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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Definitional and human constraints on structural annotation of English
Author: Geoffrey Sampson
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Sussex
Author: Anna Babarczy
Institution: Budapest University of Technology & Economics
Linguistic Field: Computational Linguistics; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: The limits on predictability and refinement of English structural annotation are examined by comparing independent annotations, by experienced analysts using the same detailed published guidelines, of a common sample of written texts. Three conclusions emerge. First, while it is not easy to define watertight boundaries between the categories of a comprehensive structural annotation scheme, limits on inter-annotator agreement are in practice set more by the difficulty of conforming to a well-defined scheme than by the difficulty of making a scheme well defined. Secondly, although usage is often structurally ambiguous, commonly the alternative analyses are logical distinctions without a practical difference – which raises questions about the role of grammar in human linguistic behaviour. Finally, one specific area of annotation is strikingly more problematic than any other area examined, though this area (classifying the functions of clause-constituents) seems a particularly significant one for human language use. These findings should be of interest both to computational linguists and to students of language as an aspect of human cognition.


This article appears IN Natural Language Engineering Vol. 14, Issue 4.

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