Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811



Triangulating corpus linguistic approaches with other (linguistic and non-linguistic) approaches enhances “both the rigour of corpus linguistics and its incorporation into all kinds of research” (McEnery & Hardie, 2012: 227). Our study investigates an important area of mental health research: the experiences of those who hear voices that others cannot hear, and particularly the ways in which those voices are described as person-like. We apply corpus methods to augment the findings of a qualitative approach to 40 interviews with voice-hearers, whereby each interview was coded as involving ‘minimal’ or ‘complex’ personification of voices. Our analysis provides linguistic evidence in support of the qualitative coding of the interviews, but also goes beyond a binary approach by revealing different and of personification of voices, based on how they are referred to and described by voice-hearers. We relate these findings to concepts that inform therapeutic interventions in clinical psychology.

Available under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Aijmer, K., & Rühlemann, C.
    (Eds.) (2015) Corpus Pragmatics. Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139057493
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139057493 [Google Scholar]
  2. Alderson-Day, B., Woods, A., Moseley, P., Common, S., Deamer, F., Dodgson, G., & Fernyhough, C.
    (2020) Voice-hearing and personification: Characterizing social qualities of auditory verbal hallucinations in early psychosis. Schizophrenia Bulletin, sbaa095. 10.1093/schbul/sbaa095
    https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbaa095 [Google Scholar]
  3. Baker, P., Brookes, G., & Evans, C.
    (2019) The Language of Patient Feedback: A Corpus Linguistic Study of Online Health Communication. Routledge. 10.4324/9780429259265
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429259265 [Google Scholar]
  4. Baker, P., Gabrielatos, C., & McEnery, T.
    (2013) Sketching Muslims: A corpus driven analysis of representations around the word ‘Muslim’ in the British press 1998–2009. Applied Linguistics, 34(3), 255–278. 10.1093/applin/ams048
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/ams048 [Google Scholar]
  5. Baumeister, D., Sedgwick, O., Howes, O., & Peters, E.
    (2017) Auditory verbal hallucinations and continuum models of psychosis: A systematic review of the healthy voice-hearer literature. Clinical Psychology Review, 511, 125–141. 10.1016/j.cpr.2016.10.010
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2016.10.010 [Google Scholar]
  6. Beck, A. T., & Rector, N. A.
    (2003) A cognitive model of hallucinations. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 27(1), 19–52. 10.1023/A:1022534613005
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022534613005 [Google Scholar]
  7. Bell, V.
    (2013) A community of one: Social cognition and auditory verbal hallucinations. PLoS Biology, 11(12), e1001723. 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001723
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001723 [Google Scholar]
  8. Biber, D., Conrad, S., & Reppen, R.
    (1998) Corpus Linguistics: Investigating Language Structure and Use. Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511804489
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511804489 [Google Scholar]
  9. Brezina, V.
    (2018a) Statistical choices in corpus-based discourse analysis. InC. Taylor & A. Marchi (Eds.), Corpus Approaches to Discourse (pp.259–280). Routledge. 10.4324/9781315179346‑12
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315179346-12 [Google Scholar]
  10. (2018b) Statistics in Corpus Linguistics: A Practical Guide. Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/9781316410899
    https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316410899 [Google Scholar]
  11. Brezina, V., & McEnery, T.
    (2020) Introduction to corpus linguistics. InN. Tracy-Ventura & M. Paquot (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition and Corpora (pp.11–22). Routledge. 10.4324/9781351137904‑3
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351137904-3 [Google Scholar]
  12. Brezina, V., McEnery, T., & Wattam, S.
    (2015) Collocations in context: A new perspective on collocation networks. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 20(2), 139–173. 10.1075/ijcl.20.2.01bre
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.20.2.01bre [Google Scholar]
  13. Buttery, P., Caines, A., Tono, Y., Kawaguchi, Y., & Minegishi, M.
    (2012) Normalising frequency counts to account for ‘opportunity of use’ in learner corpora. InY. Tono, Y. Kawaguchi, & M. Minegishi (Eds.), Developmental and Crosslinguistic Perspectives in Learner Corpus Research (pp.187–204). John Benjamins. 10.1075/tufs.4.16but
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tufs.4.16but [Google Scholar]
  14. Cohen, J.
    (1988) Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences (2nd ed.). Lawrence Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Collins, L. C., Semino, E., Demjén, Z., Hardie, A., Moseley, P., Woods, A., & Alderson-Day, B.
    (2020) A linguistic approach to the psychosis continuum: (Dis)similarities and (dis)continuities in how clinical and non-clinical voice-hearers talk about their voices. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 25(6), 447–465. 10.1080/13546805.2020.1842727
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13546805.2020.1842727 [Google Scholar]
  16. Covington, M. A., & McFall, J. D.
    (2010) Cutting the Gordian knot: The moving-average type–token ratio (MATTR). Journal of Quantitative Linguistics, 17(2), 94–100. 10.1080/09296171003643098
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09296171003643098 [Google Scholar]
  17. Crawford, P., Brown, B., & Harvey, K.
    (2014) Corpus linguistics and evidence-based health communication. InH. Hamilton & W. S. Chou (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Health Communication (pp.75–90). Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Daalman, K., Diederen, K. M. J., Blom, J. D., Kahn, R. S., & Sommer, I. E. C.
    (2011) The same or different? A phenomenological comparison of auditory verbal hallucinations in healthy and psychotic individuals. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 72(3), 320–325. 10.4088/JCP.09m05797yel
    https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.09m05797yel [Google Scholar]
  19. Dayrell, C., Chakravarthi, R.-P., & Griffith-Dickson, G.
    (2020) Bringing Corpus Linguistics into Religious Studies: Self-representation amongst various immigrant communities with religious identity. Journal of Corpora and Discourse Studies, 31, 96–121. 10.18573/jcads.27
    https://doi.org/10.18573/jcads.27 [Google Scholar]
  20. De Boer, J. N., Heringa, S. M., Van Dellen, E., Wijnen, F. N. K., & Sommer, I. E. C.
    (2016) A linguistic comparison between auditory verbal hallucinations in patients with a psychotic disorder and in nonpsychotic individuals: Not just what the voices say, but how they say it. Brain and Language, 1621, 10–18. 10.1016/j.bandl.2016.07.011
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2016.07.011 [Google Scholar]
  21. Deamer, F., & Hayward, M.
    (2018) Relating to the speaker behind the voice: What is changing?Frontiers in Psychology, 9(11), 1–8. 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00011
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00011 [Google Scholar]
  22. Edwards, D., & Potter, J.
    (1992) Discursive Psychology. Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Egbert, J., & Baker, P.
    (Eds.) (2020a) Using Corpus Methods to Triangulate Linguistic Analysis. Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. (2020b) Synthesis and conclusion. InJ. Egbert & P. Baker (Eds.), Using Corpus Methods to Triangulate Linguistic Analysis (pp.268–282). Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Fenekou, V., & Georgaca, E.
    (2010) Exploring the experience of hearing voices: A qualitative study. Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches, 2(2), 134–143. 10.1080/17522430903191783
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17522430903191783 [Google Scholar]
  26. Hardstaff, S.
    (2015) “Papa said that one day I would understand”: Examining child agency and character development in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry using critical corpus linguistics. Children’s Literature in Education, 461, 226–241. 10.1007/s10583‑014‑9231‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10583-014-9231-1 [Google Scholar]
  27. Hayward, M., Berry, K., & Ashton, A.
    (2011) Applying interpersonal theories to the understanding of and therapy for auditory hallucinations: A review of the literature and directions for further research. Clinical Psychology Review, 311, 1313–1323. 10.1016/j.cpr.2011.09.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2011.09.001 [Google Scholar]
  28. Hayward, M., Awenat, Y., McCarthy-Jones, S., Paulik, G., & Berry, K.
    (2015) Beyond beliefs: A qualitative study of people’s opinions about their changing relations with their voices. Psychosis, 7(2), 97–107. 10.1080/17522439.2014.926388
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17522439.2014.926388 [Google Scholar]
  29. Heale, R., & Forbes, D.
    (2013) Understanding triangulation in research. Evidence-based Nursing, 16(4), 98. 10.1136/eb‑2013‑101494
    https://doi.org/10.1136/eb-2013-101494 [Google Scholar]
  30. Knapton, O.
    (2021) The linguistic construction of the self in narratives of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 18(2), 204–226. 10.1080/14780887.2018.1499834
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14780887.2018.1499834 [Google Scholar]
  31. Kråvik, B., Larøi, F., Kalhovde, A. M., Hugdahl, K., Kompus, K., Salvesen, Ø., Stiles, T. C., & Vedul-Kjelsås, E.
    (2015) Prevalence of auditory verbal hallucinations in a general population: A group comparison study. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 561, 508–515. 10.1111/sjop.12236
    https://doi.org/10.1111/sjop.12236 [Google Scholar]
  32. Leech, G., Garside, R., & Bryant, M.
    (1994) CLAWS4: The tagging of the British National Corpus. InThe International Committee on Computational Linguistics (Eds.), COLING 1994 Volume 1: The 15th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (pp.622–628). Association for Computational Linguistics. https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/C94-1103.pdf. 10.3115/991886.991996
    https://doi.org/10.3115/991886.991996 [Google Scholar]
  33. Maijer, K., Palmen, S. J. M. C., & Sommer, I. E. C.
    (2017) Children seeking help for auditory verbal hallucinations; who are they?Schizophrenia Research, 1831, 31–35. 10.1016/j.schres.2016.10.033
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2016.10.033 [Google Scholar]
  34. McEnery, T., & Hardie, A.
    (2012) Corpus Linguistics: Method, Theory & Practice. Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Milligan, D., McCarthy-Jones, S., Winthrop, A., & Dudley, R.
    (2013) Time changes everything? A qualitative investigation of the experience of auditory verbal hallucinations over time. Psychosis, 5(2), 107–118. 10.1080/17522439.2012.667438
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17522439.2012.667438 [Google Scholar]
  36. Nayani, T. H., & David, A. S.
    (1996) The auditory hallucination: A phenomenological survey. Psychological Medicine, 261, 177–198. 10.1017/S003329170003381X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S003329170003381X [Google Scholar]
  37. Pennebaker, J. W., Boyd, R. L., Jordan, K., & Blackburn, K.
    (2015) The Development and Psychometric Properties of LIWC2015. University of Texas at Austin. https://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/bitstream/handle/2152/31333/LIWC2015_LanguageManual.pdf?Sequence=3
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Powers, A. R., Kelley, M. S., & Corlett, P. R.
    (2017) Varieties of voice-hearing: Psychics and the psychosis continuum. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 43(1), 84–98. 10.1093/schbul/sbw133
    https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbw133 [Google Scholar]
  39. Rayson, P.
    (2008) From key words to key semantic domains. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 13(4), 519–549. 10.1075/ijcl.13.4.06ray
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.13.4.06ray [Google Scholar]
  40. Resnik, P., Resnik, R., & Mitchell, M.
    (2014) Introduction. InP. Resnik, R. Resnik, & M. Mitchell (Eds.), Proceedings of the Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology: From Linguistic Signal to Clinical Reality (pp.iii–iv). Association for Computational Linguistics. https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/W14-32.pdf. 10.3115/v1/W14‑32
    https://doi.org/10.3115/v1/W14-32 [Google Scholar]
  41. Schmid, H.
    (1994) Probabilistic part-of-speech tagging using decision trees. InD. Jones (Ed.), Proceedings of the International Conference on New Methods in Language Processing (pp.44–49). Association for Computational Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Semino, E., Demjén, Z., & Collins, L.
    (2021) Person-ness of voices in lived experience accounts of psychosis: Combining literary linguistics and clinical psychology. Medical Humanities, 471, 354–364. 10.1136/medhum‑2020‑011940
    https://doi.org/10.1136/medhum-2020-011940 [Google Scholar]
  43. Semino, E., Demjén, Z., Demmen, J., Koller, V., Payne, S., Hardie, A., & Rayson, P.
    (2017) The online use of Violence and Journey metaphors by patients with cancer, as compared with health professionals: A mixed methods study. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care, 7(1), 60–66. 10.1136/bmjspcare‑2014‑000785
    https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjspcare-2014-000785 [Google Scholar]
  44. Sukthanker, R., Poria, S., Cambria, E., & Thirunavukarasu, R.
    (2020) Anaphora and coreference resolution: A review. Information Fusion, 591, 139–162. 10.1016/j.inffus.2020.01.010
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.inffus.2020.01.010 [Google Scholar]
  45. Taylor, C., & Marchi, A.
    (Eds.) (2018) Corpus Approaches to Discourse: A Critical Review. Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Thomas, N., Hayward, M., Peters, E., Van der Gaag, M., Bentall, R. P., Jenner, J., Strauss, C., Sommer, I. E., Johns, L. C., Varese, F., García- Montes, J., Waters, F., Dodgson, G., & McCarthy-Jones, S.
    (2014) Psychological therapies for auditory hallucinations (voices): Current status and key directions for future research. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 40(4), S202–212. 10.1093/schbul/sbu037
    https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbu037 [Google Scholar]
  47. Thurmond, V. A.
    (2001) The point of triangulation. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 33(3), 253–258. 10.1111/j.1547‑5069.2001.00253.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1547-5069.2001.00253.x [Google Scholar]
  48. Tovar, A., Fuentes-Claramonte, P., Soler-Vidal, J., Ramiro-Sousa, N., Rodriguez-Martinez, A., Sarri-Closa, C., Sarró, S., Larrubia, J., Andrés-Bergareche, H., Miguel-Cesma, M. C., Padilla, P. P., Salvador, R., Pomarol-Clotet, E., & Hinzen, W.
    (2019) The linguistic signature of hallucinated voice talk in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 2061, 111–117. 10.1016/j.schres.2018.12.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2018.12.004 [Google Scholar]
  49. Wilkinson, S., & Bell, V.
    (2016) The representation of agents in auditory verbal hallucinations. Mind & Language, 31(1), 104–126. 10.1111/mila.12096
    https://doi.org/10.1111/mila.12096 [Google Scholar]
  50. Woods, A., Jones, N., Alderson-Day, B., Callard, F., & Fernyhough, C.
    (2015) Experiences of hearing voices: Analysis of a novel phenomenological survey. Lancet Psychiatry, 2(4), P323–331. 10.1016/S2215‑0366(15)00006‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(15)00006-1 [Google Scholar]
  51. Woods, A., Jones, N., Berini, M., Callard, F., Alderson-Day, B., Badcock, J. C., Bell, V., Cook, C. C. H., Csordas, T., Humpston, C., Krueger, J., Larøi, F., McCarthy-Jones, S., Moseley, P., Powell, H., Raballo, A., Smailes, D., & Fernyhough, C.
    (2014) Interdisciplinary approaches to the phenomenology of auditory verbal hallucinations. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 40(4), S246–254. 10.1093/schbul/sbu003
    https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbu003 [Google Scholar]
  52. Zhuo, C., Jiang, D., Liu, C., Lin, X., Li, J., Chen, G., Xie, Z., Xu, Z., Zhou, C., & Zhu, J.
    (2019) Understanding auditory verbal hallucinations in healthy individuals and individuals with psychiatric disorders. Psychiatry Research, 2741, 213–219. 10.1016/j.psychres.2019.02.040
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2019.02.040 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): collocation; health communication; normalisation; personification; triangulation
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error