BOSS

 

a) Keyness

 

The lemma ‘boss’ was the five hundred and seventy-sixth most key word in the BEC corpus.

 

N

Word

bec freq.

bec.lst %

Freq.

bnc.lst %

Keyness

P

576

BOSS

108

0.01

77

-

44.6

0.000000

 

 

b) Semantic Prosody

 

Left: One group identified.

 

semantic prosody

frequency/ 67 & %

example

name of company/institution + boss

10 - 14.92%

British Gas’s boss

Microsoft Boss

 

Right: One group identified.

 

semantic prosody

frequency/ 67 & %

example

name of company/institution

6 - 8.95%

the boss of Nordbanken

the boss of a Japanese firm

boss of Intel

 

 

c) Three-word clusters

 

N

cluster

Freq.

1

the boss of

5

2

your own boss

4

3

the boss is

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

d) Macro-generic distribution

 

 

 

e) Colligation

 

COBUILD Sense 1 (boss of an organisation/company )

63 instances - 94.02% of sample

Patterns: Count noun

But as soon as the boss puts his foot down they hardly say anything

 

COBUILD Sense 4 (to be one’s own boss)

4 instances - 5.97% of sample

Patterns: Phrase

you are your own boss and are able to choose which hours, days and ...

 

Other patterns:

 

i) Used exclusively in the sample as a noun rather than a verb.

 

ii) Possessive pronoun use: (to show whose boss)

12 instances -  17.91% of sample        

my boss, your boss, your own boss, his/her boss

 

 

f) Associates

 

The word ‘boss’ was key in 3 files. No associates of > =5 were found.

 

Comments

 

1. Used in the BNC Sampler exclusively as a noun.

 

2. In such a small sample there were few lexical collocations, showing evidence of Sinclair’s (1993:116) concept of upward collocation. The most frequent collocates are function words, thus mainly pronouns and prepositions are in evidence as they are more frequent in language than most lexical, meaning-carrying items.

3. Also of interest here is the fact that no positive adjectives are used to describe bosses, most are neutral and there is a small group of negative adjectives: America’s meanest boss, old-fashioned boss and idealistic boss (used negatively). Also found (right of the node) were expressions such as the boss is a neanderthal and you can see if the boss is sneaking up on you, further indicating a negative view towards the word boss. This aspect was not found with the similar word manager, suggesting that boss is used more emotively than other words to describe superiors in business. The sample size, however, is too small in this case to draw any firm conclusions and a larger sample would need to be gathered.