Parameters coding texts and authors
(1) <B = 'name of text file'
(2) <Q = 'text identifier'
(3) <N = 'name of text'
(4) <A = 'author'
(5) <C = 'part of corpus'
(6) <O = 'date of original'
(7) <M = 'date of manuscript'
(8) <K = 'contemporaneity'
(9) <D = 'dialect'
(10) <V = 'verse' or 'prose'
(11) <T = 'text type'
(12) <G = 'relationship to foreign original'
(13) <F = 'foreign original'
(14) <W = 'relationship to spoken language'
(15) <X = 'sex of author'
(16) <Y = 'age of author'
(17) <H = 'social rank of author'
(18) <U = 'audience description'
(19) <E = 'participant relationship'
(20) <J = 'interaction'
(21) <I = 'setting'
(22) <Z = 'prototypical text category'
(23) <S = 'sample'
(24) <P = 'page'
(25) <R = 'record'
For more information see the Helsinki Corpus manual.
In the earliest texts, much of this information is missing; even the author of the text often being anonymous. This can be seen in the following list of codings, which gives an example of the coding of an Old English text. The code value X means either “unknown” or “irrelevant to this text”.
Example 1. Parameter coding of the sample taken from the Old English Blickling Homilies (10 th century)
<N BL HOM 2>
<Z INSTR REL>
Code values in this sample can be given only to the rough dates of the original text and the manuscript, with a note on their contemporaneity, dialect, text type and prototypical text category. In the case of a late 17 th-century letter, the coding is much richer:
Example 2. Parameter coding of Elizabeth Oxinden’s letter (1665/6)
<N LET TO MOTHERINLAW>
<A OXINDEN ELIZABETH>
<T LET PRIV>
<E INT UP>
A fairly accurate sociolinguistic description of the author of this letter can be coded. She is a woman between 20 and 40 years of age, her social status is high and she is writing a private message to her mother, whose position in the family is, by definition, higher than her daughter’s.