Vocative and diminutive forms in Robert Louis Stevenson’s fiction: A corpus-based study


  • Marina Dossena
DOI: https://doi.org/10.6018/ijes/2012/2/161721
Keywords: morphology, pragmatics, corpus linguistics, Scots, (Scottish Standard) English


This paper takes a corpus-based approach to the study of vocative and diminutive forms in the prose fiction and drama of the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. In such texts, the coexistence, and indeed the coalescence, of Scots and (Scottish Standard) English is one of the most important traits in their author’s distinctive style. The aim is to assess whether the use of diminutive forms together with vocative ones may constitute a syntactic unit in which semantic and pragmatic values are mutually reinforced. In addition to a specially-compiled corpus of Stevenson’s texts, the investigation will consider occurrences of the same structure in the imaginative prose section of the Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing, which will be used as a control corpus.


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Author Biography

Marina Dossena

Marina Dossena is a Professor of English Language and (until October 2012) Head of the Department of Comparative Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Bergamo (Italy). Her research interests focus on historical pragmatics, historical dialectology, especially in relation to the history of Scots and English in Scotland, and the history of specialized discourse. A member of the International Committee of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies, she is currently compiling a corpus of nineteenth-century Scottish correspondence. She has authored two monographs and more than 80 journal articles and contributions in edited volumes; she has also co-edited the proceedings of numerous international conferences, in addition to specific collections of essays, and performs editorial functions for a variety of international peer- reviewed journals.
How to Cite
Dossena, M. (2012). Vocative and diminutive forms in Robert Louis Stevenson’s fiction: A corpus-based study. International Journal of English Studies, 12(2), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.6018/ijes/2012/2/161721