Individual differences and usage-based grammar
Since usage-based theories such as cognitive grammar assume an intimate relationship between mental representations of grammar and the processing of instances of language (usage events), corpora have an important role in the development of grammatical analyses. One consequence of relying on corpus data is that individual differences in usage tend to be obscured. To overcome this problem and investigate individual differences in spoken usage, we examine a large corpus consisting of the spoken output of six White House press secretaries. The results provide strong evidence that within this one particular discourse context the patterns of speech of each individual are clearly recognisable. Furthermore, these idiolectal preferences are consistent and are maintained over a period of at least a year or two. In addition, we briefly explore some theoretical consequences and possible explanations for the disparity found between the speech of the individual and that of the discourse community.
Keywords: idiolect, production, usage, variation
Published online: 05 December 2013
Cited by 23 other publications
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