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Academic Paper

Title: Recent changes in the function and frequency of Standard English genitive constructions: a multivariate analysis of tagged corpora
Author: Lars Hinrichs
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Author: Benedikt Szmrecsanyi
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Leuven
Linguistic Field: Pragmatics; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This study of present-day English genitive variation is based on all interchangeable instances of s- and of-genitives from the ‘Reportage’ and ‘Editorial’ categories of the ‘Brown family’ of corpora. Variation is studied by tapping into a number of independent variables, such as precedence of either construction in the text, length of the possessor and possessum phrases, phonological constraints, discourse flow, and animacy of the possessor. In addition to distributional analyses, we use logistic regression to investigate the probabilistic factor weights of these variables, thus tracking language change in progress as evidenced in the language of the press. This method, married to our large database, yields the most detailed perspective to date on frequently discussed issues, such as the relative importance of possessor animacy and end-weight in genitive choice (cf. most recently Rosenbach 2005), or on the exact factorial dynamics responsible for the ongoing spread of the s-genitive.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 11, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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