Festival of Methods – Corpora & Discourse conference, Siena, 30 June 2016


We have introduced an innovative element into the Corpus & Discourse conference series which is designed to explore the effects of our choice of tools, methods and approaches. We are calling this new kind of panel event the Festival of Methods because we hope it will be an engaging exploration and celebration of the range of methods we have available. In many ways, this follows on from inter-researcher and objectivity/subjectivity studies such as Marchi & Taylor (2009), Baker (2011) and Baker & Levon (2015), Baker (2015) but also draws on the traditions of the shared task in computational linguistics where conference participants are given the chance to all work on the same data with the same research question. One of the difficulties we face when comparing effects of different methods is that we are all working on different projects, and the Festival of Methods is designed to allow us to overcome this. Our plan is that it will become a regular feature in the Corpora & Discourse conference series and so, ahead of each conference, a task will be set dedicated time will be set aside at the conference for papers reporting findings and extended discussion on the kinds of analyses that were developed and findings that were reached. It is anticipated that the structure of the task will vary each time.


For Corpora & Discourse 2016, to recognise the centenary of the Easter Rising, a key moment on Ireland’s journey to independence, the Festival of Methods task is as follows: Research topic: How is Ireland / being Irish represented in UK parliamentary discourse? Corpus: Hansard Corpus (from Mark Davies’s BYU suite) Participants are encouraged to approach the topic from any aspect. They may make as little or as much use of corpus tools as they wish, and approaches using different discourse analytic frames are very welcome. Collaborative contributions are also encouraged. For those who wish to use their own software, we will make a downloadable version of the Hansard corpus available.


If you would like to participate in the Festival, please send a 300-word abstract summarising your planned approach to FestivalofMethods@gmail.com by 31 January 2016. If accepted, you will be asked to submit a short summary of findings by 10 June 2016. These summaries will allow us to identify the main themes for discussion. The event will run on the afternoon of 30 June, and will be structured around an extended poster presentation session, followed by discussion groups working on particular themes and a final panel to which all participants will be invited. Other conference attendees will also be invited to join in the discussions and put questions to the panel. We expect it to be a stimulating and interactive afternoon for all involved. NB Presenters may submit abstracts both for the main Corpora & Discourse conference and for the Festival of Methods.

Organisers: Charlotte Taylor, Tony McEnery, Vaclav Brezina, Anna Marchi

Corpora and Discourse International Conference: Call for papers

Siena University DISPOC /Lancaster UCREL  /  Bologna University: LILEC /  University of Sussex School of English  

Corpora and Discourse International Conference: Call for papers

The SiBol Group

Siena University Pontignano Conference Centre June 30-July 2, 2016 (June 30 Conference workshop; July 1-2 Main Conference)

Main Conference Plenary speakers: Michael Hoey (Liverpool), Gerlinde Mautner (Vienna, WU), Michael Stubbs (Trier)  

Corpus-based and corpus-assisted discourse studies (CADS) investigate the employment of corpus techniques to shed light on aspects of language used for communicative purposes or, put another way, to analyse how language is used to (attempt to) influence the beliefs and behaviour of other people. ‘CADS’ does not refer to a particular school or approach, but is an umbrella term of convenience. Indeed, the types of research it refers to are extremely eclectic and pragmatic in the techniques they adopt given that they are goal-driven, that is, the aims of the research dictate the methodology. We welcome proposals on the corpus-assisted analysis of, for instance:

  • discourse organisation
  • political, institutional and media texts (including social media)
  • social science and social policy issues
  • cultural and cross-cultural topics
  • discourse implications in translation studies
  • discourse effects in literary texts
  • notably thorny issues for corpus research like irony, metaphor and (im) politenesss

and, indeed, of any study of discourse where the three corpus linguistics virtues of Collecting, Counting and Collating are deemed to have enabled, assisted, enhanced and even perhaps complicated the data analysis. Studies of how things are done across different discourse types or of how they have developed over recent periods of time are also highly relevant. We also welcome papers which include considerations on the general methodological and philosophical issues pertaining to CADS. These might include:

  • what are the overall objectives of CADS research(ers); has its focus altered over the years and is it likely to alter in the future?
  • what counts as good (in the senses of both ‘useful’ and ‘honest’) practices and are there any practices best avoided (perhaps, over-claiming, over-generalising and over-dramatising)?
  • how do we minimise the corroboration impulse?
  • is there a justification for deliberate ideological suasion in discourse analysis and the teaching thereof, or does this compromise the attempt at scientific data description and teacher impartiality?
  • what counts as evidence? How much do we need to support the claims we make and evaluate those made by others?
  • what counts as an ‘explanation’; how do we evaluate co-existing or competing explanations?
  • corpus analysis is only one aspect of CADS. What tend to be other useful sources of information, and how are they best integrated into the research project?
  • can CADS usefully integrate practices like, say, fieldwork, as typically employed in similar fields such as corpus-based sociolinguistics (Friginal & Hardy 2014)?
  • what can CADS contribute to describing, proposing and ameliorating real-world social policies?
  • what are the repercussions of CADS on theories of language (which may include theories of discourse structure and function, of sociolinguistics, of stylistics and so on)?

We invite speakers to share their own experiences of using corpus techniques to shed light on discourse and to debate these fundamental questions. Main Conference talks will be 20 minutes with 10 minutes for questions.


Please send abstracts for the Main Conference to: cadssiena@gmail.com Abstracts should be no more than 500 words including references and five keywords. Please supply the abstract by e-mail attachment without author names with a separate document with your name and affiliation. Address e-mail subject as “CADS conference”. Abstracts will be sent to the scientific committee for anonymous refereeing.

Workshop: Festival of Methods (June 30th) Workshop conveners: Charlotte Taylor, Tony McEnery, Vaclav Brezina and Anna Marchi

We have introduced a new regular feature into the Corpus & Discourse conference series in which we explore the effects of our choice of tools, methods and approaches. Ahead of each conference in the series, a task will be set which researchers are invite to tackle and then time will be set aside at the conference itself for presentation of findings and extended discussion on the kinds of analyses which were developed. We are calling this new kind of panel event the Festival of Methods because we hope it will be an engaging exploration and celebration of the range of methods we have at our disposal. This kind of activity follows on from inter-researcher and objectivity/subjectivity studies such as Marchi & Taylor (2009), Baker (2011) and Baker & Levon (2015),  but also draws on the traditions of the shared task in computational linguistics where conference participants are given the chance to all work on the same data with the same research question. For further information, please see the separate call or email FestivalofMethods@gmail.com

Important dates

Deadline for Main Conference abstract submission: January 31st 2016. Notification of acceptance / non acceptance of submission: by March 1st 2016. Preliminary programme published and registration opens: March 21st 2016. The number of conference places is limited to 50. After the Conference speakers have been accepted, the admission of further places will be first come, first served.

Conference prices

Costs include: The Conference fee (including coffee breaks) and full board and lodging at the Pontignano Centre from Thursday evening meal to Sunday morning breakfast, inclusive.

Single room: 360€

Double room as single:  385€

Double room per person:  340€

The Centre also has a number of apartments which are available on request. We practice a €40 discount for students who do not have any research funding support.

Scientific committee

Alison Duguid (Siena, Coordinator)

Paul Baker (Lancaster)

Costas Gabrielatos (Edge Hill)

Michael Hoey (Liverpool)

Sylvia Jaworska (Reading)

Jane Johnson (Bologna)

Anna Marchi (Bologna, Forlì)

Tony McEnery (Lancaster)

John Morley (Siena)

Amanda Clare Murphy (Milano, UniCatt)

Alan Partington (Bologna) Amanda Potts (Cardiff)

Charlotte Taylor (Sussex)

For further information please contact: cadssiena@gmail.com

Review of CADSConf 2012: Corpus-assisted Discourse Studies (CADS)

On 13th-14th September 2012, an international conference entitled Corpus-assisted Discourse Studies: More than the Sum of Discourse Analysis and Computing? was held at Bologna University under the aegis of the Dipartimento di Lingue, Letterature e Culture Moderne.

The main speakers were Michael Hoey (Liverpool), Paul Baker (Lancaster), Costas Gabrielatos (Edge Hill), Ramesh Krishnamurthy (Aston), Tony McEnery (Lancaster) and Alan Partington (Bologna). Sub-plenary talks were given by Alison Duguid (Siena), Anna Marchi (Lancaster), Charlotte Taylor (Portsmouth), whilst Monika Bednarek (Sydney) delivered her contribution from Australia by video-link.


Much of the conference was dedicated to discussing which methodologies are useful and appropriate when using corpora and corpus techniques to study discourse phenomena. Bednarek and Krishnamurthy each gave overviews of the field. The former compared various definitions and methodologies, underlining the eclectic nature of CADS research, whilst the latter gave a historical overview of the interrelation of corpus linguistics and discourse studies from his time at Birmingham-Cobuild to the present.

Several speakers emphasised the importance of comparison. One of the most common methods of comparing different data-sets is, of course, keyword and key-cluster analysis but, as Gabrielatos and Marchi explained, there is considerable controversy over the best way of defining and calculating keyness. Federica Ferrari (Bologna) contrasted a corpus of texts from the field of psychiatry with one from psychoanalysis in order to highlight the different clinical techniques and ways of negotiating identity in the two disciplines. Taylor stressed the importance of looking for similarities as well as differences among data-sets in order to obtain a more complete picture of how they relate to one another. In a second talk, Taylor also illustrated a number of ways of identifying “absences”, that is, language items or topics which may be missing from one particular data-set or from a particular text, something which critics of corpus linguistics have claimed it finds difficult to achieve.

One thriving branch of corpus comparison is modern-diachronic corpus-assisted discourse studies (MD-CADS) in which discourse data from periods of recent time are compared and contrasted for both grammatical and sociopolitical studies. Duguid gave an overview of the SiBol project which has produced a number of papers that track changes in UK newspaper language, in journalistic practices and in social, political and cultural issues from 1993 to the present. Jane Johnson (Bologna) conducted an analysis of the contents of the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, in particular comparing the key lexis from current editions with earlier ones to discover which topics and practices have grown or declined in popularity in the field of corpus linguistics. Marchi looked at the ways in which the recent Arab uprisings have been discussed throughout 2011 and showed how the adoption of different time frames (for instance, month by month or day by day) can affect what the researcher is able to “see”.

Other speakers addressed the contribution corpus linguistics has made to language theory, especially, given the topic of the conference, to discourse. Hoey outlined the notion of textual colligation, “where corpus linguistics and discourse analysis meet”, a vitally important component of lexical priming theory. He described a number of experiments which indicate how lexical choices play a major part in the structuring of texts, including paragraphing. He showed how lexical items may be primed to occur – or avoid occurring – as part of a cohesive chain, or to perform typical types of cohesion. He also illustrated how lexical repetition within a text sometimes creates cohesion and sometimes not. A particular form of cohesion was also discussed by Partington, namely, evaluative cohesive chains, which are employed to ensure that a discourse coheres not just ideationally but also evaluatively. Stefania Maci (Bergamo) examined evaluative that-clauses in medical posters to investigate how they are employed to help organise the inductive reasoning of scientific discourse. Miguel-Angel Benitez-Castro (Granada) analysed, within the overall framework of lexical priming theory. the syntactic features and discoursal functions of so-called “shell nouns” (such as objective and problem) in a variety of text types.

Another recurrent conference theme consisted of examining discourses around social and political issues. Caroline Clark (Padova) analysed and compared, using the framework of appraisal, the media representations of three prominent European politicians, Berlusconi, Merkel and Sarkozy. Both Baker and McEnery illustrated different aspects of the recent large-scale project conducted at Lancaster University into representations of Muslims and Islam in various linguistic sources. Baker demonstrated the profile of the keyword Muslim in various UK news outlets, to examine how particular newspapers position themselves ideologically. He also offered a number of reflections on the complexities of research into minorities. McEnery analysed the language of violence in jihadist speeches and literature, illustrating how different social actors may possess very different lexical primings and how such rifts can grow and be reinforced. Gabrielatos outlined the methodological practices employed in both this and another Lancaster University project on UK newspaper discourses around refugees and asylum seekers, addressing and rebutting certain criticisms of corpus-assisted approaches to discourse studies, namely, that they supposedly fail to take context into account and that they limit themselves to studying lexis. Two studies combined features of cultural studies and diachronic studies. Shala Barczewska examined evaluative discourses around the teaching of evolution from the Scopes trial of 1925 to the present, using Foucault’s “discursive event” framework, whilst Tsuchiya Keiko (Tokai, Japan) presented a corpus-assisted cross-cultural analysis of how the terms housewife and the corresponding Japanese term shufu have been used in a British newspaper and a Japanese newspaper from 1982 to 2010.

The closing Round Table, consisting of Baker, Gabrielatos, Krishnamurthy, Hoey, McEnery and Partington, and chaired by Duguid, offered closing reflections and took questions from the floor. Topics discussed included various overlapping definitions of what ‘discourse’ is; what the ideal purposes of discourse analysis should be, ranging from contributing to linguistic theory to discovering how discourse communities function; the distinction between “corpus linguist” and “linguist who uses corpora” and ways to ensure that CADS-type research retains and improves its methodological rigour, for example by fostering the practices of replication and para-replication and by being more open about discovery procedures. One common apprehension was that CADS, as a branch of scientific linguistics, should at all costs avoid the politicising imperative which generally constrains research in the field of critical discourse analysis. Given these critiques, aspirations and concerns, the hope was expressed that CADSConf might reconvene in the near future to continue assessing the state of the art of corpus-assisted discourse studies.


The programme for the CADS International Conference 2012 (13th-14th Sept 2012) is now online:

If you wish to attend the conference, please e-mail anna.marchi@unibo.it stating your name and affiliation.

Please note that the number of conference places is limited and acceptance will be on a strictly first-come-first-served basis.

The conference registration fee is €150 — €100 for students without research funding. This includes lunches and coffee breaks.

If you are accepted, we will mail you details of how to pay.


We have arranged the possibility of accommodation for those who should require it at the Collegio San Tommaso d’Aquino:


It is a Residence and it lies in a quiet and very attractive part of Bologna, 10-15 minutes walk from the conference venue (Faculty of Political Science). Its costs are much lower than normal commercial Bologna hotels:

€50 for a single room

€70 for a standard double

€80 for a “superior” double

All prices include breakfast.

If you are accepted on the conference we will book you into the Residence should you so wish (subject to room availablity). Please instruct us as soon as you pay the registration fee.


Thursday 13.09.2012

09:00-09:15 Welcome & housekeeping

09:15-10:05 CADS: When challenges are virtues: Alan Partington, University of Bologna, Italy

10:05-10:40 Modern-diachronic corpus-assisted discourse studies (MD-CADS) using the SiBol sister newspaper corpora: Alison Duguid, University of Siena, Italy

10:40-11:10 Coffee/tea break

11:10-11:45 Times, they are a-changeable”: Different MD-CADS perspectives on tracking the “Arab Spring”: Anna Marchi, Lancaster University, UK

11:50-13:20 Parallel sessions A & B

13:20-15:00 Lunch

15:00-17:30 Parallel sessions C & D

17:00-17:30 Coffee/tea break

17:30-18:00 Keywords: appropriate metrics and practical issues: Costas Gabrielatos, Edge Hill University and Anna Marchi, Lancaster University, UK

18:00-18:55 Textual colligation: where corpus linguistics and discourse analysis meet: Michael Hoey, University of Liverpool, UK

18:55-19:00 Housekeeping

Friday 14.09.2012

08:50-09:30 Beyond corpus and discourse analysis? The possibilities and challenges of triangulation in CADS: Monika Bednarek, University of Sydney, Australia (via video link)

9:30-10:05 Corpus-based methodology and (critical) discourse studies: context, content, computation: Costas Gabrielatos, Edge Hill University, UK

10:05-11:00 Primed for violence: discourse, persuasion and violence: Tony McEnery, Lancaster University, UK

11:00-11:30 Coffee/tea break

11:30-12:05 And there it isn’t: (how) can we access the absent using CADS?:  Charlotte Taylor, University of Portsmouth, UK

12:05-13:00 Keywords: signposts to objectivity?: Paul Baker, Lancaster University, UK

13:00-14:40 Lunch

14:40-16:40 Parallel sessions E & F

16:40-17:10 Coffee/tea break

17:10-17:45 From “lexical computing” to “corpus linguistics” to “CADS”: A historical perspective: Ramesh Krishnamurthy, University of Aston, UK

17:45-18:55 Round table

18:55-19:00 Final housekeeping

  • Keynote speakers = 55 minutes (talk =40, questions=15)
  • Plenary talks = 35 minutes (talk =25, questions=10)
  • Session talks = 30 minutes (talk =20, questions=10)

Parallel sessions

Session A (Sala Poeti): Comparing cultural perspectives

A diachronic corpus-based analysis of the terms ‘housewife’ and ‘shufu’ in British and Japanese newspaper articles

Keiko Tsuchiya, Tokai University, Japan.

Kumiko Murata, Waseda University, Japan.

Portrait of a Prime Minister

Caroline Clark, University of Padova, Italy.

How does Korean society accept multiculturalism? A corpus-based analysis of discourse representation in the press

Ji-Myoung Choi, Yonsei University, Korea.


Session B (Laboratorio 1): Methods and techniques

Searching for similarity using corpus-assisted discourse studies

Charlotte Taylor, Portsmouth University

Analysis of keywords in Czech political texts

Václav Cvrček, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.

Masako Ueda Fidler, Brown University, USA.

Triangulating corpus data for the analysis of scientific discourse across languages: the case of the contextual aspect of authorship

Oana Maria Carciu, University of Zaragoza, Spain.


Session C (Sala Poeti): Scientific and academic discourse

“The results demonstrate that …”. A corpus-based analysis of secondary clauses in medical posters.

Stefania Maci, University of Bergamo.

At the crossroads between subject and object of research: negotiating discoursal identity in academic writing

Federica Ferrari, University of Bologna, Italy.

Engagement analysis between the traditional and postmodern history thesis corpora.

Tomoko Sawaki, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

What are all these corpus linguists talking about? An MD-CADS content analysis of the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics.

Jane Johnson, University of Bologna, Italy.


Session D (Laboratorio 1): Orality

Corpus-assisted discourse analysis: an interdisciplinary resource?

Alison Sealey, University of Birmingham, UK.

Appraising security across the years. A synergy between corpus and system.

Cinzia Spinzi, Bologna University

Adjective evaluation in spoken interaction.

Georgia Fragaki, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Rethinking dysphemisms and euphemisms: a corpus-based constructional approach to

Italian taboo language.

Matteo di Cristofaro, Lancaster University, UK.


Session E (Sala Poeti): Discourses in and about conflict

“We don’t torture”: a Corpus-assisted Critical Discourse Analysis of New York Times articles on the War on Terror.

Will Lingle:  Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba, Japan.

Finding the agent: questions of blame in newspaper representations of French urban violence in 2005.

Laura Costelloe, University of Limerick, Ireland

Competing and hybridized Discourses over Renminbi Appreciation: A Corpus-Assisted Discourse Studies (CADS) approach.

Liu Ming, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.

The 1925 Scopes Trial: A Discursive Event in Shaping Modern Discourses on Evolution

Shala Barczewska, Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Poland.


Session F (Laboratorio 1): Discourse and grammar

Formal, syntactic, semantic and textual features of English shell nouns

Miguel-Angel Benitez-Castro, University of Granada, Spain.

Paul Thompson, University of Birmingham, UK.

Evaluation through retrospective labels in Spanish editorials: a CADS approach

Dámaso Izquierdo-Alegría & Ramón González-Ruiz, Universidad de Navarra, Spain.

Tendency for causality in implicit discourse relations

Fatemeh Torabi Asr & Vera Demberg, Saarland University, Germany.

Can do – but able to? The occurrence patterns in informal communication corpora and what they might tell us.

Dr Michael Pace-Sigge, University of Liverpool, UK.

MAP & Directions to the Residence and Conference venue

Bologna CADS Conference MAP

Getting to the Collegio S. Tommaso Residence (via S. Domenico, 1)

from Marconi Airport: take the shuttle service to the main train station (timetable). From the station the Residence is about 7 minutes by Taxi. Or you can take the A (small bus) – cross the square in front of the station and the bus stop is about 30 yards to the left – to via S. Domenico (about 15-20 minutes.

Getting to the conference venue (Faculty of Political Sciences, Palazzo Hercolani, Strada Maggiore 45) from the train station:

A taxi will take about 7 minutes. Or cross the square in front of the station, take the 32 bus and get off at Porta Mazzini (15 minutes). Turn right down Strada Maggiore and the Faculty building is 5-minutes walk on the right-hand side of the road.

Getting from Collegio S. Tommaso to the conference venue ( Faculty of Political Sciences, Palazzo Hercolani, Strada Maggiore 45) 12 minutes walk:

1. Head east on Vicolo Santa Lucia toward Via Castiglione 110 m

2. Turn right onto Via Castiglione 63 m

3. Turn left onto Via Cartoleria 270 m

4. Turn left onto Via Santo Stefano 10 m

5. Turn right onto Vicolo Posterla250 m

6. Turn right onto Strada Maggiore

But don’t worry: conference organisers will be on hand to act as local guides from the Residence to the Faculty on the morning of the 13th. After all, we can’t start without you!

CADS International Conference

Corpus-assisted Discourse Studies
More than the sum of Discourse Analysis and computing?

University of Bologna, Palazzo Hercolani, Strada Maggiore 45
September 13-14 2012

Featured speakers include:
Michael Hoey (Liverpool), Paul Baker (Lancaster), Tony McEnery (Lancaster),
Ramesh Krishnamurthy (Aston), Costas Gabrielatos (Edge Hill), Alan Partington (Bologna)

Call for papers

The term corpus-assisted discourse studies (CADS) was coined ten years ago. Although such research dates back at least to Biber (1988) and Stubbs (1996), it was in those days still possible to lament: In comparison with the impressive strides corpus linguistics has made in the fields of lexicography, grammatical description, register studies etc, it has had relatively little to say in describing features of discourse, particularly of interaction, that is, the rhetorical aspects of texts.
This is clearly no longer the case. In these ten years CADS has come of age with major projects under its belt on, among others, the reporting of immigration, reporting the Iraq conflict, White House press relations and perceptions of the EU. Language topics studied include evaluation, discourse organisation, facework/politeness, metaphor, irony, stylistics, diachronic linguistics, and many more.
But new questions have arisen. Is CADS a coherent discipline? What are its methods? What are the overall objectives of CADS research(ers)? Has its focus altered over the years and is it likely to alter in the future?
And, of course: is it more than just the sum of discourse analysis and computing? If so, what is its added value?
We invite speakers to share their own experiences of using corpus techniques to shed light on discourse and to debate these fundamental questions.

Talks will be 20 minutes with 10 minutes for questions.


Please send abstracts to: catharina.solano2@unibo.it

Abstracts should be no more than 500 words (including references) and should specify five keywords.

The number of conference places is limited to 40.

Please supply abstract by e-mail without name with a separate document with name and affiliation. Address e-mail subject as “CADS conference”.

Abstracts will be sent for anonymous refereeing.

Scientific committee

Alan Partington (Bologna)
Anna Marchi (Lancaster)
Costas Gabrielatos (Lancaster)
Jane Johnson (Bologna)
Charlotte Taylor (Portsmouth)
Alison Duguid (Siena)
John Morley (Siena)
Federica Ferrari (Bologna)

Important dates

Deadline for abstract submission: May 7th 2012.

Notification of acceptance / non acceptance: May 20th 2012.

Registration begins & programme published: May 22nd 2012.

For further information please contact Anna Marchi (anna.marchi@unibo.it)