Right Dislocations in Spoken Irish English


Term Paper, 2017
11 Pages, Grade: 1,7

Excerpt

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Theory
2.1 Terminology
2.2 Variants of Right Dislocations
2. 2.1 Full noun phrase right dislocation
2.2.2 Pronoun right dislocation
2.2.3 Inverted operator right dislocation
2.2.4 Simple operator right dislocation
2.2.5 Emphatic Tags
2.3 Pragmatic Function

3 Methodology

4 Data Analysis

5 Conclusion

6 References

1 Introduction

There are syntactic features which occur only in spoken language and they can be used for emphasis or to assure that the listener is still listening. Two examples are provided below to show which topic is under investigation in the present seminar paper[1].

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The pattern that one can find in these two examples is called right dislocation and it means that the subject of the phrase is repeated either as a pronoun or with noun phrase and an operator. This paper gives insights into the terminology of right dislocations and afterwards analyses the different variants and their pragmatic function. Furthermore, two corpora (Global Web Based English Corpus [GloWbE] and News of the Web Corpus [NOW]) are searched for instances of right dislocations in Irish English. The examples found in the corpus will be analysed for their pragmatic function. The aim of this study is to see whether right dislocations are indeed “idiosyncratic Northern Irish” (British Library, Sounds Familiar, Web) or right dislocation is just a cliché of the Irish language.

2 Theory

2.1 Terminology

Although the phenomenon has been largely discussed by scholars beginning in the early 1980s and sooner, there is still disagreement about the term of the phenomenon. Quirk et al. (1985) call it amplificatory tags, Petyt (1985) examines emphatic tags. In the Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English Biber describes noun phrase tags (Biber 1999). Recent scholars have started to call it tails (Aijmer 1989; McCarthy and Carter 1997; Timmis 2010). This paper uses the term right dislocation as in Durham (2011) although the term has been challenged because the prefix ‘dis’ has a negative connotation as Ruehlemann underlined (2006). The prefix suggests that something is taken from the correct position to an abnormal position. Furthermore, the term has been questioned by Lambrecht (2001) arguing that no movement of the noun phrase actually happens because the noun phrase could also be replaced by a pronoun. McCarthy and Carter (1997) go even further and call the dislocation a “metaphor of abnormality” which tends to support a view that spoken language is a defective form of written language (cited in Timmis 2010: 330). Whereas tails or the counterpart heads, as Timmis argues, “implies an integral connection with the body, [it] is descriptive without being judgemental” Timmis (2010: 330). Nevertheless, right dislocation seems to be the term which best describes the movement happening. The variety of terms somehow complicates research on the topic and it is a desideratum that scholars find an agreement for a term in order to promote further research and to facilitate comparison between different studies on the topic.

2.2 Variants of Right Dislocations

As with the terminology of the phenomenon, there is also disagreement about the variants which are subsumed under the label of right dislocations. Durham (2011: 6) differentiates between three different variants, namely standard right dislocation (SRD), expanded right dislocation (ERD), and reverse right dislocation (RRD). Timmis (2015) labels these three variants as noun phrase tails, simple operator tails and inverted operator tails. Furthermore, he names another variant namely the pronoun tails. Although this paper uses the label right dislocation, in this context the classification by Timmis for the variants is used exchanging the word tails into right dislocation. Since this paper examines right dislocation usage in Irish English only these variants are explained in the following.

2.2.1 Full noun phrase right dislocation

The full noun phrase right dislocation includes a full noun phrase which is co-referential with a pronoun in the preceding clause.

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This variant is described by Durham (2011) as “the canonical variant and the one which is most commonly found in other languages” (cited in Timmis 2015: 308). With 12 noun phrase right dislocations out of 25 (normalised per 100,000 words) in total, it is the variant most distributed in the ICE-Ireland Corpus (Timmis 2015: 316). This variant in contrast to other variants can co-occur with a question tag, as can be seen in example 4.

2.2.2 Pronoun right dislocation

The pronoun right dislocation can simply include a pronoun instead of a full noun phrase which is co-referential with the subject in preceding clause.

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Example 6 shows that a personal pronoun is used in the object case if it is used in this context (see also Timmis 2015: 309). This feature is not widely distributed in ICE-Ireland with 4 out of 25 tokens. By contrast, the GloWbE Corpus found 19 tokens. This may be due to the fact that right dislocations mostly are a feature of spoken language. Timmis (2015) points out that this variant could also have a question tag.

2.2.3 Inverted operator right dislocation

This variant includes an operator followed by a pronoun, or – as Timmis (2015) notes – a full noun phrase (example 8). This variant is the least distributed in ICE-Ireland with only 2 out of 25 tokens.

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2.2.4 Simple operator right dislocation

This variant includes a pronoun or a full noun phrase followed by an operator. The distribution of this type in ICE-Ireland is the same as for the inverted type, although here again the GloWbE Corpus offers more examples, even though it is a corpus for web-based English and not for spoken English.

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2.2.5 Emphatic Tags

There is another example for a right dislocation which is called emphatic tag in Timmis (2015) and so-tag in Winkle (2015). This structure works similarly to the simple operator right dislocation but includes a ‘so’ beforehand as illustrated in the examples below.

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This variant seems to be the one preferably used in the Irish English variety, Timmis (2015) found 22 emphatic tag instances in the ICE-Ireland Corpus. By comparison, he has only found 12 instances of noun phrase right dislocations for Irish English (Timmis 2015: 316). This structure is both functionally and structurally similar to simple operator right dislocations (Timmis 2015: 322).

2.3 Pragmatic Function

While the previous subchapter has offered a quantitative analysis of right dislocations focussing on their variants and their distribution, this subchapter focusses on the pragmatic function of right dislocations. As one can see in the following two examples it is not always very clear which pragmatic function a right dislocation has.

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The second example is clearly an evaluation and confirms Snell and Moore’s (2010) observation that the second person pronoun in right dislocation is often associated with negative evaluation. However, the first example is not this clear because it both clarifies the pronoun in the main clause and it could also be an evaluation. Since right dislocations are a phenomenon exclusive to spoken language (Timmis 2010: 330) it is difficult to fully clarify their pragmatic meaning. Researchers, however, have identified that right dislocations have both an evaluating and a disambiguating or clarifying function. Timmis analysed the Bolton Corpus and he found out that “the great majority of tails (i.e. right dislocations) are associated with some form of evaluation” Timmis (2010: 335). This is not surprising because, as McCarthy and Carter (1997: 424) analysed, right dislocations are, among others, attracted by “informal casual conversations” and “comment/elaboration sequences”. And, as Carter argues, “when speakers interact, they do more than transmit information … Speakers also often wish to give a more affective contour to what they or others are saying” Carter (2004: 117). Aijmer (1989: 150) also points out that right dislocations are “a grammaticalized (sic!) device for creating an affective bond with the hearer” and she emphasises the “phatic” function of the right dislocation (see also Snell and More 2010: 4). Furthermore, the right dislocation can have a clarifying and disambiguating function as can be seen in example 15. As Timmis (2015: 314) points out, this function helps speakers “to cope with planning pressures in conversation”, this function is important in spoken language because, as Ruehlemann (2006 cited in Timmis 2010: 341) argues, speakers have “little time to plan ahead” and they need to edit what they say online. It is noticeable that the right dislocation often has an evaluating function when a pronoun is used, whereas it has a disambiguating function when a noun phrase is used (Durham). Table 1 shows how often emphatic tags occur with an evaluation in the ICE-Ireland corpus (adapted by Timmis 2015: 323).

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This table shows that emphatic tags in Ireland are mostly used with evaluation. 70% of the tokens co-occur with positive evaluation and 75% are evaluations of people, whereas named individuals are not evaluated with emphatic tags. One can assume that the remaining 46% of emphatic tags co-occur with disambiguation or clarification as no other function has been identified by the researchers.

[...]


[1] In the following examples the subject is marked with square brackets and the word which refers to the subject is in bold print. Whenever the subject is missing because of an ellipsis, it is added in curved brackets.

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Details

Title
Right Dislocations in Spoken Irish English
College
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Grade
1,7
Author
Year
2017
Pages
11
Catalog Number
V359312
ISBN (eBook)
9783668446649
ISBN (Book)
9783668446656
File size
509 KB
Language
English
Tags
right, dislocations, spoken, irish, english
Quote paper
Giuseppe Dennis Messina (Author), 2017, Right Dislocations in Spoken Irish English, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/359312

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