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Languages 2017, 2(4), 26; doi:10.3390/languages2040026

Indian English Evolution and Focusing Visible Through Power Laws

1
Centre for Research in Language Development throughout the Lifespan (LaDeLi), Department of Languages and Linguistics, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK
2
Department of Mathematics, Clarkson University, 8 Clarkson Ave., Potsdam, NY 13699-5815, USA
3
Department of Biology, Clarkson University, 8 Clarkson Ave., Potsdam, NY 13699-5815, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Usha Lakshmanan and Osmer Balam
Received: 19 August 2017 / Revised: 1 November 2017 / Accepted: 20 November 2017 / Published: 24 November 2017
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Abstract

New dialect emergence and focusing in language contact settings is difficult to capture and date in terms of global structural dialect stabilization. This paper explores whether diachronic power law frequency distributions can provide evidence of dialect evolution and new dialect focusing, by considering the quantitative frequency characteristics of three diachronic Indian English (IE) corpora (1970s–2008). The results demonstrate that IE consistently follows power law frequency distributions and the corpora are each best fit by Mandelbrot’s Law. Diachronic changes in the constants are interpreted as evidence of lexical and syntactic collocational focusing within the process of new dialect formation. Evidence of new dialect focusing is also visible through apparent time comparison of spoken and written data. Age and gender-separated sub-corpora of the most recent corpus show minimal deviation, providing apparent time evidence for emerging IE dialect stability. From these findings, we extend the interpretation of diachronic changes in the β coefficient—as indicative of changes in the degree of synthetic/analytic structure—so that β is also sensitive to grammaticalization and changes in collocational patterns. View Full-Text
Keywords: language contact; power laws; World English; Indian English; diachronic; corpus linguistics; lexical diversity; dialect formation language contact; power laws; World English; Indian English; diachronic; corpus linguistics; lexical diversity; dialect formation
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Chand, V.; Kapper, D.; Mondal, S.; Sur, S.; Parshad, R.D. Indian English Evolution and Focusing Visible Through Power Laws. Languages 2017, 2, 26.

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