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Verbs of mental states or activity constitute a subject of considerable interest to both Cognitive Linguistics and Linguistic Typology. They promise to open a window on the invisible workings of the mind, while at the same time displaying a wide variety of historical sources across languages. In this book Michael Fortescue presents an innovative approach to the semantics and diachronic source of cognitive verbs across a representative array of the world’s languages. The relationship among the cognitive verbs of individual languages is essentially one of metonymy, and the book investigates in detail the specific metonymic relationships involved, as revealed largely by the polysemous spread of word meanings. The data is projected against a circular ‘map’ of interrelated cognitive categories.
The chapters collected in the volume Passives Cross-Linguistically provide analyses of passive constructions across different languages and populations from the interface perspectives between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. The contributions are, in principle, all based on the background of generative grammatical theory. In addition to the theoretical contributions of the first part of this volume, all solidly built on rich empirical bases, some experimental works are presented, which explore passives from a psycholinguistic perspective based on theoretical insights. The languages/language families covered in the contributions include South Asian languages (Odia/Indo-Aryan and Telugu/Dravidian, but also Kharia/Austro-Asiatic), Japanese, Arabic, English, German, Modern Greek, and several modern Romance varieties (Catalan, Romanian, and especially southern Italian dialects) as well as Vedic Sanskrit and Ancient Greek.
Author: Silvia Luraghi
In Experiential Verbs in Homeric Greek:.A Constructional Approach Silvia Luraghi offers a comprehensive account of construction variation with two-place verbs belonging to different sub-domains of experience (including bodily sensation, perception, cognition, emotion and volitionality) in the Homeric language. Traditionally, variation is ascribed to the independent meaning of cases that mark the second argument, and explanations have focused on properties of the latter. By taking a constructional approach, the author shows that construction variation also brings about differences in the conceptualization of the subject/experiencer by pointing to different degrees of control and awareness. Variation is then shown to reflect the embodied construal of experience along with the social dimension of emotions.
In Ten Lectures on Event Structure in a Network Theory of Language, Nikolas Gisborne explores verb meaning. He discusses theories of events and how a network model of language-in-the-mind should be theorized; what the lexicon is; how to probe word meaning; evidence for structure in word meaning; polysemy; the lexical semantics of causation; a type hierarchy of events; and event types cross-linguistically. He also looks at the relationship between different classes of events or event types and aktionsarten; transitivity alternations and argument linking. Gisborne argues that the social and cognitive embedding of language, requires a view of linguistic structure as a network where even the analysis of verb meaning can require an understanding of the role of speaker and hearer.
The volume Questions in Discourse - Vol. 1 Semantics contains a comprehensive overview of the semantic analysis of questions and their role in structuring discourse, next to a series of in-depth contributions on individual aspects of question meanings. The expert contributions offer novel accounts of semantic phenomena such as negation and biased questions, question embedding, exhaustivity, disjunction in alternative questions, and superlative quantification particles in questions. Some accounts are modelled in the framework of inquisitive semantics, whereas others employ alternative semantics, and yet others point to the discourse-structuring potential of marked questions. All contributions are easily accessible against the background of the general introduction. Together, they give an excellent overview of current trends in question semantics.
The volume Questions in Discourse - Vol. 2 Pragmatics collects original research on the role of questions in understanding text structure and discourse pragmatics. The in-depth studies discuss the effects of focus, questions and givenness in unalternative semantics, as well as the role of scalar particles, question-answer pairs and prosody from the perspective of Questions under Discussion. Two contributions compare the discourse-structuring potential of Questions under Discussion and rhetorical relations, whereas another adds a perspective from inquisitive semantics. Some contributions also look at understudied languages. Together, the contributions allow for a better understanding of question-related pragmatic and discourse-semantic phenomena, and they offer new perspectives on the structure of texts and discourses.
A Study in the History of Linguistics and the Foundations of Language
Author: Pieter Seuren
In this book, Pieter Seuren argues that Ferdinand de Saussure has been grossly overestimated over the past century, while his junior colleague Albert Sechehaye has been undeservedly ignored. Saussure was anything but the great innovator he is generally believed to be. Sechehaye was a genius providing many trenchant analyses and anticipating many modern insights. The lives and works of both men are discussed in detail and they are placed in the cultural, intellectual and social environment of their day. Much attention is paid to the theoretical issues involved, in particular to the notion and history of structuralism, to the great subject-predicate debate that dominated linguistic theory at the time, and to questions of methodology in the theory of language.
As we think and talk, rich arrays of mental spaces and connections between them are constructed unconsciously. Conceptual integration of mental spaces leads to new meaning, global insight, and compressions useful for memory and creativity. A powerful aspect of conceptual integration networks is the dynamic emergence of novel structure in all areas of human life (science, religion, art, ...). The emergence of complex metaphors creates our conceptualization of time. The same operations play a role in material culture generally. Technology evolves to produce cultural human artefacts such as watches, gauges, compasses, airplane cockpit displays, with structure specifically designed to match conceptual inputs and integrate with them into stable blended frames of perception and action that can be memorized, learned by new generations, and thus culturally transmitted.
In her Beijing lectures, Melissa Bowerman presents a lucid introduction and account of her research on a range of topics: how children acquire the semantics of spatial terms, how they construct categories and acquire the semantics of nouns, and how they master the semantics of verbs in early language acquisition. Bowerman also covers the learning of argument structure and expressions of end-state, with special attention to the adult speech that guides children, and hence also the role of typology in acquisition; how cross-linguistic variation affects, for example, how speakers represent ‘cutting’ and ‘breaking’ in different languages, and the relation of the Whorfian Hypothesis to cross-linguistic variations in the semantics of languages. Bowerman’s over-riding concern throughout is with how children come to master the first language being spoken to them by their parents and caregivers.
Volume Editors: Ken Peter Turner and Laurence Horn
The concept of meaning, since Frege initiated the linguistic turn in 1884, has been the subject of numerous theories, hypotheses, methodologies and distinctions. One distinction of considerable strategic value relates to the location of meaning: some aspects of meaning can be found in language and are modelled with semantic values of various kinds; some aspects of meaning can be found in communicative processes and are modelled with pragmatic inferences of one sort or another. One hypothesis of great heuristic utility concerns the relationship that is assumed between the semantic and the pragmatic. This collection of especially commissioned papers examines current thinking on the plausible nature of the semantic, the possible character of the pragmatic and the mechanics of their intersection.