Academic journal article International Journal of English Studies

Target Frames in British Hotel Websites 1

Academic journal article International Journal of English Studies

Target Frames in British Hotel Websites 1

Article excerpt


This article centres on four-word phrase frames in British hospitality websites. Our aim is to identify those frames that are specific to this website genre, which we call target frames. Each phrase frame represents an identical sequence of words except for one variable word, that is A*BC or AB*D. The words that fill the slot, marked with an asterisk, are called fillers. We used a corpus-driven approach using KfNgram software to identify the phrase frames in our corpus (COMETVAL). We regard phrase frames as genre-specific when they are significantly more frequent than those found in the written section of the BNC, which represents General British English. We further filtered our selection of phrase frames by eliminating those which were not semantically homogenous with regard to the variable words they contained. Only in this way could the 76 phrase frames we identified be classified according to their primary discourse function. We contend that our study is a valuable addition to the literature on phraseology and can be of use in pedagogical and professional settings.

KEYWORDS: lexical bundle, phrase frame, target frame, hotel websites, corpus linguistics, discourse.


Este artículo estudia los marcos fraseológicos de cuatro palabras en sitios web de la hostelería británica. Nos proponemos identificar aquellos marcos fraseológicos que son específicos de dicho género, y que denominamos 'marcos meta'. Cada marco fraseológico representa una secuencia idéntica de palabras a excepción de un elemento variable, es decir A*BC o AB*D. Los elementos variables rellenan el lugar indicado por el asterisco. Para identificar de partida estos marcos en nuestro corpus (COMETVAL), se ha utilizado el programa KfNgram. Hemos considerado que estos marcos fraseológicos son representativos de un género solo cuando muestran una mayor frecuencia significativa que en inglés británico general, representado aquí por el subcorpus escrito del BNC. Además hemos filtrado estos marcos mediante la eliminación de aquellos que contenían elementos variables semánticamente heterogéneos. Sólo así podrían los 76 marcos fraseológicos representar una función discursiva distintiva. Sostenemos que nuestro estudio es una estimable contribución a la investigación fraseológica y puede ser de utilidad en contextos pedagógicos y profesionales.

PALABRAS CLAVE: paquete léxico, marco fraseológico, marco meta, sitios web de hoteles, lingüística de corpus, discurso.


There is an increasing interest in the role of phraseology in different types of discourse. A lot of research has been carried out on the importance of collocations and various other phraseological segments. Idioms, perhaps more than any other type of word sequence, have been central in phraseological studies, although it is widely acknowledged that their presence in general and specialised corpora which reflect native speech is minimal compared to the frequency of other phraseological segments (Biber, Conrad & Cortes, 2004). More recently, attention in research has turned towards so-called lexical bundles (LBs), which are "recurring sequence[s] of three or more words" (Biber et al. 1999: 990), such as the four-word bundles it is important to, on the other hand, as well as the, frequently found in academic writing, or I don't know if, I don't think so, you want me to, typical of spoken registers and also found in academic contexts (Biber, Conrad & Cortes, 2004). The methodology used to identify these sequences is frequency-driven and thus most of the sequences identified this way may strike us as unidiomatic and incomplete from a structural point of view, but they are seen to perform relevant specific functions in different registers.

It is undeniable that the phraseological approach has gained momentum ever since Sinclair (1991: 110), within the frame of corpus linguistics, stated the well-known 'idiom principle', which holds "[. …

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