Viruses and Complex Systems

Viruses can be used to apply to many different things, and in contemporary speech, the terms virus and viral have literally spread to an application that is far wider than the original senses of the word. To gather more data on the contemporary applications to both terms, I analyzed collocates surrounding these node words in the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), which is an excellent tool with many different sources of language data.


Sociolinguistics, especially within North America tends to focus on describing language variation in terms of different rule systems, often of a specific speech community. Labov pioneered this work specifically as system approaches to both external and internal mechanisms affecting and motivating language change (Principles of Linguistic Change, 1994, 2001). The goal is emphasized towards local settings for language, which is essentially a complex system and can be understood through this to make thorough and scientific assessments of language data at hand.

Historical Linguistics

Historical linguistics and complexity science would make a great pair. CS predicts the variation that is an inherent part of language and the history of a language. Both regional and specific populations within a group could and do develop different characteristics. Even the vocabulary that is used in a given language is a result of the interaction in the complex system.


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