LINGUIST List 14.530

Fri Feb 21 2003

Diss: Text/Corpus Ling: Minnick "Dialect..."

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  1. lisa.minnick, Text/Corpus Ling: Lisa Cohen Minnick "Dialect and Dichotomy: ..."

Message 1: Text/Corpus Ling: Lisa Cohen Minnick "Dialect and Dichotomy: ..."

Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 16:44:34 +0000
From: lisa.minnick <lisa.minnicklcc.gatech.edu>
Subject: Text/Corpus Ling: Lisa Cohen Minnick "Dialect and Dichotomy: ..."

Institution: University of Georgia
Program: Department of English
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Lisa Cohen Minnick 

Dissertation Title: 

Dialect and Dichotomy: A Computational and Critical Approach to
Analyzing Literary Representations of African American Speech


Linguistic Field: Text/Corpus Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Ling &
Literature, Discourse Analysis, Computational Linguistics

Dissertation Director 1: Bill Kretzschmar
Dissertation Director 2: Lee Pederson
Dissertation Director 3: Marlyse Baptista

Dissertation Abstract: 

The study of literary representations of spoken linguistic variation,
or literary dialect, brings together the fields of literature and
linguistics while offering additional dimensions neither of the two
can offer alone. This dissertation includes four linguistic-literary
analyses of fictional representations of African American speech
published between 1884 and 1937 in order to illustrate the ways
linguistic methods can enhance traditional critical approaches to
literature as well as to demonstrate how literary representations of
speech can be of interest to linguists. The works considered here are
Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Charles
W. Chesnutt's The Conjure Woman(1899), William Faulkner's The Sound
and the Fury (1929), and Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching
God (1937). The analyses are intended to offer insight into how
authors use speech as a characterization strategy and how variation
functions as a marker of social organization both within and outside
the literary text. Additionally, the analyses can help to advance
understanding of perceptions about language varieties and their
speakers as well as supplement ongoing linguistic studies of the
origins and development of African American English varieties.

This study hopes to show how both linguistics and literary studies can
benefit from a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches
to literary text analysis using available technology, such as
electronic texts and text-analysis programs, to set up and analyze
corpora according to existing scholarship in language variation
studies, as well as focusing on the artistic qualities of and cultural
contexts influencing the texts under consideration, both in
determining the experimental design and in analyzing the results.
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