Variation and change in the use of hesitation markers in Germanic languages

Wieling, Martijn, Grieve, Jack, Bouma, Gosse, Fruehwald, Josef, Coleman, John and Liberman, Mark (2016). Variation and change in the use of hesitation markers in Germanic languages. Language Dynamics and Change, 6 (2), pp. 199-234.

Abstract

In this study, we investigate crosslinguistic patterns in the alternation between UM, a hesitation marker consisting of a neutral vowel followed by a final labial nasal, and UH, a hesitation marker consisting of a neutral vowel in an open syllable. Based on a quantitative analysis of a range of spoken and written corpora, we identify clear and consistent patterns of change in the use of these forms in various Germanic languages (English, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish, Faroese) and dialects (American English, British English), with the use of UM increasing over time relative to the use of UH. We also find that this pattern of change is generally led by women and more educated speakers. Finally, we propose a series of possible explanations for this surprising change in hesitation marker usage that is currently taking place across Germanic languages.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/22105832-00602001
Divisions: Languages & Social Sciences > English Language
Languages & Social Sciences > English Language research group
Uncontrolled Keywords: crosslinguistic change,hesitation markers,corpus linguistics ,language change,Language and Linguistics,Linguistics and Language
Full Text Link: http://booksand ... 105832-00602001
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
Published Date: 2016-11-01
Authors: Wieling, Martijn
Grieve, Jack ( 0000-0003-3630-7349)
Bouma, Gosse
Fruehwald, Josef
Coleman, John
Liberman, Mark

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