Responses to Thanks in Ireland, England and Canada: A Variational Pragmatic Perspective

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The present study investigates responses to thanks across the varieties of Irish English, English English and Canadian English. Data are taken from the Lueneburg Direction-Giving (LuDiG) corpus, a specialised corpus of spoken direction-giving exchanges across pluricentric varieties constructed using Labovian-style methods. The analysis centres on the cross-varietal pragmatic choices made in responding to thanks on the level of tokens, types and strategies. Findings point to the broad universality of realisations of responses to thanks across the pluricentric varieties at hand. Variety-preferential choices are, however, also recorded on a national level, particularly in type and strategy preferences. While all varieties use a ‘minimising the favour’ strategy extensively, this strategy is employed to a comparatively higher degree in the Irish English and English English data. In contrast, the speakers of Canadian English use an ‘expressing appreciation of the addressee’ strategy to a comparatively larger extent. Speakers of Canadian English are suggested to orient more strongly to positive face needs, and speakers of Irish English and English English more strongly towards negative face needs. The paper also discusses the methodological challenges of contrasting spoken interactional data for cross-varietal pragmatic speech act analyses and shows some strengths of specialised corpora in this regard.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCorpus Pragmatics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)127-153
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Canadian English, English English, Irish English, Pragmatic variation, Responses to thanks, Variational pragmatics
  • English