Publication details [#55966]

Fox, Sue. 2012. Performed narrative. The pragmatic function of this is + speaker and other quotatives in London adolescent speech. In Buchstaller, Isabelle and Ingrid van Alphen, eds. Quotatives. Cross-linguistic and cross-disciplinary perspectives. (Converging Evidence in Language and Communication Research 15). John Benjamins. pp. 231–258.
Publication type
Article in book
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins


This paper is an investigation of an innovation in the quotative system in London and it addresses the question of how and why such innovations emerge. The paper compares and contrasts the (socio-)linguistic profile and discourse functions of be like and the even newer this is + speaker using a combination of variationist quantitative methods and discourse analytic qualitative methods. It is argued that the alternation of different quotatives can be seen as a performance feature and that new quotatives fulfil the pragmatic function of highlighting a particularly dramatic peak in performed narratives. In London be like is behaving more like lexical verbs such as say, leaving a gap in the system for the emergence of the innovative this is + speaker. In many ways, this new competitor parallels be like when it was first reported, strengthening the argument that new quotatives have a specific role in the discourse.