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Approaching Language Variation through Corpora

A Festschrift in Honour of Toshio Saito


Edited By Shunji Yamazaki and Robert Sigley

This book is a collection of papers using samples of real language data (corpora) to explore variation in the use of English. This collection celebrates the achievements of Toshio Saito, a pioneer in corpus linguistics within Japan and founder of the Japan Association for English Corpus Studies (JAECS).
The main aims throughout the collection are to present practical solutions for methodological and interpretational problems common in such research, and to make the research methods and issues as accessible as possible, to educate and inspire future researchers. Together, the papers represent many different dimensions of variation, including: differences in (frequency of) use under different linguistic conditions; differences between styles or registers of use; change over time; differences between regional varieties; differences between social groups; and differences in use by one individual on different occasions. The papers are grouped into four sections: studies considering methodological problems in the use of real language samples; studies describing features of language usage in different linguistic environments in modern English; studies following change over time; and case studies illustrating variation in usage for different purposes, or by different groups or individuals, in society.


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Emeritus Professor Toshio Saito - 9


Emeritus Professor Toshio Saito TOSHIO SAITO (born 1933) received his BA, MA, and PhD from Osaka University, where he worked as professor and dean of the Faculty of Language and Culture until 1996 when he became Emeritus Professor at Osaka University. After teaching three years at Himeji Dokkyo University, he took the position of professor and dean at Daito Bunka University until his retirement in 2003. He served as president of the Japan Association for English Corpus Studies (JAECS) for eight years from 1993 to 2001. He was awarded the Emperor’s medal, the Order of the Sacred Treasure, in recognition of his long-term contribution to education and research in 2011. Saito’s main research interest has been in English historical/dia- chronic linguistics, especially in syntactic developments from Old English to the present day. His papers, written both in English and Japanese, include studies of the syntactic development of relative pronouns, interrogative pronouns, gerunds, infinitives, and changes in word order. His first published paper, “The Development of the Rela- tive Pronouns in Modern Colloquial English” (1961), was a statistical survey based on a one-genre corpus (though not an electronic corpus) of 49 British plays from 1560 to 1958. All his papers on syntactic change were based on manually collected data up until the release of the Helsinki Corpus in 1991. His diachronic research on these specific syntactic features also led him to investigate the possibility of more general stylistic change in English writings. In the 1970s he spent several years studying the...

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