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Indian English Evolution and Focusing Visible Through Power Laws

Chand, V and Kapper, D and Mondas, S and Sur, S and Parshad, RD (2017) 'Indian English Evolution and Focusing Visible Through Power Laws.' Languages, 2 (4). ISSN 2226-471X

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New dialect emergence and focusing in language contact settings is difficult to capture and date in terms of global structural dialect stabilization. This paper explores whether diachronic power law frequency distributions can provide evidence of dialect evolution and new dialect focusing, by considering the quantitative frequency characteristics of three diachronic Indian English (IE) corpora (1970s–2008). The results demonstrate that IE consistently follows power law frequency distributions and the corpora are each best fit by Mandelbrot’s Law. Diachronic changes in the constants are interpreted as evidence of lexical and syntactic collocational focusing within the process of new dialect formation. Evidence of new dialect focusing is also visible through apparent time comparison of spoken and written data. Age and gender-separated sub-corpora of the most recent corpus show minimal deviation, providing apparent time evidence for emerging IE dialect stability. From these findings, we extend the interpretation of diachronic changes in the β coefficient—as indicative of changes in the degree of synthetic/analytic structure—so that β is also sensitive to grammaticalization and changes in collocational patterns.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: language contact, power laws, World English, Indian English, diachronic, corpus linguistics, lexical diversity, dialect formation
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2017 16:52
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2017 17:15

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