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Magnitude estimation of linguistic acceptability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-68
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1996


Judgements of linguistic acceptability constitute an important source of evidence for theoretical and applied linguistics, but are typically elicited and represented in ways which limit their utility. This paper describes how Magnitude Estimation , a technique used in psychophysics, can be adapted for eliciting acceptability judgements. Magnitude estimation of linguistic acceptability is shown to solve the measurement scale problems which plague conventional techniques.; to provide data which make fine distinctions robustly enough to yield statistically significant results of linguisitc interest; to be usable in a consistent way by linguistically naive speaker-hearers, and to allow replication across groups of subjects. Methodological pitfalls are discussed and suggestions are offered for new approaches to the analysis and measurement of linguistic acceptability.

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