Abstract and Keywords
This article focuses on “observing recent change” in the English language. It includes sections that deal with syntactic changes that have taken place primarily in the past half-century or so, whereas others can be traced to the 1800s. In all cases, the changes are still underway and exhibit interesting genre-based and stylistically-based variation in contemporary English. This introduction discusses methodological issues, paying special attention to the types of corpora and text archives that can provide us with the most useful data for looking at recent change in English. It first looks at large text collections such as Google, Google Books, and large text archives. It then examines “structured” corpora and considers the question of size—especially the way in which large corpora like the Corpus of Historical American English provide insight that might not be available otherwise. Also covered in the discussion are “monitor corpora,” an example of which is the Corpus of Contemporary American English.
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