Colloquialization and <i>not</i>-contraction in nineteenth-century English

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The present study examines the distribution of not-contracted and uncontracted forms in nineteenth-century English. The results show that the proportion of not-contracted forms increases across the nineteenth century, although there is a great deal of variation along genre lines. The results are linked to a discussion of the applicability of the concept of colloquialization to Late Modern English (LModE). Previous research on the colloquialization of English has focused chiefly on late 20th-century developments. This study demonstrates that the 1800s exhibit some similarities to the late 20th century as regards certain types of societal change, which makes it relevant to attempt to apply the colloquialization framework to the LModE period.


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