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Open Access Collocations in context: A new perspective on collocation networks

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The idea that text in a particular field of discourse is organized into lexical patterns, which can be visualized as networks of words that collocate with each other, was originally proposed by Phillips (1983). This idea has important theoretical implications for our understanding of the relationship between the lexis and the text and (ultimately) between the text and the discourse community/the mind of the speaker. Although the approaches to date have offered different possibilities for constructing collocation networks, we argue that they have not yet successfully operationalized some of the desired features of such networks. In this study, we revisit the concept of collocation networks and introduce GraphColl, a new tool developed by the authors that builds collocation networks from user-defined corpora. In a case study using data from McEnery’s (2006a) study of the Society for the Reformation of Manners Corpus (SRMC), we demonstrate that collocation networks provide important insights into meaning relationships in language.

Keywords: GraphColl; collocation networks; collocations; statistics; swearing

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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