New Search

Export article
Open Access

New methods for analysing diachronic suffix competition across registers


Abstract: This paper tracks stylistic variation in the use of two roughly synonymous suffixes, the Romance -ity and the native -ness, during the Early Modern English period. We seek to verify from a statistical viewpoint the claims of Rodríguez-Puente (2020), who reports on a decrease of -ness in favour of -ity in registers representative of the speech-written and formal-informal continua at that time. To this end, we develop new methods of statistical and visual analysis that enable diachronic comparisons of competing processes across subcorpora, building upon an earlier method by Säily and Suomela (2009). Our results confirm that -ity gained ground first in written registers and then spread towards speech-related registers, and we are able to time this change more accurately thanks to a novel periodisation. We also provide strong statistical support indicating that the proportion of -ity was significantly higher in legal registers than in other registers.
Keywords: ness / suffixes / building / ity / speech / written / diachronic / statistical / registers than

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

Share this article

Click here to see the statistics on "Corpus studies of language through time" .
References (26)
    Back to Top Top