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Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

By David Crystal

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Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases

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Academic Paper


Title: Social work and linguistic systems: Marking possession in Canadian English
Author: Sali A Tagliamonte
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Toronto
Author: Alexandra D'Arcy
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://web.uvic.ca/ling/faculty/adarcy.htm
Institution: University of Victoria
Author: Bridget L. Jankowski
Institution: University of Toronto
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: The system of stative possession has been subject to variation and change since at least the Early Modern period, with have got rising in frequency in British and Antipodean varieties of English. In Canadian English, as represented by data from the largest city, Toronto, have predominates. Nonetheless, the full set of constraints previously reported for this variable are operative, corroborating the longitudinal maintenance of linguistic factors across time and space (Kroch, 1989). At the same time, variation among possessive forms is conditioned by robust sociolinguistic patterns. Have is correlated with education and with female speakers, whereas less-educated men favor have got and got. Such findings demonstrate that the domination of one form or another in a variable system can be the result of historical accident, in this case a founder effect at a particular point in history, and that the social value of forms is a product of local circumstances at the time of change.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Language Variation and Change Vol. 22, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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