Publication
Title
Complexity in complementation: understanding lifespan change in the verb complementation of individuals
Author
Abstract
This paper combines an individual and period level approach to the study of long term variation in English syntax. It is hoped that by combining these views, a more complete picture of how individuals process, accommodate, and spread changes in language can be constructed to complement the general literature on population level language variation. The data used is taken from twelve individuals across two periods. It consists of >500,000 words per individual, with complementation clauses of the verb remember annotated for six variables. Multifactorial classification models are then employed to determine which language-internal factors an individual uses to condition the variation in their linguistic output, and to compare the relative importance of the constraints across individuals and periods. Results show that individuals prioritise partly idiosyncratic systems over larger semantic groupings, creating substantial degrees of inter-individual variation; we argue this correlates with continued long-term variation across periods. A drop in the degree of idiosyncrasy between the earlier and later period shows potential standardisation at play. Finally, independently from the well-known connection with social background from sociolinguistics, tentative evidence is found that a minority of individuals predict the next period’s usage patterns, perhaps marking themselves as ‘way-pavers’; these individuals show in-group similarities in lifespan usage patterns.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Paper of the Linguistic Society of Belgium
Publication
2023
DOI
10.61430/NOYS7030
Volume/pages
17 (2023) , p. 96-126
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Record
Identifier
Creation 08.02.2024
Last edited 10.02.2024
To cite this reference