Personal Fiction Corpus: Examining Voice in Young Writers

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Student Presentation

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Casey Keck


Corpus investigation in the field of Applied Linguistics has revolutionized the study of language and has made available techniques that can be used to study any genre of written and spoken language. Based on a small, compiled corpus of fourteen fiction and non-fiction short stories from ten authors, this present study aims to explore phraseologies and high frequency (HF) words to investigate their rhetorical functions within the framework of creating a story. Using a software program to investigate this Short Story Corpus, collocate lists and words lists will reveal high frequency phraseologies and words, as well as words and grammatical tools that surround them. This study will also investigate the use of voice in first-person and third-person narration and asks how does the use of voice affect other features of sentence structure. Preliminary results show that the top nine HF phraseologies, consisting of four words, are prepositional and used twice as much in non-fiction as in fiction. Preliminary results also indicate a stronger use of the pronoun she across seven writers, the majority being female, fiction writers. The findings of the study will show phraseologies, word types, and voice in terms of which rhetorical function they serve in the story: summary, backstory, rising action, climax, penultimate, resolution, and denouement.

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