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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: Some Structural Consequences of Diffusion
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This study investigates the diffusion and structural adaptation of quotative "be like" into a rural African American speech community. The data come from a longitudinal corpus of recordings (1988–2010) with rural African American Vernacular English (AAVE) speakers born between 1894–2002. Previous research suggests other innovative AAVE features have diffused into this community from neighboring urban areas (Cukor-Avila 1995, 2001; Cukor-Avila & Bailey 1995b, 1996) approximately a generation after they appear in urban varieties. The present analysis supports Cukor-Avila (2002) that "be like" has followed a similar path of diffusion, and adds new recordings of young speakers to provide necessary data to explore the transmission of "be like" in the community, its continued diffusion, and how these processes reinforce each other as "be like" becomes the primary means of expressing quoted speech. In addition, the present study explores how quotative "be like" has been structurally adapted into the AAVE copula system. (AAVE, transmission, diffusion, adaptation, quotative "be like")


This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 41, Issue 5.

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