Volume 43, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0172-8865
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9730
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As studies on socio-pragmatics in South Asian Englishes and – more generally – postcolonial Englishes are still rare, the present study analyses how age, formality of context, gender, topic of the conversation and type-token ratio of a given speaker influence intensifiers and downtoners in spoken Indian, Sri Lankan and British English as represented in the . Central research interests cover (a) differences in the frequencies of intensifiers/downtoners regarding these factors and across the varieties studied and (b) variety-specific intensifiers/downtoners in these regional varieties. Two random forest analyses highlight that, while topic and type-token ratio are more important predictors than age and gender, all variables are – to different degrees – sensitive to variety. Possible explanations for a higher incidence of intensifiers/downtoners in British English than in Indian and Sri Lankan English include intensification strategies transferred from indigenous languages or high degrees of uncertainty avoidance in the South Asian speech communities.


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