Chapter published in:Diachronic Corpora, Genre, and Language Change
Edited by Richard J. Whitt
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 85] 2018
► pp. 195–218
Concessive conjunctions in written American English
Diachronic and genre-related changes in frequency and semantics
Based on the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA; Davies 2010–), this chapter inspects the frequencies and semantics of the concessive conjunctions although, though and even though from the 1860s to the present day. In the data, although and though predominantly express what Sweetser (1990) has called speech-act concessives, while even though mainly expresses content concessives. However, there is a general development towards a higher proportion of speech-act concessives. Further, although and even though increase in frequency, while though decreases over time. Semantic properties and the double function of though (conjunction and conjunct) are proposed as explanations. Frequency changes progress equally through all genres, but the semantic change seems to have pervaded all genres only as far as although is concerned.
Published online: 08 November 2018
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