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Is one innovation enough? Leaders, covariation and language change

journal contribution
posted on 21.04.2017, 10:43 by Cathleen Waters, Sali A. Tagliamonte
Do the people who lead in one linguistic change, lead in others? Previous work has suggested that they do not, but the topic has not been addressed extensively with non-phonological, spoken data. In this paper, we answer this question through an examination of lexical, morphosyntactic and discourse-pragmatic changes in progress in Canadian English as spoken in the largest urban center of the country, Toronto. Close scrutiny of the behavior of individuals across multiple linguistic variables, i.e. covariation, and using the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient enables us to test the use of incoming variants both by the community of speakers as a whole and by those who are leading change. The innovative variants of quotatives, i.e. be like, intensifiers, i.e. really, so, deontic modality, i.e. have to, stative possession, i.e. have and general extenders, i.e. and stuff, demonstrate that the leaders of these multiple linguistic changes have common social characteristics (e.g. women lead more than one change), but it is not the case that any one individual in a community will be at the forefront of more than one change.

Funding

The first author gratefully acknowledges the support of the University of Leicester. The second author gratefully acknowledges the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for research grants from 2001 to the present.

History

Citation

American Speech, 2017, 92(1), pp. 23-40

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/School of English

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

American Speech

Publisher

Duke University Press for American Dialect Society

issn

0003-1283

eissn

1527-2133

Acceptance date

17/03/2017

Copyright date

2017

Available date

05/07/2017

Publisher version

http://americanspeech.dukejournals.org/content/92/1/23.abstract

Language

en

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