Variation and change in the use of hesitation markers in Germanic languages

Martijn Wieling, Jack Grieve, Gosse Bouma, Josef Fruehwald, John Coleman, Mark Liberman

    OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

    20 Citaten (Scopus)

    Samenvatting

    In this study, we investigate cross-linguistic patterns in the alternation between UM, a hesitation marker consisting of a neutral vowel followed by a final labial nasal, and UH, a hesitation marker consisting of a neutral vowel in an open syllable. Based on a quantitative analysis of a range of spoken and written corpora, we identify clear and consistent patterns of change in the use of these forms in various Germanic languages (English, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish, Faroese) and dialects (American English, British English), with the use of UM increasing over time relative to the use of UH. We also find that this pattern of change is generally led by women and more educated speakers and holds when functional differences between UM and UH are controlled. Finally, we propose a series of possible explanations for this surprising change in hesitation marker usage that is currently taking place across Germanic languages.
    Originele taal-2English
    Pagina's (van-tot)199-234
    TijdschriftLanguage Dynamics and Change
    StatusPublished - 2016

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