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Comparision forms of adjectives in British English - a corpus investigation of twelve adjectives
2004 (engelsk)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor)Oppgave
Abstract [en]

Languages constantly change over time. For example, it is not always easy to decide which way to compare an adjective. The aim of this paper is to find out whether there has been an increase in the use of the periphrastic comparison in the last decade. Two newspaper corpora, one from 1993 and one from 2002, were used and a number of adjectives that could be expected to vacillate between the inflectional and the periphrastic comparison were investigated in order to see whether any tendencies could be perceived. Earlier studies have shown that the history of the comparison forms is a complex one. Old English, which was a synthetic language, had inflectional comparison. The periphrastic comparison was introduced in the 13th century. It has been said that the increase in the use of the periphrastic forms is an example of the development of the English language from synthesis to analysis. Yet, it is not that simple, since the periphrastic comparison is less common today than it was in Late Middle English. However, I found that the use of the periphrastic comparison increased in the last decade with four percent on average in the comparative and two percent on average in the superlative. The change in the use of the comparison forms differs between different adjectives. Adjectives ending in –ly have not shown any increase, or only a marginal one, in the use of the periphrastic form, whereas adjectives ending in –y showed a certain increase in some cases. Disyllabic adjectives not ending in –y or –ly take the periphrastic comparison more often in 2002 than in 1993, while monosyllabic adjectives still take inflectional comparison most often. Further, my results also show that function influences the use of the periphrastic form. When an adjective is attributive it is less periphrastic than it is overall whereas a following than favours the periphrastic comparison. The use of the periphrastic comparison has increased for adjectives which have these functions.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
2004. , s. 49
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-53764Lokal ID: ENG C-17OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-53764DiVA, id: diva2:1102324
Fag / kurs
English
Tilgjengelig fra: 2017-05-29 Laget: 2017-05-29

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RefereraExporteraLink to record
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