Frequency of basic English grammatical structures: A corpus analysis

Douglas Roland*, Frederic Dick, Jeffrey L. Elman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

248 Citations (Scopus)


Many recent models of language comprehension have stressed the role of distributional frequencies in determining the relative accessibility or ease of processing associated with a particular lexical item or sentence structure. However, there exist relatively few comprehensive analyses of structural frequencies, and little consideration has been given to the appropriateness of using any particular set of corpus frequencies in modeling human language. We provide a comprehensive set of structural frequencies for a variety of written and spoken corpora, focusing on structures that have played a critical role in debates on normal psycholinguistics, aphasia, and child language acquisition, and compare our results with those from several recent papers to illustrate the implications and limitations of using corpus data in psycholinguistic research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-379
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Oct
Externally publishedYes


  • Corpus
  • Frequency
  • Sentence processing
  • Verb subcategorization
  • Word order

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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