Morana Lukac, Tuesday 28 January, 4.00-5 pm

Linguistic attitudes in the media

In the absence of an English Academy in the UK, a linguistic complaint tradition arose which has served an important function in preserving the standard language ideology. My research, which is embedded in the Bridging the Unbridgeable project on prescriptivism in the English language, deals with linguistic complaints made by language pedants who regularly try to label certain usage features as ‘bad’ or ‘incorrect’, such as double negation, the split infinitive, dangling participles, etc. The argumentation strategies and the diachronic changes in the complaint tradition are identified in a specialized corpus of letters to the editor. In this presentation I describe the process of data collection and annotation, the results I obtained so far and the challenges I encountered in dealing with large-scale corpora.

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