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MacroanalysisDigital Methods and Literary History$
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Matthew L. Jockers

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037528

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037528.001.0001

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(p.105) 7 Nationality

Matthew L. Jockers

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores the potential influences or entailments of nationality on authorial style. Nations have distinct linguistic habits of style. For example, the British have the propensity to drop the word the in front of certain nouns for which American speakers and writers always deploy the article. This explains why the mean relative frequency of the word the is lower in British and Irish novels than in American novels. In this chapter, an analysis of a corpus of 3,346 nineteenth-century American and British novels reveals that British authors use the word the at a rate of 5 percent, compared to 6 percent for their American counterparts. Thus, the word the is a strong indicator of author nationality, at least when trying to differentiate between British and American texts. This chapter discusses the results of author nationality analyses, along with word usage analyses, for British, American, and Irish novels. It demonstrates what stylistic or linguistic feature analyses can provide in terms of separating writers by nationality.

Keywords:   author nationality, authorial style, Irish novels, American novels, British novels, author nationality analyses, word usage analyses, linguistic feature analyses

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