Hocus Pocus or God’s Truth: the dual identity of Michael Stubbs

Cook, Guy (2008). Hocus Pocus or God’s Truth: the dual identity of Michael Stubbs. In: Gerbig, Andrea and Mason, Oliver eds. Language, People, Numbers: Corpus Linguistics and Society. Language and Computers : Studies in Practical Linguisiics. Amsterdam: Rodopi, pp. 350–327.

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/rodopi/lang/...


Text analysis is in an anomalous position: hovering on the borders between the social sciences on the one hand, and the arts and humanities on the other. When it is scientific it seeks to be descriptive rather than prescriptive, replicable by other analysts, expounding objective facts about language use. When it is an art, it evaluates and prescribes, imposing the writer’s views upon the external world, saying as much about the analyst as the analysed. This chapter explores the position of Michael Stubbs in relation to this dichotomy, suggesting that, while he advocates objectivity, and has made an outstanding contribution to linguistic description, his achievement - almost despite himself - is also to be an evaluator and interpreter. Like a good literary critic, he is worth reading not only for what he tells us about the external world (which is a great deal) but also for his own unique ideas.

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