[Corpora-List] “Corpus and Cognition” at CL 2007: call for expressions of interest

Gaëtanelle Gilquin gilquin at lige.ucl.ac.be
Tue Oct 17 20:35:01 CEST 2006

Planned colloquium at Corpus Linguistics 2007 (Birmingham, UK, July 27-30 2007)

Corpus and Cognition: The relation between
natural and experimental language data


While the usefulness of corpora for the
description of language cannot be denied, it must
also be recognised that they are not the only
sources for language data. Corpora show how
people use language in authentic environments, or
what is likely to occur in language, but they do
not make it possible to answer questions having
to do with, say, grammaticality or language
processing, or how, if at all, language is
structured in the mind. Hence the suggestion,
made by several researchers (e.g. Kennedy 1998),
to combine corpus data with other types of linguistic evidence.

One particularly interesting combination is that
between corpus analyses and experimental
techniques (elicitation, lexical decision,
magnitude estimation, eye movement research,
reaction time measures, etc.). While the former
make it possible to study “properties of the
linguistic output of language users” (Sandra
1995: 592), the latter give access to “properties
of the mental processes and structures underlying
language production and comprehension” (ibid.),
such as cognitive salience or readability.
Bringing together the two approaches, therefore,
offers a more holistic view of language.

Depending on the phenomenon investigated and the
types of data used (e.g. speech vs. writing,
sentence production vs. self-paced reading), one
may find that the natural and experimental
language data converge (cf. Gries et al. 2005)
or, on the contrary, that they produce different
results (cf. Roland & Jurafsky 2002). We believe
that, by examining such relations more closely,
we will learn more about the specificities of
each type of data and will thus be able to make
informed choices about how the two can fruitfully
be combined, in domains such as descriptive
linguistics, sociolinguistics or foreign language teaching.

- Gries, S.Th., B. Hampe & D. Schönefeld. 2005.
“Converging evidence: Bringing together
experimental and corpus data on the association
of verbs and constructions”. Cognitive Linguistics 16.4: 635-676.
- Kennedy, G. 1998. An Introduction to Corpus
Linguistics. London & New York: Longman.
- Roland, R. & D. Jurafsky. 2002. “Verb sense and
verb subcategorization probabilities”. In S.
Stevenson & P. Merlo (eds) The Lexical Basis of
Sentence Processing: Formal, Computational, and
Experimental Issues (pp. 325-346). Amsterdam &
Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
- Sandra, D. 1995. “Experimentation”. In J.
Verschueren, J.-O. Östman, J. Blommaert and C.
Bulcaen (eds) Handbook of Pragmatics. Manual (pp.
590-595). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.


If you are interested in presenting a paper on
the relation between natural and experimental
language data, please send a short abstract (up
to 200 words) to
<mailto:gilquin at lige.ucl.ac.be>gilquin at lige.ucl.ac.be
as soon as possible, and in any case by DECEMBER
1 2006. We will then prepare the official
colloquium proposal to be submitted for review to
the Corpus Linguistics conference organising committee.


Gaetanelle Gilquin (FNRS – University of Louvain)
Terry Shortall (University of Birmingham)



Gaëtanelle Gilquin
Postdoctoral Researcher FNRS
Centre for English Corpus Linguistics
Université catholique de Louvain
Collège Erasme
Place Blaise Pascal 1
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve
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