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CHAT: vocatives (was: Re: ...y'know)

From:A Rosta <a.rosta@...>
Date:Thursday, July 15, 1999, 11:26
Ray (28 June):
> Basically, man, like, I encounter these, um, sort of space fillers -
> what I mean? - when, um, basically, one of my students is sort of
trying to
> explain, like, why he sort of arrived late, man, like, this morning
> kind of, y'know, didn't meet this, er, sort o' deadline thing, right,
> what I mean, man. > > PS - in SW London, this use of 'man' has become epicene among the
> generation; female students even use this mode of address when
> among themselves. Does this occur elsewhere?
Also in NW London at least among those of nursery school age. My son calls both his parents "man". More precisely, "man" is used as a vocative once the discourse is already established; it is not used for hailing (i.e. attracting the intention of the intended addressee). In this respect it is like "son", "mate" and "wack", but unlike "mum", "dad", "signora" and "jimmy". Livagian has a series of vocative interjections that are specifically for hailing, and another set (belonging to the same paradigm as deictics) for vocatives like "man"/"mate" used once the discourse is begun. [To preempt anyone having to ask: "mate" is SE English and its cousin, antipodean English, "wack" ([wax]) was Liverpudlian when I was a child in that city but is unknown by my scouse students of today, "jimmy" is Glaswegian (I think).] --And. p.s. I will not alas be in London on Saturday, else I would certainly have been at the top of the Euston tube escalators at 2:45 meeting Irina et al.