Corpus Linguistic Analysis: How far can we go?

  • Richard Chapman


The present paper aims to explore methodological approaches to the examination of corpus linguistic data with particular attention to higher-level analysis. Fundamental assumptions in corpus linguistics are questioned, including the concept of repetition and so of token and type, parsing of items, the use and interpretation of metaphor, and the sociolinguistic and pragmatic elements in all utterances. Using purposely collected corpus data from very limited corpora, the paper aims to underline the importance of qualitative approaches to linguistic analysis even in the ostensibly highly quantitative field of ‘traditional’ corpus linguistics. Preliminary conclusions suggest that the complexity and richness of corpus linguistic data make qualitative analysis very demanding, but of unquestionable potential significance. The final proposal is for a small-scale corpus approach to accompany the mass linguistic data of large corpora, offering different analyses and results that might be valuable for fruitful comparison and triangulation