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Miller, Philip: Usage Preferences: The Case of the English Verbal Anaphor do so

In this paper I introduce the notion of Usage Preferences (UPs), which are statistically significant preferences in usage which can concern any aspect of linguistics. I suggest that multiple violations of UPs can have additive effects, causing grammatical sentences to be judged as unacceptable. A new judgment on sentences is proposed, the downarrow (↓) to mark sentences that are taken to be grammatical but unacceptable due to UP violations. I illustrate the idea of UPs on the basis of a discussion of the English verbal anaphor do so, involving both a corpus analysis and two acceptability experiments. This leads to a discussion of the relationship between grammaticality and acceptability and to remarks on the methodological importance of taking UPs into account both in linguistic theorizing and in the construction of acceptability experiments.

Maintained by Stefan Müller

Created: November 5, 2013
Last modified: January 09, 2019

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