Too much reliance on native-speaker intuition?

Some commentators would argue that native-speaker intuition is not enough, not to be relied on 100%, when looking for descriptions of language use. I would agree with them. The same commentators point out the need to consult other sources, one of which is corpus linguistics (CL) - even though some admit that CL is also not wholly reliable (see below, for example). Again I would agree.

Yet, I do not see much discussion or reference to corpus linguistics on major language fora/forums such as this one. Am I missing the occurence of such discussion and/or referencing, or is it just not taking place? If the latter is the case, why is so?



Searched deeper into this forum, but still can’t find discussions on corpus linguistics or the shakiness of native-speaker intuition. Any links to such on this site welcome.

This forum alike many other ESL forums mainly attends to the case of non-native speaker shakiness. We’re here to help you.

Beyond the “mainly” interests me. Does it interest you? Does it interest you to ask if you might be doing your best to help us?

And this part of the forum is called “What do you want to talk about?”, isn’t it?

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Great response, Ralf!

There’s something a little odd about that concept. But I can’t quite put my finger on it.


Late arriving, Mr P, but thanks for coming. When you have your finger placed, let us know.

I thoroughly enjoyed MrP’s comment. :lol:

Nice to know Mr P gives you pleasure.

Interesting question Molly.

I guess that in a way, native intuition is based upon a colloquation. When the computerised colloquation analysis system uses a bigger database and performs better analyses, then like the chess programs that can beat chess masters, the colloquation will beat native intuition. But that may take a while since understanding meaning is perhaps the most complex thing we do, and computers can still not beat humans at Go.

For the time being colloquations can be pretty useful when you don’t have a native on hand, or when a native is not too sure of her intuition. I use Google as a colloquation when I am not sure.