Proceedings of the LCTG3 Conference
Martin Schweinberger (University of Greifswald*): Frequency, dispersion and register variation of selected discourse-pragmatic particles in Singapore English
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Frequency, dispersion and register variation of selected discourse-pragmatic particles in Singapore English
This article investigates the frequency and distribution of eight discourse-pragmatic particles across four distinct registers in Singapore English (SinE). In addition, the study evaluates how wide-spread the use of these particles is among educated speakers of SinE. The analysis builds on the Singaporean component of the International Corpus of English (ICE) and aims at evaluating the impact of covert prestige and stigmatization on particle use. The study also discusses to which degree the use of these typically Singaporean particles serve to enhance our understanding of endonormative stabilization during dialect formation in high-contact L1s and the findings of the present study are hence interpreted in light of Schneider’s (2003) Dynamic Model of post-colonial Englishes. In addition, the study investigates to what degree colloquial SinE is distinct from standard SinE. The results show that the particles are very common in informal conversation and that their frequency correlates negatively with the degree of formality. However, a substantial proportion of speakers use such particles even in registers which presumably constrain their use. The results show that there is a distinct difference between the frequency distribution of such particles on the one hand and the proportion of speakers not adhering to register conventions which is incompatible with the view that Standard SinE and colloquial SinE represent two distinct grammars. Thus, the findings suggest that colloquial SinE and standard SinE do not...