A note on mans in Toronto

Derek Denis


This paper serves as a short note about an ongoing innovation in the pronominal system of multiethnic adolescent Toronto English. The plural noun mans is in the early stages of grammaticalizing into a first person singular pronoun in this speech community in a way similar to the development of man in Multicultural London English (Cheshire 2013). To illustrate the function and distribution of mans, examples are taken from a variety of data sources including reflexive performances of and meta-commentary about multiethnic adolescent Toronto English. While mans in Toronto English is similar to man in London, critical differences exists. The presence of such a similar innovation in both Toronto and London leads to several empirical questions about language contact, diffusion, group second language acquisition, and grammaticalization.


Pronouns; Multiethnolects; Toronto English

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Copyright (c) 2016 Derek Denis