Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
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Corpus-assisted analyses of public discourse often focus on the lexical level. This article argues in favour of corpus-assisted analyses of discourse, but also in favour of conceptualising salient lexical items in public discourse in a more determined way. It draws partly on non-Anglophone academic traditions in order to promote a conceptualisation of discourse keywords, thereby highlighting how their meaning is determined by their use in discourse contexts. It also argues in favour of emphasising the cognitive and epistemic dimensions of discourse-determined semantic structures. These points will be exemplified by means of a corpus-assisted, as well as a frame-based analysis of the discourse keyword financial crisis in British newspaper articles from 2009. Collocations of financial crisis are assigned to a generic matrix frame for ‘event’ which contains slots that specify possible statements about events. By looking at which slots are more, respectively less filled with collocates of financial crisis, we will trace semantic presence as well as absence, and thereby highlight the pragmatic dimensions of lexical semantics in public discourse. The article also advocates the suitability of discourse keyword analyses for systematic contrastive analyses of public/political discourse and for lexicographical projects that could serve to extend the insights drawn from corpus-guided approaches to discourse analysis.


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