the first 2 paragraphs of the book on page 2, the authors tell us about
their basic approach to grammar. These 2 paragraphs are from their hearts
as well as their minds. They really care about the topic and really care
that we understand what they are doing in this book. This is not casual
stuff. It's not just because a book has to have an introduction. So, let
me read those 2 paragraphs to you and then make a list of the important
words and phrases that we're going to see a lot this semester.
There's no end to the making of corpora. Many different individuals and groups have created collections of language to use for different purposes. The information on pages 7-9 is given in the context of this "making of corpora." The authors of our book want us to understand just how careful and thoughtful they have been in building the corpus that's used in this book. Here are the points they want us to understand:
Building a corpus is a huge task, demanding time and labor by a large staff and thus demanding substantial funding. This particular corpus was funded by Pearson Education through their Longman division. So, the corpus was built for the use of the authors in developing the Longman grammars. In addition, the authors continue to use the corpus for other publications.
No corpus is the whole of English. No matter how many words it contains a corpus will not include everything. But a really big corpus with carefully chosen materials will show core uses and most frequent vocabulary and grammar patterns.
Reading & Understanding Their Data
They tell us repeatedly that we have to learn to read the data in the Figures and Tables. At the end of Chapter 1, they talk about "visible frequency." The "visible" part means that instead of just giving a prose passage to describe the information, they put the data into a graph or table to try to help us "see" the patterns by seeing the numbers. The "frequency" part is really important to notice: Studies of "language in use" and "patterns of choice" look at how many times a word or phrase or grammar type occurs in a corpus. The basic data is frequency data. They ask us to please look ahead to Figure 2.1. So, let's do that. Here's the figure. It's also on page 23 in the book.
What frequency information are they making visible?
Words and Phrases
And always remember that you can email me when you have questions. My address is firstname.lastname@example.org