Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton April 12, 2011

Variation in morphological productivity in the BNC: Sociolinguistic and methodological considerations

  • Tanja Säily EMAIL logo
From the journal


The first aim of this work is to examine gender-based variation in the productivity of the nominal suffixes -ness and -ity in present-day British English. Possible interpretations are presented for the findings that -ity is used less productively by women, while with -ness there is no gender difference. The second aim is to analyse the validity of hapax-based measures of productivity in sociolinguistic research. It is discovered that they require a significantly larger corpus than type-based ones, and that the category-conditioned degree of productivity P is unusable when comparing subcorpora based on social groups. Otherwise, hapax legomena remain a theoretically well-founded component of productivity measures.

Published Online: 2011-04-12
Published in Print: 2011-May

© 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/New York

Downloaded on 29.5.2023 from
Scroll to top button