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Title: "Tell us what you really think" : collocation and discourse in an intertextual corpus
Other Titles: "Qi shi ni shi zen mo kan de" : hu wen yu liao ku zhong de da pei yu pian zhang wen ti
"Tell us what you really think" : collocation and discourse in an intertextual corpus
"其實你是怎么看的" : 互文语料库中的搭配与篇章问题
Authors: Forest, Richard W
Department: Dept. of English and Communication
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Collocation (Linguistics)
Discourse analysis
Notes: CityU Call Number: P325.5.C56 F67 2007
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 257-267)
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2007
iii, 294 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Type: Thesis
Abstract: This thesis is a corpus-based study of collocation and the circulation of political discourses on the internet. On June 24, 2004, U.S. president George W. Bush gave an eleven minute interview to Radio and Television Ireland’s Washington correspondent Carole Coleman. The interview came on the eve of Bush’s visit to an EU summit held in Ireland. Coleman pressed Bush with questions about the U.S. war in Iraq and the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in an interview described as "tense" by the Associated Press. The interview was broadcast on Radio and Television Ireland, and the video footage of the interview was made available at RTÉ’s website. The U.S. White House also posted a transcript of the interview to its website. News of the interview, often with links to the original video and transcript, spread throughout internet weblogs and discussion forums, where it became the subject of debates across numerous distinct online communities. This collection of linked media and internet texts makes up the corpus for this research. The research raises a number of questions about the relationship between collocational phenomena and discourse. What do the collocations in a text reveal about the ways that shared knowledge and shared values are constructed by participants in interaction? How can the study of collocation be integrated with discourse analysis, in particular critical discourse analysis? What does the application of collocational theories (e.g., Sinclair's model of "the lexical item," Hoey's theory of "lexical priming") to discourse analysis reveal about the theoretical constructs themselves? These questions are explored through a study of key words and phrases in the specialized intertextual corpus. The thesis consists of ten chapters, which can be further grouped into four parts: theory (three chapters), method (one chapter), analysis (five chapters), and conclusions (one chapter). Part I (Chapters 1-3) focuses on theoretical concerns and lays the groundwork for the analyses which will follow. Chapter 1 positions the thesis with respect to discourse analysis, and critical discourse analysis in particular. This chapter establishes the basic questions about discourse and interpretation which will guide the later studies. Chapters 2 and 3 focus on theories of collocation, first placing collocation in historical and theoretical context (in relation to the works of J.R. Firth, John Sinclair, and Michael Hoey) and then narrowing the focus to specific types of collocation (e.g., collocation, colligation, semantic preference, semantic prosody, clause collocation). Part II (Chapter 4) describes the design and construction of the specialized corpus used in the investigation. The corpus consists of a network of interconnected texts centered on RTÉ journalist Carole Coleman's interview with U.S. president George W. Bush, including the transcript of the interview itself, a White House press briefing which discusses the interview, a number of mainstream news reports of the interview and editorials addressing the interview, and a substantial corpus of blog posts and discussion forum threads responding to the interview. This chapter also includes a discussion of how texts were selected for inclusion in the corpus as well as the approach taken to cleaning the text files. Part III (Chapters 5-9), the main analytical portion of the thesis, presents a series of corpus-based analyses which explore the issues raised in the theoretical chapters. Chapter 5 uses word frequency lists, n-gram frequency lists, and statistical key words and a key words database to provide a broad overview of the characteristics of the corpus as a whole. Chapter 6 is the first of the "key word in context" analyses, and it explores the patterns of homogeneity and heterogeneity in the semantic preferences of the key key word Iraq and the implications of these patterns for our understanding of collocational phenomena. Chapter 7 looks at evaluation in the immediate cotext as well as wider verbal context of the key words Bush, Carole, and Coleman, and raises questions about the relationship between conventional patterns of evaluation and actual instances of evaluation in texts. Chapter 8 adopts the word world and the string the world is a more dangerous place as node items, exploring a nexus of culturally shared and locally situated patterns of argument as evidenced by collocational data. Chapter 9 looks at the node words finish and questions, and the strings let me finish and you ask the questions and I'll answer them in the corpus and explores the complex relationship between collocation as a text cohesive phenomenon and collocation as evidence of phraseological patterns. Part IV (Chapter 10), the conclusion, discusses some of the wider implications of the findings for the relationship between collocation and discourse analysis. In particular, the research problematizes some current assumptions about the relations which hold between a) collocation in text, b) phraseology in language, and c) discourse in action. It suggests that while collocation in text is often evidence of phraseological patterning, it may instead (or also) be evidence of cohesive, text-instantial patterns of meaning which are not necessarily phraseological in character. It also suggests that phraseological patterns should not be conflated with situated instances of meaning-in-use. It questions whether semantic prosody, for example, can be equated with discourse prosody. The research also contributes to the discussion of how texts are weighted in corpora, and the implications of this weighting for the interpretation of corpus data.
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