Saturday, 7 July 2012

Predicting Text

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 329):
… predicting weather is rather like predicting text: one can make certain predictions about what people are going to say or write with a certain probability of being right — a probability that is significantly greater than chance, but not great enough to be easily used in (for example) parsing programs, because of the great number of variables that play a part in conditioning choices in the text. … the received wisdom in linguistics [is] that no prediction is possible at all. We should stress, perhaps, that we do not subscribe to this view.