On the Informativity of Different Measures of Linguistic Acceptability


This article deals with the claim that the magnitude estimation (ME) method of gathering acceptability judgments produces data that are more informative for linguists than binary or n-point scale judgments. We performed three acceptability-rating experiments that directly compared ME data to binary and seven-point scale data. The results clearly falsify the hypothesis that data gathered by the ME method carry a larger amount of information about the acceptability of a given linguistic phenomenon. The three measures are largely equivalent with respect to informativity. Moreover, ME judgments are shown to be more liable to producing spurious variance under certain circumstances.