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Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

By Rudolf Botha

Language Evolution: The Windows Approach addresses the question: "How can we unravel the evolution of language, given that there is no direct evidence about it?"


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Academic Paper


Title: Asymmetrical trajectories: The past and present of –body/–one
Author: Alexandra D'Arcy
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.uvic.ca/humanities/linguistics/people/faculty/darcyalexandra.php
Institution: University of Victoria
Author: Bill Haddican
Institution: University of York
Author: Hazel Richards
Institution: University of York
Author: Sali A Tagliamonte
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Toronto
Author: Ann Taylor
Institution: University of York
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
English, Middle
Abstract: The set of English [+human] pronominal quantifiers has been variable for at least 500 years, with the compound forms –body and –one competing since Middle and Early Modern English. This change has still to run its course (cf. Nevalainen & Raumolin-Brunberg, 2003:78). Using corpora of historical texts, we track the development of these variants alongside the demise of the earlier variant –man. Then, drawing on contemporary and regionally diverse corpora, we trace the continued development of –body/–one variation through the 20th century. The trajectories reveal paradigmatic leveling in the late 19th century and the rise of –one as the dominant form. However, grammatical, social, and lexical developments continue. Most striking is that after an initial phase of historical leveling, the different lexical quantifiers—any, every, some, no—go their own ways in the collection of varieties examined here, demonstrating that the mechanisms shaping evolutionary pathways across the globe are not only systemic, but also retain local alternations.

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This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 25, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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