University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


The transatlantic perspective on general extenders (GEs) illuminates an aspect of linguistic change that is rarely observed in the language variation and change literature -- the incipient stage. This paper considers some characteristics of the incipient stage of an innovation in the context of a close examination of a change in progress in the GE system of York English and asks, who are the innovators in a speech community? This data is contrasted with similar findings from the Toronto English Archive (Tagliamonte and Denis 2010). In both communities there is a change in progress such that one type of GE in the system is increasing. In Toronto, this increase is monotonic and spans the apparent time range of the corpus. However, in York, the same rise is not present until after the 1960s. This observation is leveraged to investigate the incipient stage of linguistic change.