Chapter 10. The stability of the televisual character

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This chapter analyses characterisation through television dialogue, using a corpus stylistic (Wynne 2006) approach, in particular using key word and cluster analysis (Scott and Tribble 2006). The focus is on exploring from a linguistic perspective the assumption made in Media/Television Studies that televisual characters are relatively stable, i.e. that they do not change drastically (Huisman 2005: 178; Pearson 2007: 56). In a case study of the “dramedy” Gilmore Girls (Warner Brothers 2000–2007), I analise the in/stability of the televisual character with respect to two main aspects: (1) How much does a character’s language vary diachronically (across seasons)? (2) How much does a character’s language vary according to who s/he is talking to? The corpus stylistic analysis thus explores the degree of diachronic and intersubjective stability in televisual characters. The findings are discussed in terms of characterisation in the analised series, the nature of televisual data and narrative, the mainstream nature of TV series, and audience engagement with TV characters.


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