Corpus Stylistics: Speech, Writing and Thought Presentation in a Corpus of English Writing

Corpus Stylistics: Speech, Writing and Thought Presentation in a Corpus of English Writing

Corpus Stylistics: Speech, Writing and Thought Presentation in a Corpus of English Writing

Corpus Stylistics: Speech, Writing and Thought Presentation in a Corpus of English Writing

Synopsis

This book combines stylistic analysis with corpus linguistics to present an innovative account of the phenomenon of speech, writing and thought presentation - commonly referred to as 'speech reporting' or 'discourse presentation'.This new account is based on an extensive analysis of a quarter-of-a-million word electronic collection of written narrative texts, including both fiction and non-fiction. The book includes detailed discussions of: The construction of this corpus of late twentieth-century written British narratives taken from fiction, newspaper news reports and (auto)biographies The development of a manual annotation system for speech, writing and thought presentation and its application to the corpus. The findings of a quantitive and qualitative analysis of the forms and functions of speech, writing and thought presentation in the three genres represented in the corpus. The findings of the analysis of a range of specific phenomena, including hypothetical speech, writing and thought presentation, embedded speech, writing and thought presentation and ambiguities in speech, writing and thought presentation. Two case studies concentrating on specific texts from the corpus. Corpus Stylistics shows how stylistics, and text/discourse analysis more generally, can benefit from the use of a corpus methodology and the authors' innovative approach results in a more reliable and comprehensive categorisation of the forms of speech, writing and thought presentation than have been suggested so far. This book is essential reading for linguists interested in the areas of stylistics and corpus linguistics.

Excerpt

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A revised model of speech, writing and thought presentation

One of the main aims of our study was to find out to what extent the Leech and Short (1981) model, which had been developed to account for the forms and functions of speech and thought presentation in literary prose, could be successfully and usefully applied to other written narrative genres. In this chapter we will show how, although we were able to account for a large part of our data on the basis of our original categories, we had to extend and refine Leech and Short's model in a number of ways in order to account for the variety of forms of SW&TP that we encountered while annotating our corpus. More specifically, (i) we added one new category to each of the speech and thought presentation scales, (ii) we introduced a separate writing presentation scale, and (iii) we introduced a number of subcategories or variants of existing categories. The result is, we hope, a much more robust and comprehensive framework for the analysis of SW&TP in general, even though further refinements will no doubt be needed as more genres are subjected to the kind of detailed and systematic analysis that we carried out on our corpus (see also Chapter 9). In any case, the developments detailed in this chapter demonstrate the insights that can be achieved in the process of manually annotating a corpus. In our case, this involved an individual researcher annotating a piece of data, others checking the initial annotation, and the whole team discussing the issues that arose. This process can lead to findings that are just as important as those that can be obtained once the annotated corpus is ready to be exploited. Moreover, these findings would have been difficult to achieve without the group discussions involved in arriving at the agreed annotations.

After introducing our new categories and sub-categories, we will also, at the end of this chapter, discuss the overall frequencies and distribution of speech, writing and thought presentation in the corpus as a whole and across its main sub-divisions.

3.1

New categories and a new presentational scale

As we mentioned in 1.1, existing models of discourse presentation have resulted from a traditional methodology whereby analysts hand pick

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