Browsing by Subject "historical sociolinguistics"

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  • Nevalainen, Terttu (John Benjamins, 2018)
    Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics
  • Säily, Tanja (John Benjamins, 2018)
    Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics
  • Nevalainen, Terttu; Säily, Tanja; Vartiainen, Turo (2020)
    This issue of the Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics aims to contribute to our understanding of language change in real time by presenting a group of articles particularly focused on social and sociocultural factors underlying language diversification and change. By analysing data from a varied set of languages, including Greek, English, and the Finnic and Mongolic language families, and mainly focussing their investigation on the Middle Ages, the authors connect various social and cultural factors with the specific topic of the issue, the rate of linguistic change. The sociolinguistic themes addressed include community and population size, conflict and conquest, migration and mobility, bi- and multilingualism, diglossia and standardization. In this introduction, the field of comparative historical sociolinguistics is considered a cross-disciplinary enterprise with a sociolinguistic agenda at the crossroads of contact linguistics, historical comparative linguistics and linguistic typology.
  • Säily, Tanja (John Benjamins, 2018)
    Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics
  • Säily, Tanja; Mäkelä, Eetu; Hämäläinen, Mika (2018)
    This paper describes ongoing work towards a rich analysis of the social contexts of neologism use in historical corpora, in particular the Corpora of Early English Correspondence, with research questions concerning the innovators, meanings and diffusion of neologisms. To enable this kind of study, we are developing new processes, tools and ways of combining data from different sources, including the Oxford English Dictionary, the Historical Thesaurus, and contemporary published texts. Comparing neologism candidates across these sources is complicated by the large amount of spelling variation. To make the issues tractable, we start from case studies of individual suffixes (-ity, -er) and people (Thomas Twining). By developing tools aiding these studies, we build toward more general analyses. Our aim is to develop an open-source environment where information on neologism candidates is gathered from a variety of algorithms and sources, pooled, and presented to a human evaluator for verification and exploration.
  • Laitinen, Mikko; Palander-Collin, Minna; Sairio, Anni; Säily, Tanja (John Benjamins, 2018)
    Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics
  • Säily, Tanja; Mäkelä, Eetu; Hämäläinen, Mika (University of Helsinki, 2021)
  • Säily, Tanja; Mäkelä, Eetu; Hämäläinen, Mika (2021)
    We study neologism use in two samples of early English correspondence, from 1640-1660 and 1760-1780. Of especial interest are the early adopters of new vocabulary, the social groups they represent, and the types and functions of their neologisms. We describe our computer-assisted approach and note the difficulties associated with massive variation in the corpus. Our findings include that while male letter-writers tend to use neologisms more frequently than women, the eighteenth century seems to have provided more opportunities for women and the lower ranks to participate in neologism use as well. In both samples, neologisms most frequently occur in letters written between close friends, which could be due to this less stable relationship triggering more creative language use. In the seventeenth-century sample, we observe the influence of the English Civil War, while the eighteenth-century sample appears to reflect the changing functions of letter-writing, as correspondence is increasingly being used as a tool for building and maintaining social relationships in addition to exchanging information.
  • Laitinen, Mikko; Säily, Tanja (John Benjamins, 2018)
    Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics
  • Nevalainen, Terttu; Säily, Tanja; Vartiainen, Turo; Liimatta, Aatu; Lijffijt, Jefrey (2020)
    In this paper, we explore the rate of language change in the history of English. Our main focus is on detecting periods of accelerated change in Middle English (1150–1500), but we also compare the Middle English data with the Early Modern period (1500–1700) in order to establish a longer diachrony for the pace at which English has changed over time. Our study is based on a meta-analysis of existing corpus research, which is made available through a new linguistic resource, the Language Change Database (LCD). By aggregating the rates of 44 individual changes, we provide a critical assessment of how well the theory of punctuated equilibria (Dixon 1997) fits with our results. More specifically, by comparing the rate of language change with major language-external events, such as the Norman Conquest and the Black Death, we provide the first corpus-based meta-analysis of whether these events, which had significant societal consequences, also had an impact on the rate of language change. Our results indicate that major changes in the rate of linguistic change in the late medieval period could indeed be connected to the social and cultural after-effects of the Norman Conquest. We also make a methodological contribution to the field of English historical linguistics: by re-using data from existing research, linguists can start to ask new, fundamental questions about the ways in which language change progresses.
  • Siirtola, Harri; Säily, Tanja; Nevalainen, Terttu (IEEE Computer Society, 2017)
    Information Visualization
    Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is an established and efficient method for finding structure in a multidimensional data set. PCA is based on orthogonal transformations that convert a set of multidimensional values into linearly uncorrelated variables called principal components.The main disadvantage to the PCA approach is that the procedure and outcome are often difficult to understand. The connection between input and output can be puzzling, a small change in input can yield a completely different output, and the user may often wonder if the PCA is doing the right thing.We introduce a user interface that makes the procedure and result easier to understand. We have implemented an interactive PCA view in our text visualization tool called Text Variation Explorer. It allows the user to interactively study the result of PCA, and provides a better understanding of the process.We believe that although we are addressing the problem of interactive principal component analysis in the context of text visualization, these ideas should be useful in other contexts as well.
  • Säily, Tanja; Nurmi, Arja; Sairio, Anni (John Benjamins, 2018)
    Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics
  • Säily, Tanja (John Benjamins, 2018)
    Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics
  • Nevalainen, Terttu (John Benjamins, 2018)
    Advances in Historical Sociolinguistics
  • Degaetano-Ortlieb, Stefania; Säily, Tanja; Bizzoni, Yuri (2021)
    Endeavors to computationally model language variation and change are ever increasing. While analyses of recent diachronic trends are frequently conducted, long-term trends accounting for sociolinguistic variation are less well-studied. Our work sheds light on the temporal dynamics of language use of British 18th century women as a group in transition across two situational contexts. Our findings reveal that in formal contexts women adapt to register conventions, while in informal contexts they act as innovators of change in language use influencing others. While adopted from other disciplines, our methods inform (historical) sociolinguistic work in novel ways. These methods include diachronic periodization by Kullback-Leibler divergence to determine periods of change and relevant features of variation, and event cascades as influencer models.
  • Säily, Tanja (2016)
    This paper presents ongoing work on Säily and Suomela’s (2009) method of comparing type frequencies across subcorpora. The method is here used to study variation in the productivity of the suffixes -ness and -ity in the eighteenth-century sections of the Corpora of Early English Correspondence and of the Old Bailey Corpus (OBC). Unlike the OBC, the eighteenth-century section of the letter corpora differs from previously studied materials in that there is no significant gender difference in the productivity of -ity. The study raises methodological issues involving periodization, multiple hypothesis testing, and the need for an interactive tool. Several improvements have been implemented in a new version of our software.