Is Time A’Changin’?: A diachronic investigation of the idioms used in Time
2008 (English)In: Selected Papers from the 2006 and 2007 Stockholm Metaphor Festival / [ed] Nils-Lennart Johannesson & David C. Minugh, Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2008, 111-130 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
A newly-available net-based corpus of 105 million words of written American English (Time Magazine, 1923–2006, at http://corpus.byu.edu/time) was investigated for the occurrence and diachronic distribution of various types of ‘pure’ idioms such as be raining cats and dogs. Idioms from the Collins COBUILD Dictionary of Idioms (2002 (1995)) were selected for four types of variation and change. Group 1, the 46 idioms labeled ‘old-fashioned’, proved to be noticeably more common before 1970. Group 2, several constructions of the type as scarce as X, exhibited considerably more variation than in more diversified corpora such as the British National Corpus. Group 3, Biblically-derived idioms, were generally less common after 1960, but with the lowest frequencies in the 1930s. The frequencies for the final group, 32 idioms focusing on deception, were relatively constant from the 1950s on, with an interesting dip in the 1970s. Changes in editorial policies may possibly have influenced these results. While not of sufficient magnitude for detailed studies of individual items over time, the Time corpus clearly is sufficient to provide us with a great deal of data and numerous valuable insights into the use of these idioms.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2008. 111-130 p.
Stockholm studies in English, ISSN 0346-6272 ; 103
idiom, corpus, language change, variation, American English
Research subject English
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106876OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-106876DiVA: diva2:740698