Note: This is the re-issue of a previously published book.
Dr Cheshire's fieldwork concentrates on phonological variation in spontaneous everyday conversation. She interviews a group of non-standard English speakers living in Reading, Berkshire. Her data provides a basis for a perceptive analysis of variation in contemporary English and of the nature and function of variation in general. She specifically focuses on morphological and syntactic variation, and thus also provides a valid description between standard English and a variety used by working-class speakers, which will interest not only linguists including sociolinguists and dialectologists, but many workers in education. Linguistic and social constraints on variation are established, and the analysis also demonstrates how speakers are able to exploit the resources of the language system to convey social meaning. The data Dr Cheshire has collected are in themselves an important contribution to the study of language in its social context, whilst the analysis has significant theoretical implications for diachronic and synchronic linguistics.
Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. Methodology: 1. Preliminary considerations; 2. Data collection; 3. Methods of analysis; Part II. Linguistic Variation: 4. Verb forms; 5. Negation; 6. Relative pronouns; 7. Other nonstandard forms; Part III. Sociolinguistic Variation: 8. Social variation; 9. Stylistic variation; Conclusion; Appendix; Bibliography; Index of authors; General index.