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Jeffrey M. Zacks

The representation of events is a central topic for cognitive science. In this series of lectures, Jeffrey M. Zacks situates event representations and their role in language within a theory of perception and memory. Event representations have a distinctive structure and format that result from computational and neural mechanisms operating during perception and language comprehension. A crucial aspect of the mechanisms is that event representations are updated to optimize their predictive utility. This updating has consequences for action control and for long-term memory. Event cognition changes across the adult lifespan and can be impaired by conditions including Alzheimer’s disease. These mechanisms have broad impact on everyday activity, and have shaped the development of media such as cinema and narrative fiction.

Series:

Edited by Patricia Salazar-Campillo and Victòria Codina-Espurz

The present volume, edited by Patricia Salazar-Campillo and Victòria Codina-Espurz, is a timely contribution to the field of interlanguage pragmatics. The nine chapters presented here expand the scope of research to date by including different contexts (i.e., formal instruction, stay-abroad, and online) and age groups which have received less attention (for example, young learners and adolescents). Whereas the speech act of requesting is the one that has been most explored in the field of interlanguage pragmatics, as attested by several chapters in the present volume, disagreements and directives are also tackled. This book embraces research addressing both elicited and naturally-occurring data in studies which deal with pragmatic use, development, and awareness.

Atlas of the Arabic Dialects of Galilee (Israel)

With Some Data for Adjacent Areas

Series:

Peter Behnstedt and Aharon Geva Kleinberger

This atlas is based on large-scale fieldwork conducted in Galilee in the mid-nineties of last century. Galilee is the area with the highest percentage of arabophones in Israel and displays a rather complex dialectal situation. The reshuffling of large parts of the population after 1948 led to a considerable degree of dialectal diversity in many places. Moreover, many points of investigation show, besides the notorious Bedouin-sedentary dichotomy, a significant sociolinguistic variation with respect to age, sex, and denomination.The atlas contains seventy-three phonetic and phonologial maps, in addition to eighty morphological and thirty-eight lexical maps.Ten maps deal with the classification of the dialects.The atlas is of interest to semitists, dialectologists and variationists.

Storytelling as Narrative Practice

Ethnographic Approaches to the Tales We Tell

Series:

Edited by Elizabeth Falconi and Kathryn Graber

Telling stories is one of the fundamental things we do as humans. Yet in scholarship, stories considered to be “traditional” such as myths, folk tales, and epics, have often been analyzed separately from the narratives of personal experience that we all tell on a daily basis. In Storytelling as Narrative Practice, editors Elizabeth Falconi and Kathryn Graber argue that storytelling is best understood by erasing this analytic divide. Chapter authors carefully examine language use in-situ, drawing on in-depth knowledge gained from long-term fieldwork, to present rich and nuanced analyses of storytelling-as-narrative-practice across a diverse range of global contexts. Each chapter takes a holistic ethnographic approach to show the practices, processes, and social consequences of telling stories.

Nicolas Ruytenbeek

Abstract

A general issue in pragmatics concerns the definitions of speech act (SA) types. Cognitive linguists agree that a directive SA involves a speaker exerting a force towards her addressee’s (A) performance of some action, and the subtypes of directives have been approached in terms of a metaphorical grounding based on force image-schemas. These idealized cognitive models include graded features, the values and the centrality of which differ across directive subtypes. I address the relationship between the form of utterances used as directives and the ontology of directives, and I discuss recent experiments supporting a view of SA s as graded categories. I show that these approaches enable adopting an empirically adequate distinction between the levels of pragmatic meaning and semantic meaning, which raises interesting possibilities for further experimental work on speech act recognition in cognitive linguistics.

Christoph Unger

Abstract

Exclamations, exclamatives and miratives are utterances that do not merely convey some informative content, but are designed to express the emotional attitude of surprise. In this paper I argue that analysing what it means to express surprise must be based on three main ideas: (1) the idea that exclamatives are instances of metarepresentational use; (2) the idea that what is communicated in exclamatives and exclamations are what relevance theorists call impressions, rather than definite propositions, where impressions are communicated by slightly increasing the manifestness of a whole range of propositions; and (3) the idea that utterances may not only communicate by conveying Gricean meaning, but also by showing, i.e. by providing direct evidence for certain thoughts. Thus, what is communicated in exclamatives and exclamations is typically not reducible to Gricean speaker meanings. I outline the implications of my approach by comparing it to some recent semantic accounts.

Gradual conventionalization of pragmatic inferences

The y/e and o/u alternation in Spanish

Errapel Mejías-Bikandi

Abstract

The alternation in Spanish between y and e on the one hand, and u and o in the other, is examined. It is proposed that the standard account under which the choice of one variant over the other is sensitive only to the phonetic context is incomplete. Specifically, the paper argues that pragmatic inferences that typically appear cross-linguistically associated with these connectors, and that result in asymmetric interpretations, are not favoured in Spanish with the morphological variants e and u, which favour symmetric interpretations. The paper proposes that the relevant pragmatic inferences have been partially conventionalized for y and o, but that this conventionalization has not occurred in the case of e and u for the reason that they are much less frequently used. Thus, discussion and data offer a view of a stage in a gradual process of semantic change via conventionalization of pragmatic inferences.

Nathaniel Lotze

Abstract

Trick questions are a subgenre of puzzles that have undergone little, if any, semantic-pragmatic study, in part because they are often conflated with riddles. While they do share some mechanisms with riddles, they lean much more heavily on pragmatic mechanisms, and how they make use of them is quite different. This paper focuses on three types of invited presuppositions (box, red herring, and rug) that add more weight to the theory that presuppositions are best suited to pragmatic analysis. The lingering question is whether these three types are more or less comprehensive, or if other types might be distilled from other trick questions.

Victoria Escandell-Vidal and Elena Vilinbakhova

Abstract

This paper investigates utterances with the structure A is not A, showing that they can be fully informative and are felicitously used and understood in discourse. Relying on the notions of metalinguistic and metarepresentational negation, we argue that the class of utterances A is not A is heterogeneous and differs in regard to the lower-order representation under the scope of the negative operator. Specifically, we distinguish negated tautologies and copular contradictions. The understanding of negated tautologies involves identifying the corresponding affirmative deep tautology (Bulhof & Gimbel, 2001) and rejecting the assumptions derived from it. The interpretation of copular contradictions is based on distinguishing each of the occurrences of the repeated constituent as describing (a) one single referent with different properties; (b) two different referents satisfying the same description in different evaluation worlds; (c) two different referents, with different properties, which are accessed by means of the same linguistic expression.

Salvatore Pistoia-Reda

Abstract

This paper discusses the Contextual Blindness principle as extended to the exclusive operator only. It focuses on the interaction between only and alternatives derived from a special category of contextual orders, generally referred to as “rank orders”. It submits problematic evidence for the principle and argues that access to contextual information is required in the relevant cases. Its conclusion is that, as things stand, these cases constitute an obstacle to the semantic generalization of scalar reasoning involving only.