It is interesting to notice what various researchers think about the second research tool used in this thesis – the corpus analysis. Meyer (2004: 3) elaborates on the idea of the corpus analysis in the following way:
The complexity of structure, however, is precisely what the corpus linguist is interested in studying. Unlike generative grammarians, corpus linguists see complexity and
113 variation as inherent in language, and in their discussions of language, they place a very
high priority on descriptive adequacy, not explanatory adequacy. Consequently, corpus linguists are very skeptical of the highly abstract and decontextualized discussions of language promoted by generative grammarians, largely because such discussions are too far removed from actual language usage.
McEnery and Wilson (2001: 29) go straight to the heart of the matter when they contend that the corpus is understood as a collection of more than one text which is used in linguistic analysis later on. Various genres such as poems, conversations, posts, comments or even TV talk shows can be analyzed from different perspectives. Crystal (2008: 117) claims that either written texts or a transcription of recorded speeches can be used as the main object of linguistic description or as a mean of verifying various hypotheses about a language and its nature.
Using the corpus analysis is crucial in this dissertation due to the fact that both grammatical and lexical studies have been analyzed on the basis of corpora which was used during research. So far, all studies which have been conducted relied mostly on the qualitative studies which provided us with a very extended description of grammar and its rules, however, it was much more difficult to present frequency or rarity of particular grammatical structures (McEnery &
Wilson, 2001: 110; Weis & Wodak, 2003: 57). Thanks to the corpus linguistics, carrying out the quantitative studies are easier nowadays and they should be conducted more often owing to their importance. Not only can we then understand grammar itself, but also pay attention to those types of grammatical structures which appear more often and to what degree they differ in particular languages. There are some researchers who made an attempt to carry out the quantitative analysis by means of using the corpora. Schmied’s (1993) study concerned the analysis of relative clauses which occurred in the LOB and Kolhapur corpora, and Oostdijk & de Han (1994) focused on the frequency of various English clause types in Nijmegen corpus.
The corpus analysis finds its practical implication in lexical studies.
Currently, a great number of various texts gives us opportunities to collect as many words as possible and analyze them taking into considerations different factors. Thanks to this, more and more dictionaries can be produced and they can be revised more often due to the fact that we are provided with more up-to-date information concerning changes in languages and their constant development
114 (McEnery & Wilson, 2001: 107; Wrbouschek, 2009:38; Jorgensen & Phillips,
Since the main aim of this study and research questions revolve around media and social networks, it is important to state that the corpus linguistics has much in common with Critical Discourse Analysis. CDA gives us a chance to have an insight into relationships between language, power, and ideology. In the case of CDA, the emphasis should be put on the last element owing to the fact that ideology enables us to observe some phenomena and correlations between social relations and problems, and how language use contributes to these aspects (O’Keeffe & McCarthy, 2010: 564, Markham, 2013: 78, Teun, 2001: 26).
Widdowson (2004) accuses CDA of being too subjective in analyses. It may be stated that CDA is a form of a social critique due to the fact that we, as analysts, are supposed to take a position on the topic we are investigating. Our point of view will depend mostly on our beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions. It is obvious that we will choose those texts which seem to be interesting or thought-provoking in the interpretation for us, however, they do not need to be necessarily extraordinary for the target audience who created them. Thus, very often our interpretation of those texts may differ from the interpretation of the audience. Going beyond single texts gives us a chance to explore the quantitative and the qualitative patterns either synchronically (e.g. analyzing texts collected within one day) or diachronically (e.g. observing linguistic patterns over a period of time). (O’Halloran (2007); Baker (2006); Hidalgo Tenorio (2009); Batorski &
It is also essential to provide a list of some of the most common types of the corpora:
1. General corpora (e.g. the British National Corpus) contains a great number of both written and spoken language provided by speakers of different ages, from different countries, and various social classes.
2. Synchronic corpora (e.g. Frown) aims at collecting texts which come from the same period of time, for instance British newspapers from the 1980s.
115 3. Historical corpora (e.g. the Helsinki corpus) collects texts from many, various
periods of time and studies changes in those languages, for instance literature from the 1980s and the 1990s.
4. Learner corpora (e.g. the Cambridge Learner Corpus) consists of texts written by foreign language learners (exams, tests, essays).
5. Parallel corpora (e.g. OPUS) contains the same texts in two or more languages.
6. Multimedia corpora (e.g. Sacodeyl) contains texts which are enhanced with audio or visual materials.