Chapter in:Time in Languages, Languages in Time
Edited by Anna Čermáková, Thomas Egan, Hilde Hasselgård and Sylvi Rørvik
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 101] 2021
► pp. 39–65
Diachronic change in the ordering of kinship binomials
A contrastive perspective
One of the specific characteristics of binomials is the ordering of their elements and the degree of their reversibility. A diachronic perspective suggests it is particularly the kinship binomials that show a strong unfreezing trend away from the male-first ordering. This study explores, diachronically and from an English-Czech contrastive perspective, kinship binomials in children’s literature. It confirms earlier findings of a gradual diachronic reversal of term ordering in kinship binomials that extends across languages. However, at the same time, binomial sequencing seems to be a complex interplay of linguistic, cognitive and real-world influences. The diachronic reversal of preference in the ordering is limited to particular binomials and may be linked to a more general change in the discourse, namely the shift towards greater informality.