Biennial Inter-Varietal Applied Corpus Studies Conference edition:7 location:Newcastle date:19-21 June 2014
The study of lexical collocations occupies a central position in corpus linguistic research. Lexical restrictions on a word’s combinatorial possibilities are often an integral part of corpus linguistic analyses and are applied in various domains (e.g. lexicography, language teaching).
However, if a corpus is considered a sample of spontaneously realized language use by a linguistic community in (a) given setting(s), it is rather surprising that the settings of actual language use received little attention in traditional corpus linguistics. In this contribution, we will focus on the impact of the usage settings on the linguistic properties of the language use in a corpus.
We will investigate whether lexical collocability is subject to extra-linguistic constraints. Based on a variational case study, viz. the inflectional variation of attributive adjectives in Dutch, it will be demonstrated that the collocational strength of the AN pair is significantly modified by register, region and their interaction. Furthermore, the impact of the collocational strength of the AN pair on the adjectival inflection is constrained by register, region and their interaction as well as by individual speakers’ idiolectic language properties.
Based on those results, we will argue for a systematic integration of usage settings in corpus linguistic research.