Choosing Words Type A: British vs. American wordsType B: Formal vs. Informal words Pram vs. Stroller WC vs. Bathroom Crisps vs. Potato chips Keen on vs. Excited about Spelt vs. Spelled Sneaked vs. Snuck Shall vs. Will Thought vs. Thunk Squeezed vs. Squoze Had drunk vs. Had drank
COCABNC sneaked763132 snuck62511 shrank917217 *had shrank20 had shrunk19347 *shrunk1090211 had drunk204134 had drank61 drank55951315 drunk88902162 keen on405626 excited about2877178 burned106961428 burnt840988 Compiling data from corpora
ARE THESE NUMBERS SIGNIFICANT? “The first question you are now faced with is how can you find out whether this distribution of modal auxiliaries is potentially important, i.e. whether, mathematically speaking, it is statistically significant. A distribution is said to be statistically significant if the likelihood that it has come about accidentally is below a certain level.” --ANATOL STEFANOWITSCH
Calculating Chi (X) Distribution of Two Verbs in Two Varieties of English BNCCOCA burned142810696 burnt988840 http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~anatol/qnt/qnt_dist.html 1.Add rows, columns and table for totals 2.Multiply row and column totals then divide by table total 3.Find the difference between observed and expected frequencies 4.Square it 5.Divide it by the observed frequency 6.Add up all four cell values for Chi value
Chi Results Type A: British vs. American words Type B: Formal vs. Informal words COCABNCCHI keen on4056261469.53 excited about 28877178 pram78266750.59 stroller7351 bathroom128982323531.59 WC155227 potato chips 7123733.72 crisps144378 windshield2695332016.17 windscreen189449 COCABNCCHI sneaked 76313274.41 snuck625 11 thought1740625368533.02 thunk21718 will72825224433117551.44 shall1500719814 dreamed4601731199 dreamt545272 burned1069614281982.25 burnt840988
Chi Significance df5.0%1.0%0.1% 13.8416.63510.828 25.9919.21013.816 37.81511.34516.266 49.48813.27718.467... Significance: Distribution of Two Verbs in Two Varieties of English BNCCOCAChi value burned13619844 burnt988840 Results: 1867.57
Percentages Distribution of Two Verbs in Two Varieties of English BNCCOCAChi value burned136198441867.57 burnt988840 British use burnt as a verb 42% of the time. Americans use burnt as a verb 8% of the time.
More Percentages Type A: British vs. American wordsType B: Formal vs. Informal words British %American % keen on781 excited about 2299 pram99.610 stroller.490 bathroom9199 WC91 potato chips183 crisps9917 windshield793 windscreen937 British %American % sneaked 9255 snuck 8 45 will9298 shall82 dreamed7389 dreamt2711 burned5993 burnt417
Conclusion: Yes, there is a significant difference between British and American word choice.
Future Work Compare other dialects of English Include more words Focus specifically on ending words with –t instead of –ed endings Research difference between spoken and written language