Ling 131: Language & Style
Topic 6 (session A) - Style and Style variation > Authorial and text style > Task B
|Style Variation in USA|
|Language Variation: Dialect|
|Language Variation: Register|
|Style Variation in a poem|
|Style: What is it?|
|Authorial and text style|
|Style Variation Checksheet|
|Topic 6 'tool' summary|
Authorial and Text Style
Task B - Comparing sentence lengths
Now we have some initial impressions, let's do a little bit of elementary statistical work to begin to characterise the styles of the different writers. As styles have to do with overall tendencies in writing, quantitative analysis will often be revealing (though we should remember that as the passages we are looking at are small - in order to keep your workload down - the statistical work we do will be limited and illustrative rather than conclusive).
For each passage, count the number of words in each sentence and record them by filling in the relevant cells in the table below. How does what you find correlate with your initial impressions of the styles of the different passages? Compare your conclusions with ours below. You can find a link to the passages under 'Useful Links' on the left hand menu.
Note that, for comparative purposes, we have given you a sentence length average 'norm' for prose writing, calculated in the 1970s by a Swedish linguist called Ellegård. His "norm" was based on a 1 million words corpus of 20th century American English writing called the Brown Corpus (the corpus was collected at Brown University in 1964).
A Statistical Comparison of the Passages