Ageing meanings of (ing)
Age and indexicality in Manchester, England
This study examines the social meanings that speakers associate with variants of the variable (ing) in Manchester, focusing on a comparison of two age groups: a young age group of adolescents and those in very early adulthood, and an older age group. In most English varieties, (ing) has two possible realisations: [ɪŋ] and [ɪn]. However, in Manchester, a third possibility exists: [ɪŋg]. Social meanings differ between age groups on three scales: articulateness, poshness and reliability. When compared to the youths, those in the older age group consider [ɪŋ] to sound substantially more articulate than [ɪn], as well as posher and more reliable than [ɪŋg]. In contrast, those in the younger group consider [ɪŋg] more reliable and posher-sounding than the older speakers. This is due, we argue, to developmental constraints during adolescence, but, more importantly, to life-stage experiences, with social meanings on these three scales altering as speakers leave adolescence behind and become increasingly subject to the standardisation pressures of adult communities.
Keywords: age, indexical field, social meaning, Manchester, (ing), adolescents
Published online: 10 February 2015
Cited by 5 other publications
Schleef, Erik, Nicholas Flynn & William Barras
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