chapter  11
16 Pages

Stylistic Perception

ByJESSE EGBERT

Stylistic Perception (SP) analysis is a new method of investigating linguistic variation from the perspective of audience perceptions. As such, SP analysis gives researchers an additional lens through which to analyze and interpret corpus-linguistic data. Recent work in this area has revealed substantial and systematic variability in the perceptions lay readers have of published writing. Egbert (2014a) used SP analysis and Biber’s multidimensional (MD) analysis to show that certain aspects of author style (e.g., use of noun-noun sequences, nominalizations, and formulaic language) can predict reader perceptions of university textbook comprehensibility and effectiveness. Egbert (2014b) also used SP analysis and MD analysis to investigate relationships between linguistic variation and lay reader perceptions of published academic writing. This study showed moderate and statistically significant relationships between reader perceptions of writing style and linguistic variation within and across three publication types (journal articles, university textbooks, and popular academic books) in two disciplines (biology and history).