Chapter published in:Corpus-based Approaches to Register Variation
Edited by Elena Seoane and Douglas Biber
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 103] 2021
► pp. 313–338
Exploring sub-register variation in Victorian newspapers
Evidence from the British Library Newspapers database
This chapter explores sub-register variation in newspaper writing in the 19th century using two corpora extracted from the British Library Newspapers database, the most comprehensive collection of national and regional newspapers from the Victorian period. As an ‘agile’ (Hundt & Mair 1999) register, newspaper writing is well suited for tracing language change and investigating the interrelationship between language and culture. Frequency analysis of select linguistic features identifies systematic patterns of variation, which can be linked to the communicative functions of sub-registers. The chapter also critically reflects on the value of the database for corpus-based register analysis, especially on how the findings and interpretations are contingent on what sampling criteria are used and how the notion of (sub-)register is operationalized.
Keywords: register variation, sub-register, newspaper prose, British Library Newspapers , sampling, text classfication
Published online: 08 December 2021
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