Register in Corpus Linguistics: the Role and Legacy of Douglas Biber

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Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory

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This article provides an overview of Douglas Biber’s work on register and his central role in establishing register as both an empirical focus and a theoretical construct in corpus linguistics. I identity four general phases of his work. Each has a slightly different emphasis, but each also advances intertwined threads of research that lead to an increased understanding of register variation. Biber’s work has made major contributions to distinct areas within the study of registers, from cross-linguistic speech-writing differences to English grammar, but he has advanced the field especially by integrating the findings from different areas. He has offered conceptualizations of register that account for findings from multiple areas of study, and he continues to refine the conceptualization as he engages in new lines of inquiry today.


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