On the importance of dialogue and dialogicity in language change

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This talk draws on my work on dialogic aspects of language change as observed in large collections of contemporary English dialogues. Dialogicity is an important aspect of human sense-making, with each utterance being linked to prior or successive discourse in one way or another; however, some constructions have become so tied up with the surrounding discourse that they have incorporated these dialogic properties into their constructional representation. One such construction is the reactive what-x construction, illustrated in (1).

(1) A: have you ever been out there before
B: what to Russia
A: mm
B: no

The reactive what-x construction has interesting form–meaning properties: it comprises what and a subsequent phrasal or clausal complement x, which, importantly, always form one and the same tone unit. The dialogic properties manifest themselves in several ways such as the sequential placement of the construction in the surrounding discourse (the construction is responsive and always follows an immediately preceding turn by another speaker) and its meaning potential (i.e., to react to the preceding turn in order to negotiate and call it into question). In addition, the dialogic embedding of the construction in different discourse contexts has given rise to several dialogic functions, of which requests for verification is only one (the example above). In this talk, I explore the diachronic processes by which the construction has acquired these properties. In doing so, I propose an extension to Diachronic Construction Grammar to go beyond form–meaning properties in the strict lexical–semantic sense and into the domains of dialogicity, prosody and social interaction. In addition, I present a corpus of contemporary English dialogues, namely, the London–Lund Corpus 2 of spoken British English, which together with the first London–Lund Corpus provide an excellent resource for the study of short-term language change.
Period2022 apr. 7
EvenemangstitelPragmatics in Language Change
Typ av evenemangWorkshop
PlatsCopenhagen, DanmarkVisa på karta

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Språkstudier