Speech-unit final like in Irish English
This paper investigates the use of speech-unit final like (SUF like) in standard Irish English (IrE) and takes a variationist approach based on the Irish component of the International Corpus of English (ICE-IRL). The analysis includes both sociolinguistic factors (age, gender, occupation type, religious affiliation, conversation type, audience size, type and zone of residence) and a psycholinguistic factor (priming). The statistical analysis extends previous research on SUF like in that it applies the principle of accountability and shows that priming significantly facilitates SUF like use, that SUF like has increased between an earlier (1990–1994) and a later phase (2002–2005) of data collection and that, between 2002 and 2005, SUF like use correlates negatively with audience size but not so in data collected between 1990 and 1994. The relative absence of significant social stratification of SUF like use suggests that SUF like continues to be a frequent feature of standard IrE and substantiates that it is a linguistic marker of Irish identity.