Linguistic Methods

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Lexis means 'word' in Greek

  • 'lexical analysis' mean studying the origin of words (borrowings/loan words), look at the age of words (archaic/neologisms) and studying patterns in words (compound words).
  • Being precise when referring to words means using the word classes: Verbs, Nouns, Adjectives, Adverbs, Pronouns, Determiners, Prepositions, Conjunctions.
  • Register = level of formality of words used. Can be a groups specifc language, legal register, teenage register etc.
  • Mono/Polysyllabic lexis - look at words and decide if they are mono/poly based on the syllables.
  • Attitudes are reflected through Lexis - e.g informal lexis (slang) and emotive lexis (superlatives).

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Semantics = study of word meaning 

  • Semantic fields are groups of words with liked themes.In an essay consider whether the semantic field is obvious or whether there are more subtle fields.
  • Connotations link to semantics as it is the wider associations word may conjure. e.g negative/positive suggestions, shadowing/intertextuality 
  • Synonyms, i.e are there patterns of words which mean similar things?
  • Hyponyms: specifc names giving detail or Hypernyms: category or generic names?
  • Collocations: words often found together. e.g town hall, town council.
  • Changes in meaning - amelioration/pejoration/broadening/narrowing
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Pragmatics = the study of how situation affects language choices, how language changes with circumstances, how we interpret language from our experiences.

  • Looking at speaker/writters intention, events surrounding the data (context), hidden meanings/implications. 
  • Ideas within pragmatics may include: Politeness principle ( Brown & Levison), Mitigation & disguised directives, Co-operation in conversation (Grice's Maxims), Irony & sarcasm/humour.
  • Pragmatics is all linked to context, consider, the audience's knowledge, audience's attitudes/values, production speed, editors attitude's/values, time of writing/speaking, conventionsof the genre, law, intertextuality, agenda. 
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Phonology = the systematic organization of sounds in language.

  • 'poetic' devices: assonance (Try to light the fire), sibilance (repeated - s sounds), alliteration, repetition, metre & rhythm.
  • Prosodic effects in speech, intonation on certain phonemes to create sarcasm or pitch.
  • Consider, whether the accent is shown in the text or transcript, using phonetic representation.
  • Individuals phonology may change (Giles accommodation theory) 
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Grammar = a set of structural rules which govern the composition of clauses, phrases and words. 

  • Morphology: morphemes add something grammatically, look for prefixes, suffixes, unusual forms and innovations.
  • Syntax: aka word order. Can be manipulated for greater effect. Some word orders seem dated, whilst often regional variation can create a different word order.
  • Sentence types: Clause (collection or words around a verb), Phrase (group of words with no verb), simple sentence (one clause), compound sentence (two/more equally joined clauses), complex sentence (two/more clauses joined so that one needs the other).
  • Sentence moods: interrogatives, declaratives, imperatives and exclamatives.
  • Other grammatical features include...pre-modification, repition or listing, ellipsis, word class changes.
  • Sentence mood --> Sentence type --> syntax --> morphemes 
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Orthography = 'correct writing', includes spelling, punctuation, capitalisation. 

  • Orthography has changed across time, look for spellings which appear 'non-standard', new spelling forms, and idiosyncratic ideas.
  • English is not phonetically spelt, causing problems for many. 
  • Standardisation of spelling attempted to 'fix' spelling and pronunciation with dictionaries reinforcing the 'standard'.
  • Debate of 'new' areas adding/changing spelling/punctuation through things such as borrowings and technology. 
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Discourse = how structure is built up 

  • Cohesive structure = smooth pregression between points/topics.
  • Disjointed structure = variation in style between different parts, perhaps to emphasise things. 
  • Look at openings/endings/sections, lists or repetition as a means of being persuasive, conventions of the genre, graphology in assisting structure, linkage (anaphoric/cataphoric references).
  • Discourse in spoken language includes turntaking, agenda handling (smooth transition to new topics, building on what others contribute), structure theories (Labovs narrative theory)
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