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Evidential marking in spoken English: Linguistic functions and gender variation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of English.
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Description
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the marking of evidentiality in spoken British English. Evidentiality is the linguistic expression of whether and how a speaker/writer has access to evidence for or against the truth of a proposition, and it is usually manifested in the form of sensory evidentiality (e.g. I saw Sam leave), hearsay evidentiality (e.g. They say Sam left), or inferential evidentiality (e.g. Sam obviously left). In the examples, the bold words exemplify evidentiality markers. The aims of this thesis are to investigate whether there are quantitative differences between women and men in how often they mark evidentiality, and to analyze the functions of evidentiality in interaction in order to formulate an explanation of any gender differences.

The material comes mainly from the spoken portion of the British National Corpus (BNC), but also from the Diachronic Corpus of Present-day Spoken English (DCPSE). In Article 1, women and men were compared with respect to how frequently they marked inferential evidentiality; gender preferences for specific markers were also analyzed. In Article 2, the effects of speaker gender and speaker age on how frequently evidentiality markers are used were investigated. In Article 3, the marking of evidentiality in conversation was analyzed to explore the potential of evidentiality to be instrumental in relational practice. In Article 4, speakers were ranked according to the extent to which their speech displayed stereotypically feminine or masculine features. The language of a subset of speakers was then analyzed to investigate whether evidential markers are used for different functions depending on gendered styles.

In the studies of this thesis, women were found to mark evidentiality more frequently than men. Further, the language of women as well as language characterized by a feminine style were found more likely to feature evidential markers referencing evidence that is only accessible to the speaker, whereas the language of men and language characterized by a masculine style are more likely to feature evidential markers referencing evidence that is accessible to other interlocutors in addition to the speaker. Evidential marking was found to often perform relational functions; in particular, evidentiality enables the speaker to negotiate authority in a less face-threatening manner. Evidential marking seems likely to occur when the addressee’s interpretation of an utterance is important to the speaker. Since previous studies have found women’s language to display more often a concern for the experiences of others, this characteristic might partly explain the quantitative gender variation.

                     

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Department of English , 2020. , p. 54
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Languages
Keywords [en]
Evidentiality, spoken language, English, corpus linguistics, gender, style, pragmatics, sociolinguistics
National Category
Specific Languages General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
English
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-404502ISBN: 978-91-506-2812-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-404502DiVA, id: diva2:1395106
Public defence
2020-04-18, Ihresalen, Thunbergsvägen 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-03-26 Created: 2020-02-21 Last updated: 2020-03-26
List of papers
1. Gender differences and similarities in the use of inferential evidentiality in spoken British English: A corpus-based study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender differences and similarities in the use of inferential evidentiality in spoken British English: A corpus-based study
2017 (English)In: Evidentiality and Modality in European Languages: Discourse-Pragmatic Perspectives / [ed] Juana I. Marín-Arrese; Julia Lavid-López; Marta Carretero, Elena Domínguez Romero; Ma Victoria Martín de la Rosa; María Pérez Blanco, Bern: Peter Lang Publishing Group, 2017, p. 371-399Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The present study investigates differences between men and women in their preference for inferential evidentiality markers. Using spoken language data from the British National Corpus, a number of potential markers of inferential evidentiality (for example believe, imagine, must, obviously) have been analyzed for their evidential value as well as for pragmatic dimensions such as degree of certainty and (inter)subjectivity. The findings of the study show statistically significant variation between the male and the female respondents, and the subsequent analysis indicates, among other things, that the markers preferred by males are those that produce intersubjective assessments, whereas the markers preferred by female speakers are those that produce subjective assessments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bern: Peter Lang Publishing Group, 2017
Series
Linguistic insights: Studies in language and communication, ISSN 1424-8689 ; 223
Keywords
Evidentiality, corpus linguistics, sociolinguistics
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
English
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-356163 (URN)10.3726/b11226 (DOI)978-3-0343-2439-7 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-07-17 Created: 2018-07-17 Last updated: 2020-02-21Bibliographically approved
2. Evidentiality across age and gender: A corpus-based study of variation in spoken British English
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evidentiality across age and gender: A corpus-based study of variation in spoken British English
2017 (English)In: Research in Corpus Linguistics (RiCL), ISSN 1064-4857, E-ISSN 2243-4712, ISSN 2243-4712, Vol. 5, p. 17-33Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates the effects of age and gender on the frequency of the evidentiality categories 'sensory', 'hearsay', and 'inferential' in spontaneous spoken British English. The findings from the main data sample from the British National Corpus (BNC) are also compared to patterns in a smaller data set from the Diachronic Corpus of Present-day Spoken English (DCPSE) in order to estimate the relative effects of age-grading versus historical change. The results confirm statistically significant differences between men and women in their use of evidentiality, but show no significant effect of age or the interaction of age and gender. The comparison of the findings from the BNC data and the DCPSE data suggests that age-related patterns in evidentiality use are more diachronically stable than gender-related patterns.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Murcia: Asociación Española de Lingüística del Corpus, 2017
Keywords
evidentiality, corpus linguistics, pragmatics, sociolinguistics
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
English
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-356162 (URN)
Available from: 2018-07-17 Created: 2018-07-17 Last updated: 2020-02-21Bibliographically approved
3. Informational and relational functions of evidentiality in interaction
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Informational and relational functions of evidentiality in interaction
(English)In: Studia Neophilologica, ISSN 0039-3274, E-ISSN 1651-2308Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Taylor & Francis Group
Keywords
Evidentiality, spoken language, relational practice
National Category
Humanities and the Arts General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
English; Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-404500 (URN)
Available from: 2020-02-20 Created: 2020-02-20 Last updated: 2020-02-21
4. Evidentiality in gendered styles in spoken English
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evidentiality in gendered styles in spoken English
2020 (English)In: ICAME Journal/International Computer Archive of Modern English, ISSN 0801-5775, E-ISSN 1502-5462, Vol. 44Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Walter de Gruyter, 2020
Keywords
Evidentiality, spoken language, style, gender
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
English
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-404501 (URN)10.2478/icame-2020-000x (DOI)
Available from: 2020-02-20 Created: 2020-02-20 Last updated: 2020-02-21

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
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