Marco Venuti, Mariavita Cambria

Diachronic Variation across Genres and Disciplines: The Irish Question in the British Parliament in the Early 20th Century

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Easter Rising; MD CADS; Hansard Corpus; Historical Variation; Genre Variation.

This article presents the outcomes of a combined qualitative/quantitative analysis of diachronic variation across genres. The subject matter is the naming of the specific historical event that is known as the Easter Rising. The paper illustrates and discusses findings emerging from a comparison of a quantitative study of the Hansard corpus with a qualitative analysis both of newspaper articles published in 1916 and of history books. Focusing on British Parliamentary debates related to the decades 1910- 1930, naming strategies connected to the Easter Rising are examined in the Hansard corpus through a corpus-based Discourse Analysis approach. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches show how out of a wide range of naming strategies used both in early 20th century newspapers and in Parliament, a single preferred choice emerges only from the late 1960s. This is due to the reductionist work of historians who opted for one easily identifiable label to represent the complexity of the events.

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