Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info


New from Oxford University Press!

ad

A History of the Irish Language: From the Norman Invasion to Independence

By Aidan Doyle

This book "sets the history of the Irish language in its political and cultural context" and "makes available for the first time material that has previously been inaccessible to non-Irish speakers."


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

The Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics

Edited By Keith Allan and Kasia M. Jaszczolt

This book "fills the unquestionable need for a comprehensive and up-to-date handbook on the fast-developing field of pragmatics" and "includes contributions from many of the principal figures in a wide variety of fields of pragmatic research as well as some up-and-coming pragmatists."


Academic Paper


Title: Testing claims of a usage-based phonology with Liverpool English t-to-r
Author: Lynn Clark
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://sites.google.com/site/lynnclarkling/Home
Institution: Lancaster University
Author: Kevin Watson
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.ling.lancs.ac.uk/profiles/Kevin-Watson/
Institution: University of Canterbury
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Historical Linguistics; Phonology; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: The variable phenomenon in which /t/ can be realized as a tap or rhotic approximant in varieties of Northern British English (commonly referred to as t-to-r, Wells 1982: 370) has received some attention in English linguistics as debates have appeared over how best to model its phonology (e.g. Carr 1991; Docherty et al. 1997; Broadbent 2008). The occurrence of t-to-r seems to be constrained by the preceding and following phonological environment in a largely systematic way and so it is often accounted for within a rule-based model of grammar. Problematically, however, the rule does not apply blindly across the board to all words which fit the specified phonological pattern. Instead, t-to-r shows evidence of being lexically restricted, and this fact has recently encouraged a usage-based interpretation. Until now, there has been relatively little attempt to test the usage-based thesis directly with fully quantified data gleaned from naturally occurring conversation. This article investigates the extent to which certain usage-based predictions can account for variation attested in t-to-r in Liverpool English. Using oral history interviews with Liverpool English speakers born in the early 1900s, we examine the usage-based predictions first proposed by Broadbent (2008) that t-to-r is more likely in (a) high-frequency words and (b) high-frequency phrases. There is some support for the importance of lexical frequency as a motivating factor in the use of t-to-r, but our data do not fully support either of these claims wholesale. We suggest that t-to-r is not constrained simply by word frequency or phrase frequency alone, but by a combination of both. Finally, we explore the possibility of employing notions from Cognitive Grammar such as schema strength (e.g. Taylor 2002; Bybee 1995: 430) in our interpretation of these data.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 15, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page