Recognition and usage of double modals in Hawick (Scotland)

TUL Questionnaires

Author : Cameron Morin

Publication date : 2018


This questionnaire is designed to elicit judgment data from within a speech community about their relation to a specific series of syntactic, semantic and pragmatic phenomenona viz. multiple modality. 

It is divided up into six main tasks that aim to meet the following objectives:

(0) Knowledge of the age, gender, activity and living area of the subject, 
(1)Knowledge of how the subject represents the geography of their language variety,       
(2)Recognition and usage of typical double modal structures,
(3) Syntactic manipulation of double modal structures into negatives and questions,          
(4) Pragmatic and sociolinguistic information about the current usage of double modals,
(5) Recognition and usage of all double modals attested previously in the literature. 

The questionnaire was created due to a dearth of corpus data in "Broad Scots", particularly the varieties that seem to retain multiple modality. It might be of help for future projects in dialectology and sociolinguistics that are confronted to the same kinds of problems. 
Each task was carefully picked in order to collectively capture a multidimensional image of double modals in Scots, including morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and some aspects of sociolinguistic identity.






Protocol summary

The questionnaire can be used in a variety of ways. The idea is to let the respondent take their time and think for themselves, but completion does not usually take much more than 15minutes. Although brief, some tasks are technical; it is best if the researcher is present in the background to provide neutral clarifications about some instructions or sub-tasks. However, the questionnaire can easily be given to the respondent and collected the next day, or given to a large number of subjects in certain situations, e.g the classroom. It can also be adapted into digital form (a Google Forms version was offered in this experiment).

It can be very valuable to couple this questionnaire with audio recordings of the conversations occurring during the questionnaire's completion. Not only can it provide phonological data unavailable otherwise, but it also keeps a trace of additional comments, i.e additional judgments, on behalf of the respondent. 

Development context

I created this questionnaire for my master's dissertation at the Université Paris-Diderot and the University of Edinburgh (Erasmus), under the supervision of Prof Agnes Celle. I organised a short field trip in the Scottish Borders in early January to get as much data as possible. It was an invaluable experience and more of these concrete experimental methods should be encouraged in the future.

Special thanks are due to Dr Anthony Bour (University of Freiburg) for providing basic guidelines in the creation of the questionnaire. 

For any questions or comments you would like to let me know of, by all means do get in touch!

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