Field of Science

Lab Notebook: Verb Resources

It's good to be studying language now, and not a few decades ago. There are a number of invaluable resources freely available on the Web.

The resource I use the most -- and without which much of my research would have been impossible -- is Martha Palmer & co.'s VerbNet, which is a meticulous semantic analysis of some several thousand English verbs. This is invaluable when choosing verbs for stimuli, as you can choose verbs that are similar to or differ from one another along particular dimensions. It's also useful for finding polysemous and nonpolysemous verbs where polysemy is defined in a very rigorous way.

Meichun Liu and her students at NCTU in Taiwan have been working on a similar project in Mandarin, Mandarin VerbNet. This resource has proved extremely valuable as I've been writing up some work I've been doing in Mandarin, and I only wish I had known about it when I constructed my stimuli.

I bring this up in case these resources are of use to anyone else. Mandarin VerbNet is particularly hard to find. I personally spent several months looking for it.

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