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Using automated semantic tagging in Critical Discourse Analysis: a case study on Scottish independence from a Scottish nationalist perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date07/2010
JournalDiscourse and Society
Number of pages33
Original languageEnglish


To date, studies of social attitudes towards Scottish independence tend to have been of the structured survey or interview variety. This study seeks to support and build upon the findings of recent social attitude surveys on Scottish independence using what is, as far as the author is aware, a novel methodology. This involves combining the corpus linguistic technique of automated semantic tagging with a discourse-historical Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) framework.Applying this to a three-million-word corpus built from a pro-independence internet discussion forum, the analysis shows, firstly, a view that independence will strengthen, consolidate or transform Scottish identity in a positive way and, secondly, a distinct lack of strategies that seek to dismantle British identity or refer to historical disputes. Thus, an evaluation of this methodology suggests that it successfully manages to produce findings that support previous research, challenge existing stereotypes, and allow new insight into Scottish nationalist ideology.