[Corpora-List] Stubbs analogy summary

Xiaotian Guo garlickfred at gmail.com
Wed Dec 14 17:43:02 CET 2005

Dear All

Many thanks for all my friends and colleagues who have answered my query
about Stubbs' analogy.

If I could recall correctly now, I read this analogy from Corpora in Applied
Linguistics by my supervisor, Susan Hunston, 2002. I hope she won't scold me
for not having a genius' mind like my Toshiba's 40 GB memory to have
remembered everything I've read. (Thanks, Ute, and Richard, for suggesting

The following is an excerpt from the book (Hunston 2002: 20):

Corpora are often described as a tool, and the development of corpora has
been likened to the invention of telescopes in the history of astronomy
(Stubbs 1996: 231).

Her reference lists the source as follows:

Stubbs M. 1996. *Text and Corpus Analysis*. Oxford: Blackwell.

It seems this analogy is a popular one and others such as John Sinclair and
Ramesh Krishnamurthy shared the same insight somewhere else (thanks, Ramesh
for raising this point).

Also it seems that this analogy was used in several occasions as a couple of
colleagues (Ute, Sven and others) have pointed out. Those who are interested
in this can consult Stubbs' work as follows:

"Society, education and language: The last 2,000 (and the next 20?) years",
published in H Trappes-Lomax ed (2000) *Change and Continuity in Applied
Linguistics *. Clevedon: BAAL and Multilingual Matters. 15-34, and available
from Stubbs' website at

Even though my query has got an answer, the interest in analogy continues as
the thread spreads. Many thanks again for those who have responded so
rapidly. That saved me a lot of time.

Have a nice Christmas.

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