The application of growth curve modeling for the analysis of diachronic corpora

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  • University of Manchester
  • University of South Carolina


This paper introduces growth curve modeling for the analysis of language change in corpus linguistics. In addition to describing growth curve modeling, which is a regression-based method for studying the dynamics of a set of variables measured over time, we demonstrate the technique through an analysis of the relative frequencies of words that are increasing or decreasing over time in a multi-billion word diachronic corpus of Twitter. This analysis finds that increasing words tend to follow a trajectory similar to the s-curve of language change, whereas decreasing words tend to follow a decelerated trajectory, thereby showing how growth curve modeling can be used to uncover and describe underlying patterns of language change in diachronic corpora.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-125
JournalLanguage Dynamics and Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • corpus linguistics , language change , word frequency , regression , growth curve modeling , time series , diachronic corpus , s-curve of language change