The Integration of MILLION into the English System of Number Words

A Diachronic Study

by Donald S. MacQueen (Author)
©2010 Thesis XXII, 298 Pages
Series: English Corpus Linguistics, Volume 11


This corpus study traces the history of MILLION in English. It focuses on the shift in word class/function from noun/noun-phrase head (three millions of dollars) to determinative/determiner (three million dollars). A chapter on morphosyntax/semantics probes the natural word class and function of number words and their historical categorization. A composite international diachronic corpus is used to map a broad taxonomy of MILLION phrases, and very-large-scale digital American and British newspaper archives are used to show when and where the syntactic shift took place. The tens of billions of datable words in these sources yield such robust results that key phases in the shift can be traced in unprecedented detail, uncovering surprising patterns in American/British differences and an avoidance strategy in the use of numeral and number-word expressions. Retarding and accelerating factors are treated in separate chapters.


XXII, 298
ISBN (Hardcover)
number words numerals natural word class language change
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2010. XXII, 298 pp., num. tables and graphs

Biographical notes

Donald S. MacQueen (Author)

The Author: Donald Sims MacQueen was born in Dearborn, Michigan (USA). He graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1967. He was a foreign lecturer at the Uppsala University Department of English in Sweden from 1969 to 2006 and was director of undergraduate studies there from 1993 to 2001. The author holds a Ph.D. in English linguistics from Uppsala University.


Title: The Integration of MILLION into the English System of Number Words