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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.

'Biber's book is an important, highly innovative and stimulating work which marks a new departure in the study of language variation. Its multifeature/multifunctional approach succeeds where earlier studies have failed ... I regard Biber's book as a major achievement that is likely to become a classic in its field. It should be read by everyone interested in language variation.' B. Altenberg, Studia Linguistica ' ... Biber's study is far more than impressive number-crunching. As his detailed and explicit rationale make clear, this is a theoretically motivated research design ... Variation across speech and writing contributes fundamentally to research on oral and written language relationships as well as to that on discourse variables in general.' Roberta Vann, Studies in Second Language Acquisition 'By far the most extensive quantitative investigation of spoken-written language differences has been the recent stunning research of Biber ...' Wallace L. Chafe and Deborah Tannen, Annual Review of Anthropology

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: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 316
Published: 17th February 1992
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.47