A Corpus-Driven Study of Near-Synonymous Command Verbs Used in a Military English Context

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Abstract

This professional interest study analyses the near-synonymous verb pairings ‘move’ and ‘go’ and ‘fire’ and ‘shoot’ as employed in a military English context. Reference data was provided via a specialized military English corpus, which was compiled and measured against the Santa Barbara Corpus of Spoken American English using the Sketch Engine lexicographical tool. In the case of ‘move’ and ‘go,’ findings suggest that differences in lexical behavior patterns may be explained primarily in terms of pronoun subject/object sentence structures. While ‘move’ predominantly features pronouns that act as sentence objects, ‘go’ is shown to incorporate subject pronouns. Moreover, both verbs are shown to collocate with themselves, conceivably evidencing their use as a motivational tool, a position echoed in a number of Sketch Difference categories. The behavioral differences between the verb-object collocational patterns of ‘fire’ & shoot,’ meanwhile, suggests that the verb form of ‘fire’ is associated predominantly with the action and directional application of weapons, while ‘shoot’ primarily serves to indicate specific targets that have/are to be fired upon. The conclusions of the Sketch Difference phase are strengthened by the findings of collocational and concordancing analyses, which also highlight the importance of contextual knowledge in regard to idiomatic language and verb usage.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Pages (from-to)69-86
Number of pages17
JournalKwansei Gakuin University Humanities Review
Volume25
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Corpus Analysis
  • Concordancing
  • Military English
  • English for Specific Purposes

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