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UCREL Corpus Research Seminar: From keyness to locking: Investigating similarities in the language of plays by Shakespeare and other contemporaneous playwrights using "lockwords" and "locked" semantic domains

Date: 9 May 2013 Time: 2.00-3:00 pm

Venue: FASS Meeting Room 3

UCREL Corpus Research Seminar

From keyness to locking: Investigating similarities in the language of plays by Shakespeare and other contemporaneous playwrights using "lockwords" and "locked" semantic domains.

Jane Demmen (LAEL, Lancaster University)

The investigation of words and other linguistic items occurring with comparatively low or high statistical frequency in one text or corpus compared to another - keyness - has become a popular method for comparing language styles. As Baker (2004: 249) points out, though, the orientation of keyness towards the differences between texts or corpora does not mean that similarities should be ignored. Similarities are also important, to contextualise language differences and avoid overstating them, and also to learn how language in particular text-types, genres or periods is typically characterised.

However, in most corpus stylistic studies which make use of keyness (e.g. to investigate the language styles of characters and/or authors), no attention is given to similarities. My recent PhD research makes a contribution towards filling this gap. In this presentation I will identify some empirically-based language similarities between a corpus of Shakespeare's First Folio and a reference corpus of other contemporaneous Early Modern English plays, using Baker's (2011) concept of "lockwords". I also extend the idea of statistical "locking" to words which group into semantic categories (domains). I will discuss what the data reveals about language preferences shared by Shakespeare and a group of his peers, and to what extent it is useful for stylistic analysis.

References

Baker, P. (2004) "Querying Keywords. Questions of Difference, Frequency, and Sense in Keywords Analysis". Journal of English Linguistics 32(4), 346-359.

Baker, P. (2011) "Times May Change, But We Will Always Have Money: Diachronic Variation in Recent British English". Journal of English Linguistics 39(1), 65-88.

Event website: http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/crs

Contact:

Who can attend: Anyone

 

Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Computing and Communications, Linguistics and English Language, University Centre for Computer Corpus Research on Language (UCREL)

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Graduate School, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
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United Kingdom

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