Preserving Canada’s ‘honour’
Ideology and diachronic change in Canadian spelling variants
Recent studies of orthographic variation have demonstrated that ideology plays a central role in determining which spelling variants are adopted by a community. This study examines the role of ideology in diachronic changes in spelling variant usage in Canadian English. Previous research has shown that patriotic Canadians are opposed to American spelling variants. We hypothesized that American spelling variant usage decreased during periods in which the United States was viewed negatively in Canada, such as the Vietnam War era. Furthermore, we also hypothesized that trends set during periods of anti-American sentiment have resulted in an overall decrease in American spelling variant usage in Canada over the last century. We gathered over 30,000 tokens of spelling variants spanning a period of approximately 100 years. Our results corroborate the first hypothesis but reject the second hypothesis, leading to a complex view of the role of ideology in diachronic change in Canadian English.
Keywords: spelling, Canada, ideology, American English, diachronic change, attitudes
Published online: 04 March 2010
Cited by other publications
Lee, Hyunjung & Allard Jongman
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