Schemas and the frequency/acceptability mismatch: Corpus distribution predicts sentence judgments

Susanne Flach
<span title="2020-10-28">2020</span> <i title="Walter de Gruyter GmbH"> <a target="_blank" rel="noopener" href="" style="color: black;">Cognitive Linguistics</a> </i> &nbsp;
AbstractA tight connection between competence and performance is a central tenet of the usage-based model. Methodologically, however, corpus frequency is a poor predictor of acceptability – a phenomenon known as the "frequency/acceptability mismatch". This article argues that the mismatch arises from a "methodological mismatch", when simple frequency measures are mapped onto complex grammatical units. To illustrate, we discuss the results of acceptability judgments of go/come-v. The
more &raquo; ... is subject to a formal constraint (Go see the doctor! vs. *He goes sees the doctor), which results from its mandative semantics (directives, commissives). While a formal model makes no prediction with regard to gradient acceptability of bare ("grammatical") go/come-v, the usage-based view assumes that acceptability is a function of compatibility with an abstract schema. The experimental ratings are compared with a number of corpus-derived measures: while acceptability is largely independent of (raw) frequency, it is not independent of frequency-related usage distribution. The results add to recent suggestions that the frequency/acceptability mismatch is substantially reduced if the syntactic complexity of a unit is appropriately captured in usage data.
<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="">doi:10.1515/cog-2020-2040</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">fatcat:mn2ygrvqijbkzmedmf7565aoya</a> </span>
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