Article published in:Applying Corpus Linguistics
Edited by Fiona Farr and Anne O'Keeffe
[International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 16:3] 2011
► pp. 371–390
Complementary perspectives on hedging behaviour in family discourse
The analytical synergy of variational pragmatics and corpus linguistics
This paper argues that corpus linguistics offers a methodology which benefits variational pragmatic analysis in a number of ways. Corpus linguistic tools such as word frequency lists allow the researcher to construct a detailed “pragmatic profile” of a word, cluster or act. This, coupled with the fact that most corpora are constructed to be representative of a particular language variety, facilitates an accurate account of language-use differences across various social categories. Pragmatic analysis relies heavily on context for its interpretation. Therefore, an illustrative case study of two corpora representing spoken language recorded in the home environment, one from a middle class Irish family and one from a family from the Irish Traveller Community will be utilised in order to elucidate the benefits of the synergy of corpus linguistics and variational pragmatics. Specifically, the variational distribution of the occurrences of hedges across these two distinct cultural groupings will be examined.
Keywords: politeness, variational pragmatics, family discourse, hedges
Published online: 24 October 2011
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