"Frequency effects in language" Stefan Th. Gries (UCSB) and Dagmar Divjak (University of Sheffield)
### CONTENTS ### Within cognitive linguistics, the notion of frequency has long been recognized as a vital part of many different aspects of linguistic representation, processing, and change. Virtually every domain of linguistics has been found to reveal systematic frequency effects:
- in first language acquisition, the frequency with which a child hears particular words or patterns affects the ease/speed with which s/he acquires these words and patterns (cf., e.g., Goodman, Dale, and Li 2007, Tomasello 2003, Goldberg 2006); - in diachronic linguistics, frequency effects have been shown to drive grammaticalization (cf. Lindquist and Mair 2004); - in phonology, frequency of co-occurrence predicts degrees of phonological reduction (cf., e.g., Bybee and Scheibman 1999, Gahl and Garnsey 2004); - in syntax, (co-occurrence) frequencies are correlated with syntactic choices in language production (cf., e.g., Bresnan et al. 2007);
Cf. also Bybee and Hopper (1997), Barlow and Kemmer (2000), or Ellis (2002) for overviews. In addition, the development of exemplar-based and probabilistic psycholinguistic models of representation and processing has provided cognitive linguistics with a robust psycholinguistic underpinning from which to derive testable predictions. In spite of these advances, work involving frequencies has also encountered problems that merit more attention than they have so far received:
- often, linguistic elements are differently frequent in different corpora or even different parts of one and the same corpus(cf. Schlüter 2005, Gries 2006, Newman et al., in progress); - the frequency estimates arrived at on the basis of corpora are often at odds with frequency estimates obtained through experiments such as elicitation tasks or direct frequency estimates (cf. Gilquin 2003, Nordquist 2006, to appear, Divjak to appear, McGee to appear); - there are more and more scholars who use the WWW to obtain frequency estimates in spite of the fact that (i) such frequencies will again differ from all others obtained and (ii) the WWW does not provide frequency data but dispersion data; in addition, it is unclear whether, for the purposes of cognitive linguistics, dispersion data would not be more appropriate than frequency data as an operationalization of entrenchment; and, if that would be the case, which of the various ways to measure dispersion would be most appropriate (cf. Gries, to appear).
For this theme session, we invite corpus-based and/or experimental papers that explore and discuss frequency effects from a cognitive-linguistic or psycholinguistic perspective. Contributions from all sorts of domains (e.g., language acquisition, language development, or language processing) and linguistic subdisciplines (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics) will be considered. We are interested in empirical studies and especially welcome submissions which discuss diverging evidence, i.e. different outcomes resulting from using different methods.
### SUBMISSION PROCEDURE ### Please submit WHAT: your 500-word abstract (1" margins, Times New Roman, size 12 font) as .odt, .rtf, or .doc file WHEN: by September 5, 2009 TO WHOM: <stgries -AT- linguistics.ucsb.edu> *and*
<d.divjak -AT- sheffield.ac.uk> in an email with the subject heading "ICLC 2009 theme session"; the body of your e-mail should include - title of paper - name(s) of author(s) - affiliation - contact e-mail address.
### REFERENCES ### Barlow, Michael and Suzanne Kemmer (eds.). 2000. Usage-based models of language. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications. Bresnan, Joan, Anna Cueni, Tatiana Nikitina, and R. Harald Baayen. 2007. Predicting the dative alternation. In: G. Boume, I. Kraemer, and J. Zwarts (eds.). Cognitive foundations of interpretation. Amsterdam: Royal Netherlands Academy of Science, 69-94. Bybee, Joan L. and Paul J. Hopper (eds.). 1997. Frequency and the emergence of linguistic structure. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Bybee, Joan and Joanne Scheibman. 1999. The effect of usage on degrees of constituency: the reduction of don't in English. Linguistics 37:575-96. Divjak, Dagmar S. to appear. On (in)frequency and (un)acceptability. In: B. Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk (ed.). Corpus Linguistics, computer tools and applications - state of the art. Frankfurt a. Main: Peter Lang, 1-21. Ellis, Nick C. 2002. Frequency effects in language processing and acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 24:143-88. Gahl, Susanne and Susan Marie Garnsey. 2004. Knowledge of grammar, knowledge of usage: syntactic probabilities affect pronunciation variation. Language 80:748-75. Gilquin, Gaetanelle. 2003. Prototypicality: Corpus vs. elicitation. Paper presented at ICLC-8. University of La Rioja, Spain, 20-25 July 2003. Goldberg, Adele E. 2006. Constructions at work. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Goodman, Judith C., Philip S. Dale, and Ping Li. 2008. Does frequency count? Parental input and the acquisition of vocabulary. Journal of Child Language 35:515-31. Gries, Stefan Th. 2006. Exploring variability within and between corpora: some methodological considerations. Corpora 1:109-51. Gries, Stefan Th. to appear. Dispersions and adjusted frequencies in corpora. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics. Lindquist, Hans and Christian Mair (eds.). 2004. Corpus approaches to grammaticalization in English. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins. McGee, Iain. to appear. Adjective-noun collocations in elicited and corpus data: similarities: differences and the whys and wherefores. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory. Newman, John, Philip Dilts, Stefan Th. Gries, and Cyrus Shaoul. in progress. Ngrams: Google vs. corpora. (working title) Nordquist, Dawn. 2004. Comparing elicited data and corpora. In: Michel Achard and Suzanne Kemmer (eds.). Language, culture, and mind. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications, 211-23. Nordquist, Dawn. to appear. Investigating elicited data from a usage-based perspective. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory. Schlueter, Norbert. 2006. How reliable are the results? Comparing corpus-based studies of the present perfect. Zeitschrift fuer Anglistik und Amerikanistik 54:135-148. Tomasello, Michael. 2003. Constructing a language: a usage-based theory of language acquisition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.