Other criticisms of corpus linguistics

Apart from Chomsky's theoretical criticisms, there were problems of practicality with corpus linguistics. Abercrombie (1965) summed up the corpus-based approach as being composed of "pseudo-techniques". Can you imagine searching through an 11-million-word corpus such as that of Kading (1897) using nothing more than your eyes? The whole undertaking becomes prohibitively time consuming, not to say error-prone and expensive.

Whatever Chomsky's criticisms were, Abercrombie's were undoubtedly correct. Early corpus linguistics required data processing abilities that were simply not available at that time.

The impact of the criticisms levelled at early corpus linguistics in the 1950s was immediate and profound. Corpus linguistics was largely abandoned during this period, although it never totally died.