Vol. 11, No. 7
Could Sarah Read the Wall Street Journal?
Department of Linguistics, University of California, San Diego
In this paper I compare the semantic and syntactic properties of 2,000 verbs from two very different types of text: half of the corpus came from Child-Directed Speech (CDS) to Sarah (Brown 1973), while the other half was taken from the business section of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Each verb was tagged with its syntactic subcategorization frame of complements and adjuncts, and it was also noted to which of Vendler’s (1967) four conceptual categories it belonged. Finally, the voice, polarity and mood of each verb were established. The comparison of verbs across the two texts reveals semantic similarities, although the verbs themselves tend to appear in different syntactic constructions. Interestingly, the Child-Directed Speech text is, in some linguistic areas, more complex than its Wall Street Journal counterpart.