Disambiguating near synonyms in medical discourse: A multilayered corpus analysis of disease, illness and sickness in the British National Corpus

Stefania Maci, Reka Ratkaine Jablonkai, Marek Lukasik, Daniel Knuchel, Sophiko Daraselia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This paper discusses the preliminary results of a corpus-based analysis of three basic health-related lexical items: disease, illness and sickness on the British National Corpus (henceforth BNC) CQP Web platform (2007 XML). Synonymous at first glance, the terms exhibit a certain degree of co-text and context semantic variation; therefore, the lexical items in question cannot be used interchangeably. This in turn may pose some difficulties in inter-lingual translation and language learning, mainly stemming from the lack of full equivalence (or, in some instances, zero equivalence) between the words and their counterparts in some other languages, such as German or Italian. The paper aims to demonstrate how collocational behaviour and semantic profiles can help disambiguate near synonyms along a cline between general and specialised discourse. To this end, the study employed corpus linguistic methods and analysed the BNC across all its text genres. The collocational patterns of the three selected lexical items were examined in the corpus and the semantic profiles of the lexical items were established. The findings suggest that the three health-related near synonyms exhibit markedly different collocational behaviours and semantic preferences. It is therefore suggested that the approach adopted in this study could be applied to help disambiguate the meanings of near synonyms appearing in any specialised discourse at both intra- and inter-linguistic levels. Future research will compare the findings resulting from a similar investigation to be carried out on COCA to see the extent to which, if any, (a) meanings can vary and (b) whether meaning variations associated with these items depend on the interactants (i.e. professionals/laymen).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRepresenting and redefining specialised knowledge: Medical discourse
EditorsFrancesca Bianchi
PublisherESE - Salento University Publishing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • medical discourse
  • collocation
  • corpus-based analysis
  • statistics
  • semantic preference
  • semantic profile

Cite this

Maci, S., Ratkaine Jablonkai, R., Lukasik, M., Knuchel, D., & Daraselia, S. (Accepted/In press). Disambiguating near synonyms in medical discourse: A multilayered corpus analysis of disease, illness and sickness in the British National Corpus. In F. Bianchi (Ed.), Representing and redefining specialised knowledge: Medical discourse ESE - Salento University Publishing.

Disambiguating near synonyms in medical discourse: A multilayered corpus analysis of disease, illness and sickness in the British National Corpus. / Maci, Stefania; Ratkaine Jablonkai, Reka; Lukasik, Marek; Knuchel, Daniel; Daraselia, Sophiko.

Representing and redefining specialised knowledge: Medical discourse. ed. / Francesca Bianchi. ESE - Salento University Publishing, 2019.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Maci, S, Ratkaine Jablonkai, R, Lukasik, M, Knuchel, D & Daraselia, S 2019, Disambiguating near synonyms in medical discourse: A multilayered corpus analysis of disease, illness and sickness in the British National Corpus. in F Bianchi (ed.), Representing and redefining specialised knowledge: Medical discourse. ESE - Salento University Publishing.
Maci S, Ratkaine Jablonkai R, Lukasik M, Knuchel D, Daraselia S. Disambiguating near synonyms in medical discourse: A multilayered corpus analysis of disease, illness and sickness in the British National Corpus. In Bianchi F, editor, Representing and redefining specialised knowledge: Medical discourse. ESE - Salento University Publishing. 2019
Maci, Stefania ; Ratkaine Jablonkai, Reka ; Lukasik, Marek ; Knuchel, Daniel ; Daraselia, Sophiko. / Disambiguating near synonyms in medical discourse: A multilayered corpus analysis of disease, illness and sickness in the British National Corpus. Representing and redefining specialised knowledge: Medical discourse. editor / Francesca Bianchi. ESE - Salento University Publishing, 2019.
@inbook{0f1f210ea793458a986e06ca7b7fe8ef,
title = "Disambiguating near synonyms in medical discourse: A multilayered corpus analysis of disease, illness and sickness in the British National Corpus",
abstract = "This paper discusses the preliminary results of a corpus-based analysis of three basic health-related lexical items: disease, illness and sickness on the British National Corpus (henceforth BNC) CQP Web platform (2007 XML). Synonymous at first glance, the terms exhibit a certain degree of co-text and context semantic variation; therefore, the lexical items in question cannot be used interchangeably. This in turn may pose some difficulties in inter-lingual translation and language learning, mainly stemming from the lack of full equivalence (or, in some instances, zero equivalence) between the words and their counterparts in some other languages, such as German or Italian. The paper aims to demonstrate how collocational behaviour and semantic profiles can help disambiguate near synonyms along a cline between general and specialised discourse. To this end, the study employed corpus linguistic methods and analysed the BNC across all its text genres. The collocational patterns of the three selected lexical items were examined in the corpus and the semantic profiles of the lexical items were established. The findings suggest that the three health-related near synonyms exhibit markedly different collocational behaviours and semantic preferences. It is therefore suggested that the approach adopted in this study could be applied to help disambiguate the meanings of near synonyms appearing in any specialised discourse at both intra- and inter-linguistic levels. Future research will compare the findings resulting from a similar investigation to be carried out on COCA to see the extent to which, if any, (a) meanings can vary and (b) whether meaning variations associated with these items depend on the interactants (i.e. professionals/laymen).",
keywords = "medical discourse, collocation, corpus-based analysis, statistics, semantic preference, semantic profile",
author = "Stefania Maci and {Ratkaine Jablonkai}, Reka and Marek Lukasik and Daniel Knuchel and Sophiko Daraselia",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "25",
language = "English",
editor = "Francesca Bianchi",
booktitle = "Representing and redefining specialised knowledge: Medical discourse",
publisher = "ESE - Salento University Publishing",
address = "Italy",

}

TY - CHAP

T1 - Disambiguating near synonyms in medical discourse: A multilayered corpus analysis of disease, illness and sickness in the British National Corpus

AU - Maci, Stefania

AU - Ratkaine Jablonkai, Reka

AU - Lukasik, Marek

AU - Knuchel, Daniel

AU - Daraselia, Sophiko

PY - 2019/1/25

Y1 - 2019/1/25

N2 - This paper discusses the preliminary results of a corpus-based analysis of three basic health-related lexical items: disease, illness and sickness on the British National Corpus (henceforth BNC) CQP Web platform (2007 XML). Synonymous at first glance, the terms exhibit a certain degree of co-text and context semantic variation; therefore, the lexical items in question cannot be used interchangeably. This in turn may pose some difficulties in inter-lingual translation and language learning, mainly stemming from the lack of full equivalence (or, in some instances, zero equivalence) between the words and their counterparts in some other languages, such as German or Italian. The paper aims to demonstrate how collocational behaviour and semantic profiles can help disambiguate near synonyms along a cline between general and specialised discourse. To this end, the study employed corpus linguistic methods and analysed the BNC across all its text genres. The collocational patterns of the three selected lexical items were examined in the corpus and the semantic profiles of the lexical items were established. The findings suggest that the three health-related near synonyms exhibit markedly different collocational behaviours and semantic preferences. It is therefore suggested that the approach adopted in this study could be applied to help disambiguate the meanings of near synonyms appearing in any specialised discourse at both intra- and inter-linguistic levels. Future research will compare the findings resulting from a similar investigation to be carried out on COCA to see the extent to which, if any, (a) meanings can vary and (b) whether meaning variations associated with these items depend on the interactants (i.e. professionals/laymen).

AB - This paper discusses the preliminary results of a corpus-based analysis of three basic health-related lexical items: disease, illness and sickness on the British National Corpus (henceforth BNC) CQP Web platform (2007 XML). Synonymous at first glance, the terms exhibit a certain degree of co-text and context semantic variation; therefore, the lexical items in question cannot be used interchangeably. This in turn may pose some difficulties in inter-lingual translation and language learning, mainly stemming from the lack of full equivalence (or, in some instances, zero equivalence) between the words and their counterparts in some other languages, such as German or Italian. The paper aims to demonstrate how collocational behaviour and semantic profiles can help disambiguate near synonyms along a cline between general and specialised discourse. To this end, the study employed corpus linguistic methods and analysed the BNC across all its text genres. The collocational patterns of the three selected lexical items were examined in the corpus and the semantic profiles of the lexical items were established. The findings suggest that the three health-related near synonyms exhibit markedly different collocational behaviours and semantic preferences. It is therefore suggested that the approach adopted in this study could be applied to help disambiguate the meanings of near synonyms appearing in any specialised discourse at both intra- and inter-linguistic levels. Future research will compare the findings resulting from a similar investigation to be carried out on COCA to see the extent to which, if any, (a) meanings can vary and (b) whether meaning variations associated with these items depend on the interactants (i.e. professionals/laymen).

KW - medical discourse

KW - collocation

KW - corpus-based analysis

KW - statistics

KW - semantic preference

KW - semantic profile

M3 - Chapter

BT - Representing and redefining specialised knowledge: Medical discourse

A2 - Bianchi, Francesca

PB - ESE - Salento University Publishing

ER -