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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton April 4, 2012

A statistical analysis of regional variation in adverb position in a corpus of written Standard American English

Jack Grieve,


This paper investigates whether the position of adverb phrases in sentences is regionally patterned in written Standard American English, based on an analysis of a 25 million word corpus of letters to the editor representing the language of 200 cities from across the United States. Seven measures of adverb position were tested for regional patterns using the global spatial autocorrelation statistic Moran's I and the local spatial autocorrelation statistic Getis-Ord Gi*. Three of these seven measures were indentified as exhibiting significant levels of spatial autocorrelation, contrasting the language of the Northeast with language of the Southeast and the South Central states. These results demonstrate that continuous regional grammatical variation exists in American English and that regional linguistic variation exists in written Standard English.

Published Online: 2012-04-04
Published in Print: 2012-05-25

©[2012] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston