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3 - Corpus Representativeness

A Conceptual and Methodological Framework

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 April 2022

Jesse Egbert
Affiliation:
Northern Arizona University
Douglas Biber
Affiliation:
Northern Arizona University
Bethany Gray
Affiliation:
Iowa State University
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Summary

As discussed in Chapter 1, corpus representativeness depends on two sets of considerations: domain considerations and distribution considerations. Domain considerations focus on describing the arena of language use, and operationally specifying a set of texts that could potentially be included in the corpus. The linguistic research goal, which involves both a linguistic feature and a discourse domain of interest, forms the foundation of corpus representativeness. Representativeness cannot be designed for or evaluated outside of the context of a specific linguistic research goal. Linguistic parameter estimation is the use of corpus-based data to approximate quantitative information about linguistic distributions in the domain. Domain considerations focus on what should be included in a corpus, based on qualitative characteristics of the domain. Distribution considerations focus on how many texts should be included in a corpus, relative to the variation of the linguistic features of interest. Corpus representativeness is not a dichotomy (representative or not representative), but rather is a continuous construct. A corpus may be representative to a certain extent, in particular ways, and for particular purposes.

Type
Chapter
Information
Designing and Evaluating Language Corpora
A Practical Framework for Corpus Representativeness
, pp. 52 - 67
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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