This article investigates the effect of the external variables speaker age and sex on the use of the quotatives be like, go, be all, and say in present-day spoken American English. The study is based on a large computerized corpus of naturally-occurring conversation collected from a wide range of speakers across the United States. The results show that there are striking differences in the way that men and women under the age of forty use these quotatives. Young women are in the lead in the use of be like, but the use of this quotative decreases dramatically among women in their late 20s and in their 30s. In contrast, the use of be like increases among men in their late 20s. The patterns of use described here represent a departure from previous findings and suggest that the effect of speaker’s age and sex on quotative use is more complex than has been posited so far.
2010. Conversational Grammar- Feminine Grammar? A Sociopragmatic Corpus Study. Journal of English Linguistics 38:1 ► pp. 56 ff.
2014. The mediated innovation model: A framework for researching media influence in language change. Journal of Sociolinguistics 18:2 ► pp. 185 ff.
Stephens, Nola, Lauren Hall-Lew & Vickie Shamp Ellis
2018. I’m Like, “Really? You Were Homeschooled?” Quotative Variation by High School Type and Linguistic Style. American Speech 93:1 ► pp. 108 ff.
Erik R. Thomas
2019. Mexican American English,
[no author supplied]
2013. Reference Guide for Varieties of English. In A Dictionary of Varieties of English, ► pp. 363 ff.
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