Talamo, Luigi

Using a parallel corpus to study patterns of word order variation: Determiners and quantifiers within the noun phrase in European languages

Linguistic Typology at the Crossroads, 3, pp. 100–131, Bologna, Italy, 2023.

Despite the wealth of studies on word order, there have been very few studies on the order of minor word categories such as determiners and quantifiers. This is likely due to the difficulty of formulating valid cross-linguistic definitions for these categories, which also appear problematic from a computational perspective. A solution lies in the formulation of comparative concepts and in their computational implementation by combining different layers of annotation with manually compiled list of lexemes; the proposed methodology is exemplified by a study on the position of these categories with respect to the nominal head, which is conducted on a parallel corpus of 17 European languages and uses Shannon’s entropy to quantify word order variation. Whereas the entropy for the article-noun pattern is, as expected, extremely low, the proposed methodology sheds light on the variation of the demonstrative-noun and the quantifier-noun patterns in three languages of the sample.