Irish English and Irish Studies: exploring language use and identity through fictional constructions of laddism

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The construction of a linguistic collective identity uses a pool of conscious and unconscious elements that deal with age, gender, or ethnic belonging. In the Irish communicative system, one present-day type of collective masculine identity is that of “the lads.” Previous studies on “laddish” behaviour and performance from literary or social perspectives explored conduct in contexts such as sports, violence, sex, or alcohol. To encourage interdisciplinary research in the field of Irish Studies, this paper analyses the language of “the lads” in literary discourse through corpus linguistics as a contribution to the field of digital humanities. Fourteen novels make up the specialised corpus on which the analysis is based paying attention to verbs of speech and adverbs. The verbs show utterances by “the lads” illustrating and providing aggressiveness and adverbs provide a second layer of meaning. Finally, a number of power struggles these characters experience in interaction are studied to differentiate the status quo of “the lads.”.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIrish Studies Review
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)555-570
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 28.11.2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Many thanks to the authors and publishers who granted access to the novels in online format and the copyrights to analyse their novels: John McGahern’s publisher Florence Rees, Paul Murray, Roddy Doyle, and Dermot Bolger.

Publisher Copyright:
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