Recent analyses of written text types have discovered significant frequency increases of colloquial or conversational elements, such as contractions, personal pronouns, questions or the progressive. This trend is often referred to as colloquialization. This paper presents a new perspective on colloquialization, with a special focus on the discourse marker well. The paper is divided into two parts. In the first part, we present new evidence of colloquialization on the basis of the TIME Magazine Corpus (Davies 2007), which allows analyses of diachronic change in recent written American English. The focus of our analysis is on highly frequent “inserts” (Biber et al. 1999: 56), which are elements such as discourse markers (e.g., well and oh), backchannels (yeah, uh-huh, etc.), and hesitators (uh and um, etc.). We conclude that inserts significantly increase diachronically in TIME. In the second part of the paper, we focus on the element well in its function as a discourse marker. Through a combination of quantitative and qualitative analytical steps, we analyze its diachronic development in terms of its structural contexts and its pragmatic functions, fleshing out how the process of colloquialization has affected its usage in recent written American English. We argue that the integration of corpus linguistic and pragmatic methods in this case study represents a new step towards the field of corpus pragmatics, that is, “the rapprochement between corpus linguistics and pragmatics and an integration of their key methodologies” (Rühlemann and Aijmer 2014: 23).
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Biber, Douglas, Stig Johansson, Geoffrey Leech, Susan Conrad and Edward Finegan
2009Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Brinton, Laurel J.
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Brinton, Laurel J.
2010 “Discourse Markers”. In Andreas H. Jucker and Irma Taavitsainen (eds), Historical Pragmatics, 285–314. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter Mouton.
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2001Language and the Internet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2005The Stories of English. London: Penguin.
Culpeper, Jonathan and Merja Kytö
2010Early Modern English Dialogues: Spoken Interaction as Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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Gries, Stefan Th. and Sabine Stoll
2009 “Finding Developmental Groups in Acquisition Data: Variability-based Neighbor Clustering”. Journal of Quantitative Linguistics 16 (3): 217–242.
1999 [To be supplied.]
Hilpert, Martin and Stefan Th. Gries
2009 “Assessing Frequency Changes in Multistage Diachronic Corpora: Applications for Historical Corpus Linguistics and the Study of Language Acquisition”. Literary and Linguistic Computing 24 (4): 385–401.
2013Constructional Change in English: Developments in Allomorphy, Word Formation and Syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hoffmann, Sebastian, Stefan Evert, Nick Smith, David Lee and Ylva Berglund Prytz
2008Corpus Linguistics with BNCweb – A Practical Guide. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
Jucker, Andreas H.
1993 “The Discourse Marker well: A Relevance – Theoretical Account”. Journal of Pragmatics 19 (5): 435–452.
Jucker, Andreas H.
1997 “The Discourse Marker well in the History of English”. English Language Linguistics 1 (1): 91–110.
2011 “Private and Public in Mass Media Communication: From Letters to the Editor to Online Commentaries”. Journal of Pragmatics 431: 1422–1434.
Leech, Geoffrey N.
2003 “Modals on the Move: The English Modal Auxiliaries 1961–1991”. In Roberta Facchinetti, Manfred G. Krug and Frank R. Palmer (eds), Modality in Contemporary English, 223–240. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Leech, Geoffrey N. and Nick Smith
2009 “Change and Constancy in Linguistic Change: How Grammatical Usage in Written English Evolved in the Period 1931–1991”. In Antoinette Renouf and Andrew Kehoe (eds), Corpus Linguistics: Refinements and Reassessments, 173–200. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi.
Leech, Geoffrey N., Marianne Hundt, Christian Mair and Nicholas Smith
2009Change in Contemporary English: A Grammatical Study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Levinson, Stephen C.
1983Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Levinson, Stephen C.
2013 “Action Formation and Action Ascription”. In Jack Sidnell and Tanya Stivers (eds), The Handbook of Conversation Analysis, 103–130. Malden, Massachusetts and Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.
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1991 “Conversational Style in British and American English: The Case of Backchannels”. In Karin Aijmer and Bengt Altenberg (eds), English Corpus Linguistics: Studies in Honour of Jan Svartvik, 254–271. London: Longman.
2014 “Turn Management and the Fillers uh and um”. In Karin Aijmer and Christopher Rühlemann (eds), Corpus Pragmatics: A Handbook, 381–407. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2002Language Change in English Newspaper Editorials. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi.
2022. Uh and Um as Pragmatic Markers in Dialogues: A Contrastive Perspective on the Functions of Planners in Fiction and Conversation. Contrastive Pragmatics► pp. 1 ff.
2022. Christoph Rühlemann: Corpus Linguistics for Pragmatics: A guide for research
. Intercultural Pragmatics 19:4 ► pp. 537 ff.
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 23 may 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers.
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