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Variation Across Speech and Writing - Douglas Biber

Variation Across Speech and Writing


Published: 17th February 1992
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Similarities and differences between speech and writing have been the subject of innumerable studies, but until now there has been no attempt to provide a unified linguistic analysis of the whole range of spoken and written registers in English. In this widely acclaimed empirical study, Douglas Biber uses computational techniques to analyze the linguistic characteristics of twenty-three spoken and written genres, enabling identification of the basic, underlying dimensions of variation in English. In Variation Across Speech and Writing, six dimensions of variation are identified through a factor analysis, on the basis of linguistic co-occurence patterns. The resulting model of variation provides for the description of the distinctive linguistic characteristic of any spoken or written text and demonstrates the ways in which the polarization of speech and writing has been misleading, and thus enables reconciliation of the contradictory conclusions reached in previous research.

"This work is an important landmark in several aspects. It is the most comprehensive objective study ever undertaken of variation across representative genres of speech and writing. It is the most far-reaching research into variation, bringing to bear a large number of linguistic variables on a large number of texts. It is one of the most sophisticated examples of advanced statistical technique ever applied to linguistic data, and it is a model of how to use (and how to explain the use of) factor analysis....Biber has produced a landmark study deserving a wide audience." Robert S. Wachal, American Speech

List of figuresp. xi
List of tablesp. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Background concepts and issuesp. 1
Introduction: textual dimensions and relationsp. 3
Situations and functionsp. 28
Previous linguistic research on speech and writingp. 47
Methodologyp. 59
Methodological overview of the studyp. 61
Statistical analysisp. 79
Dimensions and relations in Englishp. 99
Textual dimensions in speech and writingp. 101
Textual relations in speech and writingp. 121
Extending the description: variation within genresp. 170
Afterword: applying the modelp. 199
Texts used in the studyp. 208
Linguistic features: algorithms and functionsp. 211
Mean frequency counts of all linguistic features in each genrep. 246
Pearson correlation coefficients for all linguistic featuresp. 270
Referencesp. 280
Indexp. 293
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521425568
ISBN-10: 0521425565
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 316
Published: 17th February 1992
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.52 x 15.49  x 1.98
Weight (kg): 0.46