Where the Dickens Are Melville’s Phrasal Verbs? Book Chapter

Machonis, PA. (2021). Where the Dickens Are Melville’s Phrasal Verbs? . 1389 99-110. 10.1007/978-3-030-70629-6_9

cited authors

  • Machonis, PA



  • This study expands digital research in the humanities by using NooJ to examine Phrasal Verb (PV) usage in the complete works of the nineteenth-century British author Charles Dickens and his American counterpart Herman Melville. The goal is to ascertain if PVs are indeed a characteristic feature of early American English. To compare the PV usage of these two writers, we used a specially designed NooJ grammar, electronic dictionary, and a series of disambiguation grammars, adverbial and adjectival expression filters, and idiom dictionaries. Since usage could be attributed to subject matter, we analyzed usage per 1,000 words of text in the complete works of both Melville (1.3 million words) and Dickens (4 million words), obtained from Project Gutenberg. To avoid excessive noise, the NooJ PV dictionary was limited to 1,148 expressions using the particles out, up, down, away, back, and off. The NooJ platform successfully identified PVs with a precision of 98.8% for the novels of Dickens and an overall accuracy of 98.3% for the works of Melville. After eliminating this residual noise, we conclude that Dickens uses more PVs than Melville: 3.32 PVs per 1,000 words of text as compared to 2.49 PVs per 1,000 words of text.

publication date

  • January 1, 2021

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 99

end page

  • 110


  • 1389