Book Chapter

Exploring narrative fiction: corpora and digital humanities projects



Mahlberg M & Wiegand V (2022) Exploring narrative fiction: corpora and digital humanities projects. In: O'Keeffe A & McCarthy MJ (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Corpus Linguistics. 2nd edition ed. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 532-546.

The corpus linguistic study of narrative fiction is not a simple application of existing corpus methods to just another set of texts. It requires consideration of the properties of the texts under analysis, as well as the nature of the questions that can be addressed. The focus of this chapter is on novels as a specific type of narrative fiction. The chapter is particularly concerned with how corpus methods can be used to study novels as fiction, i.e. with an emphasis on the fictional worlds in the texts rather than exclusively on the linguistic features that define a register compared to other registers. The chapter outlines a variety of approaches to fiction by relating corpora to other digital resources and considers how to narrow down a starting point for a corpus linguistic study. To understand what corpus linguistics can do for the study of novels, the chapter reflects on what is special about narrative fiction and discusses patterns and functions of the verb form looking as an example of body language descriptions of fictional characters. The chapter concludes by considering directions for the future of corpus research and its relationship to the wider digital humanities.

FundersUniversity of Birmingham
Publication date31/12/2022
Place of publicationAbingdon

People (1)


Dr Viola Wiegand

Dr Viola Wiegand

Lecturer in Education (TESOL), Education