Discourse quotatives in Australian English: Adolescents performing voices

Joanne Winter

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    57 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper examines the discourse quotatives of Australian English (AE) found in sociolinguistic interviews with adolescents. The investigation focuses on a description of the types and linguistic conditioning of the discourse quotatives and a documentation of thediscourse meanings and contexts of their realization. Results indicate that the innovation be 1 like is located in the discourse quotative system of AE but faces opposition from go, say and the null/zero (Mathis & Yule 1994) form. A comparative analysis of AE with NorthAmerican, Canadian and British English shows that go and null/zero discourse quotatives are prominent in the data, realized with minimal tense variation, i.e. the Historical Present (HP) dominates. Further, the trajectory of be 1 like in the AE data confounds the typicalaccessibility pattern for grammatical person. The form has a elatively limited distribution but appears to be grammaticalized for the third person. Analysis of the discourse context highlights the saliency of oppositional experiences, i.e. ‘me and them’ tales including voicesexpressing solidarity with the teller’s position. The HP successfully captures both meanings—the enduring ongoing voices of ‘others’ and the chorus of support from their peers.These meanings effectively exclude the innovation be 1 like. The AE adolescents appear to be embracing the be 1 like innovation but its implementation in the system is constrained by the discourse role of the voices, expression of solidarity and the continuing ‘other’, and the propinquity of null/zero forms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5-21
    JournalAustralian Journal of Linguistics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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