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Nicholas Smith and Cathleen Waters

Abstract

The aims of this paper are twofold: i) to present the motivation and design of a sociohistorical corpus derived from the popular BBC Radio show, Desert Island Discs (DID); and ii) to illustrate the potential of the DID corpus (DIDC) with a case study. In an era of ever-increasing digital resources and scholarly interest in recent language change, there remains an enormous disparity between available written and spoken corpora. We describe how a corpus derived from DID contributes to redressing the balance. Treating DID as an example of a specialized register, namely, a ‘biographical chat show’, we review its attendant situational characteristics, and explain the affordances and design features of a sociolinguistic corpus sampling of the show. Finally, to illustrate the potential of DIDC for linguistic exploration of recent change, we conduct a case study on two pronouns with generic, impersonal reference, namely you and one.

Open access

Vasiliki Simaki, Carita Paradis and Andreas Kerren

Abstract

This paper offers a formally driven quantitative analysis of stance-annotated sentences in the Brexit Blog Corpus (BBC). Our goal is to identify features that determine the formal profiles of six stance categories (contrariety, hypotheticality, necessity, prediction, source of knowledge and uncertainty) in a subset of the BBC. The study has two parts: firstly, it examines a large number of formal linguistic features, such as punctuation, words and grammatical categories that occur in the sentences in order to describe the specific characteristics of each category, and secondly, it compares characteristics in the entire data set in order to determine stance similarities in the data set. We show that among the six stance categories in the corpus, contrariety and necessity are the most discriminative ones, with the former using longer sentences, more conjunctions, more repetitions and shorter forms than the sentences expressing other stances. necessity has longer lexical forms but shorter sentences, which are syntactically more complex. We show that stance in our data set is expressed in sentences with around 21 words per sentence. The sentences consist mainly of alphabetical characters forming a varied vocabulary without special forms, such as digits or special characters.

Open access

Anni Sairio, Samuli Kaislaniemi, Anna Merikallio and Terttu Nevalainen

Abstract

Research into orthography in the history of English is not a simple venture. The history of English spelling is primarily based on printed texts, which fail to capture the range of variation inherent in the language; many manuscript phenomena are simply not found in printed texts. Manuscript-based corpora would be the ideal research data, but as this is resource-intensive, linguists use editions that have been produced by non-linguists. Many editions claim to retain original spellings, but in practice text is always normalized at the graph level and possibly more so. This does not preclude using such a corpus for orthographical research, but there has been no systematic way to determine the philological reliability of an edited text. In this paper we present a typological methodology we are developing for the evaluation of orthographical quality of edition-based corpora, with the aim of making the best use of bad data in the context of editions and manuscript practices. As a case study, we apply this methodology to the Early Modern and Late Modern English sections of the Corpus of Early English Correspondence.

Open access

Amer Delić and Alma Jahić Jašić

Abstract

This study examined the syntactic and semantic complexity of L2 English writing in a Bosnian-Herzegovinian high school. Forty texts written by individual students, ten per grade, were quantitatively analyzed by applying methods established in previous research. The syntactic portion of the analysis, based on the t-unit analysis introduced by Hunt (1965), was done using the Web-based L2 Syntactic Complexity Analyzer (Lu, 2010), while the semantic portion, largely based on the theory laid out in systemic functional linguistics (Halliday & Matthiessen, 2014), was done using the Web-based Lexical Complexity Analyzer (Ai & Lu, 2010) as well as manual identification of grammatical metaphors. The statistical analysis included tests of variance, correlation, and effect size. It was found that the syntactic and semantic complexity of writing increases in later grades; however, this increase is not consistent across all grades.

Open access

Mirna Erk

Abstract

Current understanding of second language acquisition processes is based on the position that second language learners rely and depend on their L1 as well as on all of their language-related experience. This paper presents results of a questionnaire study aimed to explore Croatian EFL instructors’ beliefs about the role of L1 in English language development and formal instruction. Data was further analysed in order to explore variables most likely to impact instructors’ belief systems (participants’ age and academic degree, students’ language level, learning setting). The findings point to a lack of professional consensus with regard to L1 use which is discussed and followed by practical implications.

Open access

Olesia Yehorova and Antonina Prokopenko

Abstract

As the constituents of thoughts, concepts play a key role in human’s categorisation and interpretation of the surrounding world, in fixing our cognitive experience and forming individual judgements. The paper considers the representation of the nationally biased (ethno-specific) concept maidan as one of those functioning not only in Ukrainian but also in pan-European and global socio-political discourses of the recent years. Specifically, leaning on lexicographic data the study focuses on reconstructing the notional layer (informative core) of the concept and on identifying the differences of its content as featured in kin Slavic (Ukrainian and Russian) and distant Germanic (English and German) languages and linguocultures. The paper suggests a consecutive methodology based on lexicographic methods of analysis. Such methodology helps to define the sets of notional conceptual features subjected to further comparative interpretation. The procedures described in this paper give way to subsequent stages of conceptual analysis and discourse representations. The paper also provides preliminaries to the state of inconsistency between the systemic and utterance meanings of the language expressions of MAIDAN-concept that pose a limitation for comprehending the concept when transmitted to a different linguoculture

Open access

Albert Vermes

Abstract

This paper examines translator training programmes in Hungary and the USA. Programmes operated by different institutions reveal greater differences of structure and content in the US than in Hungary. Most US programmes offer training in Spanish-English translation/interpreting, with a number of European and Asian languages also available, whereas in Hungary the dominant foreign languages are English and German, with other languages having a relatively marginal role. The number of training programmes, relative to economic needs, seems adequate in Hungary, while in the US there are far fewer than would be needed, in view of employment growth projections