Variation and change in the lexicon : a corpus-based analysis of adjectives in English ending in -ic and -ical


Variation and change in the lexicon : a corpus-based analysis of adjectives in English ending in -ic and -ical

Mark Kaunisto

(Language and computers : studies in practical linguistics, no. 63)

Rodopi, 2007

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Revised version of the author's doctoral dissertation, 2004

Bibliography: p. [303]-353



The present volume is a corpus-based study of the occurrence, variation, and change in the use of English adjective pairs in -ic and -ical over several centuries. The study involves the analysis of large, multi-million-word corpora representing the English language at various stages. It examines the nature of competition between the two affixes: what kind of rivalry existed, what kinds of words entered into competition, and in what ways the rivalry was resolved. The book presents close studies of six notably differentiated -ic/-ical adjective pairs, namely classic/classical, comic/comical, economic/economical, electric/electrical, historic/historical, and magic/magical, as well as commentaries on some 40 other -ic/-ical pairs, which manifest different types of shifts in use through history. It also includes critical discussion of general perceptions on and approaches to the practical use of corpora, stressing the importance of close and careful study of the materials under analysis. It further emphasises the value of consulting a variety of sources alongside corpora, including dictionaries and language usage manuals. This volume is of interest to language scholars in many fields, including corpus linguistics, diachronic linguistics, semantic change, lexicology, and word formation.


Preface Chapter 1. Introduction Chapter 2. Materials used in the study Chapter 3. Earlier observations and empirical studies Chapter 4. The history of new adjectives ending in ic and ical Chapter 5. Excellence, tradition, and ancient Greeks: classic/classical Chapter 6. Perspectives on amusement: the use of comic/comical Chapter 7. Arranging the motions of resources: economic/economical Chapter 8. Shocks, sparks and excitement vs. engineering: electric/electrical Chapter 9. The past and the important things in it: historic/historical Chapter 10. From supernatural powers to exciting football games: magic/magical Chapter 11. Obsolescence of one of the forms Chapter 12. Some special cases Chapter 13. Concluding remarks References Appendices

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  • ISBN
    • 9789042022331
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    viii, 364 p.
  • 大きさ
    24 cm
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