Sociolinguistics and Corpus Linguistics

By Paul Baker | Go to book overview

Chapter 2
Corpora and sociolinguistic variation

INTRODUCTION

This chapter considers how corpus linguists have tried to answer questions about the waysu in which different types of people use language. Such studies have often used spoken corpus data (although it is possible also to consider written corpora) where speakers have been annotated with reference to demographic variables such as sex, age and social class. Additionally, I take a first look at Biber’s influential multi-dimensional analysis approach, a method of identifying the main ways that various registers in a particular language differ from each other. Biber’s approach crops up at various points in later chapters, so it is useful to outline it here. I then consider studies using corpora that have been annotated with phonetic or prosodic information in order to describe or compare the language use of speakers of different dialects or ethnolects. The chapter also contains a warning about the dangers of over-interpreting simple frequencies and the need to provide an explanation for differences.


DEMOGRAPHIC VARIATION

The variationist approach in sociolinguistics is typified by researchers like Labov (1966, 1972b), Cheshire (1982), Trudgill (1984) and Milroy and Milroy (1993). In general, the language use of one or more identity groups is charted by examining the presence (or non-presence) of particular linguistic variables. Such variables can be prosodic, phonetic, lexical, grammatical, discoursal or pragmatic. Written or spoken language production can be examined, although many sociolinguists have tended to focus on spoken language use. Language users are often divided into one or more discrete demographic categories based on the identities that they hold. For example, using sex as a variable, we could compare male speakers against female speakers. Many sociolinguistic studies attempt to take multiple variables into account, for example, categorising people according to combinations of sex, age, social class, occupation, geographic location, sexuality etc.

One approach that has been taken by some variationists is to elicit data. For example, in a famous study, Labov (1966) visited three Manhattan department

-31-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Sociolinguistics and Corpus Linguistics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vii
  • Tables viii
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Corpora and Sociolinguistic Variation 31
  • Chapter 3 - Diachronic Variation 57
  • Chapter 4 - Synchronic Variation 81
  • Chapter 5 - Corpora and Interpersonal Communication 102
  • Chapter 6 - Uncovering Discourses 121
  • Chapter 7 - Conclusion 146
  • References 157
  • Appendix 169
  • Notes 179
  • Index 183
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 190

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.