This study focuses on the frequency and nature of the lexical choices in two corpora made up of 195 creative writing texts produced by Brazilian public school pupils, living in two markedly different places: a violent inner-city area, and a semi-rural setting near a small market town. To this end, the research adopts a frequency and distribution approach for the extraction and comparison of sequences of words in each of the corpora.
Initially, the discussion focuses on the methodological difficulties encountered when dealing with texts produced by language users with orthographic and punctuation problems. Subsequently, the concept of ‘lexical bundles’ is applied to the data in question, i.e., the most frequent sequences of words are extracted, and classified according to Biber, Conrad & Cortes’ (2004) framework. Finally, results are presented which highlight the large number of lexical patterns in the texts from the semi-rural group, in contrast with a large degree of lexical variability in the texts written by the inner-city pupils. It is suggested that these differences may be attributed to the sociological profile of each individual group.
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This volume of articles comprises papers from the 25th annual conference of the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA), which was held at the University of Huddersfield, England, in July 2005. The theme of the conference was ‘Stylistics and Social Cognition’, and as usual at a PALA conference, this theme was interpreted very widely by the participants, as the reader of this book will no doubt conclude.
At the heart of this volume, there is something of a reaction against the cognitive developments in stylistics, which might be seen as being in danger of privileging the individual interpretation of literature over something more social. The concern is to consider whether there is a more collective approach that could be taken to the meaning of text, and whether recent insights from cognitive stylistics could work with this idea of collectivity to define something we might call ‘commonality’ of meaning in texts.
Stylistics and Social Cognition will be of interest to those working in stylistics and other text-analytic fields such as critical discourse analysis and those concerned with notions of interpretation, collective meaning and human communication.