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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Frequency and variation in the community grammar: Tracking a new change through the generations
Author: Sali A Tagliamonte
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Toronto
Author: Alexandra D'Arcy
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Victoria
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: In this article we perform a quantitative analysis of verbs of quotation in a cohesive speech community. The incoming form be like overshadows all other quotative verbs among speakers under 30. This telescoped rate of change provides an opportunity to investigate the actuation problem as well as to probe the underlying mechanism of change in the contrasting variable grammars across generations. Multivariate analyses of factors conditioning be like (content of the quote, grammatical person, sex) reveal stability in the significance of constraints, however the rankings and relative strengths reveal subtle
ongoing changes in the system. Interpreting these in sociocultural context, we suggest that be like is an innovation that arose out of a preexisting niche in the grammar. It accelerated during the 1980s due to its preppy associations, later specializing as a marker of narrative
present. In accounting for these findings, we are led to contrast generational and communal change and to question what it means to ‘participate’ in linguistic change.


This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 19, Issue 2.

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