Explaining register and sociolinguistic variation in the lexicon: Corpus studies on Dutch

Author: Karen Keune
LOT Number: 307
ISBN: 978-94-6093-090-4
Pages: 165
Year: 2012
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This study combines the fields of sociolinguistics and corpus linguistics in investigating global lexical variation in two large corpora . It expands the knowledge on the role of register and sociolinguistic factors ( country , gender , age , and education level ) in shaping the way lexical characteristics vary in both written and spoken Dutch . The study specifically targets lexical productivity and derivational morphology . In corpus linguistics the emphasis is on the effects of register on global text characteristics . The emphasis in variationist studies in sociolinguistics is on the impact of social factors on specific linguistic variables . The combination of these fields proves to be successful : Both language use and the language user emerge as important sources of lexical variation . Concerning register , the highest derivational and lexical productivity are found in the most formal registers of spoken and written Dutch . Concerning social factors , the most important finding on differences between the Netherlands and Flanders is that variation patterns are primarily word - bound , and can probably be traced back to divergent lexical choices in expressing specific concepts . A high derivational and lexical productivity , a high Type - Token Ratio , and a high proportion of nouns , all characteristics of a more ` informational ' speech style , characterize men's speech . A high proportion of verbs and most common words , typical of a more ` involved ' speech style , characterize women's speech . Older highly educated speakers are most productive , mainly in situations that evoke the use of more ` informational ' language , indicating that a speaker's lexical knowledge increases during the lifetime .

This study combines the fields of sociolinguistics and corpus linguistics in investigating global lexical variation in two large corpora . It expands the knowledge on the role of register and sociolinguistic factors ( country , gender , age , and education level ) in shaping the way lexical characteristics vary in both written and spoken Dutch . The study specifically targets lexical productivity and derivational morphology . In corpus linguistics the emphasis is on the effects of register on global text characteristics . The emphasis in variationist studies in sociolinguistics is on the impact of social factors on specific linguistic variables . The combination of these fields proves to be successful : Both language use and the language user emerge as important sources of lexical variation . Concerning register , the highest derivational and lexical productivity are found in the most formal registers of spoken and written Dutch . Concerning social factors , the most important finding on differences between the Netherlands and Flanders is that variation patterns are primarily word - bound , and can probably be traced back to divergent lexical choices in expressing specific concepts . A high derivational and lexical productivity , a high Type - Token Ratio , and a high proportion of nouns , all characteristics of a more ` informational ' speech style , characterize men's speech . A high proportion of verbs and most common words , typical of a more ` involved ' speech style , characterize women's speech . Older highly educated speakers are most productive , mainly in situations that evoke the use of more ` informational ' language , indicating that a speaker's lexical knowledge increases during the lifetime .

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