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Does semantic tagging identify cultural change in British and American English?

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2012
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Corpus Linguistics
Issue number3
Number of pages30
Pages (from-to)295-324
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper explores the viability of automated semantic tagging as a tool of cultural analysis comparing American and British English using the Brown family of corpora. Pairs of corpora representing written language production from circa 1961, 1991 and 2006 were contrasted by comparing key semantic tags. This method was then evaluated in relation to three earlier studies which attempted to uncover cultural differences via assigning keywords to ad hoc categories. After outlining the differences found, we conclude that computerised semantic tagging can offer a wider reaching and more scientific comparison of language patterns. However, we suggest that this method is most appropriate as a starting point for a more in-depth cultural analysis, rather than as a final or certain indication of cultural change.