Edinburgh Research Explorer

“I’m fine girl, and how are you?”: The use of vocatives in spoken Irish English

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Perspectives on Irish English
EditorsBettina Migge, Máire Ní Chiosáin
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print) 9789027249043
Publication statusPublished - 2012


The use of phatic communion and small talk are obvious examples of how interpersonal relationships are built and maintained. This paper explores the use of vocatives, which play an equally important part in the affective realm of communication. This paper uses corpus-based tools and methodologies to explore the use of vocatives across a range of contexts in Irish English, highlighting the strong link between the use of vocatives and casual conversation in particular. Focusing on three high frequency forms (girl, lads and boy) in casual conversation, we investigate how their distribution and functions are conditioned by sociolinguistic variables like age and gender. The paper reveals new insights into interpersonal interaction which has informality at its core. Keywords: Vocatives; social contexts; age; gender; casual conversation

ID: 15144137