Technology and phraseology
From the 1700s onwards, important linguistic concepts and methods were developed and forgotten, then re-invented, sometimes much later, when the intellectual climate had changed and/or when technology had advanced. Examples include work on concordances (1700s: Cruden, Ayscough), on collocations (ca 1930 to 1950: H. E. Palmer, Firth), on KWIC concordances (1950s: Luhn), on lexical patterns (1960s: Sinclair), and on phrase frequency (1970s: Allén). Only with hindsight is it clear how the study of concordance data led to the model of phrasal meaning proposed by Sinclair in the 1990s. After discussion of these historical developments, I use the interactive PIE data-base designed by Fletcher (2003–2007) to generate data on recurrent multi-word units of meaning. Finally, I outline more extensive research programmes in empirical semantics.