On the hunt for obsolescing grammatical dialect features

Research Talk: "On the hunt for obsolescing grammatical dialect features" by Dr Laura Rupp.


Britain (2008: 1) noted: “In studying language change, variationists are, naturally perhaps, more interested in the new innovative form than in the conservative one”.

However, there has been a modest body of research that has studied old or obsolescent dialect features that are under threat as a result of all kinds of contemporary changes, mobility etc. (Schilling-Estes & Wolfram 1999; Van Herk & Childs 2014; Jankowski & Tagliamonte 2017; Rupp & Tagliamonte 2022, among others).

These studies have documented obsolescing features but also shown that they may not simply fade away but undergo various trajectories of decline; for example, with a feature retreating to contexts in which it was historically favoured or developing new social or discourse-pragmatic meanings.

In this way, obsolescing features may provide a window on processes of language change more generally. In my talk I will present a number of case studies, such as double demonstratives of the type this here book.

Attend in person or online

Email Julia Snell for Teams details.