Indian English quotatives in a diachronic perspective

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The study is a corpus-based variationist analysis tracing the development of quotative marking in Indian English. It seeks to enhance our understanding of the way the quotative system changes over time and complements existing academic research, most of which has primarily explored constructed dialogue in native-speaker English. Stemming from far-flung locales in North America, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, burgeoning findings demonstrate that the system has undergone internal reorganisation, with more traditional elements, say and think, giving way to other forms, notably quotative go and the copula construction be like. Relying on second-language data from the early 1990s and the late 2000s, I mainly explore the gradual retreat of say as a quotative marker in Indian English. More specifically, I look at the changes in the language-internal conditioning through which the decline occurs and examine how those are related to the contexts through which the innovative quotative marker be like is paving its way into the system. All in all, I attempt to establish regularities in the developmental paths of native and non-native quotation. I also point to idiosyncratic developments characterising Indian English quotative marking, while making an effort to tap into their origin.


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