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Cognitive Linguistics

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Volume 16, Issue 4 (Dec 2005)


Converging evidence: Bringing together experimental and corpus data on the association of verbs and constructions

Stefan Th. Gries / Beate Hampe / Doris Schönefeld
Published Online: 2005-12-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.2005.16.4.635


Much recent work in Cognitive Linguistics and neighbouring disciplines has adopted a so-called usage-based perspective in which generalizations are based on the analysis of authentic usage data provided by computerized corpora. However, the analysis of such data does not always utilize methodological findings from other disciplines to avoid analytical pitfalls and, at the same time, generate robust results. A case in point is the strategy of using corpus frequencies. In this paper, we take up a recently much debated issue from construction grammar concerning the association between verbs and argument-structure constructions, and investigate a construction, the English as-predicative, in order to test the predictive power of different kinds of frequency data against that of a recent, more refined corpus-based approach, the so-called collexeme analysis. To that end, the results of the application of these corpus-based approaches to an analysis of the as predicative are compared with the results of a sentence-completion experiment. Concerning the topic under consideration, collexeme analysis is not only shown to be superior on a variety of theoretical and methodological grounds, it also significantly outperforms frequency as a predictor of subjects’ production preferences. We conclude by pointing out some implications for usage-based approaches.

About the article

Published Online: 2005-12-02

Published in Print: 2005-12-12

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.2005.16.4.635. Export Citation

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