Task 2 (Corpus Linguistics) (2018)Trabajo Otro
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Alba Rodrigues López
Introduction to the Special Issue
Paul Baker reviews five different articles in order to mirror the progress in the field of CorpusAssisted Discourse Analysis. Whereas these articles focus on different matters portrayed in the
media, Paul Baker does not place emphasis on the results but the manner in which these
results were obtained.
Baker explains how Potts et al. consider grammar and semantics to be central to the identification of ideology in news. MacDonald et al. discuss how certain tactics that produce normalisation can be identified using a corpus approach. Discursive style can be analysed by gathering keywords according to Branum and Charteris-Black. Baker and Levon compare quantitative data and qualitative data pertaining to a single corpus. McEnery et al. compile tweets into a corpus and incorporate an analysis of the characteristics these tweets may have such as retweets.
Discourse Analysis and Corpus Linguistics started going hand-in-hand in the late 20th C with Caldas-Coulthard (1993, 1995) and HardtMautner (1995). Of course during this time, technology has advanced and has influenced the research in Corpus Linguistics. According to Baker, Reisigl and Wodak’s (2001) research has been of vital importance as well as Partington’s research on Corpus Assisted Discourse Studies (CADS). Nevertheless, Baker discusses that CADS research is more analytic than interested in social issues.
Baker emphasises that corpora should be compiled in order to be representative of a larger group; in other words, the results obtained from large corpora can be generalised.
Nevertheless, Baker discusses that this does not eliminate bias from our research, and that beginners in the field might make mistakes in misusing tools’ settings by default. He adds that our research must reflect a degree of ‘humanity’. We need to be aware that our choices when doing research will affect our results and we need to accept this fact and understand it.
Nowadays corpora can be compiled easily when studying media as many newspapers have an online version. Furthermore, these online sites allow for participation in their stories in as far as comments below articles and so on. Also, the lines are blurring between media and press due to the apparition of Twitter for example.
Baker concludes that Corpus Linguistics alone cannot account for the study of a whole language. Corpus compiling tools cannot argue what is said in a text, only a human can. This is why qualitative methods and quantitative methods need to be used in unison to achieve better results.