e-ISSN 2231-8542
ISSN 1511-3701

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A Study of the Functional Shift and Lexico-Semantic Variation of the Interjection here in Sri Lankan English Speech

Upeksha Jayasuriya

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 26, Issue 2, June 2018

Keywords: Endonormative stabilisation, functional shift, lexico-semantic variation, nativisation, Sri Lankan English, World Englishes

Published on: 29 Jun 2018

English, once hailed for its supremacy, has now diverged from its singularity with the emergence of World Englishes and embarked on the nativisation of other varieties of English including Sri Lankan English (SLE). The current study focusses on the functional shift and lexico-semantic variation of the interjection here in SLE speech. Primary data for this study consisted of threads taken from Facebook and questionnaires distributed among 30 participants who are fluent speakers of SLE. Apart from its original usage in Standard British English as a demonstrative adjective, the findings show that here is used in SLE speech for diverse other functions such as conversation opener, discourse marker and even address form. Its nativisation has been fortified by socio-cultural implications with regard to its usage. Gender plays a predominant role in this process of nativisation as female participants tend to use here with higher frequency, whereas males often replace it with other address forms. Findings also show how power relations become significant because using the interjection here when conversing with people higher in status is considered disrespectful. This study demonstrates the nativisation and endonormative stabilisation of the word here leading to a functional shift resulting in semantic variation.

ISSN 1511-3701

e-ISSN 2231-8542

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