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Linguistic Change in Galway City English

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


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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4. Methods of data collection and analysis


4.  Methods of data collection and analysis

The following chapter describes the data-collection activities undertaken in the course of the two bouts of data collection, the processing and the analysis of the data, as well as the underlying methods and techniques employed in this study.

This chapter details the preparation and the procedure of the fieldwork in Galway City (4.1) and goes on describing the underlying theories of the construction of the stratified random sample (4.2). It illustrates the place of the fieldworker in the construction process (4.3) and details the social properties of the informants (4.4) as well as the kinds of data that resulted from the observation and the interviewing (4.5). It then addresses the questions of research ethics and subject anonymity, before turning to the uni-/bi-/trivariate analysis of the data, which was carried out in order to retrieve reliable evaluations of the patterns yielded (4.8). This data analysis is then also detailed with a view to the layout of the subset of data from the CGCSE which the analysis was based on (4.9) as well as with a view to the linguistic and social factor groups for which the subset of data was coded (4.10). Finally, this chapter explains the computer-based acoustic analysis of the various realisations of the dependent linguistic variables (th, dh) in the dataset (4.11). All of these methodological and technical considerations will lead up to the analysis of patterns of variation and change involving (th, dh) in chapter 5...

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