410 Linguistics 425 English grammar 004 Data processing and Computer science
This study has a dual focus in that it aims to develop a viable methodology for elicitation experiments in English linguistics, while simultaneously applying the proposed methods to investigate an actual subject, the distribtion of the additive particles 'also' and 'too'.
Traditionally, data for linguistic research is gained by sampling natural language corpora. Although this approach is valid and, indeed, has been applied here, elicitation experiments can gain in validity and informative value by additionally introducing questionnaires to accompany corpus research. Online questionnaires particularly are a cost-effective and highly customizable tool to create a linguistic database against which existing data can be tested. For the purpose of this study, I have created six online questionnaires to test three hypotheses about the distribution of 'also' and 'too'. Two interdependent hypotheses assume that the use of the two particles is sensitive to structural properties of the `added constituent' while the third one, the information-structural hypothesis, argues that the use of 'also' and 'too' is controlled by the information structure of the sentence. In addition to the questionnaires, a balanced sample was extracted from the "British National Corpus" and tested against corpus data from previous studies as well as the data elicited online.
In the course of this study, the additive particles will firstly be defined in terms of their structural properties, and the hypotheses about their use introduced and explicated. Furthermore, the data elicitation process will be detailed, as well as results from previous studies be taken into account. The hypotheses will subsequently be tested against the data from both corpus research and elicitation per questionnaires, and the outcome discussed.
Concluding the study, I will focus on the results of the distribution analysis as well as evaluate the introduction of the online questionnaires and their application in the context of testing the hypotheses against empirical linguistic data.
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