Language Change Can Be Traced Using Gigantic Text Archives
The gigantic newspaper archives contain news and feature articles as well as editorials and commercial and classified advertisements. Together they comprise tens of billions of words. In his dissertation in English linguistics, Donald MacQueen has examined the word million in English, especially how language usage shifted from the previously nearly totally dominant “five millions of inhabitants” to today’s “five million inhabitants.” With the help of these electronic collections of texts that only recently became available, he has succeeded in pinning down when and where the modern expression began to take over.
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