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Ireland in British parliamentary debates 1803–2005: Plotting changes in discourse in a large volume of time-series corpus data

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Publication date2017
Host publicationExploring Future Paths for Historical Sociolinguistics
EditorsTanja Säily, Arja Nurmi, Minna Palander-Collin, Anita Auer
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9789027264817
ISBN (Print)9789027200860
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameAdvances in Historical Sociolinguistics
PublisherJohn Benjamins
ISSN (Print)2214-1057


This study investigates the changing contexts in which the word ireland appears in the The Hansard Corpus of British Parliamentary debates. It combines the use of two statistical techniques for analysis and visualization of historical data (Meaning Fluctuation Analysis and sparklines) with more qualitative examination of concordance lines from the corpus. The full historical context of the patterns observed in the Parliamentary data is also provided. We show that the sophisticated corpus techniques have the ability to draw our attention to important points in the time series, which need to be further investigated within the context of the larger historical picture.