Phrases are carriers of meaning in language. One way of extracting the literary meaning of a text is therefore to look at its most frequent phrases and their collocates. In this article, I will extract the most frequent phraseology of Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion and present a detailed analysis of its two most frequent phrases. I will then use the data generated by these analyses to illustrate how computer assisted techniques can reveal new shades of meaning in a text even after nearly two hundred years of literary criticism. This demonstrates that corpus stylistics is not only a linguistic discipline, but that it also provides valuable data for the interpretation of literary works.
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