Merkmale: Öffentlich

Speakers of the variety of English spoken in York (YrkE) use three vernacular determiners: a zero article (Christophersen 1939), a reduced determiner (Wright 1905:259), and a complex demonstrative (e.g., Bernstein 1997). The determiners are illustrated in the examples (1a-c), respectively, from the York English Corpus (YEC) (Tagliamonte 1996-1998). The reduced determiner is a determiner form without a vowel and is known to occur in a range of different variants, for example [t] (e.g., Jones 1999). The complex demonstrative consists of a demonstrative, a locative here or there, and a noun.

(1)a      They used to follow Ø river I think did bombers. (mmichaels, 67)

(1)b     And we’d been in t’ pub for two clock. (rjones, 50)

(1)c     You - know what these here police are. (rfielding, 87)

In work with Sali Tagliamonte, we propose that the three YrkE determiners can be traced back to the history of English and reflect particular stages in the development of the English determiner system. In their survival they appear to show three processes of change: (1) the null determiner shows absence of change in fact and constitutes evidence that a form can have a stable use over centuries (Rupp & Tagliamonte 2019); (2) the reduced determiner shows recycling whereby younger generations of speakers have reassumed the form for identity expression (Dubois & Horvath 1999; Tagliamonte & Roeder 2009); and (3) the complex demonstrative shows decline and provides a window on the way in which a form may undergo grammaticalization or specialization on the way to apparent loss (Traugott 1995; Schilling-Estes & Wolfram 1999; Jankowski & Tagliamonte 2017; Rupp & Tagliamonte 2017).  I will argue that these processes can only be identified from a joined perspective of historical linguistics, language variation and change, discourse pragmatics, and generative syntax.



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