Examining the use of Definite Article Reduction (DAR) by speakers of a South Yorkshire dialect, and speakers' attitudes towards DAR


  • Beth Taylor University of Sheffield


Definite Article Reduction, DAR, South Yorkshire, Dialect, Variation, Sociolinguistics


This study examines the use of Definite Article Reduction (DAR) by six South Yorkshire speakers, aged 18-24. The study aims to determine speakers’ DAR frequency and variation, and analyse participants’ views towards the feature, focusing on gender, educational level, and identity. The main findings were that speakers used DAR in 11.1% of their total definite article usage, and that females used DAR more than males. Females used more overt prestige forms within a group setting with Standard English (SE) speakers, suggesting convergence towards the group speakers; whereas males used more covert prestige forms, such as DAR, in this context, suggesting divergence away from the SE speakers. Gender and educational level were not evenly distributed across participants, as all female speakers were more educated than all male speakers.