The discourse marker you know is one of the most frequently studied discourse markers, and bears the hallmarks of a typical discourse marker with its complexity and indeterminacy of function (e.g. Holmes 1986, Erman 1987, Fox Tree & Schrock 2002, Irwin 2006). Much less work has been conducted into the uses of regional varieties of you know, specifically the use of Scots ye ken, partly as a consequence of a lack of data to study (Bauer 2004), and partly due to an assumption that there is little of interest to study in language varieties of Scotland (Murdoch, 1996). In this thesis I present a discourse analysis of the variation between you know and ye ken as it is used in spontaneous conversations in Scottish varieties of English, taking my data from the SCOTS project, which aims to build a large electronic collection of the languages of Scotland. I use Ermans (2001) monitor type framework to classify and categorize 270 tokens from 21 speakers across 7 recordings as functioning as one of three monitor types, and I look at the use of monitor types across two genres of conversation: one narrative, and one conversational. I also explore the roles that the sociolinguistic variables of age, gender, region of residence play in speakers' use of you know or ye ken. I find that ye ken is preferred by older speakers and male speakers in more rural communities, while you know is preferred by younger speakers, women, and those in more urban communities. Amongst the eight speakers who use both you know and ye ken, use of ye ken is often primed by code-switching into Scots. Ye ken also functions as a marker of shared experience and reminiscence amongst older speakers in smaller, rural communities. The emergence of corpora of regional language varieties, such as SCOTS, enables this kind of study into the use of regional discourse markers, and provides the opportunity for comparative study of discourse markers across language varieties.
Scottish English, Discourse analysis, Corpus linguistics, Language variation and change, Scots language
Level of Degree
Department of Linguistics
First Committee Member (Chair)
Second Committee Member
Jones, Briony. ""Ye ken fine wha I mean": Variation between you know and ye ken in Scottish varieties of English." (2012). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/ling_etds/19