“I’m fine girl, and how are you?”

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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 (<i>girl</i>, <i>lads</i> and <i>boy</i>) 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


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