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Times may change, but we will always have money: Diachronic variation in recent British English

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/03/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of English Linguistics
Issue number1
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)65-88
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date7/05/10
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The frequencies of words in four equal-sized reference corpora of written British English from 1931, 1961, 1991, and 2006 were compared to investigate patterns of vocabulary change and stability over time.The study addresses central methodological questions surrounding diachronic change across multiple corpora, considering a number of methods to distinguish variance over time. Having identified an appropriate measure of variance, the study categorizes words as showing large increases, showing large decreases, or remaining stable. After grouping words into grammatical categories, several hypotheses about language change (and stability) are advanced. Concordance and collocational analyses explore these hypotheses and consider context of usage. The study reports on a number of trends relating to language (specifically British English) and cultural change, including a tendency for language to become less verbose and a move toward more informal and personal ways of writing.