Background

Corpus and Data Collection

To develop an accurate assessment of an individual’s behaviour, and the pressures they experience, detailed social information is vital, as is a sufficiently broad coverage of each individual’s output as well as the community of which it forms part. To meet these needs, we make use of the Early Modern Multiloquent Authors corpus (EMMA), a 90-million word specialized corpus of prolific authors of Early Modern English (Petre et al. 2019). Comprising 50 authors spanning five generations of people born in the 17th century, the corpus is intended to be an in-depth collection of the published work of individuals writing in the Early Modern English period. In the present research, we focus on the language of 25 authors from the first three generations born between 1599-1616, 1621-1631, and 1635-1644, respectively. Their details are displayed in Table 6.1. The size of our dataset is amenable to statistical analysis of change in the lifespan and comparison between individuals’ usage over time. Detailed metadata of life events, genre and background information for all of our authors allow for an assessment of the interaction between these factors and individual linguistic behaviours. Our data span a period of 1623-1726, henceforth referred to as “our period”.

The data were searched using a regular expression capturing /Y-cleft structures of varying lengths and types and spellings. Relative markers were included that were separated by up to eight words from the copula. Data collection consisted of annotating the resultant hits (a total of 4,452 for the 25 authors discussed for this study) manually for a number of dimensions of variation, as well as excluding 20,263 instances of noise. Noise includes related constructions, primarily extraposition

ID

Author

Profession

Birth and death date

Word count

University

educated

# /t-clefts

101

Gen 1

Peter Hevlyn

Churchman

1599-1662

3,712,572

Yes

125

102

William Prynne

Lawyer, author,

1600-1669

4,957,265

Yes

87

103

Sir William Davenant

politician

Playwright

1606-1668

504,413

No

28

104

Thomas Fuller

Churchman

1607-1661

2,652,292

Yes

45

105

John Milton

Poet

1608-1674

729,624

Yes

35

106

Jeremv Taylor

Cleric

1613-1667

3,132,105

Yes

361

110

(ohn Owen

Theologian

1616-1683

4,350,175

Yes

735

111

Roger L’Estrange

Licenser of the Press

1616-1704

2,015,050

Yes

258

201

Gen 2

Roger Boyle

Soldier, dramatist

1621-1679

790,412

No

98

202

Thomas Pierce

Churchman

1622-1691

978,491

Yes

111

204

George Fox

Quaker founder

1624-1691

1,018,398

No

129

205

Robert Bo vie

Scientist

1627-1691

2,082,984

No2

79

206

George Swinnock

Churchman

1627-1673

946,926

Yes

155

207

John Bunvan

Preacher

1628-1688

1,330,929

No

189

210

John Dry den

Poet Laureate

1631-1700

1,715,258

Yes

154

301

Gen 3

Edward Stillingfleet

Theologian

1635-1699

2,974,637

Yes

182

302

George Whitehead

Quaker leader

1637-1724

1,285,629

No

246

303

Daniel Whitby

Theologian

1638-1726

1,925,091

Yes

119

305

Increase Mather

Minister, colonist

1639-1723

1,503,461

Yes

261

(Continued)

ID

Author

Profession

Birth and death date

Word count

University

educated

# ;Y-clefts

306

William Sherlock

Churchman

1641-1701

2,076,365

Yes

128

307

Benjamin Keach

Preacher

1640-1704

2,102,014

No

498

308

Nathaniel Crouch

Publisher

1640-1725

1,791,124

No

62

310

Aphra Behn

Playwright

1640-1689

1,039,596

No

157

312

Gilbert Burnet

Bishop

1643-1715

3,167,554

Yes

157

313

William Salmon

Doctor

1644-1713

2,889,362

Yes

53

sentences. The data were then analysed qualitatively as well as quantitatively, making use of Cosycat (Collaborative Synchronized Corpus Analysis Toolkit, Manjavacas and Petre 2017) to annotate the original texts, Excel to examine the resultant annotated corpus data, and R (R Core Team 2013) to conduct the Kendall Tau tests utilized in this chapter.

 
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