Lexical Richness and Semantic Loading Capacity of Nouns

in English Corpus Linguistics in Japan
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This paper discusses the collocations between English nouns and their premodifying adjectives on the basis of selected hyponymic hierarchies of nouns. Nouns are semantically categorised and then ordered according to their relative concreteness, or rather lexical richness, and the relationship between each noun group and its modifiers is researched via corpora. Finally examined is the hypothesis that the relative concreteness of a noun determines its semantic loading capacity. A basic tendency which is expected from the hypothesis is recognised, but there are clear exceptions where the real world interest in the referent of a noun comes in and where there is no clear hierarchical path for the nouns.

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