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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2022

Speaker Design Goes Construction Grammar

Barbara Soukup


As a proof of concept, this paper marries construction grammar (CxG) with the third wave of variation study, under the auspices of cognitive sociolinguistics. The CxG argument that linguistic knowledge commonly takes the form of constructions is extended to (socio)linguistic knowledge manifest in speaker design (strategic use of variation for interactional purposes). Two sociolinguistic constructions in Austrian German serve as showcase: (1) the antagonistic L-quote construction and (2) the antagonistic L-interjection construction. In (1), interactants’ dialectal quotes negatively other-position a quotee; in (2), dialectal interjections denigrate an opponent. Discourse data confirm these patterns as systematic, societally entrenched, and widespread, providing the basis for arguing their constructionality. Cognitive sociolinguistics is ideally poised to take on further exploration of the interplay of individual and social cognition implicated.

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