Re: Corpora: Absolute Participle

From: Alex Chengyu Fang (
Date: Wed Mar 01 2000 - 14:27:28 MET

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    Absolute participial constructions are not very common in representative
    corpora such as Brown, LOB, and ICE, occurring roughly once or twice per
    thousand sentences. Assuming that there are 70,000 sentences per million
    words, you'd expect to get just a bit more than a hundred examples. Since a
    majority of these would be restricted to the verb "be", you'd need larger
    corpora to have a good variety.

    But these constructions should be relatively more frequent in fictional
    English and it may well be worth your while to contact the TOSCA group in
    the University of Nijmegen. They have a corpus of English fiction that has
    been syntactically analysed.

    You can certainly retrieve absolute constructions from POS-tagged corpora
    but since the N (not NP) +Participle construction is hugely frequent you'll
    have to spend a lot of time picking out what you want, especially so if you
    intend to work with BNC.


    Alex Chengyu Fang
    Senior Research Fellow
    Department of Phonetics and Linguistics
    University College London
    Wolfson House, 4 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HE, UK
    Tel: 44 (0)171 504 5026
    Fax: 44 (0)171 383 0752

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