Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Issues and challenges in compiling a corpus of ...


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

Issues and challenges in compiling a corpus of Early Modern English plays for comparison with those of William Shakespeare

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/03/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>ICAME Journal
Issue number1
Number of pages32
Pages (from-to)37-68
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date12/03/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Abstract In this article I discuss the issues and challenges of compiling a corpus of historical plays by a range of playwrights that is highly suitable for use in comparative, corpus-based research into language style in Shakespeare’s plays. In discussing sources for digitised historical play-texts and criteria for making a selection for the present study, I argue that not just any set of Early Modern English plays constitutes a suitable basis upon which to make reliable claims about language style in Shakespeare’s plays relative to those of his peers. I point out factors outside of authorial choice which potentially have bearing on language style, such as sub-genre features and change over time. I also highlight some particular difficulties in compiling a corpus of historical texts, notably dating and spelling variation, and I explain how these were addressed. The corpus detailed in this article extends the prospects for investigating Shakespeare’s language style by providing a context into which it can be set and, as I indicate, is a valuable new publicly accessible resource for future research.