Target Frames in British Hotel Websites 1

By Fuster-Márquez, Miguel; Pennock-Speck, Barry | International Journal of English Studies, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Target Frames in British Hotel Websites 1


Fuster-Márquez, Miguel, Pennock-Speck, Barry, International Journal of English Studies


1. INTRODUCTION

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 "[...] that a language user has available to him or her a large number of semi-preconstructed phrases that constitute single choices, even though they might appear to be analysable into segments." Sinclair's idiom principle was crucial since it underscored that many of the open choices, as viewed by earlier linguists without the empirical support of corpus analysis, were definitely less relevant in language than the idiomatic (phraseological) choices that the analysis of corpora was able to unveil. Sinclair also highlighted the inadequacy of viewing lexis and grammar as separate components in language analysis. Many other corpus linguists, such as Römer (2010: 95), have claimed that word sequences rather than isolated words are the main meaning-carrier units. Similarly, Baker (2011: 238) has remarked that: "lexis and grammar mingle very closely in the specification of the extended units of meaning which are arguably the main vehicles of our expression and understanding."

The interest in fixed sequences such as LBs has a starting point in corpus linguistics with Biber et al.'s publication of the Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English in 1999. This, in turn, has generated a plethora of recent publications on 'discontinuous' word sequences that ran parallel to studies of LBs (see Biber, 2009; Fuster-Márquez, 2014; Grabowski, 2013; Gray & Biber, 2013; Römer 2009, 2010). However, discontinuous sequences have not gone unnoticed by linguists outside corpus linguistics. Thus, as far back as the 60s, Lyons (1968: 178), for whom phraseology was not a major issue, notes the existence of sequences such as for *'s sake, which he classified as phrase-schemas, where different words may fill the slot (his, my mother, etc.).

For their part, Sinclair and Renouf (1988: 154) became interested in three-word sequences that they called discontinuous frameworks. For example, a ... of would typically attract items such as lot, kind, number, sort, couple, matter, bit, series, piece, member. Cortes (2002: 134) claims that the status of these discontinuous frameworks is structurally and semantically contentious. By contrast, longer word sequences considerably narrow down the possibilities of variation and provide more congruous sequences, particularly when one analyses different genres separately.

More recently, Tucker (1996) analysed sequences such as haven't the * idea, which admits different insertions, faintest, foggiest, slightest, etc., without significant change of meaning. …

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