Lexical Cohesion Analysis of Political Speech
Posted: 18 Aug 2009
Date Written: Autumn 2008
This article presents a novel automatic method of text analysis aimed at discovering patterns of lexical cohesion in political speech. The unit of analysis are groups of words with related meanings; the software is based on the results of a multiperson annotation experiment that captures reliably identified connections between words in a text. We illustrate the advantages of such a representation by juxtaposing results of a detailed hand-made analysis of Margaret Thatcher's rhetoric with analysis based on the automatically detected groups of words. We both corroborate previous findings regarding Thatcher's rhetorical tools and illuminate additional elements thereof. We suggest that lexical cohesion analysis is a promising technique to bridge the gap between quantitative and qualitative analyses of text as political material, by establishing units that are both robust enough to enable comprehensive coverage and coherent enough to support direct interpretation.
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