STATISTICS IN LINGUISTICS
Patrick C. Ryan
proto-language at email.msn.com
Fri Jan 29 23:24:34 UTC 1999
Dear Steve and IEists:
From: X99Lynx at aol.com <X99Lynx at aol.com>
Date: Friday, January 29, 1999 12:49 AM
>In a message dated 1/27/99 11:55:41 AM, proto-language at email.msn.com wrote:
><<Predictive power, IMHO, is based on statistics.>>
>Predictive power is based on an effective understanding of cause and effect
The relationship between cause and effect is statistical. If the same cause
is regularly observed to produce the same effect, the statistic
(probability) is 100% theoretically. Why do you resist this simple truth?
>Statistics are just one way to prove that understanding is correct.
Statistics are the only way to prove that understanding is correct. When a
cause is never observed to produce an effect, the probability is 0%. Why is
that so hard to understand?
>proper hypothesis, whether gathered statistically or not,
Hypotheses are not "gathered" statistically. A hypothesis is validated or
not by statistically verified the results of its predictions.
>there is nothing for
>statistics to help prove.
I agree. If you are doing or saying nothing, statistics are minimally
>A lingusitic model is a hypothesis, properly used a
>statistical sample can help prove if that model is accurate.
Statistics is the only method that can suggest (not prove) that the model is
>However, where there are few occurences to sample and possibly no new
>occurences - as in ancient languages - statistical analyses do not carry
>much "predictative power".
This is ridiculous! Any time you make a prediction, even without formally
applying statistical methods, you are operating statistically. Judgment is
about weighing factors of probability.
>Also recall if you will that I posted on this list the fact that the
>Project showed a higher occuresnce of purus>red in Greek than ereuthem>red.
>This was due to the way Lidell-Scott defined red. Statistics can only
>results that fact gathering and prior analysis permit.
Statistics cannot overcome GI.
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