Statistical Methods for Studying Literature Using R


R is a powerful programing language for statistical analysis and visualization that can be broadly used for many applications in the digital humanities.  As with any programming language, getting started with R involves a steep initial learning curve in order to produce useful results.  In its current form, this blog contains the notes from a hands-on workshop that I initially ran at the University of Kansas’s Digital Humanities Forum/THATCamp Representing Knowledge in the Digital Humanities in September of 2011 and expanded with a more literary focus at the  (University of Kansas 2012 Digital Humanities Forum).  It was further revised for an additional workshop at the University of Iowa Oberman Center for Advanced Study in the fall of 2014.  The purpose of these two workshops was to introduce the R environment, describe data structures in R, ways to format data about literary texts for statistical analysis, and provide practical examples of ways to use R to answer questions about literature.  

How to do a Language Analysis:

The English language can be so deep sometimes. One thing may mean several different other things. It gets really confusing. I think that learning how to do a language analysis (If you can take anything away from school) is great. It gives you depth and insight to into the world and how YOU can be persuaded. It also gets used everywhere; in newspapers, advertisements on TV and on billboards, cartoons. Everything you see could potentially persuade you to do something.

Good Questions to Ask:

When looking at a piece of text or an image ask yourself these questions:

1.      What is the Title, where does it come from (Source), when was it made (Date)

2.      Who is the Author

3.      Issue: What issue is being explored within the article?

4.       Contention: What is the author’s contention in relation to the issue?

5.       Tone: Describe the author’s tone.

6.       Identify examples of metalanguage (persuasive devices, I’ll go into this later on) within this article.  

7.       Discuss the image in relation to the article.

8.      Discuss the title in relation to the article.

Answering Question 1:

The first question is pretty straight forward, but the important things to look at are the source and the date. Is the source biased? (i.e Fox news) Or is it objective? What was happening around the time it was made? What wasn’t happening? The title is important too. The title gives you an idea of what the article is about and the authors viewpoint.

Answering Question 2:

The second question is simple as well. But, again, you need to look at who wrote the article. Are they biased? Are they objective? Is this a personal issue for them? Have they written similar things in the past? These will help you understand where the article is coming from.

Answering Question 3:

The issue is extremely important. It is the basis for the article. For this question you need to read through the article. The issue is usually easy to find. You cannot write a one word answer for this question and the following questions. Ask yourself; What is the issue? Are there any sub-issues? Has this issue been in the news lately? If so, what point of view is the general public taking? For instance, in an article, the issue is about abortion. It is a controvercial topic and the writers stance is pro choice. The writer also notes the importance of making abortions legal and how this issue can be resolved. You need to put all of that in your answer. The issue is never just abortion or just refugees, there is usually something else going on. Its normally refugees and something, abortion and something. This question should take a paragraph to answer.

Answering Question 4:

The authors contention is very important as well. The Contention is what the author believes in within the issue. In the example in Question 3 the authors contention would be that they think pro choice is the right way to go. Of course you would write it more formally than what I did. You should also put in examples as to why you think the authors contention is the way it is. Use quotes and paraphrase sections of text.

Answering Question 5:

The authors tone is important. You should choose from the following words below. These are separated in to negative, positive and neutral tones.

It can be quite difficult to determine the authors tone. Usually more than one description is needed to explain the viewpoint. Again, you need to describe, meaning that you need to go into detail about the tone. You should consider the following questions; How does the tone persuade the reader? How does it make the reader feel? How does it help the author to persuade? How does this help the author’s contention? Include the answer to these questions in your answer.

Answering Question 6:

Metalanguage are different types of persuasive devices. They are used to persuade the reader. Thinks about what the author is including. Are there statistics? Is there emotive language? Justice? Include these in your answer, along with how the author uses this (quotes), what it does to the reader and how well it is used. Each device should take a paragraph.

Answering Question 7:

‘A picture tells a thousand words’ this statement stands true even in this case. It can be used to persuade the reader and to give an outline as to what the author is talking about. Take care and time to describe the image in your response.

Answering Question 8:

The title gives the piece its outline and is also catchy, with phrases including repetition and puns. Discuss all of this in your response. Remember to put the title itself in your answer.

Google’s Ngram Viewer Goes Wild

It’s been nearly three years since Google rolled out its Ngram Viewer, allowing armchair historians to plot the trajectories of words and phrases over time based on an enormous corpus of data extracted from the Google Books digitization project. Since then, there have been numerous studies seeking to glean some cultural significance from the graphs of falling and rising word usage. And the graphs themselves have inspired imitators: Recently, the engineering team behind Rap Genius introduced Ngram-style graphing of historical word frequency in rap lyrics, and, more bizarrely, New York Times wedding announcements. (You can even compare the hiphop and matrimonial datasets.)

As the Ngram model extends its influence, Google continues to tinker, making improvements to the Ngram Viewer’s already slick interface. Last year saw a major upgrade, with a sizable increase in the underlying data spanning English and seven other languages, as well as the introduction of part-of-speech tagging and mathematical operators that allowed for more sophisticated searches. Today, meet Ngram Viewer 3.0. While the corpus itself hasn’t expanded in this version, the search features have become even more useful, especially now that wildcards are in the mix.

Read more.


[24/02/2016] • {42/100} • (24/30) • today all I really did was prepare for my English practice sac tomorrow (which I’m dead for ahahaha ty @theoverstuffedpencilcase for all your help XD) I had a period 0 today… It sucked :(
Also for the studyblr challenge I also speak Cantonese but HAHAHA I don’t know how to write the characters XD

anonymous asked:

Omfg I envy you for finding English "easy". Please give me tips for language analysis before I go die in a hole :((((((

No don’t die in a hole please thats unhealthy, VCE is almost over you can do this.
OK so. i’m sorry if these are obvious and basic or unhelpful but this is what I do when doing a language analysis. The beautiful thing about end of year exams that I feel most people don’t actually realise is you don’t have to write pages upon pages per essay, because realistically you only have about an hour writing time for each essay right? So you don’t wanna burn yourself out by writing 5 pages in an hour and then feel like killing yourself for the next two hours. I mean if thats your thing then cool, i know people who can write heaps in a short amount of time and it works but its not everyones cup of tea and its not always necessary, in a SAC? Sure, for those you need a solid word count of over 1000, but from what i know the “recommended” word count for end of year english exams is 600 per essay. Thats not a lot, i usually write two, maybe two and a half pages for language analysis. I wrote two pages last week for my prac exams and I felt comfortable with it, sure the three hours was still hell but i paced myself, I had time to blindly stare into absolutely nothing and still finish everything in time.
Read the piece a minimum of two times over, identify all the techniques, tone blah blah all the standard crap. Now obviously you can’t highlight during reading time so just make a mental note of where examples of techniques are, or dent the paper with your fingernail, that works to. In your intro identify the: Name of the articleauthor, where it was featured and of course the contention. The contention should make itself clear to you once you read it over a couple of times, sometimes you might get lucky and they’ll explicitly state what it is, and also don’t keep using the word contention, look up synonyms, thought, stance, argument etc. Then identify the tone the writer is undertaking, I was told by an old literature/english teacher, a truly great man, to always use two tones and combine them, such as “Alex is calm yet forward in his endeavour to sway the audience that Tumblr is a seriously good outlet for procrastination”.
If that makes sense.
So you’re also going to want to identify some of the persuasive techniques that he uses, inclusive language, use of expert, emotional appeal etc, state some of them, if there are a fair few to identify don’t name ALL of them because then your intro will just become a list of things really and it’ll be like your listing themes for Othello back in year 10 or something. Oh and image, if there’s an image, just mention that there is an illustration to accompany the article/editorial etc
I usually do six paragraphs, intro, four main bodies, and conclusion. Each main body i attach a technique to, or if there are a few techniques then explain multiple in the one paragraph, explain what the technique does "The writer utilises the use of inclusive language by writing words such as "us” and “we” which puts the audience in the same boat as the writer as well as separating them from everyone else who is on the other side of the writers argument.“ and then go into how the writer has applied this technique using specific examples and quotes. Basically do this for all the techniques you can identify, change it up a little, don’t keep repeating the same words or form in every paragraph. I also usually dedicate one of the paragraphs to the tone of the piece, explaining why i think it is that tone (don’t say ‘I’, never ever say I, because its always implied that what you’re writing is your opinion anyway (and never give your opinion in language analysis) because you’re writing it) and also how the tone may affect the readers/audiences view on the matter.
If there is an image then comment on it, it might even be enough to have in a paragraph on its own, if not then just attach it to another one, no harm done, if you can smoothly link it to what you’ve already mentioned in that same paragraph then even better really! Look at the image, try to identify how it relates to the article and pick up little references within it and why it might be accompanying the article.
Now the conclusion is basically just reiterating your intro, literally just re-word your intro, thats all it is really. Like the conclusion doesn’t have to be beefy or epic.
Lastly a few things. 

  • TRY to mention the contention is every paragraph, its easy because you just say what the technique/tone etc is and then say "which helps to sway the reader to believe that Murphy’s thoughts on noise control curfews in the city holds truth." Or something, that wasn’t my finest but hopefully you get the picture. Also reword the contention every time, doesn’t have to be in a major way every time you do it but try not to keep using the same string of words in the same order, just adds variety and maybe even a different angle on the contention? Or maybe not I could’ve just made that up.
  • ALWAYS READ THE BACKGROUND INFO! On the page before the article there is a box which holds background info on the article and even its writer, for instance if the writer is a teacher, and has been for a few decades, and the topic is concerning education, then thats another thing you could add in, the fact that her/him having first-hand experience in this field would strengthen then confidence of the readers in the writers opinion.

Ok so I really hope that helped. I’m sorry if it didn’t. 
In the wise words of Master Yoda "Do. Or do not. There is no try." Which i’ll admit I sometimes disagree with because realistically, at the end of the day you can only try your best, and if you feel that you did all you could, then be happy with whatever mark you get. Good luck child, don’t be a stranger if you want any more advice or needa rant or whatever! Good luck :D

Oh and here these may help a little:

VCE English: Writing a Comparative Language Analysis

Melbourne Academics: Website | Facebook

Elodie Bernard graduated from Sacred Heart Girls’ College in 2013 with a study score of 50 in English. She is studying a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery at Monash University. 

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Improving your language analysis skills is all about practicing. Put simply, the more you analyse and compare texts, the better you will get!


  • Focus on the language as you analyse articles rather than techniques; to do this, highlight strong or powerful connotative words.
  • Build up your analytical vocabulary - increase the sophistication of your essay by avoiding the typical phrase “this makes the reader feel…”
  • Also ensure you have ample “linking words” for your comparison - practice enough analysis of cartoons/visuals! Remember it’s just like analysing written language.
  • Describe elements of the cartoon: why has it been included i.e. what makes it persuasive, what does it make the reader feel, what does it make the reader do?
  • If doing an entire comparative is not possible, select 3 articles on the same issue and create a table comparing the: contention, tone/s, persuasive strategies and feelings which are played upon, and target audiences.
  • Take the holidays as an opportunity to read the newspaper. Being well read always helps!

Remember, timing is crucial. Ensure that you practice writing within the time limits of your SAC. When you do write practice pieces, it is essential for you to get feedback either from your teachers and/or tutors.

Janine De Luca / Head of Abel Township: Magnolias (Perseverance), Holly (Defense and Protection), Purple Leaf Plum (Duty through Hardship).

Part of a collab with @fullofsoulandsunshine. If you’d like your own flower crown, please check out her Etsy or Instagram :)

anonymous asked:

can you dissect shumdario behaviour in that 'the rock video' please? i love your body language analysis! thanks :D

Hoooh boy. So much energy!

Harry’s eyes are on Matt as he suggests the Rock as his dream celebrity president, and his eyes shift back to Matt five times to gauge his reaction as he explains further. He’s looking for approval in a way I have not seen him do before and he’s also inviting Matt to tag in.

His body language is open and casual, chest turned to the interviewer to give her his full attention, but when he speaks directly to Matt, he turns his chest completely toward him.

As for Matt, upon brushing through his hair, he places his hands back to his sides on the outside of Harry’s body as not to interrupt or cut through the space between them. This shows a respect for their space and their combined energy. Not only does he agree with Harry’s choice but compliments the choice. He sways back and forth easily and comfortably, watches Harry’s face with an absentminded smile as he listens, and turns his entire body to Harry when he speaks with him, almost cutting the interviewer completely out of the exchange. Matt and Harry are also brushing elbows.

This is what adoration looks like:

Interestingly, Harry touches Matt’s chest with the back of his hand and Matt watches his face without a word (the interviewer is no longer there in his mind), but his eyes are leaping up and down between Harry’s eyes and mouth. I’ve noticed Matt doing this on several occasions which for him is usually a sign of intent listening. Matt focuses on the eyes when he holds a conversation, which is fairly intimate and shows he is someone who is genuinely interested in what people have to say. He knows Harry is directing a question at him, and in looking at Harry’s mouth, he is concentrating on what that question is, while trying to genuinely listen and show he is listening at the same time. Exhausting! But this is what he does with Harry.

Once they have both grabbed onto the answer of the Rock’s wrestling slogan, Harry is mainly conversing with the interviewer at this point while turning back and forth to Matt to keep him included. Hilariously, Matt takes a step closer to Harry and butts up against him arm to arm as he answers the interviewer. This in itself is telling the interviewer ‘Harry’s mine. He’s on my team. We’re a team, see?’ 

Look at it:

You can watch this entire exchange for yourself here.

Dialogue in the Japanese dub of The Prince of Egypt: Aaron

A while ago, @skmn-m kindly answered my questions about the Japanese dub of The Prince of Egypt, specifically about how the bio-siblings speak to one another.  Using the information, I wrote an analysis of Miriam’s dialogue.  I wanted to explore the differences and nuances of the language, and I hope to continue to do that here.

This time I’ll be looking at Aaron’s dialogue.  His way of speaking to Moses changes quite a bit over the course of the movie, and perhaps this evolution seems more dramatic in the Japanese version due to some of the features of the language.  Certainly there is plenty to discuss with regard to formality and meaning, characterization and emotion.

Again, I rely mainly on skmn-m’s transcripts.  I have only added the romanization below the Japanese, and I’ve also done my best to bold the phrases that I discuss in more detail.  The bolded text may show up kind of wonky on mobile, though.  Also scattered throughout the post are a few supplemental lines of dialogue from the dub, and these may contain errors because I often miss words when I listen to Japanese.

A few other notes: “a” is pronounced approximately like the “a” in “father;” “i” like in “eat;” “u” like in “fool;” “e” like in “let;” and “o” like in “so.”  The vowel “ou” is still pronounced like the “o” in “so,” but it is held longer.  For the sake of simplicity, I’ve romanized Moses’ name as “Moses.”  And when I mention the full names of the Japanese actors, their family names are written first.

I hadn’t planned on writing quite this much (roughly 3400 words, to give a heads-up).  It’s not completely surprising, though, since I’m a giant linguistics nerd and Aaron is my favorite character.  Basically everything I love is in this post… and there was more ground to cover than I realized.  Enjoy ;)

Keep reading

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems to me that there are two ways I use the phrase ‘good at something’.

It’s like…one way, I mean ‘has skill at x.’ This is fairly straightforward, and it seems to be the most intuitive interpretation. But the other way means ‘have talent at x’, or, let’s say, ‘is able to learn x quickly’, and this also seems a fairly intuitive explanation.

I think the things tend to go together—we like to do things we’re naturally good at, so we get better at them, and it’s easier to get better at them, too. But I have at times been better at things I am not naturally good at than things I am, and it was one of these times that brought the distinction to my awareness.

I think it’s interesting, at least. (And, if it’s not just me, potentially suggestive of the way we think of learning things.)