A corpus-based approach to contemporary Irish writing: Ross O’Carroll-Kelly’s use of «like» as a discourse marker


  • Carolina P. Amador Moreno
DOI: https://doi.org/10.6018/ijes/2012/2/161731
Keywords: English, dialect, discourse markers, like, stylistics, Irish writing


This paper analyses in quantitative and qualitative terms the representation of the discourse marker like in contemporary Irish English writing. A common feature of contemporary spoken English, the discourse marker like seems to have made its way into the English spoken in Ireland, as portrayed by contemporary Irish authors such as Paul Howard. Howard, whose narrative can be taken as an example of oral writing, has been acclaimed by critics as having an exceptionally fine ear for Dublin English, but what is this acclamation based on? The paper argues that the findings of corpus stylistics (comparative frequencies, distributions, etc.) document in a more systematic way what literary critics and readers may intuitively deduce. By analysing the syntactic and pragmatic behaviour of like in Howard’s fictional discourse, this paper aims to show the value of the combination of computer methodology and literary interpretation in evaluating the representation of fictional dialect.


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Author Biography

Carolina P. Amador Moreno

Carolina P. Amador Moreno is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Extremadura. Her research interests centre on the English spoken in Ireland and include corpus linguistics, sociolinguistics, stylistics, and pragmatics. She is the author of An Introduction to Irish English (London: Equinox, 2010); The use of Hiberno-English in Patrick MacGill’s Early Novels: Bilingualism and Language Shift from Irish to English in County Donegal (Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2006), and other co-edited volumes related to fictional representations of speech. She is a member of the Inter-Varietal Applied Corpus Studies Research Group (IVACS), and the Centre for Applied Linguistics (CALS), at the University of Limerick.
How to Cite
Amador Moreno, C. P. (2012). A corpus-based approach to contemporary Irish writing: Ross O’Carroll-Kelly’s use of «like» as a discourse marker. International Journal of English Studies, 12(2), 19–38. https://doi.org/10.6018/ijes/2012/2/161731