A Database on English Lexicology
The Formal-Informal English Language Database (FIELD)
Corpus linguistics is being used for a wide range of research tasks. A database on English lexicology was compiled on the basis of the semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic information found in the stylistically marked lexical items of the COBUILD 1987. It offers linguistic information on 7981 units annotated as "formal" or "informal" in the COBUILD 1987. This database may be used for quantitative and qualitative analysis and for a critical evaluation of the classifications used in the COBUILD dictionary. The aim of this paper is basically descriptive: (i) some information is given on the linguistic information stored; (ii) some tentative conclusions are drawn. For example, if the COBUILD formality labels were assigned rigorously, it might be concluded that (i) "formality" is a skew system; (ii) that the "formal/informal" scale has an equi distribution; (iii) that emphasising informal adverbs are so numerous because they illustrate a tendency to exaggeration observed in informal, relaxed situations, in which interactants usually struggle for controlling the message.
Keywords: Skew/Equi Distribution, Formality Labels, Style Shifting, COBUILD, Emphasising Informal Adverbs, English Lexicology
Published online: 13 August 1999