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Counting language

Watch Jonathan Culpeper explain why it is important to count aspects of language, and especially Shakespeare's language.

Some of the key myths about Shakespeare’s language revolve around big numbers. That is the key reason we begin this week by thinking about the counting of linguistic items, especially words.

In fact, for many things, counting in order to reveal frequencies, and thereby patterns, is so important. Remember, you don’t actually need to specify a number to be dealing in frequency. You might simply say that something is common or normal, or something else is rare or exceptional. Frequency underlies those descriptive labels.

As a method, corpus-based approaches have a special relationship with frequency patterns, as we will see this week and next. This video focuses on the reasons for counting things, and why we may wish to count words above all else.

What are your feelings about counting things and about numbers? Put your thoughts in the comments.

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Shakespeare's Language: Revealing Meanings and Exploring Myths

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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