A corpus-based comparative pragmatic analysis of Irish English and Canadian English
Almuways, Yasir Sulaiman
MetadataShow full item record
This PhD thesis is a comparative study of the spoken grammar of Irish and Canadian Englishes within the framework of Variational Pragmatics at the formal level, used to study the pragmatic variation (the intra-varietal differences) in terms of forms and pragmatic functions. It is a study of spoken grammar as a whole (in a comparative and representative way between and across two varieties of English). Corpus linguistics is used as a methodological tool in order to conduct this research, exploring the nature of spoken grammar usage in both varieties comparatively in relation to their pragmatic functions and forms. The study illustrates an iterative approach in which top-down and bottom-up processes are used to establish pragmatic markers and their pragmatic functions in spoken grammar in the two varieties. Top-down analysis employs a framework for spoken grammar based on existing literature while the bottom-up process is based on micro-analysis of the data. The corpora used in the study are the spoken components of two International Corpus of English (ICE) corpora, namely ICE-Ireland and ICE-Canada comprising 600,000 words each (approximately). Methodologically, this study is not purely corpus-based nor corpus-driven but employs both methods. This iterative approach aligns with the notions of corpus-based versus corpus-driven linguistics and perspectives. Corpus tools are used to generate wordlists of the top 100 most frequent word and cluster lists. These are then analysed through qualitative analysis in order to identify whether or not they are a part of the spoken grammar. This process results in a candidate list that can then be functionally categorised and compared across varieties in terms of forms and functions. Specifically, the study offers insights on pragmatic markers: discourse markers, response tokens, questions, hedges and stance markers in Irish and Canadian English. The results offer a baseline description of the commonalities and differences in terms of spoken grammar and pragmatics across the two varieties of English which may have application to the study of other varieties of English. Also, the prominent forms of spoken grammar across these two varieties can be further explored from a macro-social perspective (e.g. age, gender, or social class) and a micro-social perspective (e.g. social distance or social dominance) and how these interplay with pragmatic choices.