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The Relation of Adverb-Adjective Word Combinations to Their Components

Cliff, Norman
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Adjectives, Adverbs, Componential analysis in anthropology., Mathematical Models, Head-driven phrase structure grammar., Verbal Stimuli


A specific "law of word mixture" is sought here for adverb-adjective combinations. A relationship is hypothesized and a class of words which follow the relationship is given. Then an experiment is run to test the hypothesis. If the relationship holds for a number of words in the class, the relationship is then used to redefine the class--all words following the law are included and those not following the law are excluded. The hypothesis proposed is that "1) there exists a class of words, as yet defined only by example, which have the characteristic that they multiply the psychological values of another class of words" and "2) these classes are mutually exclusive." This hypothesis is expressed symbolically and in matrix form. It is tested using data from a study by Mosier, which included several phrases of the type which should conform to the hypothesis being tested. The results of the test, presented in matrix format, support the hypothesis.

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