Closed-class keywords and corpus-driven discourse analysis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Keywords belonging to closed grammatical classes (i.e. conjunctions, determiners, prepositions and pronouns) are often perceived as useful indicators of the characteristic style of a particular text or corpus, but as being of less interest to researchers interested in its semantic properties. The aim of this chapter is to propose, contrary to this mainstream view, that closed-class keywords can form a valid and even preferable basis for empirical linguistic research into specialized discourses, “discourses” being defined here as constellations of meanings and values associated with specific communities or institutions. The argument is illustrated with practical examples drawn from a keywords analysis of a 3-million-word corpus of academic journal articles representing the academic disciplinary discourse of history.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKeyness in Texts
EditorsMarina Bondi, Mike Scott
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-272-8766-3
ISBN (Print)978-90-272-2317-3
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Publication series

NameStudies in Corpus Linguistics
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company


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