Combining corpus linguistic and discourse analytic methods to do language research: A case study of some recent political speak


I will discuss methodology in language research. In particular, I hope to show the benefits of combining, and shunting between, corpus linguistic and discourse analytic methods. A big data approach, corpus linguistics methods use computational processing power to aid the analysis of large amounts of authentic language data where this data is navigated in a fragmented manner with a belief that language behaviour is patterned and that this patterned behaviour can be observed in the corpus as a recurrence of words, phrases and other smaller and larger constructions. Discourse analysis involves a holistic approach to language events with due consideration given to the situational and cultural contexts in which they occur. It should be stressed that a great many traditions of quite different discourse analysis exist.

For the purposes of illustrating the above, I will use a recent study of my own concerning the emergent construction first person grammatical subject + be + clear + 'that'-clause in British political speak (e.g. A Conservative spokeswoman said: We have been very clear that as part of the Brexit negotiations, we want to agree a deep and special partnership between the UK and the EU). As I will show using corpus methods, this construction is peculiar in that it only enters into the English language with any frequency in the last decade or two, primarily in the field of politics both parliamentary debates and news interviews with politicians. I provide a discourse analysis of an example of the latter of these, an interview of the British Conservative MP and Leave campaigner, Priti Patel, on BBC Radio 4, a week before the UKs EU Referendum. Based on this analysis, I speculate that the meaning expressed by this new construction, the motive for its introduction into the language, is to mitigate blame which may be attributed to the speaker by implying a consistency of their past and current actions, thoughts and intentions as chiefly conveyed in their public statements. This guides a subsequent corpus analysis which provides support for the aforementioned claim.

Föreläsare: Ben Clarke, Department of Applied IT, Division of Cognition and Communication

Datum: 2018-05-23

Tid: 13:15 - 15:00

Kategorier: IT

Plats: Thanos, hus Patricia, Forskningsgången 6, Campus Lindholmen, Göteborg

Kontaktperson: Jan Ljungberg

Sidansvarig: |Sidan uppdaterades: 2012-10-29

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