Colloquialization versus densification in Australian English: a multidimensional analysis of the Australian Diachronic Hansard Corpus (ADHC)

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Abstract

Colloquialization has been identified as one of the most important factors in short-term language change, and has been proposed as playing a particularly important role in Australian English. At the same time, some studies have observed the contrasting trend of densification (as one manifestation of anti-colloquialization), where information is condensed into fewer words—a characteristic of written language unlike the more diffuse expression expected in spoken styles. There is limited research into the dynamic between these complementary patterns of language change using large diachronic corpora and comprehensive sets of features associated with colloquialization and densification. This paper addresses these gaps by applying the multidimensional method of Biber (1988) to the Australian Diachronic Hansard Corpus (1901–2015). A quantitative analysis (at both the macro-level of factor (or dimension) scores and the micro-level of individual features) provides substantive evidence for the effects of both processes of language change. It is proposed that five factors (editorial policy, communicative aims of the register, intended audience, production mechanisms and broader social context) interact in shaping the relationship between these two processes in this register.

LanguageEnglish
Pages293-328
Number of pages36
JournalAustralian Journal of Linguistics
Volume38
Issue number3
Early online date9 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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language change
written language
macro level
micro level
trend
evidence
Australian English
Language Change
Multidimensional Analysis
Diachrony

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title = "Colloquialization versus densification in Australian English: a multidimensional analysis of the Australian Diachronic Hansard Corpus (ADHC)",
abstract = "Colloquialization has been identified as one of the most important factors in short-term language change, and has been proposed as playing a particularly important role in Australian English. At the same time, some studies have observed the contrasting trend of densification (as one manifestation of anti-colloquialization), where information is condensed into fewer words—a characteristic of written language unlike the more diffuse expression expected in spoken styles. There is limited research into the dynamic between these complementary patterns of language change using large diachronic corpora and comprehensive sets of features associated with colloquialization and densification. This paper addresses these gaps by applying the multidimensional method of Biber (1988) to the Australian Diachronic Hansard Corpus (1901–2015). A quantitative analysis (at both the macro-level of factor (or dimension) scores and the micro-level of individual features) provides substantive evidence for the effects of both processes of language change. It is proposed that five factors (editorial policy, communicative aims of the register, intended audience, production mechanisms and broader social context) interact in shaping the relationship between these two processes in this register.",
keywords = "Australian English, colloquialization, densification, Diachronic Corpus, Hansard, language change, multidimensional analysis",
author = "Haidee Kruger and Adam Smith",
year = "2018",
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pages = "293--328",
journal = "Australian Journal of Linguistics",
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T2 - Australian Journal of Linguistics

AU - Kruger,Haidee

AU - Smith,Adam

PY - 2018

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N2 - Colloquialization has been identified as one of the most important factors in short-term language change, and has been proposed as playing a particularly important role in Australian English. At the same time, some studies have observed the contrasting trend of densification (as one manifestation of anti-colloquialization), where information is condensed into fewer words—a characteristic of written language unlike the more diffuse expression expected in spoken styles. There is limited research into the dynamic between these complementary patterns of language change using large diachronic corpora and comprehensive sets of features associated with colloquialization and densification. This paper addresses these gaps by applying the multidimensional method of Biber (1988) to the Australian Diachronic Hansard Corpus (1901–2015). A quantitative analysis (at both the macro-level of factor (or dimension) scores and the micro-level of individual features) provides substantive evidence for the effects of both processes of language change. It is proposed that five factors (editorial policy, communicative aims of the register, intended audience, production mechanisms and broader social context) interact in shaping the relationship between these two processes in this register.

AB - Colloquialization has been identified as one of the most important factors in short-term language change, and has been proposed as playing a particularly important role in Australian English. At the same time, some studies have observed the contrasting trend of densification (as one manifestation of anti-colloquialization), where information is condensed into fewer words—a characteristic of written language unlike the more diffuse expression expected in spoken styles. There is limited research into the dynamic between these complementary patterns of language change using large diachronic corpora and comprehensive sets of features associated with colloquialization and densification. This paper addresses these gaps by applying the multidimensional method of Biber (1988) to the Australian Diachronic Hansard Corpus (1901–2015). A quantitative analysis (at both the macro-level of factor (or dimension) scores and the micro-level of individual features) provides substantive evidence for the effects of both processes of language change. It is proposed that five factors (editorial policy, communicative aims of the register, intended audience, production mechanisms and broader social context) interact in shaping the relationship between these two processes in this register.

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KW - densification

KW - Diachronic Corpus

KW - Hansard

KW - language change

KW - multidimensional analysis

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