Variation across Speech and Writing / Edition 1

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Overview

Similarities and differences between speech and writing have been the subject of innumerable studies, but until now there has been no attempt to provide a unified linguistic analysis of the whole range of spoken and written registers in English. In this widely acclaimed empirical study, Douglas Biber uses computational techniques to analyze the linguistic characteristics of twenty-three spoken and written genres, enabling identification of the basic, underlying dimensions of variation in English. In Variation Across Speech and Writing, six dimensions of variation are identified through a factor analysis, on the basis of linguistic co-occurence patterns. The resulting model of variation provides for the description of the distinctive linguistic characteristic of any spoken or written text and demonstrates the ways in which the polarization of speech and writing has been misleading, and thus enables reconciliation of the contradictory conclusions reached in previous research.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"By far the most extensive quantitative investigation of spoken-written language differences has been the recent stunning research of Biber..." W. Chafe and D. Tannen |x

"This work is an important landmark in several aspects. It is the most comprehensive objective study ever undertaken of variation across representative genres of speech and writing. It is the most far-reaching research into variation, bringing to bear a large number of linguistic variables on a large number of texts. It is one of the most sophisticated examples of advanced statistical technique ever applied to linguistic data, and it is a model of how to use (and how to explain the use of) factor analysis....Biber has produced a landmark study deserving a wide audience." Robert S. Wachal, American Speech

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521425568
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/19/1991
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I. Background Concepts and Issues: 1. Introduction: textual dimensions and relations; 2. Situations and functions; 3. Previous linguistic research on speech and writing; Part II. Methodology: 4. Methodological overview of the study; 5. Statistical analysis; Part III. Dimensions and Relations in English: 6. Textual dimensions in speech and writing; 7. Textual relations in speech and writing; 8. Extending the description: variations within genres; 9. Afterword: applying the model; Appendices.

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