Annual Lecture: Tony McEnery

Date(s) - 03/20/2018
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm



The Humanities Center welcomes Tony McEnery, Director of the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science and Distinguished Professor of English Language and Linguistics at Lancaster University, as our Annual Lecture guest speaker on Tuesday, March 20th at 3:00 PM in the EIZ Theater.

Title: “Word Meaning on the Margins: Exploring marginalized groups in 17th century England”

The 17th century was an important one in the context of the development of modern social attitudes in the UK. In this talk I will explore the contribution that corpus linguistics can make to the exploration of the development of such attitudes principally by looking at how the poor, poverty and especially begging were discussed in public discourse in the Early Modern period. By exploring a 1 billion word corpus of language from 17th century Britain I will argue that we can use a corpus to explore changing attitudes to marginalized groups over time. In doing so, as well as showing the method I use for this purpose, I will also demonstrate the relevance of the findings of such research for historians and literary scholars, while reflecting on how using evidence from historical and literary studies is important in understanding what we find in corpus data. By triangulating together historical, literary and linguistic evidence, we can come to a more rounded view of how attitudes to marginalized groups – and the words used to refer to them – varied across the century.

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