Which phonological features get represented in dialect writing? Answers and questions from three types of Liverpool English texts

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Abstract

One of the (many) reasons why linguists are interested in dialect writing is because it might offer an insight into which phonological dialect features are salient to speakers of specific dialects– this can then connect to the complex and little-considered (but quite fundamental) question of what we might mean by‘dialect feature’ in the first place: what limits are there on what can count as a dialect feature? how psychologically real are dialect features? are the dialect features that linguists discuss the same things (or,even,the same kind of things)that speakers might discuss? Engaging with these kinds of questions connects to some of the ideas that are studied in perceptual dialectology (which might allow us to understand which dialects are recognised by speakers as relevant to themselves) and also to our understanding of linguistic change: we might expect certain types of change only in features which are salient (and others in features which are not). Understanding this aspect of dialect writing thus can in principle offer us much, but also requires much of us. One of the things that it requires is a deep understanding of the kinds of ‘respellings’ that are typically used in dialect writing to represent phonological dialect features: which respellings actually represent dialect features? how often are they used in texts? why are some respellings used which don’t represent dialect features?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDialect Writing and the North of England
EditorsPatrick Honeybone, Warren Maguire
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Chapter10
Pages211-242
ISBN (Electronic)9781474442589, 9781474442572
ISBN (Print)9781474442565
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2020

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