Collocation analysis to identify the ‘unusual’ in hybrid texts

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The texts produced in multicultural and multilingual contexts, for example, institutions of the European Union and the United Nations, are often referred to as hybrid texts. The definition proposed by Trosborg (1997) says that hybrid texts: “are arrived at as an outcome of negotiations between cultures and the norms and conventions involved as well as through translation” (p. 146) and exhibit “features that somehow seem ‘out of place’/’strange’/’unusual’ for the receiving culture” (Schäffner & Adab, 2001, p. 175). Written documents produced within the EU institutional context can be considered hybrid texts and this hybridity might be reflected in the collocational patterns and semantic preferences of specific lexical items in this specific discourse (Gledhill, 2000; Mautner, 2016; Nelson, 2006). The present paper reports on the collocation analysis of English EU discourse that aimed to identify discourse-specific patterns of collocations of 16 frequent lexical items in written English EU documents. The study investigated the English EU Discourse corpus, which is a one-million-word corpus of English EU documents designed and compiled based on the results of a needs analysis among EU professionals. Collocational patterns were identified with the help of Sketchengine (Kilgarriff & Tugwell, 2001). The study was guided by the following research questions: RQ1 What collocational patterns emerge in written English EU discourse? RQ2 How do patterns in the EEUD corpus compare to collocational patterns in the BNC Written? The analysis revealed that there are differences in the collocates and grammatical relations the selected lexical items frequently form in the EEUD Corpus and in the BNC Written. The different collocates or frequent untypical grammatical behaviour of lexical items might be perceived as ‘strange’ or ‘unusual’ features of EU texts. Therefore, these features can be considered as elements contributing to the hybridity of English EU documents. The number of collocates, and the variety of semantic preferences the selected lexical items appear to have, is greater in the BNC Written, which suggests a certain degree of fixedness in the lexical aspects of collocation in the EEUD Corpus. Keywords: hybrid text, collocation analysis, semantic preference, word sketches, English EU discourse References Gledhill, C. (2000). “The discourse function of collocation in research article introductions”. English for Specific Purposes, 19(2), 115-135. Mautner, G. (2016). “Checks and balances of critical discourse studies”. In R. Wodak and M. Meyer (eds.) Methods of critical discourse studies. London: SAGE. Nelson, M. (2006). “Semantic association in Business English: A corpus-based analysis”. English for Specific Purposes, 25(2), 217-234. Kilgarriff, A., & Tugwell, D. (2002). “Sketching words”. In M. Corréard (Ed.), Lexicography and natural language processing: A festschrift in honour of B. T. S. Atkins (pp. 125-137). EURALEX. Retrieved August 25, 2009, from Schäffner, C., & Adab, B. (2001). “The idea of the hybrid text in translation: Contact as conflict”. Across Languages and Culture, 2(2), 167-180. Trosborg, A. (1997). “Translating hybrid political texts”. In A. Trosborg, (Ed.), Text typology and translation (pp. 145-158). Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing Company.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAcceptance date - Jun 2018
EventCorpora and Discourse International Conference - Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 22 Jun 201824 Jun 2018


ConferenceCorpora and Discourse International Conference
Abbreviated titleCAD2018
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom
Internet address


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