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The Corpus: A Tool among Others

Corela. 2014; DOI 10.4000/corela.3006

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Corela

ISSN: 1638-573X (Online)

Publisher: Cercle linguistique du Centre et de l'Ouest - CerLICO

LCC Subject Category: Geography. Anthropology. Recreation: Anthropology | Language and Literature | Philosophy. Psychology. Religion

Country of publisher: France

Language of fulltext: English, French

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, ePUB, XML

 

AUTHORS


Tobias Scheer

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 12 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

The corpus was, is and will be a valuable tool that helps pursuing a goal. Its ontological status as a tool will not change, no matter how fabulous the computational power, storage capacity, access and transmission speed, and whatever the size of the corpus. The corpus is a data source among others (namely grammaticality judgements), which has specific advantages and limitations that the user needs to be aware of – like for any other tool.Drowned in the ambient utilitarianism and project-hysteria, many people believe, overtly or tacitly (or without being aware that they do), that research which involves the building of a corpus coupled with exploitation by a "powerful" computer programme, is more serious than a competitor which does not. Some even believe that the whole purpose of a research project may be the creation of a corpus, and that the corpus will produce science by itself, i.e. substitute itself to reasoning and the data-expectation dialectic. The same ideology promotes the idea that whatever scientific statement is made, it needs to be statistically relevant. This is where the corpus stops being a tool, i.e. where the system goes mad. And it did on a large scale in the past decade or so. Poor corpora are in the middle of this thunderstorm, and are abundantly abused by the ideology in place.