LINGUIST List 14.3467

Sun Dec 14 2003

Qs: New Word Frequency; Case Grammar Matrix

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  1. Jesus Andres Cortes, Word Frequency
  2. Samas Fearghail, a few questions concerning the Case Grammar Matrix Model

Message 1: Word Frequency

Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 12:59:25 +0100
From: Jesus Andres Cortes <>
Subject: Word Frequency

Dear Sir,

I am doing some research in terminology, and more specifically in new
words (term) in scientific articles. One of the features I would like
to investiagte is the frequency of new words in these articles.

So far, I have already found some books and articles. The following
are the most relevant I consider from the list I have: Baayen,
R.H. (2001): Word frequency distributions, Dordrecht, Kluwer Academic

Sager, J.C., y otros (1980): English Special Languages: Priciples and
practice in Science and technology. Weisbaden, Brandstetter Verlag KG

Salager-Meyer, F. (1984). 'Compound nominal phrases in
scientific-technical literature proportion and rationale. In Pugh,
A.K. and Ulijn, J.M. (eds.), Reading for Professional Purposes:
Studies and Practices in Native and Foreign Languages, Heineman
Educational Books, London, 136-145.

Schmitt, N. y McCarthy, M. (eds) (1997, 2000): Vocabulary:
Descritption, Acquisition and Pedagogy. Cambridge, Cambridge
University Press.

I would be very grateful if you could possible provide on some recent
publications, where I could found more bibliography on the topic.

I would heartly appreciate any help you could provide.


Jes�s Andr�s.
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Message 2: a few questions concerning the Case Grammar Matrix Model

Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 20:01:57 +0000
From: Samas Fearghail <>
Subject: a few questions concerning the Case Grammar Matrix Model

Hello all,

Is there anyone out there whos used Fr. Walter Cooks Case Grammar
Matrix Model (and has applied it to text)?

I'm using the Case Grammar Matrix Model to analyse clauses in Irish
language texts (specifically text from three different novelists
representing the three principal dialects of Irish) and finding some
clauses dont neatly fit into any of the categories described Cooks
Case Grammar Applied (1998).

Cook applied his model to the 5,000 plus clauses in Ernest Hemingways
The Old Man and the Sea and I would dearly love to see the full
analysis of those clauses. Can anyone tell me where I might find it?
Cook adheres to a rule in his model that if there is an embedded
sentence within a clause that it (the embedded sentence) is always
assigned the role of Object (Theme).

I'm finding that embedded sentences are the norm rather than the
exception in much of the text I'm analysing and that sometimes there
are embedded sentences within embedded sentences. One thing that Cook
doesnt make clear (as far as I can see) is whether the case frames of
embedded sentences are listed in the case lexicon (which is an
essential part of the analysis).

Ex. John started to tell the kids the story.

[START,tv]- (tv = transitive verb) (# = definite article)


(O)>[ [JOHN]<(A)<[TELL]>(E)>[KIDS:#]>(O)>[STORY:#]

The sentence 'John started to tell the kids the story' is interpreted in
propositional terms as John/ starts /John tells the kids the
story. The transtitive verb START is given an A, O case frame in the
case lexicon as John is the Agent and the elements within the embedded
sentence 'John tells the kids the story' function collectively as the

If the verb TELL in the embedded sentence were to be given a case
frame, it would be A, E, O. Cook makes no mention of whether verbs in
embedded should be given a case frame in the lexixon and merely gives
the information that START, tv has a case frame of A, O.

Because I'm coming across so many embedded sentences in the texts I'm
analysing, I'm finding that the case lexicon would much more limited
than it could be if the case frames of embedded sentences are not
included in the case lexicon. Should I be including them in the case
lexicon? Cook's work (as far as I can see) doesn't give me any
indication that I should be.

Cook also gives examples of how to analyse modality (in a chapter on
modality) but doesnt provide case frames with his examples (as he does
with the propositional clauses) and it's not at all clear to me how the
analysis of modality relates to the case lexicon. Should the lexical
verbs of modal verbs be included in the case lexicon or should only
the modal itself be included ( e.g, CAN = BE ABLE A, O; CAN = BE

There are also several clauses (in the Irish language, at least) that
I'm unable to make adhere to the rule which only allows the use of one
secondary case (i.e., Experiencer, Benefactive, and Locative; Agent
and Object are primary cases and can be used together. Object can be
used twice) per clause/proposition. The only way I'm able to adhere to
this rule is if I classify a noun as part of the predicate rather than
as an argument (though as I understand it, all nouns are classified as

Heres an example of what I mean (translated from the Irish Baineann
Sen sult as an litheoireacht):

John derives pleasure from reading

*E, O, L

As they are both secondary cases, E and L are not permitted in the
same clause and any case, the Locative doesn't seem appropriate as the
case label for the argument reading (though the literal meaning of
'derive' may have something to do with taking something out of something
or from somewhere.

?[JOHN]<--(A)<--[DERIVE ]-->(O)-->[PLEASURE]-->(L)-->[from(READING)] 
?G, O, L

This would avoid the double secondary case violation but John
isnt really the Agent; hes the Experiencer. Again, the phrase from
reading isnt really Locative in meaning (as I understand it).

My solution is to interpret DERIVE PLEASURE together as the predicate
of the proposition rather than to classify pleasure as an
argument. Reading could then be given the case role of Object:

?[JOHN]<--(E)<--[DERIVE PLEASURE]-->(O)-->[from(READING)]
E, O

I've come across various verbs in Irish in which the occurrence of two
secondary case role labels in a given clause can only be avoided (as
far as I can see) if one of them is classified not as an argument but
rather as part of a verbal phrase.

Is my solution tenable? Is the classification of a noun as part of the
predicate rather than as an argument permissible? If not, can anyone
suggest any other case frame(s) for verbs such as DERIVE (PLEASURE)?

I know that Fr. Cook (God rest him) passed away a few years ago so
asking him is not an option. I spoke to somebody at Georgetown
University a while back and was told that nobody had taken over
Fr. Cook's mantle as the authority on the Case Grammar Matrix
Model. Apparently nobody in the Georgetown Linguistics Department
deals with the Case Grammar Matrix Model anymore (somebody please
correct me if I'm wrong). If there are any former students of Fr. Cooks
out there or anyone who has applied the Case Grammar Matrix Model in
his/her work, I would appreciate any suggestions (concerning the
specific problems I've presented here).


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