IDENTIFYING DISTRIBUTIONAL PATTERNS IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY PERIODICAL ESSAYS

Paul Brocklebank

Abstract

This paper investigates the distribution of words and clusters within a single corpus and across a pair of related corpora. With a corpus containing Samuel Johnson’s periodical essays as the target corpus and a corpus of Addison’s essays as the reference corpus, it is shown how standard techniques for identifying keywords can be extended to identifying distributional tendencies within texts at the levels of sentence, paragraph and whole section/essay. Supplementing the investigation with collocational and concordance data, the main keywords, including TO at sentence, AND at paragraph, BY at essay level, and the main three-word clusters at the various levels, are discussed. It is argued that the methods described are useful additions to the corpus stylistic researcher’s arsenal of techniques.

Keywords

corpus stylistics; lexical distributions; eighteenth-century essays; keywords; key clusters; Samuel Johnson

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https://doi.org/10.5817/DI2015-1-5


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