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Mike Scott

Key Cluster Patterns in Shakespeare


Key words (KWs) in Shakespeare plays have been shown to belong to certain category-types such as theme-related KWs, character-related KWs. Other KWs, generally the more interesting ones, seem to be pointers to other patterns indicative of quite specific features of the language, or of the status of characters or of individual sub-themes. It may be that there is a tension between global KWs and much more localised, "bursty" ones in this regard. The presentation turns attention now to key word clusters, that is n-grams which are shown to occur distinctively in each individual play, or in the speeches of an individual character. The diverse types of patterns are what will be explored here. Are n-grams a mere coincidence of relatively frequent words co-occurring frequently so that they are but sound and fury signifying nothing?

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