A corpus-based study of the effects of collocation, phraseology, grammatical patterning, and register on semantic prosody

Main, Timothy Peter (2018). A corpus-based study of the effects of collocation, phraseology, grammatical patterning, and register on semantic prosody. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis investigates four factors that can significantly affect the positive-negative semantic prosody of two high-frequency verbs, CAUSE and HAPPEN. It begins by exploring the problematic notion that semantic prosody is collocational. Statistical measures of collocational significance, including the appropriate span within which evaluative collocates are observed, the nature of the collocates themselves, and their relationship to the node are all examined in detail. The study continues by examining several semi-preconstructed phrases associated with HAPPEN. First, corpus data show that such phrases often activate evaluative modes other than semantic prosody; then, the potentially problematic selection of the canonical form of a phrase is discussed; finally, it is shown that in some cases collocates ostensibly evincing semantic prosody occur in profiles because of their occurrence in frequent phrases, and as such do not constitute strong evidence of semantic prosody. Finally, register-specific examination of grammatical patterning of CAUSE shows that both register and patterning can affect semantic prosody. This study shows that although positive-negative semantic prosody is an important aspect of meaning, it is potentially problematic, and any claims that a word or phrase has a positive or negative semantic prosody may require taking these factors into consideration.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Language and Linguistics
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/8237


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