Chapter 2. Using COBUILD grammar patterns for a large-scale analysis of verb-argument constructions
This paper takes patterns identified in <i>COBUILD Grammar Patterns 1: Verbs</i> (Francis et al. 1996) as a starting point for the systematic, large-scale analysis of English verb-argument constructions (VACs), using both corpus/computational methods and psycholinguistic experiments. We work in an iterative cycle to define, search, review and refine patterns to retrieve VACs from a parsed version of the BNC and examine the distributions of the verb types and their token frequencies for each VAC. The findings allow us to make predictions regarding language users’ knowledge of verbs in constructions. We then test these predictions in psycholinguistic experiments, in which native and non-native speakers of English think of the first word that comes to mind to fill the V slot in a particular VAC frame. We compare the results from the experiments and the corpus analysis in terms of verb selection preferences. This research demonstrates the productive synergy of corpus linguistic and psycholinguistic methods and findings.