Journal Article

All the Way Through: Testing for Authorship in Different Frequency Strata

John Burrows

in Literary and Linguistic Computing

Published on behalf of ALLC: The European Association for Digital Humanities

Volume 22, issue 1, pages 27-47
Published in print April 2007 | ISSN: 0268-1145
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1477-4615 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/llc/fqi067
All the Way Through: Testing for Authorship in Different Frequency Strata

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This article describes the operation of two new tests of authorship and offers some results. Both tests rely on controlled contrasts of word-frequency and both exclude the very common words, which have been put to such good use in recent years. One test treats of words used with some consistency by a target-author but more sporadically by others. The second treats of words used sporadically by the target-author but not by most others. (The inclusion of words that some other authors use avoids the strict constraint that has impoverished this form of evidence.) In suitable cases, both tests prove very accurate. The fact that evidence of authorship can be detected in these three distinct frequency-strata helps to explain why such tests should work at all and so encourages the development of even better ones.

Journal Article.  12650 words. 

Subjects: Language Teaching and Learning ; Computational Linguistics ; Bibliography ; Digital Lifestyle ; Information and Communication Technologies

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