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Metalinguistic comments and signals

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Abstract

Many neologies receive a large amount of metalinguistic focus during their conventionalization. This includes explicit metalinguistic comments, as well as several ways of emphasizing a new word qua word in running texts, so-called metasignals (e.g., quotation marks). This article reports from a large quantitative study of 360 Swedish neologies. It investigates the nature and the amount of metafocus during conventionalization. More than 96% of the neologies received metafocus at least once, but the mean proportion of metafocused citations was low, just under 3.5%. Metafocusing is likely to be more intense in early phases and is likely to decline over time. No long-term effects of metafocusing on the conventionalization process itself were found in corpus data.

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Keywords: conventionalization; corpus data; metafocus; metalinguistic comments; metasignals; neologies

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 31, 2018

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