Edited by Alexandra U. Esimaje, Ulrike Gut and Bassey E. Antia
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 88] 2019
► pp. 38–69
Chapter 1.2. Corpus-based research on English in Africa
A practical introduction
This chapter provides linguists and students not yet familiar with corpus-based research on varieties of English in Africa with a practical introduction to the field. After explaining the rationale and aims of corpus-based research on varieties of English (in Africa), we introduce methods, tools and resources commonly used and applied in the field in order to provide readers with a point of entry into the field. Most of the corpora and software that are introduced can be obtained free of charge. The software is introduced in a practical way to permit readers to use it in their own research. The application and value of corpus linguistics are exemplified with three case studies. These examples are based in part on previous research, retracing the methodological steps, but are also expanded with more data from across Africa. Case study 1 shows how corpora allow researchers to investigate lexical differences between African varieties of English, arguably an area that is amenable to scholarly inquiry with relatively limited methodological means. Case study 2 considers a grammatical phenomenon, the present perfect in African Englishes, and demonstrates how a corpus tagged for parts of speech permits syntactic analyses. Case study 3 illustrates the analysis of a phonological corpus with an investigation of the optional deletion of the phoneme /h/ in words such as house in Nigerian English. The chapter concludes with recommendations for further reading, allowing readers to explore selected topics in more depth according to their interests.
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