Lexical Change of Museum Press Releases
Language Change: Patterns of Growth, Decline, and Stability in Museum Press Releases
The chapter focuses on lexical change in museum press releases from 1950 onwards. Baker’s (Journal of English Linguistics 39(1): 65–88, 2011) method of distinguishing variation over time across corpora is applied and particular attention is placed on whether words show frequency increases or decreases, or remain stable. The analysis highlights a number of trends relating to linguistic and cultural change, including the emergence of new criteria in assessing the value of artists and artworks despite a certain consistency of subjects, the shift from one-item to multi-item exhibitions and the preference for more straightforward descriptions. For instance, the frequency of the noun landscape has remained stable over time, suggesting that this subject is consistent in art displays, while the artist’s career—a word whose frequency has increased—has become particularly valuable over time for museum professionals.
KeywordsPlural Form Lexical Variation Singular Form Past Participle Plural Noun
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