PROJECT: HISTORICAL VARIATION


Please send the assignment to me, with LING 485: Project 11 in the subject line (including the colon and the right capitalization).

Also please name your file in the following way: Project + underscore + uncapitalized lastname, e.g. 11_snodgrass


1. Think of five related words in a given semantic field, e.g. very, really, extremely, completely, totally or sick, ill, infirm, unwell, unhealthy, etc. (Feel free to use a thesaurus if you'd like: 1 2 3).

2. Use COHA (400m words, 1810-2009) and COCA (560m words, 1990-present) to examine the historical trajectory of these five related words over time. Please use charts to show frequency over time-- preferably all words on one chart (well, maybe one for COHA and one for COCA).

  • Which are on the increase, and which are on the decrease?

  • What would you predict would be the state of affairs 20 or 50 years from now, if things continue as is?

  • Has there been any significant meaning change with the words over time (use collocates)

Two other questions:

-- What were the methodological issues involved in using these corpora?

-- In COCA, how are the historical shifts related to variation between genres?