Series:

Michael Stubbs

Abstract

One area of linguistics which has developed very rapidly in the last 25 years is phraseology. Corpus study has shown that routine phraseology is pervasive in language use, and various models of recurrent word-combinations have been proposed. This paper discusses aspects of frequent phraseology in English: the distribution of recurrent multi-word sequences in different text-types and the structure, lexis and function of some frequent multi-word sequences. Most of the data come from a major interactive data-base which provides extensive quantitative information on recurrent phraseology in the British National Corpus (BNC). This data-base, available at http://pie.usna.edu, has been developed by William Fletcher. Quantitative phraseological data have important implications for linguistic theory, because they show how findings from phraseology can be related to independent findings from other areas of linguistics, including recent studies of grammar and of semantic change. However, the very large amount of data itself poses methodological and interpretative puzzles.

Series:

Michael Stubbs

Abstract

Corpus studies have shown that words in texts have two strong tendencies: they occur in clusters and they occur in partly fixed phrases. These features have text-management and evaluative functions, and therefore provide the basis of a theory of how lexis contributes to textual organization. Although there are many excellent individual case studies of these topics, they have not yet been systematically integrated into a functional theory of lexis.