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Dublin English

Evolution and change

Raymond Hickey

John Benjamins, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, 2005, 270 pp. + CD-ROM

The intention of the present book is twofold. On the one hand it offers a description of the history of English in the capital of Ireland since it was first introduced to Dublin in the late twelfth century and on the other hand the book describes the present-day varieties of English to be found in the city. All the historical data which is available is presented for linguistic analysis with a view to throwing light on Dublin English. This material consists in the main of emigrant letters and local letters by Dubliners and literary attestations of Irish English by Dublin writers as well as prescriptive comments on language in the capital by various authors such as the elocutionist Thomas Sheridan. The synchronic section of the book deals with the current changes in pronunciation which have characterised the development of Dublin English in the past decade or two. To this end the data from a broad-based survey of Dublin English is presented and analysed. The shifts in Dublin English are also placed in a wider context and compared with similiar contemporary changes in other major anglophone cities. The book is accompanied by a CD-ROM which contains a suite of powerful programs and all the recordings of Dublin English used for the current book. The data consists of over 300 sound files, over 200 survey questionnaires and informants' maps and over 100 spoken assessment tests. By means of the supplied software users can examine the original data on their PC or Macintosh computer. The programs offer an easy gateway to the data in the form of a tour of Dublin English as well as much background information on English in Dublin along with overview information on the language in the rest of Ireland. The software can be either be installed on a Windows-based computer or without installation as a HTML/Javascript application from the supplied CD-ROM (for Mac users).



I Investigating Dublin English

1 Introduction
1.1 Matters of terminology
   1.2 The city of Dublin
   1.3 Classifying Dublin English

2 Collecting data
2.1 Change in Dublin English: Collecting the data
   2.2 Initial methods used
   2.3 Conducting the interviews
   2.4 Results of the data collection
   2.5 Data and figures
   2.6 Increasing the data base
   2.7 Aim of the recordings
   2.8 Organisation of the recordings
   2.9 Obtaining recordings for Dublin English
   2.10 Sample sentences with lexical sets
   2.11 Free text
   2.12 Word list

II English in present-day Dublin

1 Introduction
   1.1 How can one tell a moderate Dublin accent?
   1.2 The status of Received Pronunciation
   1.3 The local Dublin speech community
   1.4 Features of local Dublin accents
   1.5 Additional data for local Dublin English
   1.6 Markers of local Dublin English

2 Recent changes in Dublin English
   2.1 Before and after the changes
   2.2 In the beginning was Dublin 4
   2.3 Why ‘Dortspeak’ failed
   2.4 Demotic developments: the 1990s vowel shift
   2.5 Details of the vowel shift
   2.6 Arguments for and against the shift
   2.7 Phonological interpretation
   2.8 Participants in the vowel shift
   2.9 Propagation of sound change
   2.10 More on dissociation
   2.11 The New Pronunciation
   2.12 Irish, British and American English
   2.13 Uncontentious features in Dublin English
   2.14 The spread of new Dublin English
   2.15 The gender issue

3 Attitudes to Dublin English
   3.1 Assessment of speaker accents
   3.2 Assessment results
   3.3 Perception of dialect regions
   3.4 Results of dialect divisions
   3.5 Evaluation of dialect regions

4 The wider context
   4.1 English in Belfast
   4.2 English in Derry
   4.3 Dublin and northern cities
   4.4 Dublin and London
   4.5 New towns and new suburbs
   4.6 Non-native Dublin English

5 The grammar of Dublin English
   5.1 Morphology
   5.2 Syntax
   5.3 A Survey of Irish English Usage

6 The vocabulary of Dublin English
   6.1 Studies of the Irish English lexicon
   6.2 Treatment of English lexis
   6.3 Productive morphology
   6.4 Vernacularity in Dublin English
   6.5 Loanwords from Irish
   6.6 Phrases and expressions

7 Placenames in Dublin

III Reaching back in time

1 The history of English in Ireland
   1.1 The coming of the English
   1.2 Spread of English
   1.3 The situation in medieval Ireland
   1.4 Renewed dominance of English
   1.5 The eighteenth century
   1.6 The nineteenth century

2 Letters as linguistic evidence
   2.1 eighteenth century letters
      2.1.1 The Mahon letters
   2.2 nineteenth century letters
      2.2.1 The Owens Letters

3 Literary texts as linguistic evidence
   3.1 The plays of Dion Boucicault
   3.2 The plays of Sean O’Casey

4 Prescriptive comments by Dublin authors
   4.1 Thomas Sheridan
      4.1.1 Sheridan’s system of pronunciation
      4.1.2 Non-standard vowel values
      4.1.3 Conditioned realisations
      4.1.4 Word stress
      4.1.5 Summary
   4.2 Swift and Irish English

5 Early modern Dublin English
   5.1 Parodies of Irish English
      5.1.1 Stereotypical speech features
   5.2 Municipal records from Dublin

6 Medieval Irish English
   6.1 The Kildare Poems
   6.2 The dialect of Fingal
   6.3 The dialect of Forth and Bargy

7 Supraregionalisation
   7.1 Vernacularisation
   7.2 Extinct features
   7.3 Retention of conditional realisations
   7.4 Supraregional variety as standard

IV Guide to the CD-ROM
   1.1 The Discover Dublin English program
   1.2 Other programs in the suite
   1.3 Troubleshooting file
   1.4 Java version

V Lexical sets for Dublin English

VI Glossary




Sound files referred to in book