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Feng Menglong's Treasury of Laughs

A Seventeenth-Century Anthology of Traditional Chinese Humour


Pi-ching Hsu

The Treasury of Laughs is a treasure house for students of literature, psycholinguistics, history, sociology, and cultural anthropology. Feng Menglong systematically collected and edited 700-odd humourous skits that presented the entire spectrum of traditional Chinese jokes, and wrote commentaries of great philosophical insight. The anthology offers satirical caricatures of human follies from the cradle to the grave and reveals tension in all sectors of human societies and institutions. Hsu Pi-ching reconstructs the complete Ming Chinese original with meticulous editorial work, in modern punctuated typesetting, and provides the only complete English translation available, with useful footnotes on word plays, literary allusions, and historical background. Readers should find the introductory essays on the connections between humour and emotions/states of mind particularly illuminating.


Gerrit Dimmendaal

In The Leopard’s Spots, Gerrit J. Dimmendaal discusses the interaction between language, cognition, and culture in an African context with special focus on the cultural construction of meaning through language. Such constructions are constrained by our cognitive system, but leave lots of space for culture-specific interpretations and thereby for tremendous typological diversity between languages. This variation reflects the adaptive nature of human language in the same way that the spots of the leopard reflect selective advantages for its natural habitat. But whereas science has essentially one explanation for the rosettes of the leopard, the non-scientific mind may attach meaning to his or her cultural environment by way of language through a plethora of strategies.

Grammatical Gender in Interaction

Cultural and Cognitive Aspects


Angeliki Alvanoudi

In Grammatical Gender in Interaction: Cultural and Cognitive Aspects Angeliki Alvanoudi explores the relation between grammatical gender in person reference, culture and cognition in Modern Greek conversation. The author investigates the cultural and cognitive aspects of grammatical gender, by drawing on feminist sociolinguistic and non-linguistic approaches, cognitive linguistics, research on linguistic relativity, studies on person reference in interaction and conversation analysis. The study presented in this book shows that the use of grammatical gender contributes to the routine achievement of sociocultural gender in interaction and that grammatical gender guides speakers’ thinking of referents as female or male at the time of speaking.

Quantifying Language Dynamics

On the Cutting edge of Areal and Phylogenetic Linguistics

Edited by Soren Wichmann and Jeff Good

Quantifying Language Dynamics: On the Cutting Edge of Areal and Phylogenetic Linguistics contains specially-selected papers introducing new, quantitative methodologies for understanding language interaction and evolution. It draws upon data from the phonologies, morphologies, numeral systems, constituent orders, case systems, and lexicons of the world’s languages, bringing large datasets and sophisticated statistical techniques to bear on fundamental questions such as: how to identify and account for areal distributions, when language contact leads to grammatical simplification, whether patterns of morphological borrowing can be predicted, how to deal with contact within phylogenetic models, and what new techniques are most effective for classification of the world’s languages. The book is relevant for students and scholars in general linguistics, typology, and historical and comparative linguistics.


Henk Zeevat

An utterance is normally produced by a speaker in linear time and the hearer normally correctly identifies the speaker intention in linear time and incrementally. This is hard to understand in a standard competence grammar since languages are highly ambiguous and context-free parsing is not linear. Deterministic utterance generation from intention and n-best Bayesian interpretation, based on the production grammar and the prior probabilities that need to be assumed for other perception do much better. The proposed model uses symbolic grammar and derives symbolic semantic representations, but treats interpretation as just another form of perception. Removing interpretation from grammar is not only empirically motivated, but also makes linguistics a much more feasible enterprise.

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. Its combination of breadth, formal rigor, and originality is unparalleled in work on the form-meaning interface in human language...Zeevat's is the first proposal which provides a computationally feasible integrated treatment of production and comprehension for pragmatics, semantics, syntax, and even phonology. I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation with a sense of adventure. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin

Vagueness, Gradability and Typicality

The Interpretation of Adjectives and Nouns


Galit Weidman Sassoon

This book presents a study of the connections between vagueness and gradability, and their different manifestations in adjectives (morphological gradability effects) and nouns (typicality effects). It addresses two opposing theoretical approaches from within formal semantics and cognitive psychology. These approaches rest on different, apparently contradictory pieces of data. For example, for psychologists nouns are linked with vague and gradable concepts, while for linguists they rarely are. This difference in approach has created an unfortunate gap between the semantic and psychological studies of the concepts denoted by nouns, as well as adjectives. The volume describes a wide range of relevant facts and theories. Psychological notions such as prototypes and dimensions are addressed with formal rigor and explicitness. Existing formal semantic accounts are examined against empirically established cognitive data. The result is a comprehensive unified approach. The book will be of interest to students and researchers working on the semantics and pragmatics of natural languages and their cognitive basis, the psychology of concepts, and the philosophy of language.


Edited by Alexandra Aikhenvald and Anne Storch

Every language has a way of talking about seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. In about a quarter of the world's languages, grammatical evidentials express means of perception. In some languages verbs of vision subsume cognitive meanings. In others, cognition is associated with a verb of auditory perception, touch, or smell. 'Vision' is not the universally preferred means of perception. In numerous cultures, taboos are associated with forbidden visual experience. Vision may be considered intrusive and aggressive, and linked with power. In contrast, 'hearing' and 'listening' are the main avenues for learning, understanding and 'knowing'. The studies presented in this book set out to explore how these meanings and concepts are expressed in languages of Africa, Oceania, and South America.


Mingya Liu

Multidimensional Semantics of Evaluative Adverbs provides a multidimensional analysis for the lexical semantics of evaluative adverbs: nonfactive evaluative adverbs trigger a conventional implicature, whereas factive evaluative adverbs not only trigger a conventional implicature but also a conventional presupposition. This analysis proves to be more advantageous than existing analysis in terms of empirical coverage and explanatory power.

With the case of evaluative adverbs, the book demonstrates how secondary meanings (e.g. conventional presuppositions, conventional implicatures) interact with primary meanings (i.e. main assertion, or at-issue content). For the first time, a three-dimensional formal language of conventional implicatures and conventional presuppositions is implemented and applied to derive the right truth conditions of sentences with evaluative adverbs and predict their projection behaviors. With a cross-linguistic perspective (focusing on German, English and Mandarin Chinese) and using corpus- and psycholinguistic methods, the book also offers new perspectives on the syntax/semantics/pragmatics of adverbials.

William Ritchie and Tej Bhatia

The New Handbook of Second Language Acquisition is a thoroughly revised, re-organized, and re-worked edition of Ritchie and Bhatia's 1996 handbook. The work is divided into six parts, each devoted to a different aspect of the study of SLA. Part I includes a recent history of methods used in SLA research and an overview of currently used methods. Part II contains chapters on Universal Grammar, emergentism, variationism, information-processing, sociocultural, and cognitive-linguistic. Part III is devoted to overviews of SLA research on lexicon, morphosyntax, phonology, pragmatics, sentence processing, and the distinction between implicit and explicit knowledge. Part IV examines neuropsychology of SLA, another on child SLA, and the effects of age on second language acquisition and use. Part V is concerned with the contribution of the linguistic environment to SLA, including work on acquisition in different environments, through the Internet, and by deaf learners. Finally, Part VI treats social factors in SLA, including research on acquisition in contact circumstances, on social identity in SLA, on individual differences in SLA, and on the final state of SLA, bilingualism.
This title was reviously published by Emerald under isbn 9781848552401


Lisa Matthewson

The goal of this collection is to put at the disposal of the linguistic community studies which contribute to a deeper understanding of the nature of language and linguistic variation within the lines that have now been established after fifty years of generative inquiries, often building bridges in the spirit of earlier cognitive traditions, such as the classic work of Plato, the Cartesian view of the mind, and others. While the series will pay particular attention to the traditional tension between descriptive and explanatory adequacy, it will also address many old and new issues, such as the tensions raised at the level of linguistic design through new lines of inquiries often referred to as 'physiological linguistics' or, more dominantly, 'biolinguistics', in particular in the domains of macro- and micro-variations. It is indeed curious that, while the issues at stake are accepted or praised at a rhetorical level, the data that bear on the relevant issues or even the argument at stake are often difficult to access in print, or are often not addressed at all in the form of monographs or dedicated collections. This series will in particular study internal and external factors which bear on the nature of linguistic variation proper, focusing on properties of the Language Faculty and its interface with other domains of the Mind/Brain, as defined within the Minimalist Program, the predominant direction current generative inquiries take and further develop.