Date of Award

8-1-2015

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Charkova, Krassimira

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the occurrence of five Internet-based neologisms in the Global Web-based English corpus (GloWbE) (Davies, 2013), which includes data from six Inner Circle countries, where English is spoken as a native language, and 14 Outer Circle countries, where English has historically acquired an official status alongside the local languages (Kachru, 1985). Three of the target words (download, upload, and tweet) can function as verbs and nouns, whereas the other two (hashtag and app/s) only occur as nouns in the GloWbE corpus. Each word was examined in terms of its frequency of occurrence in the entire corpus and in each of the 20 countries. Then, the frequencies for the Inner and Outer Circle countries were collapsed and compared. For the first three words, which can be both verbs and nouns, separate searches were conducted in order to generate frequency statistics for the occurrence of the verbs and the nouns. Finally, the most frequent noun collocates for the verbs and the most frequent adjective collocates for the nouns were generated and analyzed. The data analysis revealed that in terms of overall frequency, the most frequently used was download, followed by tweet and upload, the latter showing the lowest frequency of the three. In addition, the statistics per million words showed higher frequencies for download and upload in the Outer Circle countries, whereas for tweet, higher frequencies per million words were observed in the Inner Circle countries. The most common noun collocates for the verb download included music, apps, and files, whereas upload and tweet most commonly occurred with photos and pictures. On the other hand, hashtag and app/s occurred only as nouns in the GloWbE corpus. Of the two, app/s showed a much higher frequency than hashtag, and in fact had the highest frequency statistics of the five words. The statistics per million words for the Inner and Outer Circles showed a consistent pattern, where the occurrence of both nouns per million words was at a higher rate in the Inner Circle than in the Outer Circle. The most common adjective collocates for app/s referred to different types, such as mobile apps, native apps, and third-party apps, whereas the adjectives modifying hashtag revealed a preference for new, popular, trending, and relevant hashtags. Overall, this study has revealed how five Internet-based neologisms occur in World Englishes in terms of frequencies, functions, and common collocates, which in turn suggested similarities and differences at the cultural and social level. It also invites further investigation of the GloWbE corpus, which as described by Davies and Fuchs (2015), offers numerous opportunities for comparisons among the different varieties of World English in terms of lexical, morphological, syntactic, and discourse variations.

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