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‘Ye whom the charms of grammar please’

Studies in English Language History in Honour of Leiv Egil Breivik


Edited By Kari Haugland, Kevin McCafferty and Kristian A. Rusten

This collection of articles by colleagues and students of Leiv Egil Breivik presents studies within both core and peripheral areas of English historical linguistics. Core topics covered include the development of existential there and related phenomena, word order, the evolution of adverbials, null subjects from Old to Early Modern English, pragmatics and information structure and aspects of discourse. Contributors also address the emergence of new syntactic constructions in the past and present, language contact and aspects of style in Early Modern English letters and medical texts. The ideological discourses of children’s dictionaries and medieval letters of defence are also explored.
The essays are all empirical studies, based on a wide range of corpora (both historical and contemporary) and applying theoretical approaches informed by Systemic-Functional Grammar, grammaticalization theory, dependency grammar, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics and corpus linguistic methods. Issues of methodology, statistics and corpus construction and annotation are also addressed in several contributions.
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Anna-Brita Stenström: The pragmatic marker come on in teenage talk



The pragmatic marker come on in teenage talk

Come on! […] Don’t be shy, it’s just a microphone […]. Come on then. Hit me with some conversation.

1 Introduction

Come on is a frequently used pragmatic marker in spoken interaction, which seems to have been overlooked in the linguistic literature, however, and is not yet defined as a pragmatic marker in current dictionaries. Searches on the internet for references to articles where come on is dealt with from a linguistic point of view gave no result whatsoever. What emerges to date is a couple of song titles: ‘Come on’ (a seven-track EP by indie rock band Elf Power), Come on over (an album by Olivia Newton-John) and ‘Come on in my kitchen’ (a blues song by Robert Johnson) and a quotation from Mail online running ‘Come on, Nick, you KNOW we’ve got to back an EU vote: Lib Dem rebel uses his own leader’s words to prove why we need a referendum’ (; 13 July 2013). However, considering the overall frequency of the pragmatic marker come on in spoken interaction in general, and in teenage talk in particular, it definitely merits attention.

In this paper, I will discuss the use of come on as a pragmatic marker in The Bergen Corpus of London Teenage Language (COLT), which was initiated by Leiv Egil Breivik and Anna-Brita Stenström in 1991 and made accessible for general...

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