The Oxford History of the English Language

By Lynda Mugglestone | Go to book overview
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7
MAPPING CHANGE IN
TUDOR ENGLISH

Terttu Nevalainen

NOW, four hundred years on, Clerimont in Jonson's Epicoene is not too far off the mark when he thinks Corpusses are authors. Modern corpora (or corpuses) are structured collections of texts, both written and spoken. Different kinds are available for language studies. A multigenre corpus contains a variety of genres, and a single-genre corpus consists of only one, such as personal letters, pamphlets, or newspapers. Both types usually have multiple authors. Singleauthor corpora also exist, with the Shakespeare canon as a case in point. As corpora are usually digitized, it is easy to run searches for words and constructions in the texts they contain.

Over the last couple of decades, electronic corpora have greatly enriched the study of the history of the English language. Giving quick and easy access to a

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