, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 345–347 | Cite as

Tanja Säily: Sociolinguistic Variation in English Derivational Productivity. Studies and Methods in Diachronic Corpus Linguistics

Helsinki: Société Néophilologique 2014 (Mémoires de la Société Néophilologique de Helsinki Nr. XCIV). VII + 284 Seiten
  • Lea Kawaletz
Book Review

In recent decades, it has become almost impossible to investigate the productivity of word formation processes through corpora without taking into account statistical measures of some kind. In the field of historical linguistics, however, this has been problematic due to small corpus sizes and the lack of suitable methods. This book proposes such methods, making a strong point for data-driven approaches while exploring the diachronic and sociolinguistic variation of productivity in word formation. Specifically, the study focuses on the native suffix -ness and its Romance-based counterpart -ity, analysing data from 15th to 18th letters, 18thcentury letters, and the BNC. In order to obtain valid results, the author combines statistical and visualization methods which are already established in other research traditions, and complements these with original software. Apart from presenting interesting findings in the field of historical sociolinguistics, she provides methodological...


  1. Suomela, J. (2007). types1: type and hapax accumulation curves. Computer program. ZENODO. doi: 10.528/zenodo.9860.
  2. The British National Corpus (BNC) (2007). Version 3 (BNC XML Edition). Distributed by Oxford University Computing Services on behalf of the BNC Consortium. (accessed 01 April 2015).

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English Language and LinguisticsInstitute of English and American Studies, Heinrich-Heine-UniversityDuesseldorfGermany

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