S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 50 Number 1/3 (2014)
FAQ : Do Non-linguists Share the Same Intuition as Linguists?
- Song, Sanghoun; Choe, Jae-Woong; Oh, Eunjeong
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.50 No.2, pp. 357-386
- When studying the nature of human language, we frequently ask ourselves the following question: Do native speakers agree with our judgments of the sentences in question? Many of us have encountered quite a few sentences which linguists report to be grammatical but which non-linguists find ungrammatical. Linguists try their best in their language analyses to accommodate the native speakers’ intuitions in a systematic way, but these efforts are mostly confined to the so-called ‘informal’ method. A natural question that arises is if the naïve native speakers would agree to the introspective acceptability judgments. In order to properly answer this question, a rigorous and formal method that will ensure more systematic and fine-grained results is required. This paper aims to address questions relating to this issue, exclusively focusing on Korean. The present work intends to provide some substantive discussion on how similar or different linguists’ intuitions are to/from those of the general public estimating grammatical acceptability. Our main experiment was carried out with 138 subjects, using about one thousand sentences excerpted from two volumes of a linguistic journal. We calculated the convergence rate focusing on the pairwise sentences in the data, and the rate was computed to be 84.75%. This measure is somewhat lower than the convergence rate of 95% reported in Sprouse et al. (2013) for the English data.