Social involvement in Corpus studies
Reader at Lancaster University (United Kingdom), Paul Baker stresses the role corpus research plays in bringing to light social concepts which may underpin texts. The three specific questions he addresses reflect this concern and go hand in hand with his research interests: critical discourse analysis, gender issues and sociolinguistics. He reports on the potential of using corpora to carry out research in areas which have been traditionally viewed as mostly qualitative, favoring the investigation of small samples of language. In line with a social perspective, Baker prefers not to place Corpus Linguistics under a single label (be that ‘science’, ‘methodology’ or any other), assuming that it can have a different nature depending on its role in any given project. As a matter of fact, he argues in favor of a less rigid way of conceiving fields of study so that their boundaries become more fluid. Baker believes this perspective will lead the path of future corpus users.