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Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198808206

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808206.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 July 2020

The lexicography of English usage

The lexicography of English usage

Describing usage variation and change

Chapter:
(p.31) 3 The lexicography of English usage
Source:
English Usage Guides
Author(s):

Pam Peters

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198808206.003.0003

The lexicography of English usage is often discussed as being prescriptive or descriptive, but only rarely is it analysed in terms of how usage writers use language evidence in exploring issues of current and changing usage, and whether their methodology is empirical or otherwise. This chapter discusses two twenty-first-century approaches to the use of evidence in usage writing: the selective, a priori use of citations by Bryan Garner to support his ‘Language Change Index’ in Modern American Usage (3rd edn, 2009); and the wealth of data contained in the GloWbE corpus (2012) and others created by Mark Davies, available to quantify usage trends worldwide. Corpus evidence on the assimilation of Latin borrowings, e.g. use of data in singular agreement, shows this is relatively less advanced in the US than elsewhere, which aligns with its stigmatization in American academic discourse.

Keywords:   evidence, empirical, linguistic corpus, GloWbE corpus, quantifying language change, changing usage, rates of change, assimilation of Latin borrowings, data as a singular, Garner’s Language Change Index

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