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On the variation of fragmental constructions in British English and American English post-match interviews

  • Elisabeth Reber EMAIL logo
From the journal Sociolinguistica


This article takes a cognitive, interactional perspective on pluricentricity and examines the use of fragmental constructions in a mid-sized dataset, drawing on recordings of British English and American English post-match interviews (PMIs), i.e. media interviews conducted with football players after matches in the British and North American top leagues. It examines what types of fragmental constructions are deployed in the PMIs and whether the use and distribution of such constructions vary between the British and American “communities of practice” (Lave/Wenger 1991). The study finds that the quantity and quality of fragments largely differ, with the British English data showing a higher relative frequency of fragmental constructions, more grammatical variation, and a use of fragmental constructions which do not necessarily draw on latent grammatical structures from the prior speech for meaning-making. It has been suggested by Biber et al. (1999) that clausal elliptical structures are generally less typical of American English. The present genre-specific analysis suggests an interdependence between fragmental constructions and their routinisation and frozenness, interactional constraints, as well as deviant sports and media cultures shared by these communities of practice, which can be treated as a form of “enregisterment” (Agha 2007).


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8 Appendix

GAT 2 transcription conventions (adapted from Couper-Kuhlen/Barth-Weingarten 2011)

[ ]

overlap and simultaneous talk


fast, immediate continuation with a new turn or segment (latching)


micro pause, estimated, up to 0.2 sec. duration approx.


short estimated pause of approx. 0.2-0.5 sec. duration


intermediary estimated pause of approx. 0.5-0.8 sec. duration


longer estimated pause of approx. 0.8-1.0 sec. duration


measured pause of approx. 0.5 / 2.0 sec. duration (to tenth of a second)


cliticisations within units

uh, uhm, etc.

hesitation markers, so-called “filled pauses”

:, ::, :::

lengthening, depending on duration


cut-off by glottal closure


rising to high


rising to mid




falling to mid


falling to low

(may i)

assumed wording


focus accent


secondary accent


extra strong accent

smaller pitch upstep


larger pitch upstep

<<l> >

lower pitch register

<<h> >

higher pitch register

<<f> >

forte, loud

<<ff> >

fortissimo, very loud

<<p> >

piano, soft

<<pp> >

pianissimo, very soft

<<all> >

allegro, fast

<<len> >

lento, slow

<<cresc> >

crescendo, increasingly louder

<<dim> >

diminuendo, increasingly softer

<<acc> >

accelerando, increasingly faster

<<rall> >

rallentando, increasingly slower


non-verbal vocal actions and events

<<coughing> >

… with indication of scope


description of laughter

<<:-)> so>

smile voice

°h/ °hh //

in- / outbreaths of approx. 0.2-0.5 sec. duration

h° hh°

in- / outbreaths of approx. 0.5-0.8 sec. duration

°hhh / hhh°

in- / outbreaths of approx. 0.8-1.0 sec. duration


omission in transcript


refers to a line of transcript relevant in the argument

Published Online: 2021-11-18
Published in Print: 2021-11-12

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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