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The Distribution Patterns of Valency-changing Verbs: An Approach of Quantitative Linguistics

Da Qi, Hua Wang

Abstract: The present study attempts to explore the distribution patterns of the valency-changing verbs from the perspective of quantitative linguistics. We took authentic spoken language data as the research materials. The corpus used in this paper is a self-built spoken English corpus containing about 21,000 words. We half-manually annotated the corpus with the help of SpaCy, a natural language processing tool. According to the annotation results and statistical data, we obtained a total of 217 valency-changing English verbs and 248 sentence components governed by them. After analysis, the current study came to the following conclusions: First, bivalent verbs are most frequent among the three types of valency-changing verbs; second, after fitting all the language data to different probability distributions, we found that the rank-frequency distributions of all the valency-changing English verbs with different numbers of obligatory arguments obey the power law, and the frequencies of bivalent valency-changing verbs obey other kinds of distributions such as the mixed Poisson distribution.
Keywords: valency changing verbs / corpus / annotation / frequencies / obey / linguistics

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