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Example word – reduce
Now let us try the word "reduce".
Here are the concordance lines (again, simplified for explanatory reason) for the word "reduce".
line 1: ... 1950; 1957m: ix) would allow them to modernize, reduce costs and attract sufficient traffic to break
line 2: ... - seizing initiatives to sell more, reduce costs, produce more efficiently and provide an
line 3: ... 1984a; 32-5). This affected BR'3 plans to reduce operating costs, increase traffic by renewing its
line 4: ... CEO commented: "We will be able to reduce operating costs, increase branch profitability
line 5: ... factors behind success; a company-wide programme to reduce administrative costs, and reduce the amount of working
line 6: ... profitability, increase sales, improve buying margin, reduce operating costs, further steps to tighten
line 7: ... Economies of scale and use of computers, were expected to reduce administrative costs. Big was beautiful. There
line 8: ... ionnovative features to aid performance, improve economy, reduce service costs considerably. While the so-called
Example concordance lines for "reduce"
||1. Reduce + cost(s), 2. "to reduce" (see below)|
||Within N±5 range: and, will/would, be (e.g. be/was/were), traffic, sell/sales, more, increase, operating, improve
Others (including words found out of the N±5 range): profitability, economy/economies (of scale)
1. modal verbs and semi-modals (e.g. would, will, be able to)
2. prepositional phrases (e.g. to modernize, to sell more, to aid performance, of computers)
3. bare infinitives (e.g. attract, produce, increase)
4. conjunctions (e.g. and, while)
5. adverbs (e.g. efficiently, considerably)
6. nouns, compound nouns and noun phrases occasionally modified by adjectives (e.g. sufficient traffic, branch profitability, further steps, administrative costs, service costs
Table 2: Lexical item "reduce"
The apparent alternative core word in addition to "reduce" is "costs". However, it has to
be stressed that there is in fact another hidden core word, "to". According to the given
concordance lines, "to" actually appears literally on all lines except line 6. On line 6, "reduce" is
used as a bare infinitive and so the word "to" is therefore, for better cohesion, omitted as a form
of an ellipsis, a case which is similar to lines 1, 2 and 8 (see Figure 1).
line 1: ... 1950; 1957m: ix) would allow them to modernize, (to) reduce costs and (to) attract sufficient traffic to break
line 2: ... - seizing initiatives to sell more, (to) reduce costs, (to) produce more efficiently and provide an
line 6: ... profitability, (to) increase sales, (to) improve buying margin, (to) reduce operating costs, further steps to tighten
line 8: ... ionnovative features to aid performance, (to) improve economy, (to) reduce service costs considerably. While the so-called
Concordance lines 1, 2, 6 and 8
The word "reduce" collocates with words like "sell/sales", "more", "increase",
"operating" and "improve" and has quite a strong colligation with nouns or noun phrases at the
N+1 position. It also colligates with modal verbs like "will/would" and similar semi-modals like
"be able to" to indicate a sense of willingness. The core word, in particular, has an extremely
strong colligation with infinitives or bare infinitives that go into a whole range of constructive or
positive actions, e.g. "to modernize", "to attract", "to sell", "to produce", "to increase", "to
improve", "to aid" and, even when it is not within the N±5 range, "to tighten" and "to provide".
In terms of semantic preference the word seems to be strictly related to business and the
economy with a view to improving performance and gaining success as the semantic set also
contains words like "company-wide", "branch", "performance", "administrative", "service",
"success", "beautiful", "efficiently", "profitability" etc. While the word "reduce" literally seems
to be negative on its surface, it in fact has a rather bright, if not very positive, semantic prosody.
With collocates indicating a sense of willingness and a whole range of very positive bare
infinitives, the semantic prosody of "reduce" seems to suggest "turning-points toward the
improving or bright side of business or economy".
Now, let us move on to a final example.
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