[Corpora-List] Google searches as linguistic evidence

Ramesh Krishnamurthy r.krishnamurthy at aston.ac.uk
Fri Dec 8 11:25:09 CET 2006

>Quantitative needs to be tempered with qualitative research.

Or... the quantitative results need to be interpreted...

At 17:53 07/12/2006, Alison Duguid wrote:

>Looks like a case of shifting or wobbly priming to me, as Michael

>Hoey has pointed out education has a key role in priming and the

>problem might be caused by doubt in a situation when fears about

>correctness are uppermost because shifting identities are at work.

>The questioner is really asking someone who is perceived to be a

>native speaker of a

>variety (academic/correct) in which he felt he was not a native,

>what would be the acceptable version.

>Also look how many hits you get for 'nucular', and then look again

>at the co-texts and contexts. Quantitative needs to be tempered with

>qualitative research.



>Geoffrey Sampson wrote:


>>An amazing experience I had a few years ago was being asked in all

>>seriousness by one of my part-time researchers whether "a bad egg" or

>>"an bad egg" was correct. With another part of his time he worked for a

>>company alongside another man who had to do some documentation and

>>insisted that the correct form was "an bad egg". So far as I could make

>>out, this other man (who, like my researcher, was as I understood it a

>>native speaker) thought he had learned a rule that "a" v. "an" depends

>>on whether the following noun begins with a vowel, and this explicit

>>rule overrode in his mind what must surely have been a large weight of

>>experience implying that it is not the following noun, but the

>>immediately-following word, that matters. The third party was quite

>>sure that only "an bad egg" would do in writing; my researcher was

>>dubious, but felt he needed my professorial authority to contradict his

>>colleague. This seemed to me very striking counter-evidence against the

>>idea that native speakers "know" the rules of their language.

>>Comparable misunderstandings of the a/an rule might perhaps explain

>>sporadic cases of "an w..." written by people who would surely _say_ "a

>>w..." when they were speaking spontaneously, without thinking about

>>language issues.


>>Geoffrey Sampson



>> Prof. Geoffrey Sampson MA PhD MBCS CITP ILTM


>> author of "The 'Language Instinct' Debate"


>> Department of Informatics, University of Sussex

>> Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QH, England


>> www.grsampson.net +44 1273 678525










Ramesh Krishnamurthy

Lecturer in English Studies, School of Languages and Social Sciences,
Aston University, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK
[Room NX08, North Wing of Main Building] ; Tel: +44 (0)121-204-3812 ;
Fax: +44 (0)121-204-3766

Project Leader, ACORN (Aston Corpus Network): http://corpus.aston.ac.uk/
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