In the spirit of Talmy’s recent remark on desirable extensions of cognitive semantics into discourse analysis and multimodality, this paper outlines an agenda for framing quotation as an attention- and modality-sensitive phenomenon. A quotation’s distinct discourse function by itself – naturally – calls for an attention-driven analysis, and the representational subsystems of language yield modality-specific manifestations: Conventionalized figural delimiters prompt quotations’ metalinguistic and verbatim status in writing, while in (casual) speech they tend to stand out through vocal dynamics and visible bodily actions. With recourse to Talmy’s attention-based trigger-and-target construct, I will scrutinize a cross-section of videotaped samples of quoting by experienced us speakers from different speech genres in public settings, to demonstrate orally performed quotations’ responsiveness to attentional gradience: Exhibiting patterns of activation, attenuation, inhibition, and sustainment in indexing ‘the other voice,’ the case studies illustrate multiple effects of fore- and backgrounding ensuing from the different modalities’ complex interactions.
The paper investigates the effect of alternating construals of temporal magnitudes on individuals’ reasoning about events that are explicitly embedded in time. Specifically, I analyse the meaning-making potential of “cumulative” and “fractional” construals, as in “30 minutes” and “half an hour”. Inspired by Cognitive Linguistics postulates, the hypothesis is that although these alternate constructions of time quantities are numerically equivalent, i.e. the objective time intervals designated are the same, they will differently prompt conceptualisation and reasoning about events they structure. This hypothesis is empirically tested with native and non-native speakers of English at four levels of time granularity, for seconds/minute, minutes/hour, weeks/month and months/year configurations.
The findings show that there is a consistent major effect indicating a semantic-conceptual asymmetry between cumulative and fractional construals for the seconds/minute level, and a weaker, though analogous, effect for the months/year level, with the fractional construals ‘magnifying’ the quantity. Critically, the effect is found to hold in the case of conceptualisers for whom English, in which stimuli were presented, was their L2 while English native speakers appear to be ‘immune’.
I discuss the potential motivation behind those patterns as well as the effect’s theoretical and practical implications. Finally, the findings are then related to a study on individuals’ intuitive predictions about meaning-making implications of alternating between cumulative and fractional construals of time.
This study aims to explore linguistic differences between fictive motion expressions and physical motion event expressions in Chinese. Although both types of expressions are associated with dynamic linguistic forms, they describe different types of semantic content. Using authentic data, this study examines motion verbs, motion verb constructions, the complexity of ground elements, and alternative manner expressions for Chinese fictive motion events, the results of which are compared with those of previous studies on physical motion events. It is found that Chinese fictive motion expressions are very different from Chinese physical motion event expressions in terms of the above four aspects. The results lend support to the hypothesis that fictive motion occurs more in verb-framed languages.