A statistical analysis of regional variation in adverb position in a corpus of written Standard American English

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Abstract

This paper investigates whether the position of adverb phrases in sentences is regionally patterned in written Standard American English, based on an analysis of a 25 million word corpus of letters to the editor representing the language of 200 cities from across the United States. Seven measures of adverb position were tested for regional patterns using the global spatial autocorrelation statistic Moran’s I and the local spatial autocorrelation statistic Getis-Ord Gi*. Three of these seven measures were indentified as exhibiting significant levels of spatial autocorrelation, contrasting the language of the Northeast with language of the Southeast and the South Central states. These results demonstrate that continuous regional grammatical variation exists in American English and that regional linguistic variation exists in written Standard English.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-72
Number of pages34
JournalCorpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory
Volume8
Issue1
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 May 2012

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© Walter de Gruyter

    Keywords

  • adverb position, corpus linguistics, dialectology, dialectometry, spatial autocorrelation , writtien American English

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