University of Oulu

Steven Coats; Naturalistic Double Modals in North America. American Speech 2022; doi:

Naturalistic double modals in North America

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Author: Coats, Steven1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Duke University Press, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-06-10


Double modals are a well-known non-standard feature of some regional varieties of English in North America, but due to their rareness in spoken language, questions remain as to the inventory of possible combinatorial types and the geographic extent of their use in contemporary naturalistic speech. This study investigates double modals in the Corpus of North American Spoken English (CoNASE), a 1.2-billion-word corpus of time-stamped and geolocated automatic speech recognition (ASR) YouTube transcripts from the United States and Canada. Double modal sequences were identified in the corpus using regular expressions, then verified via manual examination of videos. The study represents the first large-scale, continent-wide analysis of double modals based entirely on recent naturalistic production data, rather than data such as elicited responses or sentence acceptability judgments, and it demonstrates a larger double modal inventory and a broader geographic range of use for the feature than has previously been documented, including in Canada.

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Series: American speech
ISSN: 0003-1283
ISSN-E: 1527-2133
ISSN-L: 0003-1283
DOI: 10.1215/00031283-9766889
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 6121 Languages
Copyright information: Copyright 2022 by the American Dialect Society.