This paper reports on changes in the system of speech and thought introducers that are brought about by the adoption of innovations. Quantitative variationist analysis of a newly created corpus that spans 5 decades of conversational recordings in North-Eastern England investigates three questions: (1) What effect do extralinguistic and intralinguistic variables have on the relative distribution of the variants diachronically? (2) What are the determinants of change? (3) To what extent do different strategies of variable definition, in particular choices about the inclusion of internal states, determine the outcome of the investigation? Innovative methodology allows me to pinpoint the loci of the change that has been sparked by the intrusion of innovations, both in terms of repository of forms but also regarding the constraints that condition the whole system.
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