Diachronic register change: a corpus-based study of Australian English, with comparisons across British and American English

Peter Collins*, Minna Korhonen, Haidee Kotze, Adam Smith, Xinyue Yao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A number of studies have found that grammatical differences across registers are more extensive than those across dialects. However, there is a paucity of research examining intervarietal register change, exploring how registers change differently over time in different regional varieties. The present study addresses this diachronic deficit, focusing on grammatical developments – from the early 20th to the early 21st century – in corpora representing three written registers and two speech-based registers in Australian, British and American English. We conducted a factor analysis on 68 lexicogrammatical features to identify six dimensions of register variation, and subsequently investigated the diachronic change of the five registers across these dimensions. We interpret our findings in terms of the differential effects of broad social changes on individual registers, in light of existing findings on trends of change in different registers and varieties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-87
Number of pages55
JournalRegister Studies
Volume3
Issue number1
Early online date3 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Keywords

  • Australian English
  • British English
  • American English
  • multidimensional analysis
  • lexicogrammar
  • register change

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