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Title: A qualitative-quantitative analysis of negative auxiliaries in a northern English dialect : I don't know and I don't think, innit?
Author: Pichler, Heike
ISNI:       0000 0004 2674 7188
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis is a sociolinguistic investigation into the variable encoding by form of the discourse variables 'I don't know', 'I don't think' and negative polarity tag questions within a variety of English spoken in the north-east of England. Combining qualitative methods from conversation analysis and quantitative methods from variationist socioloinguistics, it examines the pragmatic functions the variables perform and explores whether their surface realisations correlate with their functions and with the broad social dimensions of age and gender. Qualitative analysis shows that the selected discourse variables perform multiple functions in the interpersonal and textual domains of discourse. The quantitative analysis demonstrates that pragmatic and social factors are strongly implicated in the variation in the form of these variables, although the extent of their impact differs according to the geographical distribution of the variants involved. The occurrence of non-localisable and supra-local discourse variants, which have relatively wide geographical spreads, is strongly conditioned by discourse function.  The impact on their distribution of social factors is generally less important than that of function. Conversely, localised variants, whose usage is less widespread, do not display function-specific patterning. Their occurrence is highly constrained by social factors.  The variables’ multifunctionality and, to an extent, their variants’ functional distributions are attributed to processes involved in grammaticalisation, including semantic bleaching, pragmatic strengthening, phonetic attrition and decategorialisation. The study demonstrates that discourse variants, like variants in other components of language, are not randomly distributed in speech but display systematic patterning along multiple contextual factors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociolinguistics ; English language