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Dimensions of variation of Brazilian Portuguese


This project aims at identifying the dimensions of variation of Brazilian Portuguese by means of corpus-based analysis, more specifically by Multidimensional Analysis (MDA, Biber, 1988). MDA makes use of the construct of register, which means 'a cover term for any language variety defined by its situational characteristics, including the speaker's purpose, the relationship between speaker and hearer, and the production circumstances' (Biber, 2009 :823), whose scope is flexible and may range from very specific genres such as research articles to broader categorizations such as 'official documents'. Dimensions of variation, in turn, are patterns of cooccurrence of linguistic features underlying the registers of a language (Biber, 2009). As such, they capture the space of variation across texts and registers, synthesizing it and showing the relative distance among the registers under investigation. An example of dimension of variation (for English) is 'Interaction versus Information' (Biber, 1988), which indicates that all texts of that language bear these salient characteristics, which are interaction, on the one hand, and information, on the other. Previous research has carried out the identification of dimensions of several languages, such as English (Biber, 1988; Crossley & Louwerse, 2007; de Mönnink, Brom & Oostdijk, 2003; Lee, 1999), Korean (Kim & Biber, 1994), Somali (Biber & Hared, 1994), Nukulaelae (Besnier, 1988), Gaelic (Lamb, 2008) and Spanish (Biber, Davies, Jones & Tracy-Ventura, 2006; Parodi, 2007); however, the multidimensional variation of Portuguese has not been addressed yet, and we intend to fill this gap (for the Brazilian variety of Portuguese) with the current proposal. The goals of the project are: (1) Find the relevant lexico-gramatical variables that may explain the textual variation of Brazilian Portuguese; (2) Experiment with other types of variable such as collocational, semantic and keywords to verify their suitability for the study of multidimensional variation of Brazilian Portuguese; (3) Identify the statistical factors that underlie textual variation of Brazilian Portuguese as well as the share of variance accounted for by each factor; (4) Interpret the factors by means of criteria that are discursive, functional or communicative in nature, or of a different kind as needed in order to account for the data emerging out of the analyses; (5) Propose dimensions of variation based on the factors extracted; (6) Develop and make available resources for disseminating and popularizing MDA, enabling other researchers to carry out their own analyses. It is not the intent of MDA to oppose specialty areas such as Genre Analysis or Discourse Analysis, given that these have their own goals; MDA seeks to provide an empirical large-scale view of central issues surrounding register variation in society. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
SARDINHA, TONY BERBER. Dimensions of variation across Internet registers. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CORPUS LINGUISTICS, v. 23, n. 2, p. 125-157, . (10/18736-5)
SARDINHA, TONY BERBER. A historical characterisation of American and Brazilian cultures based on lexical representations. CORPORA, v. 15, n. 2, p. 183-212, . (10/18736-5)
SARDINHA, TONY BERBER; PINTO, MARCIA VEIRANO. Dimensions of variation across American television registers. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CORPUS LINGUISTICS, v. 24, n. 1, p. 3-32, . (10/18736-5)

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