Roots of English: Exploring the History of Dialects

Roots of English: Exploring the History of Dialects

Language: English

Pages: 266

ISBN: 0521681898

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


What is the explanation for the nature, character and evolution of the many different varieties of English in the world today? Which changes in the English language are the legacy of its origins and which are the product of novel influences in the places to which it was transported? Roots of English is a groundbreaking investigation into four dialects from parts of northern Britain out of which came the founding populations of many regions in other parts of the world. Sali Tagliamonte comprehensively describes and analyses the key features of the dialects and their implications for subsequent developments of English. Her examination of dialect features contributes substantive evidence for assessing and understanding bigger issues in sociolinguistic theory. Based on exciting new findings, the book will appeal to those interested in dialects, from the Anglophile to the syntactician.

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(Laughs) I can mind that. Aye, surely to goodness they’re lovely. [3] Yes they’re lovely. [005] They’re – oh, blackberry jam’s lovely. I never got any of this year’s. [3] Have you not? [005] No. [3] Oh, I like the blackberry jam. [005] Aye, so do I, it’s lovely, surely it’s lovely. (Kate McBride, 88, CLB, 005)7 Language structure? One of the provocative questions that is also raised by this research is whether cross-variety differences impinge on language structure. They may be the

evidence. Thus, it is crucial to gain access to this type of evidence. She come to school on a pony and trap at that time. (Lily Trimble, 86, CLB, 012) Back to the roots The areas from which most Northern Irish and British migrants to North America originated between 1717 and 1775 were the counties of Derry, Antrim and Down in Northern Ireland; Ayrshire, Dumfries and Wigtown in Scotland; and Cumberland and Westmorland in northern England (Fischer, 1989: 622; Leyburn, 1962: 94). Crucial

two auxiliaries where AUX contraction is present. It reveals that there is a consistent difference between have and be across generations. Further, notice the increasing use of contraction among the younger generations. All forms advance across generations except for are which has a downturn towards more use of aren’t in the youngest generations. The increasing use of AUX contraction is particularly pronounced with auxiliary is which advances incrementally in each generation. This corroborates

that analysis of the contemporary varieties may provide insight into the original source dialects that were transported to other places in the world. Words from the wise ‘Old English and old Norse were so closely related that there were no significant differences in the inventory of morphological categories between the two languages.’ (Trudgill, 2010:25) Background Youse go paddle your ain canoe. (Robin Mawhinney, 55, PVG)7 In historical linguistics, the study of peripheral

was very rare. In Tiverton, there were only three tokens, in Wheatley Hill eight. Everywhere else, for to is non-existent. In the Roots Archive several communities had substantially more tokens (N = 90) – Maryport, Cullybackey and Cumnock. Table 6.6 shows the use of for to out of all to infinitive clauses in these communities. The table reveals that for to, despite numerous examples across communities, is fading away. It becomes interesting to ask about the vitality of a form that has receded

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