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LINGUIST List 20.3382

Wed Oct 07 2009

Disc: Interest in dependency grammar (summary)

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        1.    Daniel Maxwell, Interest in dependency grammar (summary)

Message 1: Interest in dependency grammar (summary)
Date: 03-Oct-2009
From: Daniel Maxwell <dan.n.maxwellgmail.com>
Subject: Interest in dependency grammar (summary)
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My posting of about a week ago suggested that the relative interest in
different syntactic frameworks as evidenced by the number of hits on the
internet contrasts strongly with the picture we get from the number of hits
on Linguist List.

I got a total of five responses off-list:

Nobody commented on the level of interest shown on Linguist List, but three
of them: Paul Hagstrom, Israel Cohen, and Karl Heinz Wagner, pointed out
that my figures from the internet, using Google, were inflated by the fact
that I did not put the items searched in quotes. So as a result, the
results showed not only hits with the two or more words were together, but
also when they were separated or only one of them came up.

So I did new searches on the internet only for 'dependency grammar',
'dependency syntax', 'lexical functional grammar, and 'head-driven phrase
structure grammar', and this time also 'minimalist syntax'. I repeated
these searches every day for about a week. The numbers were usually close
or equal to the following:

'dependency grammar' 72,600
'dependency syntax' 88,000
'lexical functional grammar' 42,500
'head-driven phrase structure grammar' 32,100
'minimalist syntax' 113,000

In general the figures varied from the above by only one or two hundred.
Just once the result for 'dependency grammar' dropped to 30,600. Likewise,
'dependency syntax' once dropped to 13,300 and 'minimalist syntax' to
33,000, but these all came back to their usual levels the next day.

One respondent, Michael Covington, suggested that the results were
influenced by the fact that I was comparing specific frameworks with
classes of grammars, and the result for any one specific form of dependency
grammar/syntax would have been less. While this is undoubtedly true, it
still appears that in spite of the general lack of institutional support
for these kinds of frameworks, the interest in them is quite strong. In
fact the numbers increased quite a lot from those found by Paul Hagstrom
and Israel Cohen, possibly as a result of my posting, which itself turned
out to be the fourth document referenced on my Google search yesterday.

Dan Maxwell

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Linguistic Field(s): Discipline of Linguistics

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