1st Edition

Investigating a Corpus of Historical Oral Testimonies The Linguistic Construction of Certainty

By Chris Fitzgerald Copyright 2023
    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    Investigating a Corpus of Historical Oral Testimonies guides the reader through the process of sourcing a relevant oral history archive for linguistic analysis, constructing a representative corpus out of this archive and analysing this using corpus tools.

    Focusing on the oral history archive at the Irish Bureau of Military History, this book shows how corpus linguistics can illuminate themes worthy of investigation that may otherwise remain hidden. This is exemplified through the investigation of how certainty is constructed in this archive through a number of expressions and which serves as a template for both how oral history can aid linguistic understanding and how corpus linguistics can contribute to oral history investigation.

    Highlighting why oral history archives are worthy of linguistic analysis and showing what readers can gain from blending linguistic tools and competencies with oral history data, this book is essential reading for all researchers and students working in the areas of corpus linguistics, discourse analysis and oral history.


    Chapter One: Oral History and Corpus Linguistics

    1.1  Introduction

    1.2  Selecting an archive

    1.3  Corpus linguistics, historical texts and oral history

    1.4  The oral history interview

    1.5  Studies of orality in historical texts

    1.6  Structure of the book

    Chapter Two: The Bureau of Military History: themes and characteristics

    2.1 The creation of the Bureau of Military History
    2.2 The question of reliability
    2.3 Memory
    2.4 The language of the Bureau of Military History archive
    2.5 Autobiography and military discourse
    2.6 Speaking of spokenness
    2.7 Transcription

    Chapter Three: Constructing the corpus of Irish historical narratives

    3.1 Introduction
    3.2 Representativeness and corpus size
    3.3 Text selection
    3.4 Data processing
    3.5 Conclusion

    Chapter Four: General characteristics of the corpus of Irish historical narratives

    4.1 Introduction
    4.2 Investigating spokenness
    4.3 Characteristics of COIHN: single-word items
    4.4 Characteristics of COIHN: multi-word units
    4.5 Conclusion

    Chapter Five: Commitment to truth: mental process verbs

    5.1 Introduction
    5.2 Truth
    5.3 Hedging and commitment to truth
    5.4 Epistemic modality and evidentiality
    5.5 Mental process verbs and commitment to truth
    5.6 Conclusion

    Chapter Six: Commitment to truth: expectation markers

    6.1 Introduction
    6.2 Adverbs of certainty and actuality
    6.3 Conclusion

    Chapter Seven: Bringing together corpus linguistics and oral history

    7.1 Introduction
    7.2 Corpus linguistics and oral history archives
    7.3 Considering context
    7.4 Final reflection




    Chris Fitzgerald is a postdoctoral research fellow on the Interactional Variation Online project at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.