First questions: Is that in general terms adequate? Could it be any smaller (my
student is very worried that she won't cope analytically as most, if not all,
of the corpus will have to be analysed by hand)?
The second general issue is that it presumably takes different sizes of corpus
to establish different sorts of claims. At present, from what we have read, it
looks as if we will need to establish the presence or absence of statistically
significant contrasts for:
sentence/clausal length and complexity
particular sorts of clausal constructions/syntactico-semantic configurations
(e.g. the ratio of passives, and of active clauses with parts of a protagonist
or abstract entities as subjects to dynamic verbs)
the 'upgraded' use of action and speech verbs (e.g. using 'shouted' rather than
the prevalence of descriptions of characters' outward appearance, clothing etc
incidence of various sorts of speech and thought presentation
Do you have any views on what size of sample would be needed to make safe
judgements about these various factors?
Would it be better to reduce the size of the samples taken from each novel and
increase the number of novels passages are extracted from?
Do you know of any software which might be used to analyse texts automatically
in these respects?
Do you know of an electronic versions of relevant novels which we might be able
Any other comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Professor of English Language and Literature,
Department of Linguistics and Modern English Language,
Lancaster LA1 4YT,
Telephone: ((0)1524) 593035
Fax: ((0)1524) 843085
World Wide Web site: http://www.ling.lancs.ac.uk/