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May 23, 2013

Science & Research

Computer research project shows shift in English language

Teaching-English"Here's an interesting one for you English language history buffs

University of Illinois English professor Ted Underwood recently wrapped up a research project involving more than 4,200 books. Since that work revealed dramatic shifts in the English language between the 18th and 19th centuries, he’s now expanding his research to include more than 470,000 books—almost every English language book written during that era and preserved in a university library.


He initially set out simply to confirm his hunch that the English language acquired a bit of starchiness around 1800. “There’s a very Latinate diction that sets in around that time,” he says. “I had a vague sense that written English became more formal. For example, you no longer ‘need’ something; you ‘require’ it.”

Read the full article from R & D Mag.

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