A comparative study of the pragmatic marker <i>like</i> in Irish English and in south-eastern varieties of British English

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This study compares the use of like in Irish English (IrE) to its use in southeasternBritish English (SE-BrE). There are significant differences between theuse of like in IrE and SE-BrE in terms of overall frequency, social meaning andpositioning. This paper argues that the differences in the use of like require afunctional explanation on two levels, namely on a language-external social leveland on a language-internal discourse-pragmatic level. On the extra-linguisticlevel, the differences in like&#8217;s social profile indicate distinct social meaningswhile, on a language-internal level, differences in positioning suggest thateither like is used to perform distinct pragmatic functions or that uses of like inclause-medial and clause-final positions compete to perform similar functions,e.g. focusing elements. The substantial differences revealed by the analysis areaccounted for by historical and identity-related factors.


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