The Northern Subject Rule in the Irish diaspora
Subject-verb agreement among first- and second-generation emigrants to New Zealand
This article examines the Northern Subject Rule in the Irish diaspora, studying letters from two generations of an Ulster emigrant family in 19th-century New Zealand. The study shows that the concord pattern frequently used by the parent generation almost completely disappeared in the language of their New Zealand-born children. The results suggest that the children skipped the stage of “extreme variability” that is claimed to be characteristic of the language of the first colony-born immigrants in the new-dialect formation framework (Trudgill 2004). This study aims to contribute to work on early New Zealand English grammar (e.g. Hundt 2012, 2015a, 2015b; Hundt and Szmrecsanyi 2012) and it adds new insights into the formation of New Zealand English. It, furthermore, contributes to research on dialect contact between Irish English and other colonial varieties of English as well as new-dialect formation.
Keywords: Irish English, New Zealand English, Irish diaspora, Northern Subject Rule, new-dialect formation, intergenerational variation, morphosyntax, emigrant letters
Published online: 28 September 2017
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Cited by 2 other publications
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