A corpus-based investigation into key words and key patterns in post-war fiction
This study is an exploratory investigation into lexico-grammatical items specific to a large corpus of English-language post-war novels, as compared to corpora of conversation, news and academic English. Its overall aim is threefold: first, to show how the subjective impression of ‘literariness’ arising from fictional works is at least partly based on the statistically significant use of highly specific words and lexico-grammatical configurations; second, to attempt a broad classification of key words and patterns; third, to illustrate the fiction-specific patterns formed by three key words. Analysis proceeded in three steps. First, a key word analysis was performed. In the second step, all two-to-five word strings contained in the English corpus were generated. In the third step, multi-word strings, collocations and colligations associated with three English key words (‘thought’, ‘sun’ and ‘jerk’) were analysed. Results indicate that post-war fiction is characterized by the dense use of specific sets of key words and key patterns, such as multi-word strings (must have been), phrase frames (like a + NP, there was a + NP) colligations (PossDet thoughts were on NP), collocations (the strengthening sun) and lexically specific narrative patterns (PossDet thoughts were interrupted when/as + time clause). The patterns in question are shown to be interconnected through a complex web of analogical creations. Implications are discussed for theories of literature, lexicology and translation.
Published online: 10 December 2015
Cited by 11 other publications
Denoyelle, Corinne, Julie Sorba, F. Neveu, B. Harmegnies, L. Hriba, S. Prévost & A. Steuckardt
Gonon, Laetitia, Vannina Goossens, Olivier Kraif, Iva Novakova, Julie Sorba, F. Neveu, B. Harmegnies, L. Hriba & S. Prévost
Gonon, Laetitia, Olivier Kraif, Iva Novakova, Julien Piat, Julie Sorba, F. Neveu, G. Bergounioux, M.-H. Côté, J.-M. Fournier, L. Hriba & S. Prévost
Gonon, Laetitia & Julie Sorba
Kraif, Olivier, Iva Novakova & Julie Sorba
Legallois, Dominique & Stefan Koch
Novakova, Iva, Dirk Siepmann & Marion Gymnich
Sorba, Julie, Laetitia Gonon, Susanne Dyka & Vannina Goossens
Čermáková, Anna & Michaela Mahlberg
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 26 august 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.
Biber, Douglas, Stig Johansson, Geoffrey Leech, Susan Conrad & Edward Finegan
Burton, Deirdre & Ronald Carter
Conrad, Susan & Douglas Biber
2007 KfNgram. Available online at http://www.kwicfinder.com/kfNgram/kfNgramHelp.html. Annapolis, MD: USNA.
Francis, Gill, Susanne Hunston & Elizabeth Manning
Gallagher, John D.
Huddleston, Rodney & Geoffrey K. Pullum
Kucich, John & Jenny Bourne Taylor
Risselada, Rodie & Wilbert Spooren
Stubbs, Michael & Isabel Barth
2010 Sens et combinatoire lexicale: De la langue au discours. Grenoble: University of Grenoble Habilitation thesis. Available at: http://w3.u-grenoble3.fr/lidilem/labo/file/HDR_Tutin.pdf. (accessed May 2013).