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Abstract

In this article, we deal with similarity between epigenetic marks in the DNA and the so-called hapaxes in language. A grammar description based on hapax legomena is designed. We reflect hapax analysis of Czech language provided by Novotná (2013) and avoid random selection of the corpus. For this reason, we analyze the corpus of 12 authentic books from 12 authors who elaborated the theme “What’s new in…” concerning their field of science, assigned by Nová beseda publishing. By analyzing middle-sized corpus, we expected results similar to those in case of large-scale national corpus (see Novotná 2013). We chose to classify hapaxes into different categories in comparison to Novotná, yet the results show similar language productive categories. This kind of language potentiality seems to be analogical to epigenetic processes in biology, which is briefly introduced.

Abstract

In this article I discuss the issues and challenges of compiling a corpus of historical plays by a range of playwrights that is highly suitable for use in comparative, corpus-based research into language style in Shakespeare’s plays. In discussing sources for digitised historical play-texts and criteria for making a selection for the present study, I argue that not just any set of Early Modern English plays constitutes a suitable basis upon which to make reliable claims about language style in Shakespeare’s plays relative to those of his peers. I point out factors outside of authorial choice which potentially have bearing on language style, such as sub-genre features and change over time. I also highlight some particular difficulties in compiling a corpus of historical texts, notably dating and spelling variation, and I explain how these were addressed. The corpus detailed in this article extends the prospects for investigating Shakespeare’s language style by providing a context into which it can be set and, as I indicate, is a valuable new publicly accessible resource for future research.

Abstract

Corpus-based studies of learner language and (especially) English varieties have become more quantitative in nature and increasingly use regression-based methods and classifiers such as classification trees, random forests, etc. One recent development more widely used is the MuPDAR (Multifactorial Prediction and Deviation Analysis using Regressions) approach of Gries and Deshors (2014) and Gries and Adelman (2014). This approach attempts to improve on traditional regression- or tree-based approaches by, firstly, training a model on the reference speakers (often native speakers (NS) in learner corpus studies or British English speakers in variety studies), then, secondly, using this model to predict what such a reference speaker would produce in the situation the target speaker is in (often non-native speakers (NNS) or indigenized-variety speakers). Crucially, the third step then consists of determining whether the target speakers made a canonical choice or not and explore that variability with a second regression model or classifier.

Both regression-based modeling in general and MuPDAR in particular have led to many interesting results, but we want to propose two changes in perspective on the results they produce. First, we want to focus attention on the middle ground of the prediction space, i.e. the predictions of a regression/classifier that, essentially, are made non-confidently and translate into a statement such as ‘in this context, both/all alternants would be fine’. Second, we want to make a plug for a greater attention to misclassifications/-predictions and propose a method to identify those as well as discuss what we can learn from studying them. We exemplify our two suggestions based on a brief case study, namely the dative alternation in native and learner corpus data.

Abstract

In January 2018, the President of the Czech Republic was elected. Before that, each of the candidates communicated their intention to run for the office in a different kind of speech. By using selected characteristics we evaluate and compare these candidate speeches. Subsequently, we reflect on the possibilities of correlating the results of the election with data collected during the analysis.

Abstract

A description of living systems is still a topic of discussion among a number of disciplines. By an evaluation of the approaches, we get to an axis differentiating those that are indisputable in sense of dealing with verifiable and measurable phenomena. We thus also get to approaches that integrate particular extensions when dealing with the possibilities to describe living systems and processes. It is a task for biosemiotics to find connections of these approaches and thus ways to enrich each other or simply describe phenomena to the widest extent possible. One of the authors whose work is permeated by this idea is Howard Pattee. Inspired by his work, we discuss the options of description when talking about living systems and semiotic apparatuses. We do so by a formulation of two viewpoints that differ in questions of contextual dependency, interpretation and necessity of the existence of an autonomous agent as indispensable elements for the description of life phenomena.

Abstract

The precedent phenomenon is estimated as a productive source for creating the language game in the headlines of political media discourse. Headlines based on a language game draw the attention of the reader more quickly. There are often used precedent phenomena, understood as culturally loaded signs, known to a major part of the representatives of the same national community. That is a precedent phenomenon that may serve multiple purposes. We have focused on its effect applied in the headings. The coincidence of the background knowledge of the author and the reader contributes to the hidden influence on the images of politicians formed in the mind of the reader.