Stella Neumann: "The Language of Literature: What Corpus Analysis Can (and Can't) Tell Us"

Monday, December 02, 2019, 6:30pm

This is the sixth talk of the lecture series.

This talk will take place in lecture hall H09 in C.A.R.L. (Claßenstraße 11).

The language of literature: What corpus analysis can (and can't) tell us

Stella Neumann


The language of literature puts the power and elasticity of language on display. No other type of texts comes near literature in the amount of linguistic variation it allows. This makes literary language a desirable object of research for an approach to linguistics that aims at understanding language in all its complexity and variability. The corpus-based approach is particularly suitable for the investigation of these phenomena because it is geared towards determining similarity-based patterns and, by the same token, clusters set apart by linguistic differences. Examining such linguistic patterns may also inform literary scholarship on the question of the specifically /literary/ nature of texts. In this talk I will discuss patterns resulting from the multivariate statistical analysis of a set of lexico-grammatical features in different corpora that include literary texts. The findings cast doubt on the distinctiveness of literary language.