Follow Changes in Language Use by a Particular Writer

Introduction: 

This recipe uses an Aggregate Text tool, frequency lists, Concordance and Collocation tools to explore how a writer’s use of language changes over a lifetime.

Ingredients: 

Steps: 

  1. Log in to the TAPoR portal;
  2. Build a collection of works representing the particular writer's oeuvre, either by obtaining electronic versions from a sources such as Electronic Text Center at UVA or by using the TAPoR Googlizer;
  3. Generate a frequency list from the Aggregate text using Voyant Corpus Term Frequencies to appreciate the nature of the writer's vocabulary;
  4. Save the resulting list to your workbench with a distinct label;
  5. Choose select vocabulary to explore from the word list;
  6. Apply a Collocation tool such as Voyant Links to each of the keywords to select related vocabulary;
  7. Explore the results of your collocation for other fixed phrases of interest that don’t involve your keywords;
  8. Use a concordance tool such as Voyant Document KWICs to locate other instances of those or related phrases;
  9. Repeat this process for each text you are interested in;
  10. Compare the individual frequency lists that you saved to your workbench considering apparent similarities and differences.

Discussion: 

  • Why Login

When using an Aggregate tool such as the Googlizer, you must be able to save text to the Databench as part of the process. To make this possible you must be logged into the system to maintain your own personal workspace. If you require access to TAPoR please visit the TAPoR signup page

  • Why Use the Thesaurus

After finding the list of words from the writers work, it is useful to use the thesaurus tool to find related words that you can use to explore further nuances of the writers’ changing use of language. The key words that you identify as points of exploration themselves mat have evolved themselves and the subtle changes in word choice can be identified through contrasting synonyms.

Next steps / further information: 

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