Contrastivity and comparability: Pragmatic variation across pluricentric varieties

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The recent pragmatic turn in the study of pluricentric varieties marks a shift in analytical focus, with increasingly more research contrasting the conventions of language use and interaction across pluricentric varieties. This turn demands new data types and new methods of analysis which uphold the principles of contrastivity and comparability. Addressing this basic requirement for the case of cross-varietal speech act analyses, the present article examines the contextual factors to be considered in the choice of data types and the potential definition and usability of a pragmatic variable in speech act analyses across data types. These considerations are applied to a cross-varietal analysis of responses to thanks in direction-giving exchanges across English in Canada, England and Ireland. The study highlights the frequent necessity of a multi-faceted definition of the pragmatic variable. In addition, challenges of contextual equivalence which emerge in the course of the analysis highlight a basic need for research to regularly re-examine the linguistic context and the definition of the pragmatic variable and to potentially redefine the variable during the analytical process. The contrastive analysis reveals a more extensive use of routinised responses to thanks in the Canadian English data relative to the Irish English and English English data. A more complex closing, with more continuations and confirmation checks, is shown to characterise the Irish English data, a finding which is suggested to potentially relate to a strong orientation towards hospitality in the Irish context.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociolinguistica
Volume35
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)189-216
Number of pages28
ISSN0933-1883
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Language Studies - pragmatic variation, variational pragmatics, pragmatic variable, responses to thanks, closings, direction-giving, pluricentric varieties

DOI