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I'd really appreciate any knowledge or advice on further reading about the following. Excuse my naivete- I am at the start of this investigation.

I'm studying an historical corpus and I have found a few examples of where the main uses of the morphology of a word changes through time. What i mean is, I have an intuition that the evolution of the most-common uses of morphologies works through three stages, something like

adj. despotic (describing things in the world)

concrete noun. despotism (naming a thing that happens in the world)

abstract noun. despotism (a theory or more abstract idea of how humans behave)

So in crude terms, let's say between 1700 and 1720 the adjective was most common. Then between 1730-60 the concrete noun despotism becomes more commonly used than the adjective. Then in 1780-1800 the noun starts to become embedded in more abstract contexts and becomes more abstract itself.

Okay I have gone on for longer than I thought, thank in advance for any insights on this.

John

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