Lexical Semantic Richness in Poe’s Essays and Short Stories: Comparing Corpora with Word Smith Tools and Range
Keywords:Lexical Semantic Richness; Edgar Allan Poe; Word Smith Tools; Range; Lexical Frequency Profile.
Edgar Allan Poe’s Essays and Short Stories have been widely analyzed throughout the decades. Previous research confirms an ample use of varied vocabulary in his short stories. Nevertheless, little emphasis has been put on some of his not-so-famous works: his essays. Thus, the main aim of this paper is twofold: on the one hand, we aim at comparing the lexical semantic richness in Poe’s essays and in his short stories; on the other hand, we intend to test the effectiveness of two different analytical tools to check this semantic variation, i.e. WordSmith Tools and Range. In order to achieve these aims, three short stories and two essays by Poe were selected and combined to create two main corpora: one of short stories and one of essays. After separating the corpora intro fragments of 2000 tokens, lexical semantic richness was assessed using the two aforementioned tools. Results show that i) lexical semantic richness is higher in short stories than it is in essays, and ii) both tools have proven to be effective. These results are further discussed and pedagogical applications for language teaching are put forward.
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