"I apologise for my poor blogging": Searching for Apologies in the Birmingham Blog Corpus

Lutzky, Ursula and Kehoe, Andrew (2017) "I apologise for my poor blogging": Searching for Apologies in the Birmingham Blog Corpus. Corpus Pragmatics, 1 (1). pp. 37-56. ISSN 2509-9507

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This study addresses a familiar challenge in corpus pragmatic research: the search for functional phenomena in large electronic corpora. Speech acts are one area of research that falls into this functional domain and the question of how to identify them in corpora has occupied researchers over the past 20Â years. This study focuses on apologies as a speech act that is characterised by a standard set of routine expressions, making it easier to search for with corpus linguistic tools. Nevertheless, even for a comparatively formulaic speech act, such as apologies, the polysemous nature of forms (cf. e.g. I am sorry vs. a sorry state) impacts the precision of the search output so that previous studies of smaller data samples had to resort to manual microanalysis. In this study, we introduce an innovative methodological approach that demonstrates how the combination of different types of collocational analysis can facilitate the study of speech acts in larger corpora. By first establishing a collocational profile for each of the Illocutionary Force Indicating Devices associated with apologies and then scrutinising their shared and unique collocates, unwanted hits can be discarded and the amount of manual intervention reduced. Thus, this article introduces new possibilities in the field of corpus-based speech act analysis and encourages the study of pragmatic phenomena in large corpora.

Item Type: Article
15 February 2017Published
25 January 2017Accepted
Subjects: CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-01 - English studies > CAH19-01-07 - linguistics
CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-01 - English studies > CAH19-01-01 - English studies (non-specific)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Media and English > School of English
Depositing User: Kehoe
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2017 14:56
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 16:26
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4046

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