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Nonstandard lexical knowledge and use in a West Yorkshire community.

Rhodes, Barrie Markham (1999) Nonstandard lexical knowledge and use in a West Yorkshire community. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

The apparent attrition of the lexicon of 'traditional dialects' in England is often commented on, yet there remains a shortage of objective and systematic measurements of this phenomenon. This research was designed to quantify and apply sociolinguistic analysis to this particular aspect of linguistic change in a locality of West Yorkshire. In its fieldwork phase it constructs a corpus of nonstandard words, surveys knowledge and use of these in the community and complements the data by informal interviewing to illuminate the mechanisms and influences at work The collected numerical data are then used to measure and confirm the claimed attrition and, within a sociolinguistic paradigm, to examine their relationship with age, sex and social class data. Additionally, a detailed lexical analysis is undertaken to reveal patterns of choice and usage and to predict the survival prospects of the nonstandard words used in the survey. This research suggests that generalisations about sex, age and social differentiation in nonstandard speech need to be re-evaluated along locally specific, historical occupational, socio-economic and lexical choice dimensions. It is argued that, in this researched community, the social networks influenced by changes in the once dominant textile industry have had a particular effect, especially on women's speech. Sex-differentiated speech is shown to be less predictable than is sometimes claimed; in this study the youngest females, emerge as proportionately significant conservers and users of the nonstandard lexicol Knowledge and use of the nonstandard words amongst some age/sex groups is shown to rise rather than fall with increasing social status. The lexical analysis reveals a matrix of differential trends and patterns in nonstandard word knowledge and use; attrition appears to be not simply a quantitative function but to be lexically selective in a complex way.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Dialects; Sociolinguistic analysis
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
Other academic unit: Department of English Language and Linguistics
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.299543
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2019 09:57
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2019 09:57
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21753

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