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Investigating the additive probability of repeated language production decisions

Wallis, S; (2019) Investigating the additive probability of repeated language production decisions. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics , 24 (4) pp. 490-521. 10.1075/ijcl.17093.wal. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper introduces an experimental paradigm based on probabilistic evidence of the interaction between construction decisions in a parsed corpus. The approach is demonstrated using ICE-GB, a one million-word corpus of English. It finds an interaction between attributive adjective phrases in noun phrases with a noun head, such that the probability of adding adjective phrases falls successively. The same pattern is much weaker in adverbs preceding a verb phrase, implying this decline is not a universal phenomenon. Noun phrase postmodifying clauses exhibit a similar initial fall in the probability of successive clauses modifying the same NP head, and embedding clauses modifying new NP heads. Successive postmodification shows a secondary phenomenon of an increase in additive probability in longer sequences, apparently due to ‘templating’ effects. The author argues that these results can only be explained as cognitive and communicative natural phenomena acting on and within recursive grammar rules.

Type: Article
Title: Investigating the additive probability of repeated language production decisions
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1075/ijcl.17093.wal
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.17093.wal
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Social Sciences, Linguistics, Language & Linguistics, additive probability, interaction evidence, language production, parsing, grammar evaluation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of English Lang and Literature
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10095364
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