The paper addresses the general issue of linguistic change in the typical language contact context of Canada by adopting two interrelated research procedures, namely the linguistic diagnostics and related methodologies and the interpretative theory of ecolinguistics. It will first deal with the process of decategorialization or the shift from one category status to another the word green has been undergoing over the past decades in present-day English. Based on electronic corpora, a quantitative analysis of its long-term history is provided using the framework of adjective functions proposed by Biber et al. (1999) and reasserted by Aarts (2007: 106). The results observed so far indicate that the word is losing its ‘prototypical’ features and acquiring an ‘in-between’ status as grammatical category which is also determined by its changing use in different genres and registers. These early findings are set against a wider theoretical framework involving both descriptive linguistic approaches (syntactic gradience and grammaticalization theory) and new explanatory paradigms (language contact and change, ecolinguistics) which relate language systems and behaviors to the environment they are used and practiced in.
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