Author Topic: Sinclair's Trust the text  (Read 8044 times)

Offline Mai

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Sinclair's Trust the text
« on: December 03, 2016, 07:55:50 AM »
I'm new to this forum. Today, while reading the last chapters of John Sincair's book, Trusting the text, I felt the urge to discuss it with people who might have read it or who are interested in the relationship between discourse and corpus linguistics.

I don't know, yet, whether discussing books of linguistic nature is acceptable here, or whether in this forum we can create a kind of book club of linguistics books or articles. But, I'll try to summarize, here, my impressions about Sinclair's book hoping to receive any sort of communication about it.

First of all, I admit Sinclair's ideas are revolutionary in a way, given the time the book was published. But I kind of feel his theory is not really well developed. He is more of backgrounding/highlighting linguistic problems without really offering a satisfying model or framework to approach these problems. Am I not fully getting the book? Or is it really that Sinclair's approach in this book doesn't account for a valid linguistic theory.

Secondly, sometimes I feel, specially in Part III, there are many extensive reflections and speculations from his part that aren't very scientific (not based on scientific evidence, or that are just based on sporadic examples).

Is there anyone else who thinks Sinclair's ideas are a bit outdated or don't really fit with corpus linguistics approaches to language?

Offline Daniel

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Re: Sinclair's Trust the text
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2016, 02:32:03 PM »
This type of conversation is very welcome here, and welcome to the forum. I'd love to see more discussions like this.
(Although, is this about computational linguistics, or should it maybe be moved to semantics/pragmatics?)

On the other hand, I'm not familiar with this book (but from your comments it sounds interesting) so I can't really comment. Maybe you could post a short summary of it for those who haven't read it?

Glancing at a few pages on Google Books and from your comments, I'd say that Sinclair seems to be approaching language top-down (vehemently given the 'trust the text' motto), which would tend to lead to interesting big ideas but fewer data-driven, testable predictions. It may also appear unscientific for that reason. In different ways, a lot of different theoretical approaches to linguistics can be characterized like this. It doesn't inherently make any of them better or worse, but some may be better at answering certain questions than others.
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