Alsuweed, Muhammad (2015) Accessing Dickens’s style as an EFL learner: a corpus stylistic approach to lexical style. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This study is based on a corpus of the Charles Dickens Complete Works (the DCC), which was constructed to fulfil the aims of this research. The DCC was compiled to represent The Works of Charles Dickens in the National Edition (a set of 40 volumes, including the life of Dickens in the last two volumes, which consists of 6,202,886 tokens in total). This compilation, as the DCC, represents the first complete corpus of Dickens’s works. Employing the corpus stylistic approach was as an underpinning concept, and formed the methodology that has guided the research. The lens of focus is placed on Dickens’s lexicon, in respect to both the lexemes and their relative frequency, alongside the choices of lexis to be found in the context. The rationale for this thesis and value of its aims is primarily the facilitation of non-native English learners’ access to these works, through provision of an enhanced aesthetic appreciation of Dickens’s style with regards to his semantics and lexical choice. Additionally, the methodology aims to enable the acquisition of vocabulary, while providing learners with training in the reading of complex texts. The software tools used in the analysis are the WordSmith Tools 6.0 suite, AntConc 3.4.4w, AntWordProfiler 1.4.0w and the Range programme. The investigation of the DCC was conducted to facilitate Dickens’s works to non-native readers by focusing on the lexicon of his works. The analysis reports, amongst others, the DCC keyword list; the DCC Headword List (with 27,296 headwords); and the DCC Word Family List (approximately 102,753), which contains the family members of each headword in the DCC. These lists represent a valuable resource that can serve to facilitate the teaching of Dickens objectively, and through an evidence-based approach. In essence, the lexical knowledge gained from the DCC is intended to advance the reading and comprehension of Dickens’s works by non-native readers, and then to contribute towards the development of such learners' level of English language proficiency. Therefore, this study builds bridges between corpus stylistics and second language pedagogy. In the analysis of Dickens’s lexical selection, I demonstrate how learners can be assisted to reach the appreciation of Dickens’s style in terms of his lexicon and the semantic level of his works.

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