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Words and Phrases: Corpus Studies of Lexical Semantics

ISBN: 978-0-631-20832-7
288 pages
October 2001, Wiley-Blackwell
Words and Phrases: Corpus Studies of Lexical Semantics (0631208321) cover image
This book fills a gap in studies of meaning by providing detailed case studies of attested corpus data on the meanings of words and phrases.
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Figures, Concordances and Tables.


Data Conventions and Terminology.

Notes on Corpus Data and Software.

Introduction. .

1. Words in Use: Introductory Examples.

Text and Discourse: Some Distinctions.

Language, Action, Knowledge and Situation.

Words and Expectations.

Language, Logic and Truth.

Common-Sense Knowledge.

Linguistic Conventions.

Possible and Actual.

Example 1. The Ambiguity of Surgery.

Example 2. The (Non-)ambiguity of Bank.

Example 3. The Days of the Week.

Example 4. Lonely Heart Ads.

Summary and Implications.

Background and Further Reading.

Topics for Further Study..

2. Words, Phrases and Meanings: Basic Concepts.


Words: Word-Forms and Lemmas.

Example: The Lemmas Consume and Seek.


Words and Units of Meaning.


Denotation and Connotation.

Relational Lexical Demantics.

Semantic Fields.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Hyponyms.

Frequent and Less Frequent Words.

Content and Function Words: Lexical Density.

Core Vocabulary.

Two Examples.

Example 1. Bloomfield's Analysis of Salt.

Example 2. Cause Problems and Cause Amusement.

Summary and Implications.

Background and Further Reading.

Topics for Further Study..

3. Words in Phrases 1: Concepts, Data and Methods.


Communicative Competence.

Corpus Methods: Observing Patterns.


Corpus, Concordance, Data-Base.

The Cobuild Collocations Data-Base on CD-ROM.

The Corpus.

The Data-Base.

Precision and Recall.

Data for Semantics and Pragmatics.

Summary and Implications.

Appendix 1: Measures of Statistical Significance.

Appendix 2: Further Notes on the Data-Base.

Background and Further Reading.

Topics for Further Study..

4. Words in Phrases 2: A Case Study of the Phraseology of English.

Frequency of Phraseological Units.

Strength of Attraction: Word-Forms, Lemmas and Lexical Sets.

Lexical Profiles: Comprehensive Coverage of Data.

Example 1. Lexical Profile for Resemblance.

Example 2. Lexical Profile for Reckless.

Example 3. Lexical Profile for Backdrop.

Example 4. Lexical Profile for Doses.

A Model of Extended Lexical Units.

Example 5. Lexical Profile for Undergo.

Example 6. Lexical Profile for Chopped.

Summary and Implications.

Background and Further Reading.

Topics for Further Study..

5. Words in Texts 1: Words, Phrases and Text Cohesion.

Words and Co-Text.

Routine and Creativity.

Variable Phrases and Textual Cohesion.

Antonyms and Synonyms.

Discourse Prosodies.

Lexical Cohesion: Textual Examples.

Example 1. Just Large Enough to See with the Naked Eye.

Example 2. Causing Untold Damage.

Example 3. Causing Growing Pains and Undergoing a Transition.

Example 4. Undergoing Rapid Star Formation.

Collocations and Coherence.

Summary and Implications.

Background and Further Reading.

Topics for Further Study..

6. Words in Texts 2: A Case Study of a Short Story.

Public Data and Replicable Experiments.

Lexis and Text Structure.

Analysis 1: Frequency Statistics (Descending Frequency Order).

Frequency of Function Words: Statistics.


Frequency of Content Words: Statistics.


Analysis 2: Frequency Statistics (Keywords).

Analysis 3: Frequency Statistics (Order of Occurrence).



Analysis 4: A Vocabulary-Management Profile.

Types and Tokens, Vocabulary and Text.

Youmans' Method.


A Further Note on Replication.

Limitations on the Analysis.

Summary and Implications.

Background and Further Reading.

Topics for Further Study..

7. Words in Culture 1: Case Studies of Cultural Keywords.

Data and Citation Conventions.

Text and Discourse.

Case Study 1: Ethnic, Racial and Tribal.

Case Study 2: Heritage and Care.

Keyword: Heritage.

Keyword: Care.

Keyword: Community.

Case Study 3: Proper Standards.

Keyword: Standard.

Keyword: Proper.

Keyword: Trendy.

Case Study 4: Little Red Riding Hood.

Discursive Formations.

Summary and Implications.

Background and Further Reading.

Topics for Further Study..

8. Words in Culture 2: Case Studies of Loan Words in English.


The Etymological Fallacy.

Language Change.


Words, Politics and National Stereotypes.

Fields of Knowledge and Text Types.

A Case Study of German Loan Words in English.

Frequency in the Vocabulary Versus Frequency in Texts.

False Friends: Flak, Blitz and Angst.

The OED and Cultural Keywords.

A Further Note on Vocabulary and Text.

Summary and Implications.

Background and Further Reading.

Topics for Further Study.


9. Words, Phrases and Connotations: On Lexico-Grammar and Evaluative Language.


Verbs, Discourse Prosodies and Point of View.

Example 1. I Was Accosted in the Street by a Strange.

Example 2. Fears Lurking Just Below the Surface.

Example 3. Loiter and Other Verbs.

Inter-Collocations: The Example of Street.

A Lexico-Syntactic Example: Make One's Way Somewhere.

A Note on Syntax.

A Cognitive View.

A Syntactic Example: Be-Passives and Get-Passives.

Summary and Implications.

Background and Further Reading.

Topics for Further Study..

10. Data and Dualisms: On Corpus Methods and Pluralist Models.



Dualisms and Monisms.

Cartesian Dualism.

Monism: Version 1.

Monism: Version 2.

The Saussurian Paradox.

Pluralist Positions.

Brute and Institutional Facts.

Physical, Psychological and Social.

Worlds 1, 2 and 3.

A Pluralist Model.

Performance Data, Corpora and Routine Behaviour.

Summary and Implications.

Background and Further Reading.


Name Index.

Subject Index.

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Michael Stubbs is Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Trier in Germany. He was Chair of BAAL (the British Association for Applied Linguistics) from 1988 to 1991. He has published widely on language in education, on text and discourse analysis, and on corpus linguistics. His previous books include Discourse Analysis (Blackwell 1983), Educational Linguistics (Blackwell 1986), and Text and Corpus Analysis (Blackwell 1996).
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  • Provides a detailed account of the place of lexis and phraseology in linguistic theory.

  • Contains extensive illustrations from corpus data and detailed case studies of words in phrases, words in texts, and words in culture.

  • Advances the empirical study of language.

  • Supplements large text collections for studying language in use.
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"This invaluable book places words and their phraseology at the centre of an account of language that covers meaning, discourse, culture, and much more. The author successfully demystifies his own discovery processes, providing the reader with tools for further investigation. The book's clarity and depth make it indispensable for students and researchers alike." Susan Hunston, University of Birmingham <!--end-->

"Stubbs does a great job of demonstrating the use of corpus techniques for the analysis of lexical semantics. He shows that it is indeed possible to analyse meaning by looking at corpus data, and that the way meaning is constructed through repeated patterns of usage can only be investigated by doing so. His style is very explicit, and his prose is easily readable. I well definitely be using this book in my seminars next term." Oliver Mason, Literary and Linguistic Computing

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