Friday, 28 January 2011

Here and there in Belfast English: a short elicitation from John Kirk

Readers of the Blether Region may be familiar with the following expressions in Belfast English:

1) This here book is good.
2) That there magazine is rubbish.

We may refer to 'this here' and 'that there' as deictically reinforced demonstratives.

The first point is whether the following sentences are acceptable and equivalent (do they mean the same thing?):

3) This book here is good.
4) This here book here is good.

5) That magazine there is rubbish.
6) That there magazine there is rubbish.

If (4) and (6) are acceptable, do the two occurrences of 'here' and 'there' have the same function? And what is that function? Which occurrence is the deictic reinforcer?

Now consider the following sets:

7a) Put this here book here.
7b) Put this book here here.
7c) Put this here here.

8a) Put that there magazine there.
8b) Put that magazine there there.
8c) Put that there there.

Which of the three versions in each set are acceptable?

If you find 7c and 8c unacceptable, would the following be acceptable:

7d) Put this here ... um ... here
8d) Put that there ... um ... there

i.e. between the seemingly identical items there is an audibly filled pause, rendered here as ... um ...

Any views? I have been asked for an opinion. I feel that all are possible except (4) and (6). The first 'here'/'there' is the deictic reinforcer; the second occurrence esopecially after 'put' is adverbial, functioning as the locative complement of the verb 'put'.

When the identical items are side by side, they are contrasted phonologically by a change in pitch, possibly after a short pause, but that only serves to contrast their separate functions.

Any thoughts?

John Kirk may be contacted at

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