chapter  6
30 Pages

Irish Daughters of Northern British Relatives: Internal and External Constraints on the System of Relativisation in South Armagh English (SArE)

The focus here is on variability in the sociolinguistic conditioning of relative marking strategies used by speakers of a contact vernacular spoken in South Armagh, Northern Ireland. Variation within this community is compared with ndings from recent research on Englishes spoken in northern regions of the British Isles by Beal and Corrigan (2005), Herrmann (2005) and Tagliamonte, Smith, and Lawrence (2005). This is an important objective because South Armagh was originally settled by speakers of relic forms of these dialects. As such, although one would not necessarily predict congruity with respect to social constraints across the varieties, one might expect certain generalities regarding the linguistic constraints curtailing the variation. This is because, in general terms, the use of a relativisation strategy of any kind is an attempt to minimise potential ambiguity between root and embedded clauses (Temperley 2003). Natural languages have variously solved this problem, although I argue that there is a universality in the types of strategy available and in the ways in which specic strategies are internally constrained.