Article
Diacronia 1, January 13, 2015, A6 (1–9)doi:10.17684/i1A6en

Parallel corpora. A real-time approach to the study of language change in progress

Christian Mair

Affiliations

English Department, “Albert Ludwig” University of Freiburg, Rempartstr. 15, DE–79098 Freiburg, Germany

History

Received June 3, 2014
Accepted June 12, 2014
Published January 13, 2015

Key words

corpus linguistics
language change
contemporary English
parallel corpora
informality

Abstract

The paper draws data from four matching one-million word corpora, namely Brown (US, 1961), LOB (GB, 1961), Frown (US, 1992) and FLOB (GB, 1991), in order to provide an integrated description of synchronic (regional and stylistic) variation and short-term diachronic change in written Standard English. The analysis of a fairly large number of morphosyntactic variables shows that instances of direct structural change are rather rare in the period under review. Nevertheless there are numerous statistically significant diachronic developments which, taken together, provide evidence for a coherent discourse-pragmatic trend, the ‘colloquialisation’ of the norms of written English. This linguistic development is argued to be driven by a more general sociocultural trend, the shift of public taste towards greater informality.

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    Text:Mair, Ch. (2015). Parallel corpora. A real-time approach to the study of language change in progress, Diacronia 1 (January 13), A6 (1–9), http://dx.doi.org/10.17684/i1A6en
    BibTeX:@ARTICLE{mair2015,
     author = {Christian Mair},
     title = {Parallel corpora. A real-time approach to the study of language change in progress},
     journal = {Diacronia},
     ISSN = {2393-1140},
     year = {2015},
     month = {January},
     number = {1},
     eid = {A6},
     doi = {10.17684/i1A6en},
     pages = "(1–9)",
     url = {http://www.diacronia.ro/journal/issue/1/A6/en}
    }

Copyright

© 2015 The Authors. Publishing rights belong to the Journal. The article is freely-accessible under the terms and conditions of the CC-BY Open Access licence.

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