Edited by Sandra Jansen and Lucia Siebers
[Studies in Language Variation 21] 2019
► pp. 73–94
Discourse marker sure has been a distinctive feature of Irish English for several centuries. Evidence from the Corpus of Irish English Correspondence highlights differences between discourse marker sure in IrE and other varieties. The IrE discourse marker does not typically occur between subject and verb, but at the beginning or end (and occasionally in the middle) of a clause. Also, IrE sure is not usually prominent intonationally and tends not to signal emphasis, but rather expected consensus. The historical letter data suggests a degree of hybridity between “American” and “Irish” usage patterns, offering qualified empirical support for the suggestion that AmE discourse marker sure might have originated in IrE uses carried to North America by emigrants.