and now I’m finally of the mind to say i hope the whole ship goes down...: Markers of subjectivity and evaluative phraseology in blogs

In: Corpus Linguistics and Variation in English

Abstract

The paper is part of a research project on evaluative meanings in Italian and English web-logs. Web-logs may be regarded as increasingly popular, virtual arenas where information (including news) is produced, shared and – crucially – commented on evaluatively. Our focus here is on how bloggers evaluate the news in English and in Italian. Looking at business, politics and sport news on dedicated web-logs, we investigate the phraseology most frequently employed in comments on a piece of news. The data for our study are taken from the Business, Politics and Sport sections of a blog corpus that collects texts dating from September 2008 to September 2009: in all 3,042,023 running words. Our methodology is adapted from Gledhill’s (2000) study on Salient Grammatical Words (SGW). We start with an overview of the keyword lists extracted from the blog corpus, looking at potential markers of the nature and structure of news blogs. We then focus on markers of subjectivity, draw their collocational profile, identify evaluative uses in context, and, following Hunston (2008) and Groom (2010), explore the semantic sequences they are characterized by. Markers of subjectivity are found to be involved in similar semantic sequences in the two languages, though characterized by different syntactic patterns and collocational profiles. The analysis confirms the importance of evaluation in blogs, as well as the key role of semantic sequences in a contrastive analysis of patterns.

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