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Retrieving relatives from historical data


Hundt, Marianne; Denison, David; Schneider, Gerold (2012). Retrieving relatives from historical data. Literary and Linguistic Computing, 27(1):3-16.

Abstract

Variation and change in relativization strategies has been well documented (e.g. Ball 1996: 46, Biber and Clark 2002, Biber, Johansson, Leech, Conrad and Finegan 1999, Johansson 2006, Lehmann 2002). Certain types of relative clause,
namely that-relatives and zero relatives, were difficult to retrieve from plain-text corpora. Studies therefore either relied on manual extraction of data or a subset of
possible relativization strategies. In some text types, however, the zero relative is an important member of the class of possible relativizers. Recent advances in syntactic
annotation should have made that-relatives and zero relatives more accessible to automatic retrieval. In this article, we test precision and recall of searches on a
modest-sized corpus, i.e. scientific texts from ARCHER (A Representative Corpus of Historical English Registers), as a preliminary to future work on the large corpora
which are increasingly becoming available. The parser retrieved some false positives and at the same time missed some relevant data. We discuss structural reasons
for both kinds of shortcoming as well as the possibilities and limitations of parser adaptation.

Abstract

Variation and change in relativization strategies has been well documented (e.g. Ball 1996: 46, Biber and Clark 2002, Biber, Johansson, Leech, Conrad and Finegan 1999, Johansson 2006, Lehmann 2002). Certain types of relative clause,
namely that-relatives and zero relatives, were difficult to retrieve from plain-text corpora. Studies therefore either relied on manual extraction of data or a subset of
possible relativization strategies. In some text types, however, the zero relative is an important member of the class of possible relativizers. Recent advances in syntactic
annotation should have made that-relatives and zero relatives more accessible to automatic retrieval. In this article, we test precision and recall of searches on a
modest-sized corpus, i.e. scientific texts from ARCHER (A Representative Corpus of Historical English Registers), as a preliminary to future work on the large corpora
which are increasingly becoming available. The parser retrieved some false positives and at the same time missed some relevant data. We discuss structural reasons
for both kinds of shortcoming as well as the possibilities and limitations of parser adaptation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Uncontrolled Keywords:Relative Clauses English Linguistics Diachronic Linguistics Automatic Retrieval Language Variation and Change ARCHER Corpus
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:06 Jan 2012 14:28
Last Modified:22 Nov 2017 17:29
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0268-1145
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/llc/fqr049
Official URL:http://llc.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/fqr049?ijkey=cDvKENWrcVJJR7G&keytype=ref

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