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A diachronic corpus-based study into the effects of age and gender on the usage patterns of verb-forming suffixation in spoken British English

Laws, J., Ryder, C. and Jaworska, S. (2017) A diachronic corpus-based study into the effects of age and gender on the usage patterns of verb-forming suffixation in spoken British English. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 22 (3). pp. 375-402. ISSN 1569-9811

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1075/ijcl.22.3.04law

Abstract/Summary

The aim of this paper is to ascertain the degree to which lexical diversity, density and creativity in everyday spoken British English have changed over a 20-year period, as a function of age and gender. Usage patterns of the four verb-forming suffixes, -ate, -en, -ify and -ize, were compared in contemporary speech from the BNC2014 with its 20-year old counterpart, the Demographically-Sampled (DS) component of the British National Corpus. Frequency comparisons revealed that verb suffixation is denser in the BNC2014 than in its earlier equivalent (DS), with the exception of the -en suffix, the use of which has decreased, particularly among females and younger speakers in general. Males and speakers in the 35-59 age range showed the greatest type diversity; there is evidence that this peak is occurring earlier in the more recent corpus. Contrary to expectations, females rather than males produced the largest number of neologisms and rare forms.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:67314
Additional Information:Special Issue 'BNC2014'
Publisher:John Benjamins Publishing Co.

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