Article published in:Compiling and analysing the Spoken British National Corpus 2014
Edited by Tony McEnery, Robbie Love and Vaclav Brezina
[International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 22:3] 2017
► pp. 375–402
A diachronic corpus-based study into the effects of age and gender on the usage patterns of verb-forming suffixation in spoken British English
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 four verb-forming suffixes, -ate, -en, -ify and -ize, were compared in contemporary speech from the Spoken British National Corpus 2014 Sample (Spoken BNC2014S) with its 20-year old counterpart, the BNC1994’s demographically-sampled component (the Spoken BNC1994DS). Frequency comparisons revealed that verb suffixation is denser in the Spoken BNC2014S than in the Spoken BNC1994DS, with the exception of the -en suffix, the use of which has decreased, particularly among female and younger speakers in general. Male speakers 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, female rather than male speakers produced the largest number of neologisms and rare forms.
Keywords: diachronic analysis, everyday spoken language, verb-forming suffixation, age, gender
Published online: 23 November 2017
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