To ish or not to ish?

In English, new adjectives can be coined by adding the suffix -ish. For instance, one can describe someone who acts like Arnold Schwarzenegger as Schwarzeneggerish. This paper investigates how the use of -ish is influenced by text characteristics (genre, formality) and author characteristics (gender, age). We used two corpora, the British National Corpus and the Blog Authorship Corpus. From our analyses of variance (ANOVAs) and logistic regression models, we learned that for the use of -ish it is probably more important what type of text you are writing than who you are. We also concluded that this type of research is seriously hampered by the absence of the kind of metadata needed for our type of research.

Reference: Daphne Theijssen, Hans van Halteren, Tip Boonpiyapat, Anna Lohfink, Bas Ruiter and Hans Westerbeek (2010). To ish or not to ish? To appear in: Paola Monachesi, Thomas Markus and Eline Westerhout (eds.), Computational Linguistics in the Netherlands 2010.
Paper (pdf; 172kB) ; BibTeX

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