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Exploring discourse and ideology through corpora


Edited By Miguel Fuster Márquez, José Santaemilia, Carmen Gregori-Signes and Paula Rodríguez-Abruñeiras

This book explores discourse mainly through corpus linguistics methods. Indeed, Corpus-Assisted Discourse Studies has become a widely used approach for the critical (or non-critical) analysis of discourses in recent times. The book focuses on the analysis of different kinds of discourse, but most particularly on those which attempt to unveil social attitudes and values. Although a corpus methodology is deemed crucial in all research found here, it should not be inferred that a single, uniform technique is applied, but a wide variety of them, often shaped by the software which has been used. Also, more than one (qualitative or quantitative) methodology or drawing from various relevant sources is often called for in the critical analysis of discourses.

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Analysing the impacts of 19th-century drought: A corpus-based study: Tony McEnery, Helen Baker and Carmen Dayrell

Tony McEnery, Helen Baker and Carmen Dayrell


In the 19th century, the United Kingdom had no equivalent institution to the Environment Agency and there was no national system which formally recorded occurrences of drought. Consequently, environmental scientists have much to learn about the nature, extent and representation of drought events in 19th-century Britain. In this study, we will explore whether it is possible to use corpus-based discourse analysis to reconstruct climate records and hence fill in some of these holes in our knowledge, specifically through the application of corpus methods to historical newspaper data. Using this approach we want to establish that corpora can help us to i) identify drought events; ii) construct a narrative of those events and iii) understand the impacts that drought had on society at the time.

The climate of the United Kingdom is often described as wet or rainy but, in reality, the country is vulnerable to water shortage.1 Droughts are not necessarily caused by lack of rainfall alone and can be worsened by variables such as the rate of water consumption and the efficiency of the water-supply infrastructure. Expanding our knowledge of historical climate conditions will enable hydrologists to ←47 | 48→uncover patterns in drought events of the past and to better understand public attitudes surrounding water scarcity, thus improving our resilience to drought as a society.

To achieve these goals we use close reading, via the scrutiny of concordances and scans of the original hard copies of the newspapers, both to establish data quality and to...

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