Chapter published in:Lexical Priming: Applications and advances
Edited by Michael Pace-Sigge and Katie J. Patterson
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 79] 2017
► pp. 42–66
A corpus-based investigation into English representations of Turks and Ottomans in the early modern period
Lexical priming theory (Hoey 2005) works not just at any single moment in time. For Hoey (2005: 8) words are “primed for collocational use. A word is acquired through encounters with it in speech and writing, it becomes cumulatively loaded with the contexts and c-texts in which it is encountered, and our knowledge of it includes the fact that it co-occurs with certain other words in certain kinds of context”. So time is clearly one important context within which primings may be acquired; through exposure to word primings over time, words are imbued with meaning and a key feature of this process is collocation. Some suitable data sources are now becoming available, notably the Corpus of Historical American English (Davies 2012) and the EEBO corpus (for details see McEnery & Baker 2016). The existence of a corpus such as the EBBO corpus, which provides a billion words of English data for the seventeenth century alone, allows for the exploration of priming drift for many content words across the century. Yet the explanation for any drift in priming observed may relate to society as much as language per se. Accordingly, in this chapter, we will look with both a linguistic and historical lens at a group, the Ottomans, who, in the seventeenth century, we might assume to be subject to a change of representation in discourse.
Published online: 14 August 2017
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Cited by other publications
McEnery, Tony, Vaclav Brezina & Helen Baker
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