Volume 27, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811



This paper applies a new approach to the identification of discourses, based on Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA), to the study of discourse variation over time. The MCA approach to keywords deals with a major issue with the use of keywords to identify discourses: the allocation of individual keywords to multiple discourses. Yet, as this paper demonstrates, the approach also allows us to observe variation in the prevalence of discourses over time. The MCA approach to keywords allows the allocation of individual texts to multiple discourses based on patterns of keyword co-occurrence. Metadata in the corpus data analysed (here, UK newspaper articles about Islam) can then be used to map those discourses over time, resulting in a clear view of how the discourses vary relative to one another as time progresses. The paper argues that the drivers for these fluctuations are language external; the real-world events reported on in the newspapers.

Available under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Baker, P.
    (2004) Querying keywords: Questions of difference, frequency, and sense in keywords analysis. Journal of English Linguistics, 32(4), 346–359. 10.1177/0075424204269894
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0075424204269894 [Google Scholar]
  2. Baker, P., Brookes, G., Atanasova, D., & Flint, S.
    (2020) Changing frames of obesity in the UK press 2008–2017. Social Science and Medicine, 264: 113403. 10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113403
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113403 [Google Scholar]
  3. Baker, P., Gabrielatos, C., & McEnery, T.
    (2013) Discourse Analysis and Media Attitudes: The Representation of Islam in the British Press. Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511920103
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511920103 [Google Scholar]
  4. Baker, P., & McEnery, T.
    (2019) The value of revisiting and extending previous studies: The case of Islam in the UK press. InR. Scholz (Ed.), Quantifying Approaches to Discourse for Social Scientists (pp.215–249). Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1007/978‑3‑319‑97370‑8_8
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-97370-8_8 [Google Scholar]
  5. Benzécri, J. P.
    (1979) Sur le calcul des taux d’inertie dans l’analyse d’un questionnaire [On the calculation of rates of inertia in the analysis of a questionnaire]. Cahiers de l’Analyse des Données, 4(3) 377–378.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Brookes, G., & Baker, P.
    (2021) Obesity in the News: Language and Representation in the Press. Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/9781108864732
    https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108864732 [Google Scholar]
  7. Burr, V.
    (2015) Social Constructionism (3rd edition). Routledge. 10.4324/9781315715421
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315715421 [Google Scholar]
  8. Clarke, I.
    (2019) Functional linguistic variation in Twitter trolling. International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, 26(1), 57–84. 10.1558/ijsll.34803
    https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.34803 [Google Scholar]
  9. Clarke, I., McEnery, T., & Brookes, G.
    (2021) Multiple Correspondence Analysis, newspaper discourse and subregister: A case study of discourses of Islam in the British Press. Register Studies, 3(1), 144–171. 10.1075/rs.20024.cla
    https://doi.org/10.1075/rs.20024.cla [Google Scholar]
  10. Dunning, T.
    (1993) Accurate methods for the statistics of surprise and coincidence. Computational Linguistics, 19(1), 61–74.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Egbert, J. & Biber, D.
    (2019) Incorporating text dispersion into keyword analyses. Corpora, 14(1), 77–104. 10.3366/cor.2019.0162
    https://doi.org/10.3366/cor.2019.0162 [Google Scholar]
  12. Fairclough, N.
    (2000) New Labour, New Language?Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Gabrielatos, C.
    (2018) Keyness analysis: Nature, metrics and techniques. InC. Taylor & A. Marchi (Eds.), Corpus Approaches to Discourse: A Critical Review (pp.225–258). Routledge. 10.4324/9781315179346‑11
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315179346-11 [Google Scholar]
  14. Gabrielatos, C., McEnery, T., Diggle, P., & Baker, P.
    (2012) The peaks and troughs of corpus-based contextual analysis. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 17(2), 151–175. 10.1075/ijcl.17.2.01gab
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.17.2.01gab [Google Scholar]
  15. Husson, F., Josse, J., Le, S., & Mazet, J.
    (2020) FactoMineR: Multivariate Exploratory Data Analysis and Data Mining (Version 2.4). https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=FactoMineR
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Marchi, A.
    (2018) Dividing up the data: Epistemological, methodological and practical impact of diachronic segmentation. InC. Taylor & A. Marchi (Eds.), Corpus Approaches to Discourse: A Critical Review (pp.174–196). Routledge. 10.4324/9781315179346‑9
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315179346-9 [Google Scholar]
  17. McEnery, T.
    (2005) Bad Language, Purity and Power from 1586 to the Present. Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Partington, A.
    (2010) Modern Diachronic Corpus-Assisted Discourse Studies (MD-CADS) on UK newspapers: An overview of the project. Corpora, 5(2), 83–108. 10.3366/cor.2010.0101
    https://doi.org/10.3366/cor.2010.0101 [Google Scholar]
  19. Partington, A., Duguid, A., & Taylor, C.
    (2013) Patterns and Meanings in Discourse: Theory and Practice in Corpus-assisted Discourse Studies (CADS). John Benjamins. 10.1075/scl.55
    https://doi.org/10.1075/scl.55 [Google Scholar]
  20. R Core Team
    R Core Team (2020) R: A language and environment for statistical computing (Version 4.0.3) [Computer software]. R Foundation for Statistical Computing. https://www.R-project.org/
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Richardson, J. E.
    (2004) (Mis)Representing Islam: The Racism and Rhetoric of British Broadsheet Newspapers. John Benjamins. 10.1075/dapsac.9
    https://doi.org/10.1075/dapsac.9 [Google Scholar]
  22. Scott, M.
    (1996) Wordsmith Tools (Version 1.0) [Computer software]. Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Wall, L., Christiansen, T., & Orwant, J.
    (2000) Programming Perl. O’Reilly Media.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

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