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Title: The sociolinguistic constraints on the quotative system : British English and US English compared
Author: Buchstaller, Isabelle
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2004
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The recent advent and rapid spread of two new vernacular options, go and like, within the (say) variable has attracted a growing body of research in variationist sociolinguists. This thesis examines the synchronic functions of these new quotatives and considers pragmatic, discourse, and social factors. The investigation is based on an analysis of very large corpora of spontaneous spoken British and American English. This cross-variety comparison gives me the opportunity (i) to investigate a case of rapid language change that is happening concurrently with the time of research and (ii) to consider to what extent social and linguistic constraints hold globally. A variationist study of the constraints which govern the quotative system is valuable for the following reasons: By investigating the patterning of the (say) variable as a whole, we gain insights into the rule-governed variability of innovative features and their rival variants (say, tell, think, cry,... ). A look at the entire quotative system reveals the intimate interplay of competing choices within the (say) variable. My project aims at understanding how the system as a whole reacts to the intrusion of newcomer variants. A sharply delimited and hitherto stable set of variants - such as the (say) variable - presents the unique opportunity to investigate the restructuring of all variants as new ones come in. This is especially interesting when we look at competing choices which have the same [-canonical] underlying semantic feature, such as unframed quotes. The data show that far from ousting the unframed or say-variant, like and go add options within the vernacular category. A comparative study on the patterning of non-canonical variants within the quotative pool produces important insights into phenomena such as reallocation, competition within one socio-pragmatic field, as well as interaction of variants within the same variable.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available