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Enregisterment in Historical Contexts: A Framework

Cooper, Paul (2013) Enregisterment in Historical Contexts: A Framework. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

In this thesis I discuss how the phenomena of indexicality and enregisterment (Silverstein 2003; Agha 2003) can be observed and studied in historical contexts via the use of historical textual data. I present a framework for the study of historical enregisterment which compares data from corpora of both nineteenth-century and modern Yorkshire dialect material, and the results of an online survey of current speakers so as to ascertain the validity of the corpus data and to use ‘the present to explain the past’ (Labov 1977:226). This framework allows for the identification of enregistered repertoires of Yorkshire dialect in both the twenty-first and nineteenth centuries. This is achieved by combining elicited metapragmatic judgements and examples of dialect features from the online survey with quantitative frequency analysis of linguistic features from Yorkshire dialect literature and literary dialect (Shorrocks 1996) and qualitative metapragmatic discourse (Johnstone et al 2006) from sources such as dialect dictionaries, dialect grammars, travel writing, and glossaries. I suggest that processes of enregisterment may operate along a continuum and that linguistic features may become ‘deregistered’ as representative of a particular variety; I also suggest that features may become ‘deregistered’ to the point of becoming ‘fossil forms’, which is more closely related to Labov’s (1972) definition of the ultimate fate of a linguistic stereotype. I address the following research questions: 1. How was the Yorkshire dialect enregistered in the nineteenth century? 2. How is Yorkshire dialect enregistered in the present day? 3. How do these compare, and how might we account for the results of this comparison? In so doing, I highlight that we can gain insights into the social value of linguistic features in historical contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: http://www.paulcooper.org.uk/
Keywords: Enregisterment, Yorkshire Dialect, Northern English, dialect literature, literary dialect, historical sociolingustics, corpus
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.572412
Depositing User: Paul Cooper
Date Deposited: 24 May 2013 08:22
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2016 14:12
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3974

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