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8. A discriminant function analysis of co-variation of a number of syntactic devices in five prose genres.

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Abstract

This paper approaches the question of whether the styles of different prose genres (here referring to classifications such as fiction, newspaper reportage, learned journals, etc.) are partially characterized by differences in the co-variation of a number of common syntactic structures.Thirty-six syntactic variables are tabulated in sample sentences drawn from five genres. The variables are of several different sorts; for example, sentence types, some focus phenomena, elements of the verb structure, conjoined structures, and various modification and complementation structures.<br />The co-variation of these syntactic variables is analysed by means of a discriminant function analysis. The analysis shows that the verbal styles of the specific genres considered are characterized by differential patterns of occurrence of the syntactic structures. The patterns appear to be primarily interpretable as artefacts of the common semantic denominator (or communicative purpose) of their genres.

References

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