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Paul Bayley


Department of Interpreting and Translation

Academic discipline: L-LIN/12 Language and Translation - English


His research interests fall into the broad field of functional linguistics (in particular with systemic functional linguistics, corpus linguistics and discourse analysis, with particular emphasis of combing these approaches in a diachronic perspective) and applied linguistics. He has published on institutional linguistics, with particular reference to language and politics, language and the law and language and the media. He has also published on English teaching methodology, Standard English, and plurilingualism. He has also worked on applications of computer technology for language research (creation of specialized corpora) and for language learning and testing.

Recent research activity has been based on three theoretical and methodological models: systemic functional linguistics, discourse analysis and corpus linguistics. In particular the research has been aimed at finding a meeting point between the last two, in the conviction that the combination of qualitative and quantitative methods is not only possible but enhances research potentialities to a considerable degree. The research has been influenced by the participation in two large research projects, one national and the other international. Analysis has focussed on political language (in particular British parliamentary language,  the discourse of US Presidents and the discourse of the news media. Three basic directions can be identified.


1. The Cordis project and parliamentary language

Research on parliamentary language can be set in the wider framework of a national research project conducted by a group of scholars from the University of Bologna, the University of Siena and the LUISS (Rome) entitled “Corpora and Discourse: A quantitative and qualitative linguistic analysis of political and media discourse on the conflict in Iraq in 2003”. The project was built around the construction of a modular corpus composed of British and American parliamentary discourse, White House briefings, British and American newspapers and TV news broadcasts, and the Hutton inquiry in  2003 and all concerning the Iraq conflict.


The modular corpus was validated and standardised and marked up in XML according to TEI guidelines with the aim of creating a corpus of written and spoken English which with a single index which can be queried (either in its entirety or within its individual component parts) using the dedicated software platform Xaira. As far as the British parliamentary corpus is concerned, the mark-up procedures allowed us to make lexical queries comparing, say, the language of male members of the government and female back benchers of the Labour party (just to give one example). Various papers analysing this material and have been presented at national and international conferences and publications include P. Bayley e C. Bevitori, “‘Just War', or just ‘war': Arguments for doing the ‘right thing'”, in J. Morley e P. Bayley (eds), Wordings of War: Corpus-assisted discourse on the Iraqi conflict, London: Routledge (forthcoming) and P. Bayley. “Perhaps …. But: Expanding and contracting alternative viewpoints”, in Textus XX, 2007, pp. 117-136.


2. Presidential discourse

This research initiative was developed through the construction of a small corpus (of about 700,000 words) composed of all State of the Union addresses, all acceptance speeches, all Presidential debates and all inaugural speeches held between 1960 and 2004. The diachronic architecture of the corpus has allowed a dynamic inquiry into the process of construction and reconstruction of consensus. Publications include “The representation and construction of ‘fear' in political discorse” in Contatti: Rivista di Relazioni Pubbliche e Comunicazione, 1/2005, “Terror in political discourse: from the Cold War to the Unipolar World”, in N. Fairclough et al 2007, and “Weakness and Fear: A fragment of corpus assisted discourse analysis”, in A. Martelli e V. Pulcini (a cura di) 2008. Current this research is being extended with a wider diachronic scope, analysing more than 220 years of State of the Union addresses


3. Newspaper language – the IntUne project

This research project is part of a wider European project entitled IntUne : Integrated and United. A Quest for Citizenship in an ever closer Europe (VI Framework). It is an interdisciplinary project involving more than 100 political scientists, sociologists and linguists from 16 European countries and has the aim of studying changes in the notion of citizenship in EU countries from the point of view of identity, representation and scope of government. Members of the project are divided into four working groups: mass, elites, experts and media, which have objective of conducting analyses on, respectively, public opinion, opinions of political elites, opinions of technocrats and, finally, mass media. The group of linguists make up with media working group, with scholars from France, Great Britain, Italy and Poland and their aim is to construct and analyse a multilingual corpus  of newspapers and television news broadcasts from the four countries. The data were gathered during a three-month period (February-April 2007). The second wave data will be collected in the peiod January-March 2009.


The corpus, of about 100 million words in four languages has been validated, standardised and indexed in XML according to TEI guidelines. Data analysis has now begun and publications include. The phase of data analysis has now commenced and the studies of the media working group have a strong comparative and interlinguistic approach. Publications include P.Bayley (a cura di) “Language and citizenship“, In MediAzioni, 2007, P. Bayley, “A corpus account of accountability”, in Mediazioni, 2007, e P. Bayley e G. Williams “Exploring the InTune Corpus”, in P. Bayley, G. Williams, (a cura di) European Identity: What the media say, Oxford, Oford University Press, 2012, P. Bayley, D. Giuliani e V. Serret, "Semantic Constructions of citizenship in the British, French and Italian press" in P. Bayley and G. Williams (a cura di) 2012, P. Bayley e J. Morley "Quanta e quale europa nei media" in P. Bellucci e N. Conti (a cura di), Roma, Carrocci, 2012, as well as numerous papers presented at conferences and seminars.

Current research is based on the construction and analysis of a diachronic corpus of American political discourse, covering over 220 years of American history in order to identify language variation over time


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