Applied Corpus Linguistics for Lexicography: Sepedi Negation as a Case in Point

  • Gertrud Faaß Department of Information Science and Natural Language Processing, University of Hildesheim, Germany

Abstract

So far, Sepedi negations have been considered more from the point of view of lexico­graphical treatment. Theoretical works on Sepedi have been used for this purpose, setting as an objective a neat description of these negations in a (paper) dictionary. This paper is from a different perspective: instead of theoretical works, corpus linguistic methods are used: (1) a Sepedi corpus is examined on the basis of existing descriptions of the occurrences of a relevant verb, looking at its negated forms from a purely prescriptive point of view; (2) a "corpus-driven" strategy is employed, looking only for sequences of negation particles (or morphemes) in order to list occurring con­structions, without taking into account the verbs occurring in them, apart from their endings. The approach in (2) is only intended to show a possible methodology to extend existing theories on occurring negations. We would also like to try to help lexicographers to establish a frequency-based order of entries of possible negation forms in their dictionaries by showing them the number of respective occurrences. As with all corpus linguistic work, however, we must regard corpus evidence not as representative, but as tendencies of language use that can be detected and described. This is especially true for Sepedi, for which only few and small corpora exist. This paper also describes the resources and tools used to create the necessary corpus and also how it was annotated with part of speech and lemmas. Exploring the quality of available Sepedi part-of-speech taggers concerning verbs, negation morphemes and subject concords may be a positive side result. Keywords: African languages dictionaries, corpus linguistics, negation, Sepedi, Northern Sotho, lexicography, part-of-speech tagging, corpus query processing
Published
2022-07-11