Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2542-9477
  • E-ISSN: 2542-9485
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Douglas Biber, Regents’ Professor of Applied Linguistics at Northern Arizona University, authors this article exploring the connections between register and a text-linguistic approach to language variation. He has spent the last 30 years pursuing a research program that explores the inherent link between register and language use, including at the phraseological, grammatical, and lexico-grammatical levels. His seminal book (1988, Cambridge University Press) launched multi-dimensional (MD) analysis, a comprehensive framework and methodology for the large-scale study of register variation. This approach was innovative in taking a text-linguistic approach to characterize language use across situations of use through the quantitative and functional analysis of linguistic co-occurrence patterns and underlying dimensions of language use. MD analysis is now used widely to study register variation over time, in general and specialized registers, in learner language, and across a range of languages. In 1999, the (Biber et al.) became the first comprehensive descriptive reference book to systematically consider register variation in describing the grammatical and lexico-grammatical patterns of use in English. Douglas Biber’s quantitative linguistic research has consistently demonstrated the importance of register as a predictor of language variation. In his own words, “register always matters” (Gray 2013: 360, Interview with Douglas Biber, ).


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