Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 25 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Before the 1990s, evidence for ongoing grammatical change was based in large part on anecdote, prescriptivism and folk wisdom. The recent advent of mega-corpora such as COCA raises the question of how much value remains in using the standard reference corpora of the first generation—the so-called Brown family. This article focuses on two recessive phenomena, namely the decline of relativizer which and the conjunction for, arguing in favour of small, carefully balanced reference corpora because they allow fine-grained analyses with respect to functional, regional and genre variation. Rise in frequency can be explained by independent processes such as grammaticalization and colloquialization. On the other hand, the declining frequency of which and for investigated in this study can at least in part be attributed to the increasing preference for other items such as the relative that, the preposition on, and the conjunction because.

Keywords: grammatical change, corpora, Brown family of corpora, ARCHER, relativizer which, prescription, conjunction, preposition, English, linguistics, recent change

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.