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Title: On operationalizing syntactic complexity
Authors: Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt #
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: Presses universitaires de Louvain
Host Document: Le poids des mots. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Textual Data Statistical Analysis vol:2 pages:1032-1039
Conference: JADT2004 (Journées internationales d’Analyse statistique des Données Textuelles) edition:7 location:Louvain-la-Neuve date:10-12 March 2004
Abstract: In the recent functional linguistic literature, the notion of syntactic complexity and similar concepts have
received considerable attention. Yet, when trying to operationalize syntactic complexity as an indepen-
dent variable in statistical research designs, it soon emerges that the notion is somewhat underde
fi
ned.
I will report the results from an experiment comparing three measures of syntactic complexity — node
counts, word counts, and a so-called ‘Index of Syntactic Complexity’ — with regard to their accuracy
and applicability. While presupposing that node counts are cognitively the most ‘real’ measure, it turns
out that the other two measures are near-perfect proxies of the former. I conclude that since node counts
are in most cases unreasonably resource demanding to conduct, researchers can feel safe in using the
measure that is most economically to conduct, word counts.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IC
Appears in Collections:Non-KU Leuven Association publications
# (joint) last author

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