Language Structure Problems

Part II

Last week, you gathered word frequencies and, by examining a standard dictionary, noted a measure of each word's ambiguity in terms of the number of polysemous meanings assigned to each. Your data are displayed below.

1. What conclusions would you reach about the correlation between word frequency and polysemy as demonstrated by the data?

2. What reservations if any do you have about these data?

3. What implications does this have for your teaching?


The first number in each row is the word's frequency followed by the word, its part of speech and finally the number of definitions noted. You might choose to draw yourself a graph to get the overall sense of the data and then note any groups of exceptions of tendancy in another direction. I have done nothing to the data except order them and list them.

35 go (V) 46
39 get (V) 28
45 make (V) 10
47 know (V) 9
52 time (N) 26
54 year (N) 5
56 think (V) 18
62 people (N) 11
63 take (V) 95
83 want (V) 10
92 use (V) - 10
98 give (V) 40
103 tell (V) 20
117 work (V) 8
122 call (V) 33
131 ask (V) 11
134 feel (V) 13
154 mean (V) 8
162 big (adj) 17
167 help (V) 11
174 hand (N) 18
177 show (V) 18
201 government (N) 9 202 run (V) 97
203 small (ADJ) 3
204 number (N) 25
207 move (V) 21
208 like (V) 5
209 night (N) 5
210 live (V) 13
212 point (N) 60
213 believe (V) 5
214 hold (V) 23
217 happen (V) 7
225 home (N) 11
227 water (N) 4
244 job (N) 11
254 black (ADJ) 19
302 white (ADJ) 5
330 stop (V) 19
331 face (N) 24
334 public (ADJ) 10
356 able (ADJ) 4
381 foot (N) 21
492 arm (N) 13
586 technology (N) 4
596 tree (N) 13
598 red (ADJ) 2
623 available (ADJ) 4
767 accept (V) 14
770 argue (V) 6
840 act (V) 12
845 blue (ADJ) 9
888 cold (ADJ) 17
893 green (ADJ) 17
941 apply (V) 14
1039 yard (N) 5
1075 account (N) 5
1093 admit (V) 10
1155 achieve (V) 3
1223 ship (N) 4
1225 stone 19
1280 apartment (N) 4
1311 leadership (N) 4
1363 warm (ADJ) 14
1675 yellow (ADJ) 6
1751 appreciate (V) 5
1782 brown (adj) 4
1923 account (V) 1
2042 hand (V) 3
2079 acquire (V) 4
2150 recover (V) 14
2346 championship (N) 4
2406 luck )(N) 4
2462 teenager (N) 1
2466 recovery (N) 12
2489 anxiety (N) 3
2512 pink (adj) 2
2626 switch (V) 14
2808 awareness (N) 1
2935 partnership (N) 2
2997 psychology (N) 4
3192 absolute (ADJ) 13
3048 appointment (N) 8
3061 friendship (N) 3
3111 membership (N) 3
3171 orange (ADJ) 3
3414 adolescent (N) 1
3518 cold (N) 4
3630 warm (V) 8
3670 average (V) 2
3782 apologize (V) 2
3831 purple (ADJ) 5
3843 ship (V) 9
3872 theology (N) 2
3960 accounting (N) 3
4111 accuracy (N) 3
4181 accent (N) 17
4266 biology (N) 3
4401 purse (N) 6
4727 arm (V) 7
4803 warmth (N) 6
4824 loyal (ADJ) 4
4905 citizenship (N) 2
4924 accusation (N) 3
4982 praise (N) 4
4984 spit (V) 7
4985 harvest (V) 5
4986 kneel (v) 1
4999 apology (N) 4