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Title:Bridging the gap: MiniCorp analyses of Mandarin phonotactics
Authors:James Myers
Comment:WECOL 2007; A4; Doulos SIL
Abstract:Most phonological research is a form of informal corpus linguistics, using corpora of preexisting lexical items (e.g. dictionaries). Though traditional phonological corpus analyses are not explicitly quantitative, they do rely on type frequencies to test claims about regularity vs. exceptionality and systematic vs. accidental gaps. This paper introduces a software tool, MiniCorp (www.ccunix.ccu.edu.tw/~lngproc/MiniCorp.htm), that attempts to bridge the gap between this traditional logic (as applied in the Optimality-Theoretic framework) and truly quantitative corpus analysis. Unlike most OT software, MiniCorp is not an automatic grammar learner, but rather it tests the statistical reliability of proposed OT constraints and their proposed ranking using standard methods in categorical data analysis (Poisson regression). MiniCorp also includes tools to simplify the annotation of corpus items. These features are demonstrated in tests of an analysis of a phonotactic pattern in Mandarin.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1