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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.
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.
Exploring language, thought and culture using simple, translatable words
Author: Cliff Goddard
This lively lecture series by a leading expert introduces the theory, practice and application of a versatile, rigorous and well-developed approach to cross-linguistic semantics: the NSM approach originated by Anna Wierzbicka. Topics include: history and philosophy of the study of meaning, semantic primes and molecules, emotions, evaluation, verbs and event structure, cultural key words and scripts. Case studies come from English, Chinese, Danish, and other languages. Applications in language teaching and intercultural education are also covered, along with comparisons between NSM and other leading approaches to linguistic semantics. The book will appeal to students and scholars of linguistics at all levels, communication and translation scholars, and anyone interested in a systematic and non Anglocentric approach to meaning, culture and cognition.
Author: Leonard Talmy
In his ten Beijing lectures, Leonard Talmy represents the range of his work in cognitive semantics. The central concern of this approach is the linguistic representation of conceptual structure, that is, the patterns in which and processes by which conceptual content is organized in language. The lectures examine the semantics of grammar, force dynamics, a typology of how motion events are represented, factive versus fictive motion, a typology of event integration, differences in how spoken and signed language structure space, the attention system of language, introspection as a methodology in linguistics, the relation of language to other cognitive systems, and digitalization in the Evolution of language.
This book presents a contrastive analysis of the lexicalization of motion events in Polish in comparison with Russian. The study, set in the framework of Cognitive Linguistics, adopts a usage-based approach to language analysis. Consequently, it draws on data derived from a wide variety of sources, namely modern novels, translated texts and elicitation tasks. Besides describing the distribution of path and manner information in and outside the verb in the two languages, the book addresses questions concerning the place of Polish and Russian on the continuum of the salience of the manner of motion as well as cognitive mechanisms reflected in the lexicalization patterns of motion events.
Cultural, Developmental and Evolutionary Perspectives in Cognitive Linguistics
Author: Chris Sinha
In this interdisciplinary collection of lectures, Chris Sinha presents an overview of topics ranging from language in children’s play, through cultural conceptualizations of time, to philosophical and linguistic relativism. The intertwining of the evolutionary and individual time scales of human development is a key theme unifying the lectures, as is the fundamentally cultural nature of language and cognition.
Familiar topics in cognitive linguistics, such as spatial semantics and conceptual blending, are addressed from these cultural, comparative and developmental perspectives. Chris Sinha also discusses the psychological roots of key concepts in cognitive linguistics, and sets out a biocultural approach to language evolution.