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The use of question tags in different text types of Trinidadian English

ABSTRACT

We investigate the use of question tags in Trinidadian English. Using a variationist pragmatics approach and spoken material from the Trinidad and Tobago component of the International Corpus of English, we describe the distribution and pragmatic functions of variant and invariant tags across four text types. Variant question tags are rare in Trinidadian English, but a range of invariant question tags is present in the corpus. Tags serve a number of pragmatic functions, and can serve multiple functions simultaneously. Text type is a strong factor influencing the frequency of tag forms and functions, with tags associated with the local creole mainly found in informal text types.