Harnessing the Latest Corpus-based Approaches for Research

Seminar on Corpus-based Research Methodology and its Applications
On the Study of Co-occurrence in Corpus Data: Against Frequency and Towards a More Multi-dimensional View

Date: 8 September 2017 (Friday)
10:00 am – 12:00 nn
Venue: Tai Ning Hall, 12/F, Block A,
The Open University of Hong Kong
30 Good Shepherd Street, Homantin, Kowloon [Map]

Speaker: Professor Stefan Th. Gries
Professor of Linguistics,
Department of Linguistics,
University of California, Santa Barbara

Stefan Th. Gries earned his M.A./Ph.D. degrees at the University of Hamburg, Germany, in 1998/2000. He was at the Department of Business Communication/Information Science of the University of Southern Denmark at Sønderborg (1998–2005), first as a Lecturer, then as Assistant Professor and tenured Associate Professor; during that time, he also taught English linguistics part-time at the Department of British/American Studies of the University of Hamburg. In 2005, he spent 10 months in the Psychology Department of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, before he accepted a position at the University of California, Santa Barbara, starting November 1, 2005. There, he is now Full Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Linguistics and, by affiliation in the Department of Spanish/Portuguese. He is also Honorary Liebig-Professor of the Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, a Visiting Chair of the Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science at Lancaster University and, in spring 2017, he was the Honorary Leibniz-Professor at the University of Leipzig. In 2007, 2011, 2013, and 2015 he was a Visiting Professor at the LSA Linguistic Institutes at Stanford University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of Chicago.


Corpus linguistics and the kinds of data it can provide have become more and more common in both theoretical and applied linguistics, so - it seems - the role of frequency becomes a more and more powerful, or at least widely used, explanatory mechanism. With the advent of so-called usage-based linguistics in particular, frequency of occurrence and frequency of co-occurrence have been claimed to be co-responsible for a large number of phenomena in language acquisition, processing, representation, change, and use. However, in spite of the many empirical studies that have found frequency effects in all these domains, there is also, at a much lower pace, increasing evidence for, and consideration of, the possibility that frequency may not be as powerful and versatile a predictors as it has seemed. More specifically, several extremely undercited studies have provided results that undermine the role of frequency as a causal mechanism and that suggest that frequency really is more of an epiphenomenon and that other factors, which are statistically correlated with frequency, are really the causal mechanisms behind many 'frequency effects'. In this talk, I will discuss some of these studies and will promote a more comprehensive way of exploring co-occurrence phenomena in corpora, one that goes way beyond what mere co-occurrence frequencies can offer, but one that is at the same time compatible with many recent findings in corpus-based and computational psycholinguistics.


Enquiries: Ms Trace Chui (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Tel: 2768 5796
Email: tchui@ouhk.edu.hk
Co-organized by: The Open University of Hong Kong
Caritas Institute of Higher Education

This event was fully supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (UGC/IIDS16/H01/16).

* Compulsory field

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2. * Position