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Corpus linguistics and clinical psychology: Investigating personification in first-person accounts of voice-hearing

Collins, Luke and Brezina, Vaclav and Demjén, Zsófia and Semino, Elena and Woods, Angela (2022) 'Corpus linguistics and clinical psychology: Investigating personification in first-person accounts of voice-hearing.', International Journal of Corpus Linguistics .


Triangulating corpus linguistic approaches with other (linguistic and non-linguistic) approaches enhances “both the rigour of corpus linguistics and its incorporation into all kinds of research” ( McEnery & Hardie, 2012 : 227). Our study investigates an important area of mental health research: the experiences of those who hear voices that others cannot hear, and particularly the ways in which those voices are described as person-like. We apply corpus methods to augment the findings of a qualitative approach to 40 interviews with voice-hearers, whereby each interview was coded as involving ‘minimal’ or ‘complex’ personification of voices. Our analysis provides linguistic evidence in support of the qualitative coding of the interviews, but also goes beyond a binary approach by revealing different types and degrees of personification of voices, based on how they are referred to and described by voice-hearers. We relate these findings to concepts that inform therapeutic interventions in clinical psychology.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
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Publisher statement:© John Benjamins Publishing Company Available under the CC BY 4.0 license.
Date accepted:24 November 2021
Date deposited:06 July 2022
Date of first online publication:29 April 2022
Date first made open access:06 July 2022

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