Other: “So, like, at the beginning it was like, what’s new, Buenos Aires?”: Discourse markers in unscripted Canadian podcasts
The study investigated the use of discourse markers in Canadian English (CE), a so far under-researched variety of English. The first goal was to compile a comprehensive inventory of discourse markers in CE, categorized by part-of-speech. The second goal was a functional analysis of three of the most well-studied English discourse markers like, well, and so in CE, which was then compared to previous findings from other varieties of English. The material used for the study comprised about two hours of transcriptions from three unscripted Toronto-based podcasts (I Hate It But I Love It, Talk From Superheroes, and The Villain Was Right) featuring two speakers each, four women and two men.
The results showed that the largest formal categories were adverbials and clauses, both in number of tokens and number of types. The data also showed an almost Zipfian frequency distribution of discourse markers, the most common being like (616 tokens), yeah (244 tokens), just (192 tokens), so (130 tokens) and I think (117 tokens). Regarding like, well, and so, like showed the most interspeaker variance both in overall frequency of use and functions. so showed almost no interspeaker variance, and well hardly occurred in the data.
The comparison to similar studies of like, well, and so in British English (BE) and American English (AE) revealed that well was used much less frequently in CE than in BE but with the same frequency in AE. so only occurred half as often in CE as in BE and AE and like occurred about 1.5 times as often in CE as in BE and AE. Judging from these results, it was concluded that the use of discourse markers is dependent on the variety of English.