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Chapter 2 - Localisation, Globalisation and Gender in Discourse-Pragmatic Variation in Ghanaian English

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 December 2020

Tobias Bernaisch
Affiliation:
Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Germany
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Summary

The plethora of studies dealing with the quotative systems of English-as-native-language (ENL) varieties shows that the choice for be like is influenced by several linguistic and social factors. As for gender, most studies indicate that women are the prime users of be like. However, it is still unclear whether the same applies to English varieties that have emerged in countries with gender profiles differing from those found in ENL countries. This paper presents a case study of the quotative system of Ghanaian English based on a preliminary version of ICE-Ghana. The findings reveal that be like entered a quotative system that has been reshaped by language contact. Nonetheless, the new quotative still occupies a similar linguistic niche as that found in ENL varieties. Concerning social factors, the findings point towards a decreasing probability of be like with increasing age, but do not show a female lead. An intriguing interaction term between age and gender suggests that women in the sample are less likely to use be like the older they become compared to men. I argue that these patterns of genderlectal variation may be rooted in gender inequalities in international migration that were even stronger in the past.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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