Towards the Inevitable Demise of Everybody?

A multifactorial analysis of -one/-body/-man variation in indefinite pronouns in historical American English

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This study describes the evolution of the indefinite pronoun compounds {any/some/every/no} + {one/body/man}. We look at the last 200 years of evolution focusing on American English via the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA). We build upon the findings of D’Arcy et al. (2013), who investigate the diachronic trajectories of indefinite pronouns in British English (1500–1914) and in several contemporary and regionally diverse present-day corpora to examine the development of the variation of -body/-one in the 20th century. Their observations show that while there is an ongoing shift towards -one, various external and language internal factors play a substantial role in variability (also Svartvik & Lindqvist 1997). In COHA, we first extracted the authors’ gender for all texts in the genre of fiction using contemporary parish records. Then we extracted the raw data of our dependent variable {one/body/man}, and the language external predictors (authors’ sex, genre) and internal factors of quantifier type and the presence or absence of a postnominal modifier. As multivariate tool, we use logistic regression. Our initial findings suggest that -one compounds are gaining ground in all genres, implicating a likely future marginalization of -body compounds. Analyzing this data shows that the change from favoring -body compounds into favoring -one compounds has been led by women throughout the time period examined. This development of -one/-body variation in COHA mirrors the evolution of -man in Early Modern English, where -man was slowly ousted from the language and limited to a few set phrases that survive still today. For a truly diachronic perspective, we also establish a baseline for how these forms have evolved from their establishment as an alternative to -man compounds in Middle English by leaning on the findings of Raumolin-Brunberg and Kahlas-Tarkka (1997). In addition to contributing to the growing body of knowledge on the diachronic development of indefinite pronouns, our study provides methodological improvements. Incorporating gender information in COHA has to our knowledge not been done before, and we intend to make the gender metadata – as well as the scripts used to produce it – freely available to the corpus linguistics community. This will make the fiction section of COHA usable for the purposes of historical sociolinguistics and will facilitate inferring gender in other historical data sets as well. Moreover, to complement our multivariate statistical approach, we use advanced visualization techniques such as beanplots (Kampstra 2008) and motion charts (Hilpert 2011), which make it easier to spot outliers and periods of interest with respect to the distribution of the variants within the speech community.
Originalspråkengelska
TidskriftLanguage Variation and Change
ISSN0954-3945
Status!!In preparation - 2019
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad

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@article{69c6d6130c964f21b14f5f94dc592552,
title = "Towards the Inevitable Demise of Everybody?: A multifactorial analysis of -one/-body/-man variation in indefinite pronouns in historical American English",
abstract = "This study describes the evolution of the indefinite pronoun compounds {any/some/every/no} + {one/body/man}. We look at the last 200 years of evolution focusing on American English via the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA). We build upon the findings of D’Arcy et al. (2013), who investigate the diachronic trajectories of indefinite pronouns in British English (1500–1914) and in several contemporary and regionally diverse present-day corpora to examine the development of the variation of -body/-one in the 20th century. Their observations show that while there is an ongoing shift towards -one, various external and language internal factors play a substantial role in variability (also Svartvik & Lindqvist 1997). In COHA, we first extracted the authors’ gender for all texts in the genre of fiction using contemporary parish records. Then we extracted the raw data of our dependent variable {one/body/man}, and the language external predictors (authors’ sex, genre) and internal factors of quantifier type and the presence or absence of a postnominal modifier. As multivariate tool, we use logistic regression. Our initial findings suggest that -one compounds are gaining ground in all genres, implicating a likely future marginalization of -body compounds. Analyzing this data shows that the change from favoring -body compounds into favoring -one compounds has been led by women throughout the time period examined. This development of -one/-body variation in COHA mirrors the evolution of -man in Early Modern English, where -man was slowly ousted from the language and limited to a few set phrases that survive still today. For a truly diachronic perspective, we also establish a baseline for how these forms have evolved from their establishment as an alternative to -man compounds in Middle English by leaning on the findings of Raumolin-Brunberg and Kahlas-Tarkka (1997). In addition to contributing to the growing body of knowledge on the diachronic development of indefinite pronouns, our study provides methodological improvements. Incorporating gender information in COHA has to our knowledge not been done before, and we intend to make the gender metadata – as well as the scripts used to produce it – freely available to the corpus linguistics community. This will make the fiction section of COHA usable for the purposes of historical sociolinguistics and will facilitate inferring gender in other historical data sets as well. Moreover, to complement our multivariate statistical approach, we use advanced visualization techniques such as beanplots (Kampstra 2008) and motion charts (Hilpert 2011), which make it easier to spot outliers and periods of interest with respect to the distribution of the variants within the speech community.",
author = "{\"O}hman, {Emily Sofi} and Tanja S{\"a}ily and Mikko Laitinen",
year = "2019",
language = "English",
journal = "Language Variation and Change",
issn = "0954-3945",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Towards the Inevitable Demise of Everybody?

T2 - A multifactorial analysis of -one/-body/-man variation in indefinite pronouns in historical American English

AU - Öhman, Emily Sofi

AU - Säily, Tanja

AU - Laitinen, Mikko

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - This study describes the evolution of the indefinite pronoun compounds {any/some/every/no} + {one/body/man}. We look at the last 200 years of evolution focusing on American English via the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA). We build upon the findings of D’Arcy et al. (2013), who investigate the diachronic trajectories of indefinite pronouns in British English (1500–1914) and in several contemporary and regionally diverse present-day corpora to examine the development of the variation of -body/-one in the 20th century. Their observations show that while there is an ongoing shift towards -one, various external and language internal factors play a substantial role in variability (also Svartvik & Lindqvist 1997). In COHA, we first extracted the authors’ gender for all texts in the genre of fiction using contemporary parish records. Then we extracted the raw data of our dependent variable {one/body/man}, and the language external predictors (authors’ sex, genre) and internal factors of quantifier type and the presence or absence of a postnominal modifier. As multivariate tool, we use logistic regression. Our initial findings suggest that -one compounds are gaining ground in all genres, implicating a likely future marginalization of -body compounds. Analyzing this data shows that the change from favoring -body compounds into favoring -one compounds has been led by women throughout the time period examined. This development of -one/-body variation in COHA mirrors the evolution of -man in Early Modern English, where -man was slowly ousted from the language and limited to a few set phrases that survive still today. For a truly diachronic perspective, we also establish a baseline for how these forms have evolved from their establishment as an alternative to -man compounds in Middle English by leaning on the findings of Raumolin-Brunberg and Kahlas-Tarkka (1997). In addition to contributing to the growing body of knowledge on the diachronic development of indefinite pronouns, our study provides methodological improvements. Incorporating gender information in COHA has to our knowledge not been done before, and we intend to make the gender metadata – as well as the scripts used to produce it – freely available to the corpus linguistics community. This will make the fiction section of COHA usable for the purposes of historical sociolinguistics and will facilitate inferring gender in other historical data sets as well. Moreover, to complement our multivariate statistical approach, we use advanced visualization techniques such as beanplots (Kampstra 2008) and motion charts (Hilpert 2011), which make it easier to spot outliers and periods of interest with respect to the distribution of the variants within the speech community.

AB - This study describes the evolution of the indefinite pronoun compounds {any/some/every/no} + {one/body/man}. We look at the last 200 years of evolution focusing on American English via the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA). We build upon the findings of D’Arcy et al. (2013), who investigate the diachronic trajectories of indefinite pronouns in British English (1500–1914) and in several contemporary and regionally diverse present-day corpora to examine the development of the variation of -body/-one in the 20th century. Their observations show that while there is an ongoing shift towards -one, various external and language internal factors play a substantial role in variability (also Svartvik & Lindqvist 1997). In COHA, we first extracted the authors’ gender for all texts in the genre of fiction using contemporary parish records. Then we extracted the raw data of our dependent variable {one/body/man}, and the language external predictors (authors’ sex, genre) and internal factors of quantifier type and the presence or absence of a postnominal modifier. As multivariate tool, we use logistic regression. Our initial findings suggest that -one compounds are gaining ground in all genres, implicating a likely future marginalization of -body compounds. Analyzing this data shows that the change from favoring -body compounds into favoring -one compounds has been led by women throughout the time period examined. This development of -one/-body variation in COHA mirrors the evolution of -man in Early Modern English, where -man was slowly ousted from the language and limited to a few set phrases that survive still today. For a truly diachronic perspective, we also establish a baseline for how these forms have evolved from their establishment as an alternative to -man compounds in Middle English by leaning on the findings of Raumolin-Brunberg and Kahlas-Tarkka (1997). In addition to contributing to the growing body of knowledge on the diachronic development of indefinite pronouns, our study provides methodological improvements. Incorporating gender information in COHA has to our knowledge not been done before, and we intend to make the gender metadata – as well as the scripts used to produce it – freely available to the corpus linguistics community. This will make the fiction section of COHA usable for the purposes of historical sociolinguistics and will facilitate inferring gender in other historical data sets as well. Moreover, to complement our multivariate statistical approach, we use advanced visualization techniques such as beanplots (Kampstra 2008) and motion charts (Hilpert 2011), which make it easier to spot outliers and periods of interest with respect to the distribution of the variants within the speech community.

M3 - Article

JO - Language Variation and Change

JF - Language Variation and Change

SN - 0954-3945

ER -