[Corpora-List] Google searches as linguistic evidence

Yorick Wilks Yorick at dcs.shef.ac.uk
Fri Dec 8 13:01:00 CET 2006

I hate to ask this, but you do realise that the German "an workshop" is
the German "an" meaning "to the" and NOT the English article........? I
have an awful feeling that you may have been making a joke about
Deutschlish that i didnt get!
Yorick Wilks

On 7 Dec 2006, at 12:50, Fanny Meunier wrote:

> Hi there,


> Your question puzzled me and I googled "a worshop" (7840000 hits) vs

> "an workshop" (21500 hits).


> It struck me that they were quite a lot of German refs such as 

> Sie bitte an workshop at ... (= sthg like: please see workshop at ...)

> schicken Sie bitte eine Email an workshop (= sthg like: please send

> an e-mail to workshop at ...)

> direkt per E-Mail an workshop at ... (= directly via e-mail to

> workshop at ...)


> Food for thought...


> All the best,

> Fanny




> Le 13:13 7/12/2006,Diana Maynard écrit:

>> Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit


>> No problem, it was my fault for being too hasty also.

>> I agree entirely.

>> Another little story....


>> A non-English colleague asked me the other day if the correct phrase

>> was "a workshop" or "an workshop". I was quite surprised at the

>> question, especially as the colleague said he had searched for both

>> on Google as he was not sure which to use, and found more occurrences

>> of the former, but still many occurrences of the latter. He also said

>> that to him the pronunciation of the latter sounded better (which I

>> found odd as I actually found it quite difficult to pronounce, but

>> perhaps that's a non-native speaker thing).

>> I checked on Google and he was right about the occurrences.


>> Are there any times when it would be OK to use "an" before a word

>> beginning with "w"?

>> I'd be interested to know what the BNC or other corpora show up on

>> that.

>> Diana



>> Ramesh Krishnamurthy wrote:

>>> Hi Diana

>>> Sorry about the brevity of my previous email.

>>> I didn't mean to be rude, just in a hurry as usual...


>>> But I was raising a genuine concern of mine. An experience last

>>> year: challenged in

>>> my daughter's school playground by 2 mothers who had heard of my

>>> involvement with

>>> writing dictionaries, I was asked to resolve their dispute: "is

>>> unpunctual a word, can I

>>> say unpunctual".


>>> It was not listed in any of the printed 6 or 7 native-speaker (US

>>> and UK) and

>>> learner's dictionaries I looked at. There were 15 occurrences in

>>> Bank of English (5 in British

>>> Magazines, 4 in Independent, and a few one-offs), so below the

>>> normal threshold for inclusion

>>> in Cobuild at the time.


>>> But I found 4320 hits on Google (43,100 today!

>>> - so has its usage increased, or has Google's trawl just got

>>> bigger?), *mostly entries in

>>> online dictionaries (based on each other?)*... but also 9000+ for

>>> impunctual, 5000 for non-punctual,

>>> 500 for nonpunctual, 400 for contrapunctual, 11 for apunctual, and

>>> 7 for anti-punctual...


>>> When I looked closer at the hits, most of the hits for impunctual

>>> were from a 1913 USA dictionary,

>>> most of the hits for non(-)punctual were (technical use) from

>>> linguistics texts, and

>>> most hits for contrapunctual were from music texts.


>>> So I told the mothers that unpunctual was a valid word form

>>> (ie created according to valid derivational rules)

>>> but that it wasn't very widely used.


>>> PS I've just noticed a discussion on unpunctual at

>>> http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=105391


>>> Best

>>> Ramesh




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