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Friday, October 11 • 11:45am - 12:10pm
Franco & Tagliamonte: What’s going on here anyway(s)? A sociolinguistic perspective on specialization

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 What’s going on here anyway(s)? A sociolinguistic perspective on specialization

This paper investigates variation and change in a little-studied morphological variable, the adverbial suffix -s, in words in ‘-ward(s)’, e.g. ‘toward(s)’, ‘inward(s)’, and ‘-way(s)’, e.g. ‘anyway(s)’, ‘halfway(s)’. Explanations for variation between -s and -∅ are fraught with contradiction in the literature. Some scholars argue that language-internal factors, e.g. functional specialization, play a role, whereas others say that variation is random. Our large-scale comparative variationist analysis of these adverbs in the Ontario dialects reveals evidence of a different type of specialization, with words in ‘-ward(s)’ increasingly taking -s and words in ‘-way(s)’ generally without. ‘Anyway(s)’ is an exception with -s increasing and men and speakers of a lower education level leading this change. Thus, we have discovered a change from below. The fact that the frequency of the -s suffix differs across grammatical categories and lexical items is likely due to the fact that this systemic change is still in progress.


Karlien Franco

postdoc, University of Toronto

Sali A. Tagliamonte

University of Toronto

Friday October 11, 2019 11:45am - 12:10pm PDT
EMU Crater Lake S
  T: Lexicogrammatical variation
  • Session type Talk
  • Chair: Panayiotis Pappas