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Linguistic Change in Galway City English

A Variationist Sociolinguistic Study of (th) and (dh) in Urban Western Irish English

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Arne Peters

This volume is a novel approach to the corpus-based variationist sociolinguistic study of contemporary urban western Irish English. Based on qualitative data as well as on linguistic features extracted from the Corpus of Galway City Spoken English, this study approaches the major sociolinguistic characteristics of (th) and (dh) variability in Galway City English. It demonstrates the diverse local patterns of variability and change in the phonetic realisation of the dental fricatives and establishes a considerable degree of divergence from traditional accounts on Irish English. This volume suggests that the linguistic stratification of variants of (th) and (dh) in Galway correlates both with the social stratification of the city itself and with the stratification of speakers by social status, sex/gender and age group.
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Acknowledgements

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Thirteen years have passed since my first visit to Gaillimh/Galway, thirteen years since I crossed the city limits for the very first time, feeling as if I was coming to a place that was almost home. I have spent every single one of these years soaking up all aspects of Galway life: the interplay of English and Irish inside and outside the side, the histori(es) of both the city and its neighbourhoods, the social space as well as the political place that the city was and is. By many coincidences and twists of fate, I kept being able to return to Galway many times a year: first on a DAAD scholarship to learn Irish, then on a scholarship of the German National Merit Foundation to do research for my Master’s in English Linguistics, and finally, repeatedly over the past seven years, as a teaching associate of the Chair for Development and Variation of the English Language at the University of Potsdam. My first and primary words of acknowledgement, thus, go to Hans-Georg Wolf, who entrusted me with the position as an associate researcher in Potsdam, but who also endlessly supported my academic connections with Galway and the world in every possible way. From many different angles, this book on English in Galway City could not have developed without him, as his advice, his critique and his goodwill made this piece of work evolve and flourish. The same must be said about Bettina Migge of University College Dublin,...

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