Sociolinguistics and Corpus Linguistics

Sociolinguistics and Corpus Linguistics

Sociolinguistics and Corpus Linguistics

Sociolinguistics and Corpus Linguistics

Synopsis

Corpus linguistics and sociolinguistics have a great deal in common in terms of their basic approaches to language enquiry, particularly in terms of providing representative samples from a population and analysing quantitative information in order to study variation or differences between populations. It is therefore surprising that these two areas of linguistics are not utilised in concert more often. This book covers the range of ways in which corpora can be gainfully employed in sociolinguistic enquiry, critically discussing corpus analytical procedures such as frequencies, collocations, dispersions, keywords, key keywords and concordances. Aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate students of sociolinguistics, or corpus linguists who wish to use corpora to study social phenomena, it examines how corpora can be used to investigate synchronic variation and diachronic change by referring to a number of classic corpus-based studies as well as the author's original research. Subjects covered include:
• Corpus building and annotation
• Exploiting existing corpora
• Corpus analytical tools and procedures
• Speaker variation (age, gender and social class)• Englishes around the world
• Diachronic change
• Interpersonal communication
• Discourse and ideologies
• Making interpretations
• Limitations of the corpus approach and combining corpus analysis with other methodologies.

Excerpt

Over the past twenty or so years, an approach to the study of language referred to as corpus linguistics has largely become accepted as an important and useful mode of linguistic inquiry. While corpora (or large collections of computerised texts, usually carefully sampled in order to be representative of a particular language variety) were first mainly used as aids to lexicography and pedagogy, they have more recently been deployed for a wider range of purposes. To illustrate, a sample of recent publications in linguistics includes Words and Phrases: Corpus Studies of Lexical Semantics (Stubbs 2001), Corpora in Applied Linguistics (Hunston 2002), Corpus Stylistics (Semino and Short 2004), Introducing Corpora in Translation Studies (Olohan 2004), Using Corpora in Discourse Analysis (Baker 2006), Corpora in Cognitive Linguistics: CorpusBased Approaches to Syntax and Lexis (Gries 2006), Corpus-Based Approaches to Metaphor and Metonymy (Stefanowitsch and Gries 2006) and Corpus Linguistics Beyond the Word: Corpus Research from Phrase to Discourse (Fitzpatrick 2007). What readers might note from this list is the absence of a book to date which details a corpus-based approach to sociolinguistics. Such a pairing has not been completely ignored. In their early overview of the field, McEnery and Wilson (1996) have a short section on corpora and sociolinguistics, which mainly discusses what is possible, rather than what has been done (at that point there was little to report), while Hunston (2002: 159–61) discusses how corpora can be used in order to describe sociolinguistic, diachronic and register variation. Additionally, Beeching (2006) has a short chapter on the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of sociolinguistic corpora in an edited collection by Wilson et al. These sections of books point to the fact that some form of ‘corpus sociolinguistics’ is possible, although it might appear that corpus linguistics has made only a relatively small impact on sociolinguistics.

The main question that this book seeks to answer is: how can corpus linguistics methods be used gainfully in order to aid sociolinguistic research? This book is therefore written for the sociolinguist who would like to know more about corpus techniques, and for the corpus linguist who wants to investigate sociolinguistic problems. Occurring somewhere between these two imaginary researchers are readers who may have little experience of either corpora or sociolinguistics, or readers who may know quite a bit about both. The challenge when writing a book that combines two fields is to try to keep a potentially diverse audience interested without making too many . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.