The phenomenon of lexical repulsion in text

Renouf, A. and Banerjee, J. (2008) The phenomenon of lexical repulsion in text. Lingvisticae Investigationes, 31 (2). pp. 213-225. ISSN 03784169 (ISSN)

Full text not available from this repository.


The advances in computing technology which made possible the study of electronic text in large quantities opened the door to the study of lexis, and crucially of significant word collocation. The type and strength of preference or, 'attraction' which obtains between two or more words has been the raw material out of which we have long been extracting secondary language resources by means of automated systems (e.g. A. Renouf, 1996; M. Pacey et al, 1998). Now, we turn to our vast data repositories once again, this time to try to find evidence for the existence of another 'force' in textual organisation, one which operates contrary to word 'attraction', and which we refer to as 'repulsion'. Like attraction, repulsion is a universal phenomenon and we have an expectation that it will be discovered to be alive and well in language. By 'repulsion', we mean the rare or non co-occurrence of two words as neighbours. Since this is the case for the majority of words in the vocabulary, we begin with a focus on synonymous word pairs which, by virtue of their shared meanings, can be expected to provide, more Surprising, focussed and easily interpretable results. In this paper, we tentatively interpret from our results some of the ways in which repulsion seems to operate in text and to what extent it is proving to be amenable to objective measurement. © John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
Subjects: CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-01 - English studies > CAH19-01-07 - linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > College of English and Media
Depositing User: Yasser Nawaz
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2017 13:48
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2024 12:08

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


In this section...