Are there lists of the most frequent sentence patterns?

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Are there lists of the most frequent sentence patterns?

Postby Hashimi » Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:59 am

There are many lists of the most frequent words in X language, but memorizing single words out of context is useless.

1. So are there lists for the most frequent sentences patterns in everyday conversations so we can practice these words in useful sentences?

2. What are the most frequent declensions, the most frequent cases, and the most frequented tenses especially in inflected languages?
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Re: Are there lists of the most frequent sentence patterns?

Postby mcthulhu » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:14 pm

By sentence patterns, do you mean something like these for English?
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Re: Are there lists of the most frequent sentence patterns?

Postby Atinkoriko » Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:25 pm

I don't know about lists but I'd say the Glossika series of courses is the nearest approximation to something like that, as sentence patterns are presented in order of increasing difficulty.
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Re: Are there lists of the most frequent sentence patterns?

Postby Iversen » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:18 pm

The theme of my final thesis at the French section of Romance institute in Århus in 1981 was the pronouns descended from the correlative pronouns in Latin (talis qualis etc) - and just about everything else I could managed to include, like my own homemade analysis system for the subordinate clauses. I included a complete statistics over the constructions containing each and every conjunction that occurred in the 10.000 pages of French text I had analysed. As far as I know only one other researcher had done something similar for French back then (and published the result, unlike me), and I don't know whether anybody has done it since then - or done it for other languages. But frankly I doubt that such a statistic overview has much relevance for language learners. OK, it may be relevant for grammar nerds to know that sentence knots with "qui .. qui" are extremely rare (because the first "qui" breaks some fundamental rules) - but you probably already knew that. And what does it help you to know the exact percentage of sentences with qui/que as subject versus those with (le)quel if the difference is based on the proportion of emphasis you want to express? How do you quantify an intention?

I find it more relevant to make a collection of patterns (and expressions) you meet and want to remember. As it may be known from my log I often copy texts from bilingual printouts and write the unknown words with a translation in a column at the right margen (for later use in wordlists). But there is not space enough to include expressions, and besides expressions don't really fit the standard format of my triple column wordlists. So instead I have sometimes started a list with interesting expressions for later repetition and memorizing. This process isn't as streamlined as my use of wordlists, but it is a valuable supplement, which I ought to do more in a more systematical way.

PS: I noticed that Atinkoriko has learnt 5000 new German words used a certain wordlist system, mentioned above. Hurrray! Kudos! Congrats!
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Re: Are there lists of the most frequent sentence patterns?

Postby Eliza » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:51 pm

I'm not to sure what you mean either, but your question reminded me of the Druide des cooccurrences, which is kind of a dictionary for frequent associations of words:

I think I already posted about the editor and their software (Antidote) here, so it might be worth looking into older threads if this book corresponds to your needs :)
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Re: Are there lists of the most frequent sentence patterns?

Postby Speakeasy » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:29 pm

I find that you are "casting a rather wide net" by including all of the possible sentence patterns in highly-inflected languages! Nevertheless, in my experience, the audio-lingual method, which uses sentence-pattern drills as a means for introducing and reinforcing the target language's structure, would probably be the most complete and the best organized collection of sentence patterns that you can find.

As the audio-lingual method was quite popular amongst American academics in the 1960's through the mid-1970's, a very large number of courses were published for the teaching of the most popular languages at that time: French, Spanish, German, Italian, and to a much lesser extent Polish and Russian. Unfortunately for those who appreciate the benefits of the method (yes, despite the draw-backs, there are benefits), while many of the textbooks are still available, the audio recordings seem to have disappeared down a rabbit hole. The best, and most complete, collection of courses that survived the abandonment of the audio-lingual method are the FSI/DLI courses that were created for the teaching of U.S. Government and Military personnel. These courses are freely available on the website (

Do you have any particular language in mind and, if so, from which base?
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Re: Are there lists of the most frequent sentence patterns?

Postby AnthonyLauder » Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:40 pm

Hashimi wrote:the most frequent sentences patterns in everyday conversations so we can practice these words in useful sentences?

It depends on the language you are interested in, but Collins makes great conversational books for several languages. Here is the one for Spanish, for example:

You can think of these as something like the "missing manual" for the Michel Thomas courses.
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Re: Are there lists of the most frequent sentence patterns?

Postby Elexi » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:07 pm

Just to follow up on the Collins Easy Learning Conversation - there are audio downloads for the courses that can be got free here:

Click on the book icons under 'Easy Learning Conversation Audio Downloads'
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