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Title: Power and solidarity revisited : the acquisition and use of personal pronouns in modern English and Dutch
Author: Blackwell, Susan Anne
ISNI:       0000 0001 3466 5893
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2007
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This dissertation applies corpus linguistics techniques to reveal patterns in the acquisition and use of personal pronouns. Setting out from Brown and Gilman's mould-breaking study of "the pronouns of power and solidarity", it argues that their focus on the metaphorical use of plurality in the second-person cannot account for the numerous ways in which canonical pronoun usage is routinely violated by both children and adults. Nonetheless, the concepts of power and solidarity remain productive ones and can help to account for the patterns revealed here. The first part of the thesis uses data from the CHILDES database to argue that 1st / 2nd person 'reversals' are a common feature of language acquisition which is not unique to children on the autistic spectrum. It also examines pronoun substitutions in the 'caregiver speech' of the mothers and finds a number of differences between the groups studied. The second part uses original purpose-built corpora of English and Dutch party election broadcasts to explore how power and solidarity are constantly re-negotiated in political discourse. The patterns of pronoun use are discussed in their social context, and it is found that amateur as well as professional politicians are adept at exploiting the pragmatic versatility of pronouns.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JN Political institutions (Europe) ; JN101 Great Britain ; P Philology. Linguistics ; PE English ; PF West Germanic