Location of Repository

A corpus-based stylistic study of newspaper English

By Lesley Evelyn Jeffries

Abstract

This study is based on a corpus of 2400 clauses taken from\ud British national newspapers in 1986 and stored in a\ud computer database with each clause coded for a number of\ud grammatical (and some semantic) features. These features\ud relate to the verb phrase (e.g. finiteness), the clause\ud (e.g. subordination) and the subject (e.g. form).\ud \ud In the first stage of the investigation the database is\ud described in terms of the features coded therein. The\ud scope of the description is on three levels. First, the\ud data are described in total and are considered to\ud constitute a representative sample of newspaper English.\ud Secondly, the database is split into three pre-determined\ud sub-databases according to their text-type. These are:\ud news articles, editorials and readers' letters. A pattern\ud is discovered of 'letters-as-norm' with the other texttypes\ud on different sides of the average. Thirdly, the\ud database is split on a different dimension according to\ud the eight different newspapers included in the sampling.\ud A pattern of three groups of newspapers; 'quality',\ud 'central' and 'popular', is found for some features.\ud \ud The second section exploits the database primarily as an\ud example of written English, rather than emphasising its\ud newspaper origins. Here some problems of description,\ud which have implications for the debate about the division\ud between syntax and semantics, are explored.\ud \ud The first such 'problem' arises out of a study of the\ud environment of copula 'BE' and concerns the borderline\ud between the grammatical functions of subject and subject\ud complement. Some well-known differences are confirmed and\ud some new ones discovered. A small area of overlap,\ud however, remains.\ud \ud The second problem is the familiar difficulty of deciding\ud when an -en form is an adjective and when it remains a\ud participle. It is argued that the contexts of -en forms\ud are often influential in their interpretation as\ud adjectival or verbal forms.\ud \ud \ud The third problem concerns the sequential verbs (sometimes\ud called 'catenative' verbs) which govern a following nonfinite verb phrase. These verbs, which defy attempts to\ud classify them syntactically, are shown to be amenable to\ud semantic classification. The question of restrictions on\ud sequences of more than two verb phrases (i.e. two\ud sequential verbs + one 'normal' verb) is explored and some\ud tentative conclusions are reached.\u

Publisher: Linguistics & Phonetics (Leeds)
Year: 1989
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:498

Suggested articles

Preview

Citations

  1. (ed) 1986. Papers from
  2. (eds)
  3. (eds) 1982. Sublanguage. Studies of language in restricted domains.
  4. 0. 1933. Essentials of English doi
  5. 1964. The English verb: form and meaning. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.
  6. 1977.
  7. 1982.
  8. 1984.
  9. 1985. The 'parsing law' document produced
  10. 1987. doi
  11. A.
  12. (1987). and doi
  13. and J. Svartvik 1975. A Communicative Grammar doi
  14. and S. Greenbaum doi
  15. and T. Screeton 1982. Extract User Manual. University of Leeds Computing Service.
  16. (1986). Atwell, doi
  17. Bloomington and London: Indiana U.P. Gustafsson, M. 1975. Some syntactic properties of
  18. Bresnan, J. 1982. The doi
  19. Brown: Brown U.P. Varantola, K. 1984. On noun phrase structures in engineering English. University of Turku.
  20. Coates, J. 1983. The semantics of the modal auxiliaries. doi
  21. (1984). Corpus Linguistics. doi
  22. D. doi
  23. D. 1961. Generality, Gradience and the doi
  24. DoleYel, L. 1969. "A framework for
  25. E.
  26. E.S. 1964. "Negation in
  27. English predicate complement constructions. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
  28. Foley, W.A. and M. Olson
  29. Francis, W.N. 1964. Manual
  30. Fries, C.C. 1952. The Structure
  31. Halliday, M.A.K. 1967 and doi
  32. Halliday, M.A.K. and R. Hasan 1976. Cohesion in doi
  33. Herbst, T. 1979.
  34. Herbst, T., D. doi
  35. (1987). Hierarchies and the choice of left conjuncts (with particular attention to English" doi
  36. Huddleston, R., R. Hudson, E. Winter and A. Henrici. 1968.
  37. Huddleston, R.D. 1971. The sentence in written English: A syntactic study
  38. hyponymy in syntactic variation" In Jacobson (ed)
  39. Jacobson, doi
  40. Johansson, doi
  41. K.F. doi
  42. (1982). Kaplan, R.M. and J. Bresnan. 1982. doi
  43. Kilby, D. 1984. Descriptive syntax and the doi
  44. Kucera, H. and W.N. doi
  45. Leech, G.N.
  46. (1984). Linguistic and computational aspects of corpus research"
  47. (1959). Living English Structure.
  48. London:
  49. Matthews, P.H. 1981. Syntax. Cambridge: doi
  50. (1946). morpheme to utterance" Language 22. doi
  51. Nichols J. and A.C. Woodbury (eds) 1985. Grammar inside and outside the clause. Cambridge: C.U.P.
  52. On doi
  53. (1971). On the distribution of Noun-Phrase Types in Clause-Structure". doi
  54. (1985). On verb complementation in written English. doi
  55. Osgood, C.E. 1960.
  56. Palmer, F.R. 1976. Semantics. A new doi
  57. Quirk,
  58. Quirk, R., S. Greenbaum, G. Leech and J. Svartvik 1985. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman. doi
  59. R.G., G.N. Leech, and G.R. Sampson (eds) 1987. The Computational Analysis of English London: Longman.
  60. readings of plural noun phrases in doi
  61. regularity. doi
  62. Rissanen (eds) 1987. Proceedings of the doi
  63. Ryden, M. 1975. "Noun-name doi
  64. S.
  65. Sebeok, T.A. (ed) doi
  66. short ones?" In KytO, Ossi and Rissanen (eds).
  67. Siegel, D. 1973. "Nonsources of unpassives" In Syntax and Semantics 12. J.P.Kimball (ed) New York: Seminar Press.
  68. Somers, H.L. 1983. An investigation into the application of the linguistic theories of valency and case to the automated processing of language. Unpublished PhD. thesis, UMIST.
  69. Spencer, J. 1964. Linguistics and style. London: O.U.P. Stein, G. 1979. Studies in the functions of the passive. TUbingen: Narr. doi
  70. Stockholm:
  71. Straumann, H. 1935. Newspaper Headlines Allen and Unwin.277 Sullivan, W.J. 1980. "Syntax and linguistic semantics in stratificational theory" In Syntax and Semantics 13 E.A. Moravscik and J.R. Firth (eds).
  72. Svartvik, J. 1966. On voice in the English verb. The Hague: Mouton. doi
  73. theory of parts of speech" Journal of
  74. Tottie, G. 1980. "Negation and ambiguity" In Jacobson (ed) 1980 Tottie, G. 1982. "The co-occurrence of negation, modality and 'mental verbs' in spoken and written English" In Jacobson (ed) 1982.
  75. Trier, J. 1934. Das Spracheliche Feld. Eine Auseinandersetzung. Neue Jahrbucher fur Wissenschaft and Jungendbilding 10.
  76. Twaddell, W. F. 1965 The English Verb auxiliaries.
  77. Verb. doi
  78. Wells, R. 1960. "Nominal and verbal style" In Sebeok (1960) ed.
  79. Wierzbicka, A. 1980. Lingua Mentalis. Australia: Academic Press. doi
  80. Willis, P. and L. Jeffries 1982. "Participant (case) roles and lexical analysis" Nottingham Linguistic Circular, 11.2. Willis, P. and L. Jeffries 1982. An internal report to the O.U.P Lexical Research Unit, Leeds University.
  81. Winter, W. 1965. "Transforms without kernels?" Language 41. doi
  82. Winter, W. 1969. "Styles as Dialects" In Dolezel and Bailey (eds) 1969.
  83. Yngve, V. 1972. "The Depth Hypothesis." In F. W. Householder (ed) Syntactic Theory 1. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  84. Zwicky, A.M. and Zwicky, A.D. 1982 "Register as a dimension of linguistic variation". In Kittredge and Lehrburger (eds).278

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.