Volume 16, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811
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The goal of this study is to determine if various measures of contraction rate are regionally patterned in written Standard American English. In order to answer this question, this study employs a corpus-based approach to data collection and a statistical approach to data analysis. Based on a spatial autocorrelation analysis of the values of eleven measures of contraction across a 25 million word corpus of letters to the editor representing the language of 200 cities from across the contiguous United States, two primary regional patterns were identified: easterners tend to produce relatively few standard contractions ( contraction, verb contraction) compared to westerners, and northeasterners tend to produce relatively few non-standard contractions ( contraction, non-standard contraction) compared to southeasterners. These findings demonstrate that regional linguistic variation exists in written Standard American English and that regional linguistic variation is more common than is generally assumed.


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