theoretical framework, Spanish Language, quantitative studies


It is generally the case that special volumes include studies on a narrowly defined topic of linguistic investigation from a single theoretical standpoint. A glance at the table of contents of the present issuem on the other hand, reveals an eclectic group of papers with topics ranging from second-language acquisition to feature theory. In addition to the variety of topics covered, it should be noted that a wide variety of theoretical frameworks is represented. The present volume contains the work of researchers who assume structuralist, generative, functionalist, and psycholinguistic perspectives. Nevertheless, the thread that ties these studies together is that they investigate some aspect of the Spanish language and utilize quantitatice methods. A volume containing studies of Spainsh is not unusual, but the emphasis on quantitative approaches may stricke some as odd and elicit the question, "why quantitative?" What I would like to suggest is that there are essentially three reasons for conducting quantitative research: (1) quantifying a particular question forces one to consider a wide range of data, which in turn makes the analysis more reliable; (2) data from quantitative studies are a crucial part of testing empirical hypotheses; (3) quantitative studies are in a better position to reflect facts about how people actually use language than are analyses that do not utilize quantitative data.

Original Publication Citation

2002. “Why Quantitative?” Linguistics 40.209-216.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Walter de Gruyter







University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

Included in

Linguistics Commons