Journal article

Inquiring into the Corpus of Empire

Stephen Doherty, Lisa Ford, Kirsten Mckenzie, Naomi Parkinson, David Roberts, Paul Halliday, Zoe Laidlaw, Alan Lester, Philip Stern

JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY | UNIV HAWAII PRESS | Published : 2021

Abstract

This article tests the value of corpus linguistics in analyzing nineteenth-century commissions of inquiry into British colonies. It examines and improves the capacity of a computerized text analysis tool called the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count to identify word meaning, sentiment, and psycholinguistic constructs in nineteenth-century sources. By augmenting its dictionary with nineteenth-century language and cross-checking meaning, we show that the software can code with 97% accuracy. We then demonstrate the tool’s potential to explore genres of colonial writing, and to locate emotive language and language relating to power differentials in commission reports, a function we argue may prov..

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Grants

Awarded by Australian Research Council


Funding Acknowledgements

This paper was produced with the support of the Australian Research Council DP180100537.