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Title: What is Corpus Linguistics?
Author(s): Stefan Gries
Journal Title: Language and Linguistics Compass
Volume: 3
Issue: 5
Page Range: 1225 - 1241
Publication Date: Jul-2009
Abstract: Corpus linguistics is one of the fastest-growing methodologies in contemporary linguistics. In a conversational format, this article answers a few questions that corpus linguists regularly face from linguists who have not used corpus-based methods so far. It discusses some of the central assumptions ('formal distributional differences reflect functional differences'), notions (corpora, representativity and balancedness, markup and annotation), and methods of corpus linguistics (frequency lists, concordances, collocations), and discusses a few ways in which the discipline still needs to mature.

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Reflection on article by Gries   by Cissi O. Alm, Compass Panelist , 7-Jul-11
I enjoyed reading Stefan Th. Gries' article, which makes a convincing case for the crucial place of corpus methods within linguistics. Every program that trains linguists ought to include at least one obligatory course that covers corpus methods and statistics. Gries' piece could very well serve as an introductory motivational reading on the syllabus. Even the Q&A format of the article is quite amusing and refreshing. A somewhat trivial observation on Gries' article is that it doesn't seem to discuss visual tiers of corpora. It could have pointed to how corpora may include moving or still images, e.g. in the context of research on signed languages or linguistic studies that consider gesture, posture, or physical cues, relationships between image and meaning, etc. Perhaps the context of this article is also an opportunity to touch upon 'corpus activism'. More sharable, free corpus resources would give more linguists the tools to study a wider range of linguistic phenomena, and be one of the ways our field could increase its span (given how corpora interface with other disciplines). There would also be more data to benefit technology and instruction for less commonly taught languages, etc.
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