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Key Words and Key Sections: Exploring Shakespeare

Key Words and Key Sections: Exploring Shakespeare Mike Scott School of English University of Liverpool TALC, Paris 3.7.06 This presentation is at www.lexically.net/downloads/corpus_linguistics Starting Point Scott and Tribble (2006) studying Romeo and Juliet :

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Key Words and Key Sections: Exploring Shakespeare

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  1. Key Words and Key Sections:Exploring Shakespeare Mike Scott School of English University of Liverpool TALC, Paris 3.7.06 This presentation is at www.lexically.net/downloads/corpus_linguistics

  2. Starting Point Scott and Tribble (2006) studying Romeo and Juliet: • “All Shakespeare plays” is a suitable reference corpus • A large number of KWs are proper nouns: characters in the play • Others: • theme KWs (love, death etc.) • exclamations • pronouns • copula verbs KWs of Shakespeare

  3. Aims of the Paper • To investigate KWs in all of Shakespeare's plays • To identify proportions of • character/place KWs • To locate “unexpected” KWs in terms of • character • distribution KWs of Shakespeare

  4. Methods • Obtain all plays (OUP 1916 edition) • Convert to .txt • Use WordSmith’s WordList tool to compute word-lists • Use KeyWords tool to compute KWs for each using all the plays as a reference corpus • Export the KWs for each into an Excel spreadsheet • Repeat 3-5 for all characters • Identify KW types; understand why they are key KWs of Shakespeare

  5. HTML from Online Library of Liberty KWs of Shakespeare

  6. the HTML source… <div class="sp"><span class="ital_speaker">Lys.</span><p style="margin-top: -0.5em;">I am, my lord, as well deriv&#8217;d as he,</p> <p class="p-no-indent1">As well possess&#8217;d; my love is more than his;<span class="milestone_right" title="Craig1916_line_100">100</span></p> <p class="p-no-indent1">My fortunes every way as fairly rank&#8217;d</p> <p class="p-no-indent1">If not with vantage, as Demetrius&#8217;;</p> <p class="p-no-indent1">And, which is more than all these boasts can be,</p> <p class="p-no-indent1">I am belov&#8217;d of beauteous Hermia.<span KWs of Shakespeare

  7. Clean up process • Convert to XML (Dreamweaver) • Custom program: • Remove standard headers • Convert to Unicode • Replace markup such as “deriv&8217;d” with “deriv’d” • Find XML markup for Dramatis Personae, build standard list of characters • Identify Act and Scene numbers, remove line numbers; separate out stage directions • Mark up all speech beginnings and endings • Export each speech to a file for each character KWs of Shakespeare

  8. Cleaned up <LYSANDER> <5%> I am, my lord, as well deriv'd as he, As well possess'd; my love is more than his; My fortunes every way as fairly rank'd If not with vantage, as Demetrius'; And, which is more than all these boasts can be, I am belov'd of beauteous Hermia. Why should not I then prosecute my right? Demetrius, I'll avouch it to his head, Made love to Nedar's daughter, Helena, And won her soul; and she, sweet lady, dotes, Devoutly dotes, dotes in idolatry, Upon this spotted and inconstant man. </LYSANDER> KWs of Shakespeare

  9. WordSmith Processing • Wordlists: • of all the plays • of each play (batch, 37 lists) • of each character’s speeches (batch, 1313 lists) Using the first wordlist as the reference corpus and exporting results to Excel, make KW lists … • of each play (batch) • of each character’s speeches (batch) • and KW databases of the plays & the characters KWs of Shakespeare


  11. Most of these are uninteresting…. • if you know the play you already know it concerns Hamlet and some other characters, that it’s set in Denmark and that Ophelia goes mad. • Approximately 50% are characters or places, compared with 30% in BNC, Scott & Tribble 2006:71) KWs of Shakespeare

  12. KW databases • the KKWs of the plays: I, HER, SIR, YOU, KING, LOVE, SHE, T, THY (6 or more plays each) • the KKWs of the characters: SIR, HER, LORD, YOU, MASTER, THOU, CAESAR, MADAM, THY, LOVE, SHE, A, I, OUR, WARWICK (12 or more characters each) KWs of Shakespeare

  13. but the “others” and pronouns may be interesting • Why are such words “key” in this play? • “A word which is positively key occurs more often than would be expected by chance in comparison with the reference corpus.” (Help file, definition of keyness) KWs of Shakespeare

  14. but what about Negative KWs? • “A word which is negatively key occurs less often than would be expected by chance in comparison with the reference corpus.” (Help file, definition of keyness) KWs of Shakespeare

  15. All the negative KWs A, AND, DOTH, FATHER, FOR, FROM, GOOD, HE, HER, HIM, HIS, I, I’LL, IN, IT, KING, LORD, LOVE, MASTER, ME, MOST, MY, OF, OUR, SHE, SIR, THE, THEE, THEIR, THERE, THY, THOU, TIS, WE, WHAT, WHY, YOU, YOUR • These are potentially interesting… KWs of Shakespeare

  16. … if the generally negative KWs happen to be positive • Why are IT, LORD and MOST positively key in Hamlet… • if they are negatively key in the other plays? • Which characters are they most key of? • Where are they found, how are these KWs dispersed throughout the play? KWs of Shakespeare

  17. Some are unsurprising • “LOVE”: • Midsummer Night’s Dream – Helena, Lysander • As You Like It – Rosalind • Love’s Labour’s Lost – Armado • Much Ado About Nothing – Benedick • Two Gentlemen of Verona – Julia, Proteus, Valentine • Romeo & Juliet – Juliet, Romeo KWs of Shakespeare

  18. “SIR” • Measure For Measure – Abhorson, Elbow, Pompey • Merry Wives of Windsor – Bardolph, Ford, Rugby, Simple • Henry IV part 2 – Bullcalf, Davy, Shallow • Comedy of Errors – Angelo, Dromio of Ephesus, Dromio of Syracuse • Two Gentlemen of Verona – Speed KWs of Shakespeare

  19. “MASTER” • Merry Wives of Windsor – Evans, Falstaff, Ford, Mistress Quickly, Shallow • Henry IV part 2 – Falstaff • Comedy of Errors – Dromio of Ephesus KWs of Shakespeare

  20. But some are puzzling • Why is IT key in the speeches of Hamlet? • In the plays 0.95% (1 word in 100) but in Hamlet’s speeches 1.48%: a 50% increase in this one character’s speeches… • Or in the speeches of Horatio in the same play? • In the plays 0.95% but in Horatio’s speeches 2.33%: nearly 250% of the average in this one character’s speeches! KWs of Shakespeare

  21. IT in Hamlet • In Hamlet’s speeches, distributed evenly: • In Horatio’s speeches: KWs of Shakespeare

  22. Some references to the Ghost… KWs of Shakespeare

  23. … but that cannot explain more than a fraction KWs of Shakespeare

  24. DO in Othello • Nearly twice as frequent as in the other plays • Characteristic of Iago (nearly twice as often) and Desdemona (more than 3 times as often) • DOST characteristic of Othello (more than 6 times as frequent) KWs of Shakespeare

  25. Iago commanding KWs of Shakespeare

  26. Desdemona and conditionals KWs of Shakespeare

  27. Othello’s DOST: suspicion KWs of Shakespeare

  28. VERY • Traugott (1990) points out that diachronically, the meaning of an item may evolve: propositional ((> textual) > (expressive)) (Traugott, 1990:496) KWs of Shakespeare

  29. VERY in Hamlet • Adamson & Gonzalez-Dias (forthcoming) show that very moves from an adjective (“true”) and develops adverbial uses in the 14th - 15th Centuries. By the 16th Century, we get • VERY+N formal • VERY+ADJ formal, informal • VERY+ADV more informal KWs of Shakespeare

  30. VERY in Hamlet • VERY+N high status characters (Iago, Macbeth, Othello, Antony, Hamlet) • VERY+ADJ medium-low status (Mercutio (R&J), Beatrice (Ado), Fluellen (H5), Touchstone (AYL), Osric (Ham), Iago (Oth), Parolles (AllsW)) • VERY+ADV low status (Pompey (MM) Adamson & Gonzalez-Dias (forthcoming: table 3) KWs of Shakespeare

  31. Osric & Hamlet KWs of Shakespeare

  32. VERY + ADV KWs of Shakespeare

  33. Hamlet’s KWs • It, woo’t, very, phrase, the, t, could e’en, why, sense, of, a, or, whereto, this, let, how • … a questioning role KWs of Shakespeare

  34. Conclusions • Approximately 50% of the KWs are predictable names of characters and places, a higher ratio than in the BNC… • … because these are dialogues in plays. • The high-frequency KWs investigated will naturally vary in use from character to character and from play to play • but methinks they do vary too much for this variation to be mere chance • KW patterns can illuminate diachronic study of language • and understanding of character and role • but there is a long way to go … KWs of Shakespeare

  35. a warning to us all… • <COUNTESS>Marry, that's a bountiful answer that fits all questions.</COUNTESS> • <CLOWN>It is like a barber's chair that fits all buttocks; the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn-buttock, or any buttock.</CLOWN> • <COUNTESS>Will your answer serve fit to all questions?</COUNTESS> • <CLOWN>As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney, as your French crown for your taffeta punk, as Tib's rush for Tom's forefinger, as a pancake for Shrove-Tuesday, a morris for Mayday, as the nail to his hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding quean to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to the friar's mouth; nay, as the pudding to his skin.</CLOWN> • <COUNTESS>Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness for all questions?</COUNTESS> • <CLOWN>From below your duke to beneath your constable, it will fit any question.</CLOWN> • <COUNTESS>It must be an answer of most monstrous size that must fit all demands.</COUNTESS> KWs of Shakespeare

  36. References • Adamson, Sylvia & Victorina Gonzalez-Dias, “Back to the very beginning: the development of intensifiers in English”. Paper presented at 13th International Conference of English Historical Linguistics, Vienna, Aug. 2004. • Aston, Guy & Lou Burnard, 1988. The BNC Handbook. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. • Crystal, David & Ben Crystal, 2002. Shakespeare’s Words: a glossary and language companion. London: Penguin. • Scott, Mike & Chris Tribble, 2006. Textual Patterns: key words and corpus analysis in language education. Amsterdam: Benjamins. • Traugott, Elizabeth, 1990. “From Less to More Situated in Language: the Unidirectionality of Semantic Change” in S. Adamson, V. Law, N. Vincent & S. Wright, Papers from the 5th International Conference of English Historical Linguistics, Cambridge, 1987. Benjamins: Amsterdam, pp. 497-517. KWs of Shakespeare

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