Sociolinguistic typology meets historical corpus linguistics
George Walkden, Gemma McCarley, Raquel Montero Estebaranz, Molly Rolf, Sarah Einhaus, Henri Kauhanen
November 2023
 

This paper makes the case for using historical corpora to assess questions of sociolinguistic typology. A full account of any contact-induced change will need to establish what the linguistic innovation in question was, who was in contact, where and when the contact took place and how the change happened, both at the individual level and at the population level. The historical corpus approach complements other methods by narrowing down the where and the when, allowing us to develop a clearer picture of how the change diffused. In support of our approach, we present three case studies of potential morphosyntactic simplification using quantitative evidence gleaned from historical corpora: the loss of number concord in the history of English, change in the null-subject system(s) of Latin American Spanish and reduction of the case system in the history of Balkan Slavic. All three cases allow us to test theoretical predictions and uncover new influencing factors in a way that would be impossible without fine-grained quantitative corpus research.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007695
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Transactions of the Philological Society
keywords: sociolinguistic typology, historical linguistics, corpus linguistics, syntax, null subjects, case, number, syntax
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