Thursday, 8 October 2015

ROLLS 14 Oct: Sandra Jansen on an innovative angloversal

Wednesday, 14 October 2015, 13.00
Fulton 214, University of Sussex 


goose-fronting as innovative angloversal

Sandra Jansen, University of Brighton


In this presentation, I demonstrate that goose-fronting has been identified as phenomenon in varieties of English around the world and provide detailed information about this change in Carlisle, a city in the north-west of England. The results show that similarly strong linguistic constraints are found in this variety as in other varieties. However, the change cannot be characterised as Vernacular Universals (Chambers 2004, 2012) or global innovation (Buchstaller 2008). Hence I argue that we need to introduce the new category of innovating angloversals, a group of features that are arising independently in varieties of English due to language internal motivations rather than dialect contact.
A second point of discussion is the dynamics between goose and other back vowels, i.e. goat and foot. I argue that in order to understand goose-fronting completely, we also need to study the most adjacent back vowels. The data stem from interviews conducted in Carlisle between 2007 and 2010 and show that while goose is fronting across apparent-time, for goat and foot a change in progress is not observable. These dynamics seem to be geographically restricted to the north-west of England which leaves us with two conclusions. Either the apparent chain shift which is often referred to in the goose-fronting context has not set in yet or a chain shift is not a necessary consequence of goose-fronting. In both cases, goat and foot do not belong the group of innovating angloversals.

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