Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime : The Persistence of the -body Suffix in Popular Song Lyrics

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201906112519
Title: Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime : The Persistence of the -body Suffix in Popular Song Lyrics
Author: MacKenzie, Shane
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of Modern Languages
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2019
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201906112519
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/302756
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: englantilainen filologia
English Philology
Engelsk filologi
Abstract: Compound indefinite pronouns with personal reference are often unnoticed yet are constantly encountered. Comprised of the four quantifiers no-, any-, some-, every- in combination with the –body and –one stems, the forms, have been competing in both the written and spoken registers of English for centuries. Nevalainen and Raumolin-Brunberg (2003) researched this system’s historical development in Middle English and early Modern English and hinted that the –one form would likely develop into the eventual sole standard form. D’Arcy et al. (2013) extended the research into different varieties of English and extended the time frame to the contemporary period. They also found that the quantifiers exhibit a continued shift toward –one, but that even after hundreds of years, the shift has yet to result in the categorical use of –one. I conducted a variationist study seeking to trace the development of the indefinite pronoun forms within the register of popular song lyrics. The mostly American English quantitative data was gathered from the Billboard Top hits lists from the last 78 years, totalling 6,674 songs (1940-2017). Tokens of the –body and –one form pronouns were tabulated and the values were normalized in order to allow a synchronic comparison of the pronominal quantifiers’ frequencies. Repetitions of similar tokens within songs were omitted. A qualitative comparison of context sentences from the lyrics which contained indefinite pronoun tokens from different eras was also undertaken to highlight the lyrics’ evolution from more literary influence early in the corpus, to a more spoken language influenced register. The corpus data disproved the ascendency of the –one form pronouns within this register. Instead, a strong tendency towards the predominance of the -body form pronouns was revealed with the increase in frequency rate most pronounced over the final 30 year period (1988-2017). The change may be linked to the shifting demographic of recording artists who appear on the Billboard lists as the proportion of African-American artists increased during this time. References D’Arcy et al., 2013. Asymmetrical trajectories: The past and present of –body/–one Language Variation and Change, 25 (2013), 287–310. Cambridge University Press. Nevalainen, T. & H. Raumolin-Brunberg (2003). Historical Sociolinguistics: Language change in Tudor and Stuart England. London: Longman.
Subject: indefinite pronouns with personal reference
body and one affixes
popular song lyrics
American English


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