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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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MASAHIRO HORI Approaching Literature as a Corpus: Gender-Based Conversational Styles in Hemingway’s ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ - 347


MASAHIRO HORI Approaching Literature as a Corpus: Gender-Based Conversational Styles in Hemingway’s ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ 1. Introduction1 Several researchers have argued that a corpus approach holds great promise as a new way to study the language of fiction. There are several studies in this field (Hoover 1999, Hori 2004, Stubbs 2005) and several theories supporting this approach (Louw 1993, Hoey 2005). As dis- cussed in the “Corpus Approaches to the Language of Literature” workshops, organised by Martin Wynne of the Oxford Text Archive in conferences for Corpus Linguistics (2005) and the Poetics and Lin- guistics Association (2006), it is both possible, and potentially benefi- cial, to apply corpus-based approaches to the study of stylistics. How- ever, the corpus approach is not a cure-all; in fact it is an approach which has some lurking pitfalls and hidden risks. In this article I would like to discuss a few such potential problems and limitations, and ten- tatively demonstrate a possible synthesis between quantitative and qualitative corpus-based approaches to the language of fiction. As an example of the language of fiction I will examine the differences be- tween the conversational styles of the two protagonists, a man and a woman, in Ernest Hemingway’s short story ‘Hills Like White Ele- phants’. 1 The research on which this paper is based was funded by the Kumamoto Gakuen University Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, 2006. 348 Masahiro Hori 2. Potential Problems and Limitations of Corpus Use A first point to mention is that the data of...

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