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URN: urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus-19349
URL: http://opus.kobv.de/ubp/volltexte/2008/1934/


Kirk, John M. ; Kallen, Jeffrey L.

Assessing Celticity in a corpus of Irish Standard English

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Kurzfassung in Englisch

Conventional wisdom since the earliest studies of Irish English has attributed
much of what is distinctive about this variety to the influence of the Irish language. From the early philologists (Joyce 1910, van Hamel 1912) through the
classic works of Henry (1957, 1958) and Bliss (1979) down to present-day linguistic orientations (e.g. Corrigan 2000 a, Filppula 1999, Fiess 2000, Hickey
2000, Todd 1999, and others), the question of Irish-language influence may be
disputed on points of detail, but remains a central focus for most studies in the field. It is not our intention to argue with this consensus, nor to examine specific points of grammar in detail, but, rather, to suggest an approach to this question which (a) takes for its empirical base a sample of the standard language, rather than dialectal material or the sample sentences so beloved of many papers on the subject, and (b) understands Celticity not just in terms of the formal transfer of grammatical features, but as an indexical feature of language use, i.e. one in which English in Ireland is used in such a way as to point to the Irish language as a linguistic and cultural reference point. In this sense, our understanding of Celticity is not entirely grammatical, but relies as well on Pierce’s notion of indexicality (see Greenlee 1973), by which semiotic signs ‘point to’ other signs. Our focus in assessing Celticity, then, derives in the first instance from an examination of the International Corpus of English (ICE). We have recently completed the publication of the Irish component of ICE (ICE-Ireland), a machinereadable corpus of over 1 million words of speech and writing gathered from a range of contexts determined by the protocols of the global International Corpus of English project. The international nature of this corpus project makes for ready comparisons with other varieties of English, and in this paper we will focus on comparisons with the British corpus, ICE-GB. For references on ICE generally, see Greenbaum 1996; for ICE-GB, see especially Nelson, Wallis and Aarts 2002; and for ICE-Ireland, see papers such as Kirk, Kallen, Lowry & Rooney (2003), Kirk & Kallen (2005), and Kallen & Kirk (2007). Our first approach will be to look for signs of overt Celticity in those grammatical features of Irish English which have been put forward as evidence of Celtic transfer (or of the reinforcement between Celtic and non-Celtic historical sources); our second approach will be to look at non-grammatical ways in which texts in ICEIreland become indexical of Celticity by less structural means such as loanwords, code-switching, and covert reference using ‘standard’ English in ways that are specific to Irish usage. We argue that, at least within the standard language as we have observed it, Celticity is at once less obvious than a reading of the dialectal literature might suggest and, at the same time, more pervasive than a purely grammatical approach would imply.

RVK - Regensburger Verbundklassifikation: EY 100
Collection: Universität Potsdam / Monographien / The Celtic Languages in Contact
Institut: Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
DDC-Sachgruppe: Andere Sprachen
Dokumentart: c InBuch (Kapitel / Teil einer Monographie)
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2007
Publikationsdatum: 18.07.2008
Bemerkung: erschienen in:
The Celtic languages in contact : Papers from the workshop within the framework of the XIII International Congress of Celtic Studies, Bonn, 26-27 July 2007 / Hildegard L. C. Tristram (e.d.). - Potsdam : Universitätsverlag Potsdam, 2007. - II, 335 S. : graph. Darst., Kt.
ISBN 978-3-940793-07-2
URN: urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus-15682
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