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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: Prestige, accommodation, and the legacy of relative 'who'
Author: Alexandra D'Arcy
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Victoria
Author: Sali A Tagliamonte
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Toronto
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: This article presents a quantitative variationist analysis of the English restrictive relative pronouns. However, where previous research has largely focused on language-internal explanations for variant choice, the focus here is the social meaning of this erstwhile syntactic variable. We uncover rich sociolinguistic embedding of the relative pronouns in standard, urban speech. The only productive 'wh-' form is 'who', which continues to pattern as a prestige form centuries after its linguistic specialization as a human subject relative. This legacy of prestige is reflected not only in the social characteristics of those with whom it is associated, but also in the patterns of accommodation that are visible in its use. These findings simultaneously demonstrate the tenacious nature of social meaning and the enduring effects of grammatical ideology, both of which influence pronoun choice in the context of face-to-face interaction. (Restrictive relative pronouns, 'who', change from above, age-grading, prestige, accommodation)


This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 39, Issue 3.

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