Corpus of Usage Examples: What Is It Good For?

  • Timofey Arkhangelskiy Universita╠łt Hamburg, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation


Lexicography and corpus studies of grammar have a long history of fruitful interaction. For the most part, however, this has been a one-way relationship. Lexicographers have extensively used corpora to identify previously undetected word senses or find natural usage examples; using lexicographic materials when conducting data-driven investigations of grammar, on the other hand, is hardly commonplace. In this paper, I present a Beserman Udmurt corpus made out of "artificial" dictionary examples. I argue that, although such a corpus can not be used for certain kinds of corpus-based research, it is nevertheless a very useful tool for writing a reference grammar of a language. This is particularly important in the case of underresourced endangered varieties, which Beserman is, because of the scarcity of available corpus data. The paper describes the process of developing the Beserman usage example corpus, explores its differences compared to traditional text corpora, and discusses how those can be beneficial for grammar research.