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Speaking American: A History of English in the United States

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Language, Literacy, and Technology

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Academic Paper


Title: Variation in the lexicon: the ‘Cinderella’ of sociolinguistics?
Author: Philip Durkin
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Oxford University Press
Linguistic Field: Semantics
Abstract: All of the contributions in this special issue respond to a somewhat paradoxical situation: lexis (or vocabulary) is probably the area of linguistics that is most accessible and most salient for a non-specialist audience, but at the same time it presents some uniquely difficult challenges for systematic scholarly linguistic analysis. This is especially the case for approaches that focus on statistics or quantification of data, such as are typical of modern work in sociolinguistics. For this reason, it often seems that lexis is the Cinderella that is excluded from the ball, a topic that modern sociolinguists tend to steer clear of because of the methodological difficulties. This special issue will try to investigate the background to this problem, and suggest some possible solutions.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Today Vol. 28, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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