Corpus Linguistics Investigates Language Roles in Short Story Literature

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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 written and spoken language to inform pedagogical approaches of language; however, there are few corpus linguistic studies investigating the use of language and sentence structure in short story literature. To address this gap, the present study will explore words, phrases, voice, and slang in order to investigate rhetorical functions within the framework of short story writing.

I compiled a small corpus of fourteen fiction and non-fiction short stories from ten authors. Using a software program, AntConc, to investigate this Short Story Corpus, patterns of frequently used words and phrases will be identified, as well as reveal co-occurring words and grammatical structures. This study will investigate the use of voice in first-person and third-person narration and explore how the use of voice affects other features of sentence structure. Additionally, this study will show how words, phrases, and voice are used as rhetorical tools that serve nuances of the short story genre: summary, backstory, rising action, climax, penultimate, denouement, and resolution.

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