[Corpora-List] Stubbs' analogy?

Michael Rundell michael.rundell at lexmasterclass.com
Wed Dec 14 17:06:00 CET 2005


and then of course there is Michael Halliday's nice analogy between the climate (=the long-term, fairly stable, slowly evolving language 'system') and the weather (which can include all sorts of local quirks). When corpora are small and the data for any given linguistic feature is sparse, 'weather' effects can lead to bad conclusions: a single instance of a linguistic feature may just be an aberration. But as corpora become much larger, it gets easier to tell aberrations from regularities.

(Of course this may become a less useful analogy now that the cilmate itself is changing and becoming more like the weather)

the Halliday ref is:
MAK H. Corpus studies and probabilistiuc grammar
K Aijmer and B Altenberg (Eds) English corpus linguistics, Longman 1991: 30-43

Michael Rundell


-- Original Message -----
From: Ramesh Krishnamurthy
To: joerg.schuster at gmail.com ; CORPORA at hd.uib.no
Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 3:11 PM
Subject: Re: [Corpora-List] Stubbs' analogy?


Hi Jörg,


Could you tell us more about this?

Not a lot, unfortunately, although your question has prompted me to find out more....*

(I think it was) John Sinclair (who) once described lexis and grammar as looking at
language through opposite ends of the same telescope...

Somewhere or other, I picked up the idea that if lexis and grammar were looking at the same
phenomenon (language) from different points of view, the dichotomy might be similar to one that
has confronted physicists: looking at light as particle and wave at the same time.

I'm sure this is an ultra-naive understanding on my part, but if you can help, I'd be grateful.

*e.g. Queen Mary College London ( http://www.qmw.ac.uk/~zgap118/1/ etc)
has some information that might help:

Energy and matter we have learnt from Einstein's theories are analagous, matter can be simply described in terms of energy. So far we have only discovered two ways in which energy can be transfered. These are particles and waves....
Particles are discrete, their energy is concentrated into what appears to be a finite space, which has definite boundaries and its contents we consider to be homogenous (the same at any point within the particle)... [lexical item?] Particles exist at a specific location. If they are shown on 3D graph, they have x, y, and z coordinates. They can never exist in more than one place at once... [so "token" rather than "type"?]
Waves unlike particles cannot be considered a finite entity. Their energy cannot be considered to exist in a single place since a wave by definition varies in both displacement and in time.... In an area of space, unlike a particle, a wave can propagate until it exists in all locations and at all times... [grammar?]

Best
Ramesh

At 11:00 14/12/2005, you wrote:


I also use the 'particle/wave' analogy for the 'lexico-grammar'

continuum



Could you tell us more about this? I have never heard of it.

Jörg


Ramesh Krishnamurthy
Lecturer in English Studies
School of Languages and Social Sciences
Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK
Tel: +44 (0)121-204-3812
Fax: +44 (0)121-204-3766
http://www.aston.ac.uk/lss/english/



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