This paper presents a technical state of the art in usage-based linguistics as defined in the context of Cognitive Linguistics. Starting from actual case studies rather than theoretical assumptions, methodological issues concerning the usage-based approach are addressed, with specific reference to the use of corpus materials. The specific methodological identity of usage-based linguistics is described in terms of data gathering strategies and the status of empirical data in linguistic research. From a delineation of corpus research in contrast with introspection, survey research, and experimentation, two criteria emerge as essential for a genuine corpus-oriented usage-based linguistics, viz. the use of quantitative techniques and the systematic operationalization of research hypotheses. It is suggested that paying closer attention to these methodological issues is a prerequisite for the further development of the usage-based approach in Cognitive Linguistics.
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