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Evidence of lexical priming in spoken Liverpool English

Pace-Sigge, Michael (2010) Evidence of lexical priming in spoken Liverpool English. Doctoral thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Abstract

This thesis is about two things. Firstly, drawing on Michael Hoey’s Lexical Priming, it aims to extend the research represented in that book – into the roots of the concept of priming and into how far Hoey’s claims are valid for spoken English corpora. The thesis traces the development of the concept of priming, which was initially work done by computational analysts, psychologists and psycho-linguists, to present a clearer picture of what priming means and in how far the phenomenon of priming has been proven to be a salient model of how man’s mind works. Moving on from that, I demonstrate how this model can be adapted to provide a model of language generation and use as Sinclair (2004) and Hoey (2003 etc.) have done, leading to the linguistic theory of Lexical Priming. Secondly, throughout the thesis two speech communities are compared: a general community of English speakers throughout the UK and a specific community, namely the Liverpool English (Scouse) speakers of Liverpool, UK. In the course of this work, a socio-economic discussion highlights the notion of Liverpool Exceptionalism and, grounded in the theory of lexical priming, I aim to show through corporaled research that this Exceptionalism manifests itself, linguistically, through (amongst other things) specific use of particular words and phrases. I thus research the lexical use of Liverpool speakers in direct comparison to the use by other UK English speakers. I explore the use of “I” and people, indefinite pronouns (anybody, someone etc.), discourse markers (like, really, well, yeah etc.) amongst other key items of spoken discourse where features of two varieties of English may systematically differ. The focus is on divergence found in their collocation, colligation, semantic preference and their lexically driven grammatical patterns. Comparing casual spoken Liverpool English with the casual spoken (UK) English found in the Macmillan and BNC subcorpora, this study finds primings in the patterns of language use that appear in all three corpora. Beyond that, there are primings of language use that appear to be specific to the Liverpool English corpus. With Scouse as the example under the microscope, this is an exploration into how speakers in different speech communities use the same language – but differently. It is not only the phonetic realisation, or the grammatical or lexical differences that define them as a separate speech group – it is the fact that they use the same lexicon in a distinct way. This means that lexical use, rather than just lexical stock, is a characterising feature of dialects.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Lexical Priming; Scouse; Liverpool English; Corpus Linguistics; Spoken English; Spoken Corpora; casual English
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PE English
Departments, Research Centres and Related Units:Academic Faculties, Institutes and Research Centres > Faculty of Arts > School of English
Status:Unpublished
ID Code:7873
Deposited On:28 Nov 2012 16:25
Last Modified:28 Nov 2012 17:43

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