Volume 22, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811
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The aim of this paper is to ascertain the degree to which lexical diversity, density and creativity in everyday spoken British English have changed over a 20-year period, as a function of age and gender. Usage patterns of four verb-forming suffixes, -, -, - and -, were compared in contemporary speech from the Spoken British National Corpus 2014 Sample (Spoken BNC2014S) with its 20-year old counterpart, the BNC1994’s demographically-sampled component (the Spoken BNC1994DS). Frequency comparisons revealed that verb suffixation is denser in the Spoken BNC2014S than in the Spoken BNC1994DS, with the exception of the - suffix, the use of which has decreased, particularly among female and younger speakers in general. Male speakers and speakers in the 35–59 age range showed the greatest type diversity; there is evidence that this peak is occurring earlier in the more recent corpus. Contrary to expectations, female rather than male speakers produced the largest number of neologisms and rare forms.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): age; diachronic analysis; everyday spoken language; gender; verb-forming suffixation
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