Corpora: Prefabrication in written English
Wed, 5 May 1999 05:45:49 -0400 (EDT)

Dear Corporeal Investigators
I would like to investigate the amount of prefabrication to be found in various genres of EAP (more or less to see to what extent the hypotheses of Bolinger and Pawley and Syder could be applied to written texts). Some genres, emails for example, seem to be concatenations of pre-assembled chunks with the creativity at the level of joining the bits together. This is consonant with situating emails closer to the spoken than to the written mode.
I am interested in learned articles in the social sciences and in measuring the amount of fixed expressions to be found in say genre-specific corpora of economics, political science, international relations and sociology texts.
I use Wordsmith Tools and have been using the Clusters tool to build up patterns of phraseology. My objective is to establish whether each discipline has its own distinctive phrasicon or if there is a core academic phrasicon.As well as homegrowing my own corpora I am signing up for the BNC and TOSCA (or applying to the latter for help with corroboration).
I would be be very grateful if anyone on the CORPORA list has any suggestions about methodology, existent corpora, formulae to use, work done in this area, I would like to hear from them.
Best wishes

John McKenny

Central European University

Get your free email from AltaVista at