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From Somerset to Samaná: Preverbal did in the voyage of English

  • Megan Jones (a1) and Sali Tagliamonte (a2)
Abstract

This article aims to contribute new data on periphrastic did by systematically examining its behavior in two varieties of English: Somerset English (SMT), a variety spoken in Southwest England, and Samaná English (SAM), a variety spoken in the Samaná peninsula of the Dominican Republic. We hope to contribute a broader historical and cross-dialectal perspective for understanding the origin and function of periphrastic did in nonstandard varieties of English. We focus on the linguistic contexts of its occurrence from the diachronic and synchronic literature. The results show that periphrastic did is conditioned by a number of constraints, which can be traced throughout the history of the English language, as well as some constraints from English-based creoles. Interpreting these results reveals that the similarities between the two varieties are the result of linguistic diffusion.We gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) of Great Britain for a DPhil studentship to Jones (R42200034220), as well as the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for Tagliamonte's doctoral fellowship. We would like to acknowledge the University of Ottawa's Sociolinguistics Laboratory, under the direction of Shana Poplack, where the research for the Samaná English corpus was originally carried out for Tagliamonte's PhD dissertation. We would also like to thank Anthony Warner for important comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this analysis and our reviewers who provided invaluable input. We dedicate this article to the speakers of the new Somerset English corpus, who contributed the data on which this study is based.

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