• Appeals to semiotic registers in ethno-metapragmatic accounts of variation

      Penry Williams, Cara; La Trobe University (Victoria, Australia); University of Derby (Wiley, 2019-04-29)
      Discussions of folklinguistic accounts of language use are frequently focused on dismissing them because of their limitations. As a result, not a lot is written regarding how such accounts are done and how they ‘work’. This article examines how folklinguistic evaluations are achieved in interaction, particularly through appeals to semiotic registers (Agha 2007). It describes how in explaining their beliefs regarding linguistic variation, speakers frequently produce voicings with varying transparency. These rely on understandings of the social world and bring large collections of linguistic resources into play. They offer rich insights if analytic attention is given to their details because even when evaluating a single variant, whole ways of speaking, and even being, may be utilized. The paper explores in turn how analysis reveals the inseparability of variants, understandings of context and audience, the relationship between linguistic forms and social types, and the performance of social types via the evaluation of semiotic resources. In each section, discussion is grounded in extracts from interviews on Australian English with speakers of this variety of English. Cumulatively they show the primacy of semiotic registers in ethno-metapragmatic accounts.
    • Folklinguistics and social meaning in Australian English.

      Penry Williams, Cara; La Trobe University; University of Derby (Routledge, 2019-09-12)
      Folklinguistics and Social Meaning in Australian English presents an original study of Australian English and, via this, insights into Australian society. Utilising folklinguistic accounts, it uncovers everyday understandings of contemporary Australian English through variations across linguistic systems (sounds, words, discourse and grammar). Focusing on one variation at time, it explores young speakers’ language use and their evaluations of the same forms. The analysis of talk about talk uncovers ethnic, regional and social Others in social types and prevailing ideologies around Australian English essential for understanding Australian identity-making processes, as well as providing insights and methods relevant beyond this context. These discussions demonstrate that while the linguistic variations may occur in other varieties of English, they are understood through local conceptualisations, and often as uniquely Australian. This book harnesses the value and richness of discourse in explorations of the sociocultural life of language. The findings show that analysis attending to language ideologies and identities can help discover the micro–macro links needed in understanding social meanings. The volume explores a wide range of language features but also provides a deep contemplation of Australian English.
    • Here’s looking at youse: Understanding the place of yous(e) in Australian English

      Mulder, Jean; Penry Williams, Cara; University of Melbourne, Australia; University of Derby (Springer, 2020-08-31)
      This chapter further documents the place of yous(e) in Australian English (AuE) by analyzing occurrences in Australian literature taken from the Macquarie Dictionary’s OzCorp. Firstly, we substantiate that in AuE yous(e) has developed a singular usage alongside the plural. Analysis of the reference in 308 tokens within our subcorpus of literature finds 40% clearly have a singular referent and that such forms occur in just over half of the texts. Secondly, we provide an analysis of its social evaluation as a stigmatized form by examining its utilization in the voices authors give to their characters. Focussing on texts with high use, we uncover yous(e) is linked both to particular ‘types’ and to certain fictional worlds/milieus. In both cases, the authors draw on understandings of it as Australian and working class, with recognition of its claimed Irish origins only (potentially) indirectly indexed.
    • Losing people: a linguistic analysis of minimisation in First World War soldiers’ accounts of violence

      Penry Williams, Cara; ; Rice-Whetton, John; La Trobe University (Victoria, Australia); University of Derby; University of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) (Palgrave, 2019-10-05)
      This chapter examines the First World War letters and diaries of Australian soldiers for insights into the relationships between language and violence, focusing on accounts of violent actions and the deaths these caused. Analysis from a corpus of writings from 22 soldiers demonstrates around two-thirds of accounts utilise linguistic resources to minimise or downplay the realities of violence. Two main approaches are generally used: figurative language (euphemism and metaphor) and language that downplays human involvement (passive voice, simplified register, nominalisation/light verb constructions, and the use of inanimate nouns in place of people involved). Our exemplification and analysis of these strategies provides insight into both soldiers’ experiences of violence and death and how they made sense of these experiences. The chapter thus adds to the understanding of First World War vernacular writing, contributes to existing scholarship by using a linguistic method of analysis, and more broadly considers the way violence is discussed.
    • Patient and clinician engagement with health information in the primary care waiting room: A mixed methods case study

      Penry Williams, Cara; Elliott, Kristine; Gall, Jane; Woodward-Kron, Robyn; University of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) (Page Press, 2019-03-11)
      Background. Primary care waiting rooms can be sites of health promotion and health literacy development through the provision of readily accessible health information. To date, few studies have considered patient engagement with televised health messages in the waiting room, nor have studies investigated whether patients ask their clinicians about this information. The aim of this study was therefore to examine patient (or accompanying person) and clinician engagement with waiting room health information, including televised health messages. Design and methods. The mixed methods case study was undertaken in a regional general practice in Victoria, Australia, utilising patient questionnaires, waiting room observations, and clinician logbooks and interviews. The qualitative data were analysed by content analysis; the questionnaire data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Results. Patients engaged with a range of health information in the waiting room and reportedly received health messages from this information. 44% of the questionnaire respondents (33 of 74) reported watching the television health program, and half of these reported receiving a take home health message from this source. Only one of the clinicians (N=9) recalled a patient asking about the televised health program. Conclusions. The general practice waiting room remains a site where people engage with the available health information, with a televised health ‘infotainment’ program receiving most attention from patients. Our study showed that consumption of health information was primarily passive and tended not to activate patient discussions with clinicians. Future studies could investigate any link between the health infotainment program and behaviour change.
    • A preservice teacher’s learning of instructional scaffolding in the EAL practicum

      Nguyen, Minh Hue; Penry Williams, Cara; Monash University (Victoria, Australia) (MHN); La Trobe University (Victoria, Australia) (CPW) (Australian Literacy Educator's Association, 2019-10-01)
      This qualitative case study examines how a preservice English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher from the Faculty of Education at a large Melbourne-based university learned to scaffold EAL learning during a two-week practicum in a secondary school and the factors shaping his cognition. The data sources include individual interviews, oral reflections on lessons and recordings of those same lessons. The study was underpinned by a sociocultural perspective on scaffolding and van de Pol, Volman, and Beishuizen's (2010) framework for analysing scaffolding, which is based on a synthesis of previous models and findings. The findings indicate that the preservice teacher implemented a number of scaffolding strategies during the EAL practicum. The use of these strategies was shaped by the preservice teacher’s theoretical knowledge of scaffolding and belief about its importance, which he gained from the teacher education coursework and his prior practicum experience. Learning within practice was also found to be important in his cognition of scaffolding as through the practicum he developed knowledge about his students’ abilities and their difficulties in learning EAL, which are the basis for his contingent scaffolding strategies. Based on the findings, the paper suggests that instructional scaffolding is an important area of professional learning, especially for teachers working with EAL students, and needs to be explicitly built into teacher education in both coursework and the teaching practicum.
    • A sociolinguistic perspective on the (quasi-)modals of obligation and necessity in Australian English

      Penry Williams, Cara; Korhonen, Minna; University of Derby (CPW); La Trobe University (Victoria, Australia) (CPW); Macquarie University (New South W,ales Australia) (MK) (John Benjamins, 2020-11-09)
      This article examines the distribution and sociolinguistic patterning of (quasi-)modals which express strong obligation/necessity, namely must, have to, have got to, got to and need to, in Australian English. Variationist studies in other varieties of English have had contrasting findings in terms of distributions of root forms, as well as their conditioning by social and linguistic factors. The corpus analysis suggests real-time increased use of need to and decrease in have got to through comparison to earlier findings. The variationist analysis shows quasi-modals have to, have got to and got to as sensitive to speaker age and sex, and a recent increase of have to via apparent time modelling. Linguistic conditioning relating to the type of obligation and subject form is also found. The study contributes to sociolinguistic understanding of this large-scale change in English and the place of Australian English amongst other varieties.
    • Sort of in Australian English: The elasticity of a pragmatic marker

      Mulder, Jean; Penry Williams, Cara; Moore, Erin E. F.; University of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) (JM); La Trobe University (Victoria, Australia) (CPW); University of Derby (CPW); University of New South Wales, Canberra (A.C.T, Australia) (EEFM) (John Benjamins, 2019-05)
      This study examines the pragmatic functions of sort of in Australian English (AuE), utilising discourse from 12 months of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s television program Q&A. It explores the frequency of sort of uses in context with a focus on multifunctionality. Uses are classified in a data-based schema which synthesises the previously described pragmatic functions of sort of and locates these within Zhang’s (2015) Elastic Language framework. The article thus provides an understanding of the pragmatic functions of sort of in public discussion contexts within AuE, arguing, most notably, that sort of performs five of Zhang’s six functions, rather than just the two previously reported, and that in accounting for the complex uses of this pragmatic marker, a wider range of subtypes needs to be distinguished within two of the functions.
    • Understanding the place of Australian English: exploring folk linguistic accounts through contemporary Australian authors

      Mulder, Jean; Penry Williams, Cara; University of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia) (JM); La Trobe University (Victoria, Australia) (CPW) (Taylor and Francis, 2018-02-19)
      This paper explores Australian English (AuE), utilising a folk linguistic approach and engaging with its use in novel-writing. It is argued that discussions by contemporary Australian authors about their approaches to writing and voicing characters, and the actual voices authors give to their characters can be used as data to gain new understandings of what language forms have social meanings within AuE. The value of this analytical approach is then illustrated with interview and text extracts from one Australian author, revealing that this type of analysis provides insights into both the folk linguistic understandings of an author and how language variation is employed within the fiction series to index local types. It is concluded that such an approach can be generalised to better understand variation in AuE as accessed by other language-focussed professions and their differing conceptualisations of language, as well as to further understand variation in other varieties of English, and in other languages.