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By Tony McEnery

Corpus linguistics is the examine of language info on a wide scale - the computer-aided research of very wide collections of transcribed utterances or written texts. This textbook outlines the elemental tools of corpus linguistics, explains how the self-discipline of corpus linguistics built and surveys the most important ways to using corpus information. It makes use of a huge variety of examples to teach how corpus info has resulted in methodological and theoretical innovation in linguistics commonly. transparent and specified motives lay out the foremost problems with approach and concept in modern corpus linguistics. A established and coherent narrative hyperlinks the historic improvement of the sphere to present subject matters in 'mainstream' linguistics. useful projects and questions for dialogue on the finish of every bankruptcy motivate scholars to check their realizing of what they've got learn and an in depth thesaurus offers easy accessibility to definitions of technical phrases utilized in the textual content.

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Additional resources for Corpus Linguistics: Method, Theory and Practice

Example text

A more contentious manifestation of utilising only selected parts of a corpus arises when researchers use the corpus simply as a bank of examples to illustrate a theory they are developing – this is sometimes called corpus-informed research. This clearly does run counter to the scientific method, insofar as there is no attempt to account for the rest of the (potentially falsifying) evidence in the corpus. However, some researchers have articulated an interesting motivation for using corpora in such a fashion.

For example, without a corpus, we could certainly examine, and seek to describe, the use of non-finite verbs in English – many scholars have, for instance O’Dwyer (2006: 58–9). However, the number of examples of non-finite verbs that we could base our investigation on would remain relatively small, being limited by the hand-and-eye techniques that we would need to find them. With a suitable corpus of English, we would have at 27 28 accessing and analysing corpus data our disposal many thousands of words with which to conduct our study.

Boas 1940) often proceeded on the basis of analysing bodies of observed and duly recorded language data. g. Stern and Stern 1907) or else were based on large-scale studies of the observed utterances of many children (Templin 1957). From the mid-twentieth century, the impact of Chomsky’s views on data in linguistics promoted introspection as the main source of data in linguistics at the expense of observed data. Chomsky (interviewed by Andor 2004: 97) clearly disfavours the type of observed evidence that corpora consist of: Corpus linguistics doesn’t mean anything.

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