QQualitative Corpus Analysis


Definition and Philosophy

Qualitative corpus analysis is a methodology for pursuing in‐depth investigations of authentic language use representative of purposefully selected communicative situations. The language samples are digitally captured, documented as to their origins and ecology, stored as electronic language corpora, annotated as needed, and made available for digital access, retrieval, and analysis via a computer. Researchers using qualitative corpus analysis as the methodological basis for their investigations adopt an exploratory, inductive approach to the empirically based study of how the meanings and functions of linguistic forms found in a specific corpus interact with diverse ecological characteristics of language used for communication (speaker age, gender, level of education, and socioeconomic background; place and time of a communicative event; relationship between interlocutors; speech modality; etc.). A common belief shared by all corpus linguists is that it is important to base linguistic investigations on “real data,” that is, actual instances of oral or written communication as opposed to contrived or “made‐up” texts. Unique goals of qualitative corpus analysis may include careful documentation of numerous contextual factors that capture the people and the setting in which the language was produced in depth; rich annotation schemes that may involve manual markup; as well as interpretation of the retrieved ...

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