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Collocations and colligations associated with discourse functions of unspecific anaphoric nouns

Nozomi Yamasaki
Kansai Gaidai University (Japan)

This paper investigates how particular collocations and colligations are associated with discourse functions of unspecific anaphoric nouns. Unspecific anaphoric nouns such as problem, reason, idea and fault, called labels here, encapsulate and replace a preceding stretch of discourse. Such nouns used as a cohesive device also perform an evaluative function by recategorizing their specific meanings. Labels prefer particular syntactic environments according to the discourse function that is highlighted. Corpus-based research also reveals that unspecific nouns differ in their favoured syntactic pattern and in the favoured premodifiers used in each pattern. Differences between writing and speech in collocations and colligations associated with labels are also attributed to the different discourse functions they realize in each genre. The paper argues that discourse dimensions should be brought into collocational and colligational descriptions of words that have discourse-managing functions. Keywords: unspecific anaphoric nouns, label, discourse functions, cohesion, evaluation, collocations, colligations, corpus-based analysis

1. Introduction One linguistic paradigm is that words tend to occur in preferred sequences. This paradigm is referred to as phraseology, and can be applied to phenomena including word-combinations, collocation and prefabricated and formulaic expressions (Cowie 1998:13). Collocation1 refers to the occurrence of two or more words within a short space of each other in a text and can be important in the lexical structure of the language because of being frequently repeated (Sinclair 1991:170). The term colligation2 is also used to refer to recurrent combinations of lexis and grammar (Sinclair 1998:15; Hunston 2001; Tognini-Bonelli 2001:163; Hoey 2005).
International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 13:1 (2008), 7598. doi 10.1075/ijcl.13.1.05yam issn 13846655/e-issn 15699811  John Benjamins Publishing Company

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These concepts highlight the fact that choice of vocabulary is not free but regulated by constraints on word co-occurrence. Moreover, evidence has shown that types of words and grammatical categories favoured or avoided by a particular word or word sense vary considerably according to contextual usage and language variety. For example, synonyms or multiple senses of polysemous words are differentiated by their respective collocational and colligational profiles (Francis 1991; Hoey 1993, 2005; Tognini-Bonelli 2001:3339; Hunston 2002:7677; Stubbs 2002:155156). Similarly, different forms of a lemma or different word classes of a word have clearly distinct collocational and colligational preferences (Sinclair 1992:14; Stubbs 1996:172173). A words collocational and syntactic patterns even differ across registers and genres (Butler 2004:157). However, little research has been conducted on the collocational and grammatical patterns associated with particular discourse functions, or with lexical items that realize particular discourse functions. This paper explores how identical words, used in the same sense if they are polysemous, can perform different functions even at the textual level and how these functions can be differentiated by distinct collocational and colligational profiles. The exploration will focus on the discourse roles and functions of abstract anaphoric nouns such as issue, problem, explanation and argument that can be used cohesively as in expert opinion is divided over this issue. When these unspecific nouns require specific meanings across a clause border, they have the potential to perform discourse connective functions at a global level and to play dynamic roles in discourse organization. Hoey (1993) investigated how particular collocations and colligations are associated with particular word functions by focusing on one signalling word reason. He tried to determine the circumstances under which the word performs or does not perform a signalling function in written text. My study examines other kinds of functions performed by a variety of signalling nouns in both written and spoken text. Using a large-scale corpus, I examine how the collocational and colligational behaviour of anaphoric nouns differentiates their discourse functions within specific contexts.

2. Discourse functions of unspecific anaphoric nouns This section examines the discourse management functions of unspecific anaphoric nouns and provides a brief review of previous studies. Unspecific anaphoric nouns, while lexically explicit enough, must rely on other parts of the text for their full contextual interpretation (as do pronouns) because their meanings are inherently unspecific. For example:

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(1) A lot of self-published fiction is rejected because its veiled autobiography, and other peoples lives just arent that interesting. But such a blanket criterion has holes, and a few self-publishers make it in from the cold. (The Guardian, 24 February 2002)

The italicized demonstrative description includes the unspecific abstract noun criterion and is semantically incomplete by itself. The explicitly descriptive preceding segment of the text provides its full context-determined interpretation. In other words, the anaphoric nominal group summarizes and replaces the stretch of the preceding discourse. Such metalinguistic nouns convey different specific meanings according to context, although their core meanings, as given in dictionary definitions, remain constant. To put it simply, they refer to a part of discourse itself, functioning as pro-forms. At the same time, however, they are more explicit and specific than non-lexical types of anaphoric expression such as pronouns, and so they signal how discourse is connected, organized and to be interpreted. Figure1 illustrates the cohesive function of unspecific anaphoric nouns as a reference device connecting different textual parts.
anaphoric reference specific proposition (specific) anaphoric noun (unspecific)

Figure1. The cohesive function of unspecific anaphoric nouns

While few researchers have focused closely on unspecific lexical items of the type shown in Figure1, some have referred to a variety of their aspects. Halliday and Hasans (1976) framework for lexical cohesion includes the class of general nouns such as person, thing and move. Winter (1977) described a set of special lexical items (Vocabulary 3) that function as signposts for discourse structure (e.g. compare, manner, opposite). Winters work was expanded and developed by Hoey (1983, 1993, 1994), Widdowson (1983), Jordan (1984), Francis (1986, 1994) and Carter and McCarthy (1988). Widdowson (1983:9295) used an applied linguistic perspective, introducing the term procedural vocabulary (e.g. do, make, go) for general words that act as a framework to impart meaning to other high-content words and to organize their meaning relationships to each other. The concept of procedural words was also explored by Robinson (1988:231232), McCarthy (1991:7478) and Harris (1997). Francis (1986, 1994) drew on Winter and Hoeys research on lexical signalling and Sinclairs (1993) research on encapsulation, and investigated the discourse function of general, abstract nouns that encapsulate a preceding or following stretch of text. Francis (1994) used the terms label for this type of cohesive nominal group and lexical realization for its replacement segment. Ivani (1991) conducted a closely related study, referring to the countable

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abstract full nouns that work in ways similar to pronouns as carrier nouns. More recent corpus-based studies include Schmids (2000) shell nouns and Mahlbergs (2003, 2005) general nouns. While most of the above studies focused on the cohesive function of unspecific nouns, it is important to note that these nouns also have an evaluative function. Thompson and Hunston (2000:5) claimed that evaluation refers to the expression of the speaker or writers attitude or stance towards, viewpoint on, or feelings about the entities or propositions that he or she is talking about, and necessarily involves at least two constituents: Evaluative Category and Evaluated Entity. In this case, the Evaluative Category is realized by an unspecific anaphoric noun, and the Evaluated Entity is realized by the specific proposition to which it refers. Referring back to example (1), we can see that the definite expression such a blanket criterion, selected from an indefinite number of nominal candidates, acts as an evaluative category, evaluating the contextually specific contents to which it refers as its evaluated entity. That is, its intrinsic semantic contents recategorize or reinterpret the discourse entities represented by the specific proposition. Therefore, it is important to note that any unspecific anaphoric noun expresses the addressers judgment in constructing meaning relationships; that is, it serves an interpersonal or interactive function, even though it does not include a markedly attitudinal or expressive item. As discussed above, the terminology used within this field varies by the specific subject and focus of each investigation. In this paper, I will use Francis (1994) terms: label3 for a whole anaphoric nominal group including a labelling noun as a head noun and any pre- or post-modifiers, and lexical realization for the specific context-dependent meanings it conveys. Like Francis (1994), I will focus on metalinguistic unspecific nouns that compress a stretch of information and whose specifics are realized across a clause border, as shown in example (1). The category of label includes only abstract nouns involving conceptual encapsulation and not concrete nouns with general contents such as person or man.

3. Methodology Most previous studies have been limited to describing the textual functions of typical unspecific cohesive nouns because the studies have underused computerized large-scale corpora. In contrast, this study made use of the British National Corpus (BNC) and the concordancing program SARA to identify recurring behavioural patterns among labels in relation to other lexical items and grammatical categories. The procedure involved first randomly selecting 150 occurrences of concordance output for each of 73 unspecific nouns (see Appendix), which were

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examined manually in a wider context to find instances in which the noun performed the labelling function. This manual inspection revealed two typical colligational environments within which labels are likely to occur. Section4 will show how the two constructions are associated with distinct discourse functions. Section5 will examine four selected unspecific anaphoric nouns, change, shift, failure and mistake, and discuss whether these are more likely to perform one type of discourse function than another and how their collocational patterns vary according to different environments. All of these nouns are unspecific, as shown by the use of the pronoun something used in the dictionary definition of each noun. Although each noun carries a core meaning, change and shift share one semantic feature, that is, that something changes, while failure and mistake both convey the message that something has been unsuccessful. The two pairs were selected to highlight the differing lexico-grammatical patterns favoured by different labels with similar meanings. Section6 will examine how colligational and collocational constraints on the occurrence of unspecific anaphoric nouns differ in spoken and written text. This section discusses the unspecific noun problem in the sense of a thing that is difficult to deal with or to understand (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, 7th ed.). One reason for selecting this particular noun was that it frequently acts as an important discourse-linking noun that can signal greater clause relations such as the ProblemSolution structure (Hoey 1994). In addition, Leech et al.s (2001:137) frequency lists, which were based on the original publication of the BNC (1995), reported that the lemma problem has zero distinctive value (log likelihood) across speech and writing. This value indicates that headword frequency does not differ significantly between speech and writing.

4. Colligations Typical grammatical constructions in which labels tend to occur can be associated with one of two types of evaluative force: implicit and explicit evaluation. Although evaluative function is inherent to all labels, as described in Section2, evaluative force varies according to context, position or status in an information structure, as shown below. 4.1 Implicit evaluation Labelling nouns often co-occur with anaphoric determiners such as the/this/ these/that/those/ones/such/this sort of/this kind of, and serve an anaphoric function. These determiners may combine with open-ended evaluative or attitudinal

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adjectives, such as cheering in example (2). Pattern (A) presents typical composition of labels. Square brackets indicate grammatical categories and round brackets denote optional categories:
(A) [anaphoric determiner] + (premodifier) + [labelling noun] (2) According to yet another study, this one published in the Lancet, red wine in moderation is thought to protect against coronary disease because it contains substances known as phenolic flavonoids. It is now believed these also act as anti-oxidants. There is one caveat. According to the researchers, this cheering finding calls for further studies. (BNC: K5L/ Scotsman)

Example (2) illustrates a typical position of a label within a clause structure: the label occupies the subject position, followed by a verb phrase. Labels can basically occur anywhere in a sentence, but when presenting given information for a cohesive purpose, they tend to occur within the first part of a sentence or in the theme position (Halliday 1994:3748). This position is so typical of labels that it can be used as one of the means for searching for labels in texts.4 Similar to other types of repetition, a label acting as given information provides a frame of reference with which to interpret new information within the remainder of the clause (Francis 1994:86). In example (2), the first two sentences as a whole are recategorized as cheering finding. This unfocused element creates cohesion between the two parts of the text on a local level, making it easier to follow discourse progression. The label lends abundant credence to the preceding proposition by referring to it as a presupposed fact in the context of new information. Therefore, the labels reinterpretation of its specific meaning is not open to denial but should be taken for granted; the addressee is presented with no options but is instead positioned to accept the way the label packages its contextual meaning and renews the already-constructed discourse entity. In this sense, the labels cohesive function obscures, or takes priority over, the evaluative function, which is performed only implicitly. 4.2 Explicit evaluation The following pattern (B) presents a construction involving a linking verb with a label in the complement position:
(B) This/These/That /Those/It + [v-link] + [label] (3) The debate is likely to boil over later this month when the US congress must again pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling. This has become an annual embarrassing exercise. (BNC: A37/ Independent)

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In this pattern, the subject is one of the anaphoric demonstratives this, these, that, those and it, and the complement is occupied by a label. Unlike labels in the thematic position as shown in example (2), labels in the complement position present focused information and explicitly characterize what has been said. The label an annual embarrassing exercise, a predicate noun in example (3), is assigned an information focus, although it refers to given specifics. Since the focused label explicitly characterizes the given contextual meaning with additional information, its evaluative function is highlighted and takes priority over its cohesive function. This section identified the two main types of colligation that apply to labels and discusses how they are associated with two types of evaluation. The descriptive content encoded in a label evaluates a part of discourse by recategorizing its given specific meaning, and its evaluative force within a context is determined by its information status in the grammatical construction. Table1 illustrates how evaluation types are related to typical grammatical patterns of labels.
Table1. Summary of the relationship between label and evaluation
Colligation [anaphoric determiner] + [label] [anaphoric demonstrative] + be + [label] Status of label unfocused focused Evaluation type implicit evaluation explicit evaluation

5. Collocations and colligations The previous section demonstrated that a label performs an implicit or explicit evaluative function according to the surrounding grammatical construction. Its evaluative force also depends on the extent to which it recategorizes its specific meaning. In particular, labels that include attitudinal modifiers such as dramatic or poor often carry more evaluative meaning. This section will investigate corpus instances of some typical labels in terms of their evaluative force and typical collocational behaviour when they realize implicit or explicit evaluation. More specifically, it will examine whether certain labels are more likely to be used for one type of evaluation than the other, and whether typical modifiers of a label vary according to the type of evaluation it realizes. Quantitative analysis of label occurrence patterns first required determining which typical word sequences, representing both types of evaluation, should be investigated. For cohesive labels (for implicit evaluation), the search targeted only the sequences of this/that/such a/ such an + [label], because unspecific nouns prefaced with these demonstratives almost always function as labels. For analysis of explicitly evaluative labels, the search retrieved instances of patterns with demonstratives including this, that and it as a subject followed by the linking verb is and the label as a complement. Table2

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summarizes the word sequences with labels and pattern codes for the two types of evaluation (the code [de] stands for demonstrative: demonstrative determiner for implicit evaluation and demonstrative pronoun for explicit evaluation).
Table2. Word sequences with labels for two types of evaluation
Type of evaluation implicit evaluation explicit evaluation Pattern code [de]-[label] [de]-is-[label] Word sequences to be searched for this/that/such a/such an + [label]5 this is/that is/thats/it is/its + [label]

Note: [de] = demonstrative determiner for implicit evaluation and demonstrative pronoun for explicit evaluation

First, the whole BNC was searched for the sequences listed in Table2 using the following four unspecific nouns as target words: change, shift, failure and mistake. For implicit evaluation, the search extracted all instances of each noun in which the word sequences occurred within a span of five words to its left. For explicit evaluation, the search extracted all instances of each noun in which the word sequences occurred within a span of six words to its left. Then, I conducted manual counts to find occurrences that matched the patterns for the two types of evaluation. The final columns in Tables3 and 4 provide the total number of occurrences of each pattern. I confirmed that extending the span to six and seven words, respectively, did not yield further instances that matched the patterns. Finally, I examined the extent to which the four nouns occurred with premodifiers when used as labels in the two patterns. Tables3 and 4 list raw frequencies and percentages for the occurrences of labels with and without premodifiers in the two patterns of evaluation.
Table3. Implicit evaluation: [de]-[label]
Head noun change shift failure mistake this/that/such a + [head noun] 643 (78%) 150 (83%) 117 (85%) 70 (80%) this/that/such a/such an + [modifier] + [head noun] 184 (22%) 31 (17%) 20 (15%) 17 (20%) Total 827 181 137 87

Note: [de] = demonstrative determiner

Table3 illustrates that the nouns change, shift, failure and mistake do not differ greatly in their rate of occurrence with premodifiers in the pattern [de]-[label] (1522%). In other words, instances of head nouns without premodifiers compose about 80% of all occurrences of these nouns in the pattern [de]-[label]. Although the data do not reveal the extent to which labels with these four nouns contain post-modification in the pattern, the labels often only included head nouns. The following example of change has neither pre- nor post-modification:

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Table4. Explicit evaluation: [de]-is-[label]


Head noun change shift failure mistake this is/that is/thats/it is/its + [head noun]6 50 (42%) 4 (44%) 21 (84%) 61 (69%) this is/that is/thats/it is/its + [modifier] + [head noun] 68 (58%) 5 (56%) 4 (16%) 28 (31%) Total 118 9 25 89

Note: [de] = demonstrative pronoun

(4) The intention in changing the eating habits of the whole community is to bring the average serum cholesterol levels down and so reduce the overall risk in the population. There is no guarantee that such a change will benefit you, me, he or she. (BNC: B71/ New Scientist)

Thus, although the four nouns differ in their overall frequencies, they almost equally favour occurrences without premodifiers to those with premodifiers in the pattern [de]-[label]. In contrast, Table4 illustrates that labels with premodifiers are generally more likely to occur in the pattern [de]-is-[label] for explicit evaluation (1658%) than in the pattern [de]-[label] (1522%) as shown in Table3. This indicates that labels occurring in the pattern [de]-is-[label] have an explicitly evaluative function; labels as focused information tend to be more descriptive and evaluative, which generally increases the percentage of labels with premodifiers. Moreover, Table4 reveals that while the percentages of both change (58%) and shift (56%) with premodifiers are relatively high, the percentages of failure (16%) and mistake (31%) with premodifiers are relatively low. Examples of change with premodifiers in the pattern [de]-is-[label] include the following:
(5) This is always a pleasant change from the continental adieu of Leave my frequency, goodbye. (BNC: ECX/ Flyer)

(6) It is a fundamental change in the way we do business. (BNC: HP8/ unpublished miscellanea)

Although the differences in the data are not drastic, they indicate that failure and mistake have a higher potential than change and shift to act as a focused complement alone and without modifiers. This may reflect the evaluative semantic elements inherent to failure and mistake. In addition, while most occurrences of mistake without premodifiers in this pattern also exclude post-modification, many instances of change and shift without premodifiers contain post-modification by prepositional phrases or relative clauses. These observations appear to indicate that the more attitudinally neutral words change and shift tend to occur with modifiers

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Table5. Frequencies of head noun occurrences in two evaluation patterns


Head noun change shift failure mistake Implicit evaluation: [de]-[label] 827 (88%) 181 (95%) 137 (85%) 87 (49%) Explicit evaluation: [de]-is-[label] 118 (12%) 9 (5%) 25 (15%) 89 (51%) Total 945 190 162 176

Note: [de] = demonstrative determiner for implicit evaluation and demonstrative pronoun for explicit evaluation

in the pattern [de]-is-[label], so that the labels they compose are descriptive and evaluative enough to characterize their specifics explicitly. Table5 combines the results in Tables3 and 4, presenting the frequencies of the four nouns that occur in the two patterns of implicit and explicit evaluation. It is immediately apparent that while the nouns change, shift and failure occur much more frequently in the pattern [de]-[label] than in the pattern [de]-is-[label], the occurrence of mistake is almost identical in the two patterns. Considering this finding and the tendency of mistake to occur without pre- and post-modification in the pattern [de]-is-[label], mistake appears to have the most evaluative force among the four as a labelling noun. This feature is illustrated in example (7), where the noun in the complement position evaluates the preceding proposition explicitly without any modification:
(7) Visitors to the villa arrive at the front, to be greeted by a huge work by Marino Marini, and if they are not careful see only the front. This is a mistake. (BNC: ANB/ book: informative)

In contrast, Table5 reveals that shift has a particularly low occurrence in the pattern [de]-is-[label] (5%) compared with the other three nouns (12% for change; 15% for failure; 51% for mistake). Moreover, all four occurrences of shift that do not include premodifiers in the pattern [de]-is-[label] (see Table4) include postmodification by prepositional phrases or relative clauses as in it is a shift which is affecting all sides of the disability issue (BNC). Therefore, shift, which conveys little evaluative meaning, is most likely to be used for a cohesive purpose in the pattern [de]-[label]. When shift occurs as a focused label for explicit evaluation, it tends to be pre- and/or post-modified so as to evaluate its specifics in a descriptive way. In sum, the evaluative force of a noun as a label can be partly determined by the extent to which the noun is unaccompanied by modifiers in the pattern [de]-is[label], as well as the extent to which it is associated with that pattern for explicit evaluation. The above discussion revealed that the four unspecific nouns may occur with premodifiers in both patterns [de]-[label] and [de]-is-[label], but premodifiers

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tend to occur more frequently in labels in the latter pattern for explicit evaluation than in the former pattern. It also revealed that the frequencies of premodifiers and the favoured pattern differ among the four nouns, suggesting their inherently different evaluative force. Next, I will investigate whether and how typical types of premodifiers that collocate with head nouns differ according to the type of evaluation realized by the nouns. Many premodifiers that occur with change in the pattern [de]-[label] also occur with the noun in the pattern [de]-is-[label]: this fundamental change; this is a fundamental change of strategy without doubt; this major change; this is a very major change in the nature of the market place (BNC). However, a general difference appears between the two patterns in the type of premodifier. Premodifiers of change in the pattern [de]-[label] include classifying premodifiers such as policy, geographical, technological and cultural, while the pattern [de]-is-[label] is more likely to be associated with attitudinal premodifiers. Similarly, while many premodifiers of shift in the pattern [de]-[label] are classifying ones (e.g. epistemic, theoretical, ideological, paradigm), those in the pattern [de]-is-[label] are more subjective and evaluative. The following examples illustrate five cases of shift with premodifiers in the pattern [de]-is-[label]: This is an important shift away from the concept; Its a major shift in the partnership; So thats quite a radical shift; This is a healthy shift of emphasis; and it is so common a shift (BNC). All the adjectives here express the addressers subjective judgments towards what is labelled as a shift. This general characteristic of premodifiers also reflects the explicitly evaluative function fulfilled by labels in the pattern [de]-is-[label]. A close look at types of premodifiers revealed that each noun favours, or disfavours, certain premodifiers when it is used as a label in each pattern. Among the four nouns, failure occurs the least frequently with premodifiers in both patterns [de]-[label] (15%) and [de]-is-[label] (16%; see Tables3 and 4). Table6 lists all types of premodifiers of failure occurring in the pattern [de]-[label] in the BNC. Most of the modifiers listed in Table6 appear only once with failure in this pattern in the BNC, and none are identical to the four types of premodifiers of failure in the pattern [de]-is-[label]: this is his 11th failure in 12 years of trying; That is the real failure of the Governments approach; That is technical failure; Its a fundamental
Table6. Types of premodifiers of failure in the pattern [de]-[label]
Anaphoric demonstrative this/that/ such a/such an Premodifier (20 tokens) apparent (3), very (2), signal, possible, alleged, initial, endemic, attentional, minor, market, prediction, conspicuous, miserable, particular political, repeated, humiliating, German Head noun

failure

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failure to perceive and secure Britains role in a rapidly changing world (BNC). Although the relatively low raw frequency of failure appearing with premodifiers in the two patterns defies overall generalizations, four noteworthy instances of premodifiers appear in the pattern [de]-[label]; these do not assign an assertive status of failure to the relevant contextual specifics: apparent (2),7 possible and alleged. One of these is shown below:
(8) A central plank of the current attack upon education and the teaching profession is that of employers dissatisfaction with educational standards and with the quality of young workers. This alleged failure on the part of teachers is a main feature of the rhetoric which legitimates the changes which are being imposed. (BNC: CLW/ book: informative)

This kind of modifier never occurs with failure in the pattern [de]-is-[label] for explicit evaluation. Use of premodifiers that decrease factuality among labelling nouns only in the pattern [de]-[label] highlights how the evaluative force of labels differs between the two patterns. That is, labels in the pattern of implicit evaluation lack powerful evaluative potential, which accounts for use of a modifier that gives little credence to the labelling noun. Tables7 and 8 list all types of premodifiers collocating with mistake in the patterns [de]-[label] and [de]-is-[label], respectively, in the BNC.
Table7. Types of premodifiers of mistake in the pattern [de]-[label]
Anaphoric demonstrative this/that/ such a/such an Premodifier (17 tokens) serious (2), terrible (2), elementary (2), little (2), careless, simple, single, one, tremendous, extraordinary, category, strategic, very predictable Head noun

mistake

Note: [de] = demonstrative determiner

Table8. Types of premodifiers of mistake in the pattern [de]-is-[label]


Anaphoric demonstrative + linking verb (is) this is/that is/thats/ it is/its Premodifier (28 tokens) Head noun

big (the biggest) (8), serious (4), terrible (2), great (the greatest) (2), common (2), easy (2), deadly, mistake bad, genuine, real, understandable, dreadful, nice, massive strategic

Note: [de] = demonstrative pronoun

Many of the premodifiers listed in Tables7 and 8 express the severity of the mistake. The adjectives big and great are near synonyms of serious or terrible. However, while the adjectives serious and terrible occur more than once with the head noun

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in both patterns, the adjectives big and great, which occur more than once in the pattern [de]-is-[label], do not occur in the pattern [de]-[label]. The following are examples of each adjective: I still think this is a big mistake.; It is the greatest mistake I have ever made (BNC). Labels for cohesive use may include determiners such as definite articles or personal pronouns other than the ones being investigated here: this, that and such. Therefore, I conducted a closer examination of the unique environment of the collocations of mistake with the two adjectives by searching BNC texts for the phrases big mistake and great mistake. The corpus search for the sequence big mistake resulted in 81 instances. Many of these are used prospectively as in but then President Truman made a big mistake (BNC) or spelled out within clauses as in my big mistake was pausing for that half-minute too long to hold the door open (BNC). The remainder include 26 instances that occur in the pattern with labels as focused information for explicit evaluation ([de]-be-[label]).8 However, no instance appeared of a label being used cohesively for anaphoric reference as given information ([de]-[label]). A similar thing can be said of the sequence great mistake, which appeared 39 times, although two instances of cohesive use were found in the same text of the BNC. These results confirm that big and great are much more likely to be collocated with mistake when the noun is given a focus than when it refers to its specifics anaphorically as unfocused given information. Furthermore, the adjectives common and easy, which occur twice in the pattern [de]-is-[label], do not appear in the pattern [de]-[label]. Examples include: Its a common mistake!; Its an easy mistake to make (BNC). I extracted all instances of common mistake and easy mistake from the BNC to investigate whether these two adjectives occur more frequently in the pattern [de]-is-[label] than in the pattern [de]-[label]. In all 26 instances, common mistake either has specifics lexicalized as constituents of clauses or occurs in the complement position as in the pattern for explicit evaluation. In other words, not one occurrence of labels has a cohesive purpose across clauses. More conspicuously, in all but one of the 10 instances, easy mistake occurs in the focused complement position as a label for explicit evaluation. Thus, it is unlikely that these premodifiers will appear with mistake when the label, as given, refers to its specifics cohesively and realizes implicit evaluation. These findings suggest a restricted occurrence of some premodifiers with a certain labelling noun, and that restriction is related to the type of evaluation performed by the noun. In sum, labels that occur in the two patterns realize varying degrees of evaluation, but the above analysis revealed that overall, labels in the pattern for explicit evaluation are more likely to include premodifiers than those in the pattern for implicit evaluation, and that relatively neutral unspecific nouns occur with premodifiers more frequently than attitudinal nouns in the pattern [de]-is-[label]. These results substantiate the greater evaluative potential of labels in the pattern [de]-is-

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[label]. Moreover, the analysis results revealed that unspecific nouns differ in their favoured pattern and in the favoured premodifiers used in each pattern. The most descriptive noun, mistake, occurs relatively more frequently in the pattern [de]-is[label] than the other investigated nouns, and some types of premodifiers are more closely associated with one pattern than the other for each noun.

6. Collocations and colligations in writing and speech The preceding sections discussed the correlation between collocational and colligational label behaviour and the evaluative functions that labels realize in discourse. The investigation of the typical patterns associated with labels did not allow for relationships between patterns and discourse types. Most researchers have assumed that metalinguistic nominal groups and written discourse are closely connected (Winter 1977, 1982, 1992; Francis 1986, 1994; Ivani 1991; Conte 1996; Harris 1997), and so the discourse potential of unspecific anaphoric nouns in spoken discourse has not been explored. This section examines whether and how significant patterns and discourse functions of labels in spoken texts differ from those in typical written texts. 6.1 Implicit evaluation In general, nouns are relatively uncommon in conversation, and pronouns are far more frequent in conversation than in other registers (Biber et al. 1999:65, 930). Correspondingly, in casual speech, demonstrative pronouns, rather than full nouns, tend to be used in a subject or theme position, unless this hinders understanding (Biber et al. 1999:2356, 1067). This finding makes it reasonable to hypothesize that labels are less likely to occur in a thematic position in conversation than in typical writing such as expository books or periodicals. I will first examine differences in the behaviour patterns of unfocused labels realizing implicit evaluation across different registers. One way to illustrate the difference in label behaviour is to examine the environments surrounding instances of the typical labelling noun problem in writing and speech. To ensure I found instances in which the word serves as a label, I queried using the word strings this/that problem. These word combinations were selected for several reasons. Occurrences of a headword with the demonstrative determiners this/that are more likely to function as anaphoric discourse linkers than occurrences with articles or no determiners. Of course, common variants of these word combinations appear with various premodifiers interposed such as this awful problem or this political problem, but the queries ignoring such variants were intended to

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produce enough manageable data to identify significant occurrence patterns. Furthermore, these strings enabled me to exclude informal idiomatic expressions such as no problem/not a problem/problem is, which occur frequently in conversation. For the word strings this/that problem, I searched three categories of English in the BNC: books and periodicals as written English (excluding written to be spoken and written miscellaneous), the demographically sampled conversational section and the context-governed section as spoken English.9 Table9 presents the results, listing the total occurrences of the word problem in each discourse type in column (A), the total occurrences of problem with this/that in column (B) and the percentage of the phrases in all occurrences of the headword in column (C).
Table9. Occurrences of the word problem and the word strings this/that problem
BNC Written: books and periodicals (80 million words) Spoken: context-governed (5 million words) demographic (5 million words) problem (A) 22080 2895 703 this/that problem (B) 1157 139 22 % of (B) (C) 5.24% 4.8% 3.13%

The data presented in columns (A) and (B), the raw frequency counts, are relative to the sizes of text collections representing each category. An important result is that the figures in column (C) do not differ greatly among the three text types; in all occurrences of problem, the phrases this/that problem occur at similarly low frequencies. However, closer examination of the environment in which the anaphoric nominal phrases occur revealed a marked difference. Table10 presents the frequencies at which the phrases appeared in the sentence-initial, or typically subject, position.
Table10. Occurrences of this/that problem in the sentence-initial position
this/that problem Total Sentence-initial (A) (B) Written: books and periodicals (80 million words) 1157 164 Spoken: context-governed (5 million words) 139 13 161 demographic (5 million words) 22 0 BNC % of (B) (C) 14.17% 9.35% 0%

Column (B) presents data about the occurrence of phrases that appear in the sentence-initial position.10 The low percentage of occurrences in this position, shown in column (C), suggests that the phrases tend to occur as an object or complement, or as a part of a nominal phrase, as in the following example:

90 Nozomi Yamasaki

(9) Although sympathetic to a progressive rights theory, Dignan attempts to avoid this problem by examining in some breadth and detail the validity of the assumptions made by Dworkin concerning modern liberal political systems (BNC: CHC/ book: informative)

The data in column (C) also reveal that the phrases in a subject or theme position are more likely to occur in written texts than in spoken texts. A striking observation is that in naturally occurring conversation (demographic), no occurrence of the phrases appears in the thematic position; all instances include them as objects or complements. Moreover, while variations appear in verb forms that precede labels in the object or complement position in written texts, only limited types of collocates are observed in casual conversation. Figure2 presents results for the concordance of all 22 occurrences of the word strings in the conversational part of the corpus.

PS000]: It's bound 1 to harm, I mean I know what you said when he had all that problem , he sort of said reckon cos I smoke.[PS000]: You know I think you way?[PS0CG]:2Cor look at that bas oh no it's fine [PS0CK]: She ain't got that problem yet.You wait till [PS0CG]: No.[PS0CK]: She's probably saying oh t [ ... ] you gotta 3 run it again haven't you?[PS0JX]: Yeah.Well I haven't had that problem before though.[PS0K7]: Cos you've never run it again [laughing] hav st couldn't tell from 4 the outside.[PS087]: Beg your pardon.[PS08A]: I had that problem once.[PS089]: I kept looking in mine when I ... when I had it once I t ing around ... s straightening and that sort of thing, cos I'm sure ... I've had this problem before ... I'm sure that it reduces a lot of er[PS0JX]: Yeah, but you'v 5 we've never had 6 that problem.[PS08A]: M m.Have you [PS089]: I've had that problem .[PS08A]: With lots of pips in?M m.[PS087]: Did you have one at s Oh.[PS08A]: Did 7 you have that problem?[PS087]: Oh no we've never had that problem .[PS08A]: M m.Have you [PS089]: I've had that problem.[PS08A]: W at's wrong with 8 her?[PS000]: Yeah.[PS4YY]: Well, you know like she had that problem with her you know[PS000]: Yeah, what about it?[PS4YY]: Well, ho 0PP]: but er[PS0PN]: Problem is [PS0RB]: I think Jeanette said Tom had that problem cos he didn't speak until he was about two and a half and they thoug 9 my side ... got10 it?[PS0KY]: I've got nothing to clip it onto ... yeah we had that problem last week.[PS0L7]: Come on.[PS0KY]: Go to Aunty M aggi ... she k are big enough to take it ... but when we a , you know that, when we had that problem about the er ... what's a name coming up?[PS0K8]: Yeah.[PS0KL]: T 11 make of [ ... ]12 , some of them stick out further and they foul it.We've had this problem before.[PS0K9]: M m.[PS0JX]: So it's best just to be er on the safe s shouting] First can we have you back in the church []![PS002]: we've had this problem in the past with John ! ... And with [ ... ] makes [PS000]: Ooh!Ooh! 13 n't get time to do 14it.[PS0V4]: Hm. ... [PS0V6]: [ ... ] [PS0V4]: We did have this problem before but we started earlier didn't we?Last Christmas?[PS0VB]: [ .. Well my mum's15 round, sort of every other day really.[PS000]: Yeah.I have that problem !Yeah. [PS000]: [laugh] [PS000]: You can't keep her [PS000]: Shut u the disco?Oh dear 16 me!Okay.I hope you're feeling better now.I never have that problem Katy.[PS000]: [ ... ] [PS1AT]: Yes.[PS000]: Are we not doing that t had them and they 17 were full of pips.[PS087]: Oh.[PS08A]: Did you have that problem ?[PS087]: Oh no we've never had that problem.[PS08A]: M m.Have ose.Although he's 18 got a good job so Pam said I don't know why he's got in that ... problem .But I said well your best thing to do Pam I said is forget it.I said he hen they rang19 up for one of us, he said well I'm not leaving till I've solved this problem so I had to go.But er ... all he did was, you know the two pawls that d wasn't it? ... 20 [ ... ] [PS0HN]: [ ... ] [ ... ] [PS0HM ]: [ ... ] I suppose, take this problem [ ... ] .[PS0HP]: [singing] for [][PS0HN]: Watched she sing?, when I places you go21 to put eight or nine [ ... ] . [PS0SY]: eight singles and that's that problem [ ... ] .[PS000]: [ ... ] [PS0SY]: But you can.You could have a [ ... ] c .. ] having to curse 22 now and again.[PS09F]: [ ... ] [PS09E]: Well what was that problem then?[PS09F]: I just put it on.[PS09E]: Oh pressed the wrong one.[P

Figure2. A concordance for this/that problem in the demographically sampled section of the BNC

Figure2 clearly reveals that the predominant collocates are variants of have (have got); the first 17 lines exhibit this pattern. In addition, all instances of this pattern use personal pronouns as subjects except one (line 9: Tom). This survey suggests that in naturally occurring interactions, this is the most typical environment in which this/that problem occurs. Therefore, the following grammatical pattern can be identified as pattern (C):

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(C) [personal pronoun] + have/(ve) had/(ve) got + this/that + [label]. I conducted an automatic search of the demographic section for the word sequences have/(ve) had/(ve) got + this/that and a manual search for occurrences of other types of unspecific nouns used in this pattern. Below are examples of labelling nouns, followed by example (10) of one conversational extract:11 problem, dream, conversation, trouble, accident, experience, question, discussion, fantasy, fight, hassle, attitude, knowledge, faith, incident, ability, promise, trick.
(10) <PS0K9>: Sockets are bigger than the chips normally so <PS0JX>: No you have to be really == careful ==. <PS0K9>:  == Thatll go in == there easy. == If it wont go in stick it in at an angle. == <PS0JX>:  == No if you == if you buy a different make of [ ], some of them stick out further and they foul it. Weve had this problem before. <PS0K9>: Mm. <PS0JX>: So its best just to be er on the safe side. (BNC: KD5)

In this pattern, the subject position is typically occupied by personal pronouns such as I, you and we. This pattern does not connect two abstract propositions as do instances of unfocused labels used for a cohesive purpose shown in the previous sections. Instead, it sets up and presents an attributing relationship between the person in the subject position and the given proposition encapsulated by the label. Therefore, the utterance as a whole is given a broad focus. These findings indicate that labels used in conversation tend to occur in significant patterns that differ from those used in typical written discourse, and are associated with certain grammatical categories and collocates. Therefore, labels in the two types of discourse appear to realize distinct discourse functions. I applied this result to an investigation of another typical unspecific noun attitude. Table11 presents the result. Table11 indicates that although the phrases this/that attitude occur less frequently than the phrases including problem discussed above, the general tendencies are similar to the results presented in Table10. That is, the phrases that occur in the sentence-initial position are most likely to occur in the written
Table11. Occurrences of this/that attitude in the sentence-initial position
BNC this/that attitude Total Sentence-initial (A) (B) 267 83 22 4 28 6 0 % of (B) (C) 31% 18.2% 0%

Written: books and periodicals (80 million words) Spoken: context-governed (5 million words) demographic (5 million words)

92

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component (as shown in column (C), 31%), and none of these word strings appear in this position in the conversational component, although only six instances appear overall. Again, the contexts of these occurrences in conversation are very similar to the results presented in Figure2, as shown in the concordance results in Figure3.

If I could be bothered to go![PS6RG]: Yes, you see!You're gonna get 1 't go to Lee Ann's 2 then.[PS04U]: Well don't then.Don't. ... Don't got

this attitude now aren't you?[PS6TF]: I am, I'm gonna have an attitude problem now for t that attitude .|[PS04U]: Got everything organised?I put your stuff out there cause I thoug

ld, living in flats 3and Council houses and things like that, they've got

that attitude [PS0V5]: Who [ ... ] .[PS0V4]: and some of the people who were no fixed abo

earth ... [singing] 4de, de, de, de, de, de, de, de [] you should only have that attitude if you come from a deprived childhood[PS1K5]: I am deprived[PS1BY]: and

with her, er a M ongol 5 son, well I'm afraid M argaret shouldn't of taken that attitude because she said ooh everywhere I go now there's only me, now that's being

uld say right [PS0FP]: yeah but on the other hand Geoff if they took that attitude with everybody, nobody would [ ... ] [PS0FS]: Ah no well that's it.Well that' 6

Figure3. A concordance for this/that attitude in the demographically sampled section of the BNC

The concordance in Figure3 reveals that in these instances of informal conversation, the preceding verbs include get, have (have got) and take. In contrast, the 267 occurrences in written discourse exhibited a much greater variety in co-occurring verbs preceding labels as complements or objects.12 Although only two typical nouns have been examined here in terms of how they occur as labels in written and spoken texts, it appears that in conversation, labels infrequently occur in the sentence-initial position and that a preference exists for using pronouns as subjects. Because of this tendency, labels may be dislocated in peripheral positions, referred to as prefaces or noun phrase tags (Biber et al. 1999:956958, 1074, 10801081). Labels as prefaces occur in an initial or thematic position with a co-referent pronoun as the subject in the following main clause. For example:
(11) The this problem with the detector, its another level of subcontracting down  (BNC: JNM/ House of Commons Select Committee for Defence)

Labels as noun phrase tags occur in the final position with a co-referent pronoun in the preceding main clause, as can be seen in the following extract:
(12) <PS0CK>: S  hes probably saying oh this is so boring this conversation but when she gets to our age thatll be the same. <PS0CJ>: [laugh] (BNC: KC9)

Biber et al. (1999:957) reported that dislocations such as prefaces and noun phrase tags are almost exclusively conversational features, claiming that they are a sign of the evolving nature of conversation (1999:958). That is, prefaces work to establish a topic or theme before the speaker gets to the main proposition, while noun phrase tags serve to clarify the preceding proposition. Dislocation helps the planning of the speaker as well as the decoding of the hearer, because it breaks

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up a complex task into parts (Biber et al. 1999:138). These discourse functions also relate to the dislocated labels that can be observed in spoken discourse. Unlike people or concrete things in prefaces or noun phrase tags, dislocated labels activate propositional semantic representations constructed by the preceding and ongoing discourse more clearly than pronouns selected for the subject position. 6.2 Explicit evaluation This section will briefly examine the use of focused labels in the copular construction, realizing explicit evaluation in spoken discourse: This/These/That/Those/It + [v-link] + [label]. Copular constructions in conversation often include adjectives as complements as in thats interesting. Altenbergs (1993:230) study of recurrent verb-complement patterns in the London-Lund Corpus of spoken English revealed that the SVC pattern with adjectives as complements occurs three times more frequently than the pattern with nominals as complements. Nevertheless, his study suggested that nominal phrases including labels occur in copular patterns in casual interactions. Moreover, some unspecific nouns in conversation are used anaphorically to explicitly evaluate preceding propositions in constructions that are not copular patterns. The following examples include such nouns in the object position:
(13) <PS04Y>:  And when she went back and she said er you didnt serve me yesterday. No. You made a mistake. A big mistake. Huge. [laughing] (BNC: KBF) (14) <PS145>: It was the samba was it? <PS0SV>: It was, samba? Salmon for the fish. <PS145>: Oh so theyd made a mistake. <PS0SV>: Yes. Thats what Ive just said.

(BNC: KDY)

In these examples, the verbal phrase make a mistake as a whole encapsulates the context-bound specifics anaphorically, but the unspecific noun mistake is given tonic prominence and attributed explicitly to the other speaker or those referred to in the subject position.

7. Conclusion This paper clarified how each discourse function of a label is associated with a specific collocation or colligation. Labels are unspecific anaphoric nominal phrases that encapsulate their context-bound specifics cohesively. Labels as a cohesive

94 Nozomi Yamasaki

device also evaluate the semantic representation of their specifics, through the process of encapsulation, by recategorizing it. I demonstrated that labels differ in their evaluative force according to their status in the information structure. Thus, I was able to distinguish implicit evaluation realized by unfocused labels, the cohesive function of which is highlighted, from explicit evaluation realized by focused labels, the characterizing function of which is highlighted. Then, a corpus-based investigation of the co-occurrence of premodifiers with four selected unspecific nouns revealed that premodifiers tend to occur more frequently with labels that realize explicit evaluation than those that realize implicit evaluation. The results also indicated that the type of evaluation favoured by the four nouns, and the frequency with which the nouns are preceded by modifiers, differ among nouns. This suggests a variable evaluative force inherent to the labelling nouns. I also examined the characteristic use of labels in spoken discourse compared with their use in typical writing. The corpus-based analyses revealed that typical collocational and colligational patterns and functions of labels differ between writing and speech. Labels in the subject or theme position occur less frequently in speech than in writing and also tend to occur in fewer, more limited types of pattern in relatively routine ways in speech. I identified one pattern typical of spoken texts in which labels are used as objects to relate the speaker(s) and a proposition rather than to express relationships between two abstract concepts. The results of this study suggest that collocational and colligational descriptions should consider the discourse level, since distinctive collocational and colligational preferences indicate separate discourse functions performed by a word. Moreover, collocations and colligations associated with one word may be avoided by another because they have distinct discourse functions in specific contexts. It should prove worthwhile to investigate the distinctive collocational and colligational profiles among other linguistic expressions and devices that realize discourse management functions.

Notes
1. The notion of collocation derives from the work of Firth (1957, 1968) and has been developed by neo-Firthians such as Halliday and Sinclair. 2. Firth (1968) coined the term colligation and described it as the interrelation of grammatical categories in syntactical structure (1968:183). Now it refers to, in Hoeys (2005:43) terms, the relation holding between a word and a grammatical pattern, thus creating a midway relation between grammar and collocation.

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3. Francis (1994) uses the term label for both a retrospective (anaphoric) label, which follows its lexical realization, and an advance (prospective) label, which precedes its lexical realization. In this study, a label refers only to a retrospective label. 4. Partington (1998:98), who briefly mentions labelling nouns, limited his search for labels to the first few words of a paragraph. 5. The instances of such a +[label] that occur in the pattern for explicit evaluation, such as this is such a big mistake or it wasnt such a terrible mistake, were not counted as instances of implicit evaluation. 6. The head noun is usually preceded by determiners, but they are not indicated here for convenience. 7. Two occurrences of apparent of the three are used in the sense of seeming to be real or true although this may not be true; the other is used in the sense of obvious. 8. The score includes the occurrences of the nominal phrase alone, Big mistake, since it can be considered as a reduced form of the phrase this/that/it + [v-link] + a big mistake. 9. The spoken component of the BNC contains two sections separated by different approaches to the spoken corpus. The demographically sampled section, consisting of over 4 million words, represents everyday spontaneous (casual, informal) conversation produced by British English speakers in the UK. The context-governed section, less than 6 million words, represents a balanced selection of task-oriented spoken activities that are generally made up of more formal encounters, with few producers and many receivers (Aston & Burnard 1998:31). 10. For the written component, I searched the sequence This/That problem with upper cases for convenience, since the sentence unit is clearly punctuated in the written part. In this case, its occurrences as a subject in subordinate clauses are not counted. On the other hand, we cannot depend on upper or lower cases in the spoken component, and so I scanned through all 161 instances for occurrence positions. 11. In this and the following conversational extracts taken from the BNC, the symbols in < > at the beginning of turns represent speaker codes used in the BNC; three full stops in square brackets indicate unclear utterances; three full stops alone indicate pauses in conversation; the symbol == shows the onset and end of overlaps in adjacent speaking turns. 12. It must be noted, however, that labels that mainly occur in idiomatic prepositional phrases show no marked differences in environmental contexts between writing and speech. For example, the word reason occurs in a fairly fixed prepositional phrase for this/that reason in both channels. The same can be said of the phrases on this/that occasion, for this/that matter or in this/ that situation.

96 Nozomi Yamasaki

References
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Authors address
Nozomi Yamasaki English Department, Kansai Gaidai University 161 Nakamiya Higashino-cho, Hirakata-shi, Osaka 5731001, Japan

Appendix
The following 73 nouns were investigated in the present study. These nouns were mainly based on the lists of unspecific nouns in the previous studies such as Francis (1994:8993): advantage, annoyance, approach, argument, attitude, blow, blunder, breakthrough, change, choice, commitment, comparison, conclusion, consideration, context, conversation, criticism, decision, defect, difficulty, disappointment, downside, drift, event, exception, expectation, explanation, fact, factor, failure, finding, goal, idea, issue, killing, mistake, move, nuisance, objection, observation, opinion, opportunity, outcome, point, position, practice, privilege, problem, process, progress, question, reaction, reason, row, scenario, secret, shift, side, sign, situation, solution, stance, stand, storm, story, success, thing, tragedy, transformation, twist, U-turn, way and withdrawal.