Key Function Words in a Corpus of UK Election Manifestos

Michael Pearce

Abstract


This article explores a corpus of all the UK election manifestos produced by the three main political parties in the period 1900–2010. It offers an alternative perspective on function words in corpus-assisted critical discourse analysis, placing them at the centre rather than the periphery. Using a combination of WordSmith Tools and Sketch Engine, I identify four key function words and show how a consideration of their phraseological behaviour can – perhaps surprisingly – reveal aspects of party ideology, as well as pointing to generic change over time.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.65.1402