LINGUIST List 14.2677

Fri Oct 3 2003

Diss: Translation/Corpus: Anderson: 'Corpus...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. wja, Corpus Linguistic Analysis

Message 1: Corpus Linguistic Analysis

Date: Fri, 03 Oct 2003 10:36:21 +0000
From: wja <>
Subject: Corpus Linguistic Analysis

Institution: University of St. Andrews 
Program: PhD French
Dissertation Status: Completed 
Degree Date: 2002 

Author: Wendy June Anderson 

Dissertation Title: Corpus Linguistic Analysis of Phraseology and
Collocation in the Register of Current European Union Administrative

Linguistic Field:	Translation
			Text/Corpus Linguistics
			Language Description 

Subject Language:	French (code: FRN)

Dissertation Director 1: Dr. Chris Gledhill
Dissertation Director 2: Dr. Clive Sneddon

Dissertation Abstract: 

The French administrative language of the European Union is an
emerging discourse: it is less than fifty years old, and has its
origins in the French administrative register of the middle of the
twentieth century. This thesis has two main objectives. The first is
descriptive: using the flourishing methodology of corpus linguistics,
and a specially compiled two-million word corpus of texts, it aims to
describe the current discourse of EU French in terms of its
phraseology and collocational patterning, in particular in relation to
its French national counterpart. The description confirms the
phraseological specificity of EU language but shows that not all of
this can be ascribed to semantic or pragmatic factors. The second
objective of this thesis is therefore explanatory: given the
phraseological differences evident between the two discourses, and by
means of a diachronic comparison, it asks how the EU discourse has
developed in relation to the national discourse.

A detailed analysis is provided of differences between the
administrative language as a whole and other registers of French, and
indeed of genre-based variation within the administrative
register. Three main types of phraseological patterning are
investigated: phraseology which is the creation of administrators
themselves; phraseological elements which are part of the general
language heritage adopted by the administrative register; and
collocational patterning which, as a statistical notion, is the
creation of the corpus. This thesis then seeks to identify the most
significant influences on the discourse. The data indicates that,
contrary to expectations, English, nowadays the most commonly-used
official language of the EU institutions, has had relatively little
influence. More importantly, the translation process itself has acted
as a conservative influence on the EU discourse. This corresponds with
linguistic findings about the nature of translated text.
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