Newspapers, Politics, and Canadian English

A Corpus-based Analysis of Selected Linguistic Variables in Early Nineteenth-century Ontario Newspapers

The study systematically analyzes the influence of political affiliation on early 19th-century Canadian English. By correlating the political allegiances of Canadian newspapers from this period with their usage of selected linguistic variables, a political dimension is added to the existing body of research on real-time diachronic studies on the development of Canadian English.

In order to verify the linguistic assumptions postulated on the basis of the language-external political history, this study employs a corpus of early 19th-century Ontario newspapers (CENCONE) which is stratified along political lines into Tory and Whig papers with a temporal division into three years (1810, 1835, and 1860). These years have been selected with major political events in mind that most decisively shaped the history of the former British colony: the ‘War of 1812ʼ, the ‘Rebellion of 1837/38ʼ and the ‘Canadian Confederationʼ of 1867.