In this chapter I provide a summary of the main points that this book has addressed in the previous six chapters, as well as considering potential further research directions for sociolinguists who want to use corpus methods. It is perhaps useful to begin with a brief reminder of the topics that this book has addressed. As this is a book about corpus approaches to language in use, it is interesting to see how such techniques would address this question. Table 7.1 shows the keywords (in order of strength) from a word list derived from the first six chapters of this book compared against the 1-million-word BE06 reference corpus. I have divided the keywords into two categories: those which show topics or concepts and those which are closed-class grammatical words and are more characteristic of academic writing, my own style1 and also the fact that I have discussed some of these words in detail – as is the case with ought,2 which occurs three-quarters of the time in Chapter 4 when I talk about declining modal verbs.
Table 7.2 shows the topic-related keywords for each of the first six chapters in the book. These keywords were derived by comparing a word list for each chapter against the other five chapters. For example, in order to derive the keywords for Chapter 2, I compared a word list of Chapter 2 against a word list of Chapters 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6. As well as being able to demonstrate what is distinctive in each chapter, these two
Table 7.1 Keywords from Chapters 1–6 when compared against the BE06