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Unformatted text preview: in form must result in a change of meaning.
Tognini-Bonelli (2001) introduces a distinction she deems important in research involving corpora. She talks about corpus-based and corpus-driven studies. In corpus-based investigations the corpus is used only
as a source of data which is supposed to support the hypotheses based on
a preconception originating from sources other than the corpus itself (e.g.
introspection or linguistic tradition). The corpus data cannot falsify a hypothesis; it can only corroborate it. In corpus-driven research the approach is different:
The theory has no independent existence from the evidence and the general methodological path is clear: observation leads to hypothesis leads to
generalisation leads to unification in theoretical statement
(Tognini-Bonelli 2001: 84-85). The “observation leading to hypothesis” methodology can raise certain
doubts. To start an observation the analyst must first ask a question –
put forward a hypothesis, which could be tested against the data. This
hypothesis is inevitably informed by the analyst’s knowledge of language, of linguistic theory, and of other social sciences. Such ‘preconceptions’ would make the analyst in question a corpus-based researcher.
I can see no reason, however, why having these ‘preconceptions’ the
analyst should be precluded from making sound data evaluation and
from revising the original hypothesis, which would qualify as corpusdriven research.
A corpus-driven approach is represented by Stubbs (2002 ),
who stresses the empirical nature of his work. He distinguishes between
three types of linguistic examples: attested (retrieved from the corpus),
modified (retrieved from the corpus but presented after a linguist’s intervention, e.g. shortening) and invented (based on the linguist’s intuition).
Having made this distinction, in building his analyses and generalizing
the results, he depends solely on the corpus data. Among other things, he
analyzes the distribution and meaning of such lexical items as, for exam4 Lakoff – Johnson (1980: 126-138) also comment on the form-meaning relationship,
when they refer to Bolinger’s (1977) conviction that a perfect paraphrase is not possible.
They explain it by referring to spatial metaphors structuring our understanding of linguistic expression. Corpus linguistics and the language of mass media 57 ple, seek; large, big, great – series; cause vs. provide; undergo. In the
study Stubbs identifies a number of lucid rules for conducting corpusbased lexical semantic research. He suggests that in order to avoid artefacts, the results received from one corpus should be checked against data
from another. The frequency counts can be regarded as guidance to the interpretation of the meaning of words, but the infrequent collocations
should not be altogether neglected, as
an exclusive concentration on only the most frequent collocations may
hide variation in the language. Second, collocations may differ quite
sharply in different text-types. Many text-types are speciali...
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