Triangulating corpus linguistics and clinical psychology in a study of narratives of voice-hearers

Luke Collins1 & Elena Semino2

1CASS, Lancaster University  2LAEL, Lancaster University

We present a collaborative work between the 'Hearing the Voice' project (Durham University) and the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) with colleagues Dr Zsófia Demjén and Dr Vaclav Brezina, investigating the reports of individuals who hear voices that others cannot hear. Focusing on the description of such voices as 'person-like', we demonstrate how methods from corpus linguistics can be triangulated with approaches in clinical psychology. We find that an approach to investigating personhood based on the selection of specific linguistic aspects of the reports is convergent with the characterisation of participant experiences as 'minimal' or 'complex', based on a manual coding scheme developed by our colleagues in psychology. Furthermore, our corpus-based approach provides further insights into degrees of complexity, provisionally outlining a 'complexity scale' and contributing to increased understanding of experiences of voice-hearing in terms of personification of voices. The implementation of corpus methods in this work also highlighted important methodological considerations for the wider application of corpus linguistics.

Week 9 2020/2021

Thursday 3rd December 2020

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