<i>Now</i> in the speech of newcomers to Ireland
Recently, people from all over the world have made Ireland their home. Theirreasons for coming to Ireland and their social and linguistic profiles are varied.This study aims to investigate immigrants’ acquisition of pragmatic aspects ofIrish English, as these types of features tend to be highly salient and may functionas easy targets for acquisition or rejection. The pragmatic marker now, ahigh-frequency linguistic variable perceived as ‘emblematic’ of Irish English, isin focus. This study uses quantitative and qualitative methods to examine howlevels of now use correlate with feelings of belonging to Ireland. Data for thestudy consist of semi-guided audio-recorded interviews with newcomers. FirstIreland’s recent immigration history is briefly discussed and the social characteristicsof the people in the sample, including their feelings of belonging toIreland, are presented. Then the pragmatic marker now is discussed, and its usein the data is examined, comparing the results to previous research. Finally, theimplications for research on the relationship between linguistic variation andsocial integration are discussed.