Abstract: Hoey (2005) proposes that 'Every word is primed to occur in, or avoid, certain positions within the discourse; these are its textual colligations'. He further argues that such primings are tied to contexts, and therefore it should not be assumed that the priming that operates in one textual domain will operate in another textual domain. One may therefore expect to find variation in the patterns of textual colligation across different genres and different disciplines.
In this paper I explore Hoey's notion of textual colligation, by examining the textual locations and environments of a variety of single and multiword items in a corpus of undergraduate assignments, derived from the British Academic Written English (BAWE) corpus. I firstly identify where the items occur in the text (in which paragraph out of how many paragraphs?), and secondly, where the items occur (and in what co-textual environment) in a paragraph (which sentence in a paragraph of how many sentences?). This establishes roughly the textual location of the item. I then examine the textual environments in which these items occur, both at a sentence level and at a broader textual level.
The BAWE corpus contains a large number of texts taken from different disciplines and representing a range of genres. To test the notion of textual colligation further, I also discuss the evidence for disciplinary variation , and whether words or phrases are primed with different textual colligations, depending on discipline and genre. I argue that Hoey's theory helps to reunite corpus-derived observations about language with concepts of rhetoric, and that textual colligation is bound up with experiences and understandings of how texts are organised.
Hoey, Michael (2005) Lexical Priming. London: Routledge.
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