Browse results

Arabic and its Alternatives

Religious Minorities and their Languages in the Emerging Nation States of the Middle East (1920-1950)


Edited by Heleen Murre-van den Berg, Karène Sanchez Summerer and Tijmen Baarda

Arabic and its Alternatives discusses the complicated relationships between language, religion and communal identities in the Middle East in the period following the First World War. This volume takes its starting point in the non-Arabic and non-Muslim communities, tracing their linguistic and literary practices as part of a number of interlinked processes, including that of religious modernization, of new types of communal identity politics and of socio-political engagement with the emerging nation states and their accompanying nationalisms. These twentieth-century developments are firmly rooted in literary and linguistic practices of the Ottoman period, but take new turns under influence of colonization and decolonization, showing the versatility and resilience as much as the vulnerability of these linguistic and religious minorities in the region.

Contributors are Tijmen C. Baarda, Leyla Dakhli, Sasha R. Goldstein-Sabbah, Liora R. Halperin, Robert Isaf, Michiel Leezenberg, Merav Mack, Heleen Murre-van den Berg, Konstantinos Papastathis, Franck Salameh, Cyrus Schayegh, Emmanuel Szurek, Peter Wien.


Hylkje de Jong

In Ἐντολή (mandatum) in den Basiliken Hylkje de Jong deals with the way the Byzantine jurists of the early period (6th and early 7th century) and later period (11th and 12th century) dealt with the law of mandate as they found this in respectively Justinian’s compilation and in the 9th century Basilica. Commonly characterised as consistent Byzantine dogmatics, the remarks of these Byzantine jurists appear to be in reality individual approaches, coloured by each jurist’s own methodology of interpreting.
Based upon the Basilica texts, the law of mandate is set out thematically: the mandate’s object, the liability of parties, actions, remunerations. De Jong proves convincingly that the Byzantine remarks provide a better understanding of Justinian Roman law.

In der Studie Ἐντολή (mandatum) in den Basiliken beschäftigt sich Hylkje de Jong mit der Art und Weise, wie sich die byzantinischen Juristen des 6. und frühen 7. aber auch des 11. und 12. Jahrhunderts mit dem Auftragsrechts befassten, das sie in Justinians Kompilation bzw. in den Basiliken des 9. Jahrhunderts fanden. Die Äußerungen dieser byzantinischen Juristen werden in der Regel als einheitliche byzantinische Rechtslehre aufgefasst, erweisen sich aber in Wirklichkeit als individuelle Ansätze, die von der Methodik des jeweiligen Juristen geprägt und gefärbt sind.
Basierend auf den Basilikentexten wird das Auftragsrecht thematisch dargestellt: Gegenstand des Mandats, Haftung der Parteien, Klagen, Vergütungen etc. Überzeugend weist De Jong nach, dass die byzantinischen Darlegungen ein besseres Verständnis des römischen Rechts von Justinian vermitteln.

Changer de style

Écritures évolutives aux XXe et XXIe siècles


Edited by Sophie Jollin-Bertocchi and Serge Linarès

Cet ouvrage, coordonné par Sophie Jollin-Bertocchi et Serge Linarès, interroge pour la première fois la pratique fréquente du changement de style chez les écrivains français depuis la fin du XIXe siècle. Restituant le phénomène à son historicité, il ne vise pas à contester la notion de « style d’auteur », mais à en relativiser le caractère essentialiste, croisant la démarche stylisticienne avec d’autres approches (sociologie, poétique…). Il dessine le contexte historique et éditorial, évoque ensuite des parcours de polygraphes, appréhende la problématique sous l’angle générique (poésie, roman), met en évidence les enjeux biographiques, questionne enfin les possibilités d’une permanence derrière la disparité des manières d’écrire. À l’époque moderne, avoir du style ne se limite pas à en avoir un seul.

This collection coordinated by Sophie Jollin-Bertocchi and Serge Linarès addresses the common practice of the change of style among French authors since the end of the nineteenth century. The intention is not to challenge the notion of an author’s style but the relativization of its essentialist nature, from different approaches (sociology, poetics…) and through a variety of examples. This study outlines the historical and editorial context, brings up some surveys from the point of view of genre (poetry, novel), and underlines the biographical issues. This book also raises the question of some possibilities of a standard behind the array of different styles. In the contemporary period, evidencing Style does not imply being limited to one style only.


Edited by Hans C. Boas and Marc Pierce

This volume consists of revised versions of presentations given at a roundtable on “New Directions for Historical Linguistics: Impact and Synthesis, 50 Years Later” held at the 23rd International Conference on Historical Linguistics in San Antonio, Texas, in 2017, as well as an introduction by the editors. The roundtable discussed the evolution of historical linguistics since the 1966 symposium on “Directions for Historical Linguistics,” held in Austin, Texas. Six prominent scholars of historical linguistics and sociolinguistics contributed: William Labov (the only surviving author from the 1968 volume), Gillian Sankoff, Elizabeth Traugott, Brian Joseph, Sarah Thomason, and Paul Hopper (a graduate student assistant at the original symposium).

Leadership, credibility and persuasion

A view from three public policy discourses

Iga Lehman, Łukasz Sułkowski and Piotr Cap


This short paper makes a tentative attempt to capture the most salient of persuasion strategies engaged in the construction of leadership in three different yet apparently interrelated domains of public life and public policy, political communication, management/business discourse, and academic communication. It explores the cognitive underpinnings, as well as linguistic realizations, of such concepts/phenomena/mechanisms as consistency-building, source-tagging, forced conceptualizations by metaphor, and discursive neutralization of the cheater detection module in the discourse addressee. A preliminary conclusion from the analysis of these mechanisms is that the three discourses under investigation reveal striking conceptual similarities with regard to the main strategies of credibility-building and enactment of leadership. At the same time, they reveal differences at the linguistic level, i.e. regarding the types of lexical choices applied to realize a given strategy.

Shaping identities in interaction by cognitive meanings

The variable usage of usted (es) as second-person object in Spanish

María José Serrano


This is not an address forms research. The purpose of this paper is to study the variation of the Spanish singular and plural second-person object usted (es) (SPU object) by means of the cognitive properties of salience and informativeness. Each variant of the second-person object constitutes a meaningful possibility used by speakers to define their particular position in relation to the communicative situation where they participate, tightly connected to their communicative purposes during interaction. The quantitative and qualitative analysis of SPU object variation in a corpus of Contemporary Spanish (Corpus Interaccional del Español) show that variants are unevenly distributed across textual genres and socioprofessional affiliations of speakers and contribute to shape communicative styles based on the continuum of objectivity-subjectivity.

Atlas of the Arabic Dialects of Galilee (Israel)

With Some Data for Adjacent Areas


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.


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.

Storytelling as Narrative Practice

Ethnographic Approaches to the Tales We Tell


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

Speaking figuratively

The role of the tacit in artful language

Kathryn O’Shields


This article addresses two forms of artful language: similes and metaphors. It argues that their artful quality arises from a deliberate omission of information, requiring the listener to fill in the missing parts. Sentences of the form ‘A is like B’ have two uses: as plain comparisons (called similatives) stating that two individuals (item A and item B) are comparable and share properties, and as similes, which are intended as assertions that A is “B-like” in some way. The simile’s absent information is tacit assumptions about its second member, B. As a result, similatives and similes behave differently and have distinct syntactic interpretations. The absent information in a metaphor of the form ‘A is a B’ is a tacit analogy, A:X::B:Y. As such, a metaphor asserts a parallel between two unstated relations, not its two identified items. The tacit members X and Y create the structural framework for the metaphor. Because metaphors use different tacit information than similes do, the two forms require distinct interpretations. It is also shown here that the literal truth of similes and metaphors is irrelevant to their interpretations. Nevertheless, artful statements can be used to make true or false assertions. Their truth is determined by taking their absent information into account. Furthermore, similes and metaphors can meaningfully use negation, as plain statements can. Patterns in simile and metaphor usage reveal that there are predictable processes behind their creation and systematic methods to their interpretations. Once these are identified, the linguistic contributions of similes and metaphors become clear.


Edited by Angela Ralli

This volume provides an unprecedented collection of data from Asia Minor Greek, namely from Cappadocian, Pharasiot, Silliot, Smyrniot, Aivaliot, Bithynian, Pontic, Propontis Tsakonian and the dialect of Adrianoupolis. It offers fresh and original reflections on the study of morphology, dialectology and language contact by examining issues regarding inflection, derivation and compounding, dealt with by Metin Bağrıaçık, Marianna Gkiouleka, Aslı Göksel, Mark Janse, Brian D. Joseph, Petros Karatsareas, Nikos Koutsoukos, Io Manolessou, Theodore Markopoulos, Dimitra Melissaropoulou, Nikos Pantelidis and Angela Ralli. An in-depth investigation of phenomena aims to increase our understanding of language change. They result either from a natural evolution of Asia Minor Greek, or from the interaction between the fusional Greek and the agglutinative Turkish or the semi-analytical Romance.

Observing Writing

Insights from Keystroke Logging and Handwriting


Edited by Eva Lindgren and Kirk Sullivan

Observing writing: Insights from Keystroke Logging and Handwriting is a timely volume appearing twelve years after the Studies in Writing volume Computer Keystroke Logging and Writing (Sullivan & Lindgren, 2006). The 2006 volume provided the reader with a fundamental account of keystroke logging, a methodology in which a piece of software records every keystroke, cursor and mouse movement a writer undertakes during a writing session. This new volume highlights current theoretical and applied research questions in keystroke logging and handwriting research that observes writing. In this volume, contributors from a range of disciplines, including linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, modern languages, and education, present their research that considers the cognitive and socio-cultural complexities of writing texts in academic and professional settings.


Edited by Carla Suhr, Terttu Nevalainen and Irma Taavitsainen

Azad Mammadov and Misgar Mammadov


The goal of this paper is to make an attempt at exploring the concepts of time, space and person, focusing on the nexus between them, with a view to revealing their role in shaping our perception and understanding of the sociological, political, cultural and economic contexts. The paper is also dealing with the issue of how subjective individual factors can influence various discursive practices vis-à-vis time and space. In its theoretical framework, the paper outlines key theoretical issues and concepts by focusing on the role of text, context and discourse in understanding time, space and person. The second part of the paper considers the crucial role of linguistic devices in the localization of time, space and person in political discourse. Finally, the third part explains how linguistic devices (both conventional and figurative) function in building the dynamism of time, space and person in political discourse, focusing on proximization and direction.

Robin Anderson and Iga Maria Lehman


In this paper we set out to consider the place of the English language in globalised communities. The hegemony, which English enjoys, has ramifications for how it is taught, how and why it is learned and how it is used. We argue that there is a need to consider more socio-cultural and individual factors in the learning and use of English as a lingua franca as these factors constitute crucial aids to successful cross-cultural interactions in professional environments. The latest research on lingua franca English (LFE) (Firth & Wagner, 1997; Kramsch, 2002; Larsen-Freeman, 2002; Block, 2003; House, 2003; Canagarajah, 2006a; Lantolf & Thorne, 2006; Atkinson, Churchill, Nishino & Okada, 2007) confirms our position since it reveals what has always been the experience of multilingual speakers, i.e., “Language learning and use succeed through performance strategies, situational resources, and social negotiations in fluid communicative contexts. Proficiency is therefore practice-based, adaptive, and emergent” (Canagarajah, 2007: 923).

Distinctions in procedural meaning

Evidence from Modern Greek contrast

Valandis Bardzokas


The current paper aims to investigate the distinctions in meaning between two prototypical markers of contrast in Modern Greek, i.e. alla and ma, from a relevance-theoretic viewpoint. At first sight, the two markers seem freely interchangeable across contexts, creating the impression that they basically share the same meaning. However, a more careful exploration of the contextual occurrences of these markers unravels their finely grained distinctions in meaning. This type of exploration requires a detailed categorization of the types of context that license or preclude the application of the markers at hand. In this sense, specific contexts highlight aspects of interpretation that motivate the use of one of the markers but not the other. Specifically, as it turns out, while the use of alla is chiefly associated with contexts of procedural elimination, in standard relevance-theoretic terms, the use of ma is justified in relation to expressing the speaker’s attitude of surprise to a contextual assumption constructed by the hearer, in addition to effecting procedural elimination. In this sense, ma proves to encode a dual constraint on the implicitly communicated content of an utterance, explained univocally in procedural terms.

Haifa Alatawi


The Default hypothesis on implicature processing suggests that a rapid, automatic mechanism is used to process utterances such as “some of his family are attending the wedding” to infer that “not all of them are attending”, an inference subject to cancellation if additional contextual information is provided (e.g. “actually, they are all attending”). In contrast, the Relevance hypothesis suggests that only context-dependent inferences are computed and this process is cognitively effortful. This article reviews findings on behavioural and neural processing of scalar implicatures to clarify the cognitive effort involved.

From text to scheme

Problems in identifying arguments from expert opinion

Douglas Walton and Marcin Koszowy


We show how to solve common problems in identifying arguments from expert opinion, illustrated by five examples selected from The Economist. Our method started by intuitively identifying many appeals to alleged experts in The Economist and comparing them to the argumentation scheme for argument from expert opinion. This approach led us to (i) extending the existing list of possible faults committed when arguments from expert opinion are performed and (ii) proposing the extension of the list of linguistic cues that would allow analysts to identify arguments from expert opinion. Our ultimate aim is to help argument identification by argument mining connect better with techniques of argument analysis and evaluation.

What’s really going on with the ham sandwich?

An investigation into the nature of referential metonymy

Josephine Bowerman


Working within the framework of Relevance Theory, I investigate the nature of referential metonymy (specifically, metonymically-used definite descriptions), aiming to elucidate (i) the pragmatic mechanisms involved in referential metonymy comprehension, and (ii) the contribution of a metonymically-used definite description to the explicitly communicated content of an utterance. I propose that, while the interpretation of referential metonymy is properly inferential in nature, it cannot be explained in terms of ‘meaning modulation’ (narrowing and broadening); rather, the literal meaning of a metonymically-used referring expression remains intact, and is used as evidence of the speaker’s target referent. In addition, I argue that the referential/attributive distinction proposed by Donnellan (1966) for literally-used definite descriptions also applies to metonymically-used definite descriptions. Thus, the contribution of a metonymically-used definite description to explicit utterance content differs according to whether the definite description is used ‘referentially’ or ‘attributively’.

Sociolinguistics and the Narrative Turn

Researching language and society in contexts of change and transition


Rada Tirvassen

Sociolinguistics and the Narrative Turn presents a fresh approach to sociolinguistics. Located within a qualitative paradigm, it proposes an alternative method for generating knowledge in the field. To start with, there is an argued critique of some of the guiding principles of traditional sociolinguistics which is driven by a trend of scholarship that draws on the meta-narrative of the researcher. In this traditional approach to sociolinguistics, the interpretation of the language phenomenon is not only decontextualised but also stripped of human experience. To illustrate his argument that a qualitative narrative approach to knowledge generation can offer different perspectives and can renew the theorisation of the relationship between language and society, the author has conducted a small-scale study consisting of seven participants.

Voices on Birchbark

Everyday Communication in Medieval Russia


Jos Schaeken

In Voices on Birchbark Jos Schaeken explores the major role that writing on birchbark – an ephemeral, even ‘throw-away’ form of correspondence and administration – played in the vibrant medieval merchant city of Novgorod and other cities in the Russian Northwest. Birchbark literacy was crucial to the organization of Novgorodian society; it was integrated into a huge variety of activities and had a broad social basis; it was used extensively by the laity, by women as well as men, by villagers as well as landlords. Voices on Birchbark is the first book-length study of this unique corpus in English. By examining a representative selection of birchbark texts, Jos Schaeken presents fascinating vignettes of daily medieval life and a holistic picture of the pragmatics of communication in pre-modern societies.


Eliezer Ben-Rafael and Miriam Ben-Rafael

This work studies aspects of the symbolic construction of public spaces by means of linguistic resources (i.e. linguistic landscapes or LLs) in a number of world-cities. The sociology of language leads us to this field and to study the intermingling impacts of globalization, the national principle and multiculturalism – each one conveying its own distinct linguistic markers: international codes, national languages and ethnic vernaculars. Eliezer and Miriam Ben-Rafael study the configurations of these influences, which they conceptualize as multiple globalization, in the LLs of downtowns, residential quarters, and marginal neighborhoods of a number of world-cities. They ask how far worldwide codes of communication gain preeminence, national languages are marginalized and ethnic vernaculars impactful. They conclude by suggesting a paradigm of multiple globalizations.


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.

Corpus Linguistics and Sociolinguistics

A Study of Variation and Change in the Modal Systems of World Englishes


Beke Hansen

In Corpus Linguistics and Sociolinguistics, Beke Hansen analyses variation and change in the modal systems of three second-language varieties of English in Asia by taking a sociolinguistic approach to corpus data. Her study focuses on the modal and semi-modal verbs of strong obligation and necessity in Hong Kong English, Indian English, and Singapore English based on the relevant ICE component corpora. She adopts a typologically-informed perspective on variation in World Englishes by comparing the structures of the speakers’ first languages with the structures of the emergent varieties in the expression of epistemic modality. Beyond this, she analyses language change by constructing apparent-time scenarios to compensate for the lack of diachronic corpora in World Englishes.


Melissa Bowerman

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 Dead Sea Scrolls and the Study of the Humanities

Method, Theory, Meaning: Proceedings of the Eighth Meeting of the International Organization for Qumran Studies (Munich, 4–7 August, 2013)


Edited by Pieter B. Hartog, Alison Schofield and Samuel I. Thomas

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Study of the Humanities explores the use of methods, theories, and approaches from the humanities in the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The volume contains ten essays on topics ranging from New Philology and socio-linguistics to post-colonial thinking and theories of myth.


Edited by Lily Kahn

Jewish Languages in Historical Perspective is devoted to the diverse array of spoken and written language varieties that have been employed by Jews in the Diaspora from antiquity until the twenty-first century. It focuses on the following five key themes: Jewish languages in dialogue with sacred Jewish texts, Jewish languages in contact with the co-territorial non-Jewish languages, Jewish vernacular traditions, the status of Jewish languages in the twenty-first century, and theoretical issues relating to Jewish language research. This volume includes case studies on a wide range of Jewish languages both historical and modern and devotes attention to lesser known varieties such as Jewish Berber, Judeo-Italian and Karaim in addition to the more familiar Aramaic, Judeo-Arabic, Yiddish, and Ladino.

Lost in Translation, Found in Transliteration

Books, Censorship, and the Evolution of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation of London as a Linguistic Community, 1663–1810


Alex Kerner

In Lost in Translation, Found in Transliteration, Alex Kerner examines London’s Spanish & Portuguese Jews’ congregation in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as a community that delineated its identity not only along ethnic and religious lines, but also along the various languages spoken by its members. By zealously keeping Hebrew and Spanish for prayer and Portuguese for community administration, generations of wardens attempted to keep control over their community, alongside a tough censorial policy on book printing. Clinging to the Iberian languages worked as a bulwark against assimilation, adding language to religion as an additional identity component. As Spanish and Portuguese speaking generations were replaced with younger ones, English permeated daily and community life intensifying assimilationist trends.

“His focus on books as an indicator of the importance of language in the London community is well presented, and Kerner’s clear description of the varying uses of Spanish, Portuguese, and Hebrew (and later, English) by the Sephardim in London gives a good survey of the changes in the community over the 150 years covered by the book…. Highly recommended.” - Michelle Chesner, Columbia University, in: Association of Jewish Libraries News and Reviews 1.1 (2019)
"Alex Kerner’s admirable study is a valuable contribution to our knowledge of the interrelationships between language and censorship and their maintenance of community identity." - Barry Taylor, The British Library, London, in: Bulletin of Spanish Studies 96 (2019)

The affordances and constraints of situation and genre

Visual and multimodal rhetoric in unusual traffic signs

Charles Forceville and Jens E. Kjeldsen


Visuals are generally considered to be rich in information, but also to be open to many different interpretations. As a consequence, many argumentation scholars doubt that visuals can constitute argumentation (e.g. Fleming, 1996; Johnson, 2003, 2010; Patterson, 2010). In this paper, we argue that the rhetorical and argumentative potential of visuals and multimodal texts is strengthened if they belong to recognizable genres, genres being governed by discourse-internal factors as well as situational/pragmatic understanding. The genre of traffic signs can draw on specific genre conventions thanks to these signs’ highly coded nature. As a consequence, traffic signs constitute an exemplary category to make the point that visuals and multimodal texts can function rhetorically or even argumentatively. We support our claim by first analysing a number of unusual instances of the genre and then discussing a few visual and multimodal signs whose argumentative potential no longer depends on specific traffic-related circumstances but crucially depends on the pretence that they are traffic signs.

Argumentation, Relevance Theory and persuasion

An analysis of onomatopoeia in Japanese publications using manga stylistics

Olivia Rohan, Ryoko Sasamoto and Rebecca Jackson


This paper presents an application of Relevance Theory (Sperber and Wilson, 1995) to pictures by studying the role that weak implicatures may play in the persuasiveness of multimodal argumentative discourse. We take a relevance-theoretic approach to the discussion of visual and multimodal argumentation with a particular focus on the role of onomatopoeia. To examine the possible mechanism by which persuasion operates through onomatopoeia, we analyse a corpus of Japanese-style comics (manga), where visuals and verbal text interact to convey onomatopoeia. We argue that the use of onomatopoeia in manga contributes to the recovery of weak implicatures which, in turn, helps to reinforce the persuasiveness of the communicated messages in the examples analysed.

Assimakis Tseronis


The alleged vagueness of visual images and the lack of a univocal coding scheme make it difficult to be sure about the propositions to which image-makers are committed. This is particularly problematic for the analysis of multimodal discourse from an argumentation studies perspective, because it makes it hard for the analyst to establish the argumentative nature and relevance of visuals. The paper explores how insights from Relevance Theory can be applied in order to determine the commitments of image-makers. In particular, it has recourse to the inferential processes involved in the recovery of explicit and implicit content in order to analyse a series of covers from The Economist, where visuals in combination with verbal text cue allusions to films and paintings. It argues that these multimodal allusions are not simply used to attract the audience’s attention but also help the analyst to reconstruct the argument of the cover.


Pragmatic insights for multimodal argumentation

Assimakis Tseronis and Chiara Pollaroli


In this introductory paper to the special issue, we briefly discuss literature from argumentation studies, pragmatics, and multimodal analysis in order to show how pragmatics has benefited argumentation studies until now, and how it can also benefit multimodal analysis. In the last section we introduce the papers of this issue that focus on the question how pragmatics can benefit multimodal argumentation in particular.

Multimodal positioning and reference in argumentative talk-in-interaction

Balancing context-dependency and context-independency

Jérôme Jacquin


Drawing on a descriptive and language-oriented approach to argumentation, this paper explores the multimodal dimension of argumentation in talk-in-interaction by considering the various resources used by an opponent to refer to and position themselves in relation to the target of their opposition, namely the adverse position and/or the person who expressed it. More specifically, it studies how speakers exploit multimodal strategies in order to both maintain their discourse at a high level of generality (orientation to context-independency) and guarantee the indexicality of the position taken in the interaction and the disagreement (orientation to context-dependency). The analysis is based on two data collections documenting settings where all participants are temporally and spatially co-present: (i) a video-recorded corpus of Swiss French public debates and (ii) a video-recorded corpus of New Zealand English management meetings. Examining the role of multimodal orchestration of choices in gaze direction, deictic gestures, and speech in establishing different positions in argumentative events such as public debates or management meetings reveals specific contextual features of the activity types, participation frameworks, and sociolinguistic backgrounds involved in an argument.

Sabrina Mazzali-Lurati, Chiara Pollaroli and Silvia De Ascaniis


In this paper we reconstruct the hierarchy of discourse acts that reviewers build in multimodal online reviews for tourist attractions. We aim at showing (1) how reviewers employ different semiotic modes to fulfil the communicative action of tourist recommendation, and (2) the pragmatic function of photographs in the hierarchy of discourse acts. By adopting the framework of Congruity Theory (e.g., Rigotti, 2005; Rocci, 2005), we analyze a sample of positive and negative multimodal reviews of the Great Cathedral and Mosque in Cordoba (Spain) published by tourists on TripAdvisor. We show that the multimodal elements of the reviews fulfil different pragmatic functions within the overall communicative action of providing advice on the tourist site.

John A. Bateman


This short position paper argues that new semiotically-anchored approaches to multimodality offer much for other disciplines now engaging with multimodality. In particular, the account of multimodality introduced is argued to position current discussions of the potential role of multimodality in argumentation studies more effectively, untangling several problematic distinctions drawn previously. Questions concerning the existence of visual argumentation, the necessity of propositionality, and the nature of argumentation are reconstructed from an inherently multimodal perspective.

Francesca Ervas and Elisabetta Gola


The papers collected in the reviewed volume question the hegemony of the verbal in argumentation theory, focusing on different modes of arguing, ranging from the audio and visual to the gestural, across a variety of media genres. The volume aims at presenting the ways in which the different modes structure argumentation and coherently interact in multimodal text.

When context changes

The need for a dynamic notion of context in multimodal argumentation

Janina Wildfeuer and Chiara Pollaroli


This paper highlights the notion of dynamic context as an indispensable pragmatic aspect of multimodal argumentation and exemplifies a context-based approach to multimodal arguments with an analysis of the Mophie 2015 Super Bowl commercial. Whereas in dynamic semantics and verbal discourse analysis the notion of dynamic context and its context change potential are significant patterns for the analysis, argumentation theorists have not yet fully included these patterns in their discussions. The paper argues that multimodal argumentative genres such as commercials and movie trailers often work with a dynamically changing interpretation, which, at the end, reveals their persuasive patterns and final claims. It demonstrates that it is absolutely necessary for a detailed analysis of the argumentation in these multimodal genres to include the contextual influence and dynamic change potential. The paper thus emphasizes the need for an inclusion of the notion of dynamic context in methods and frameworks dealing with the complexity of multimodal argumentation.

Languaging Without Languages

Beyond metro-, multi-, poly-, pluri- and translanguaging


Robin Sabino

Drawing on usage-based theory, neurocognition, and complex systems, Languaging Beyond Languages elaborates an elegant model accommodating accumulated insights into human language even as it frees linguistics from its two-thousand-year-old, ideological attachment to reified grammatical systems. Idiolects are redefined as continually emergent collections of context specific, probabilistic memories entrenched as a result of domain-general cognitive processes that create and consolidate linguistic experience. Also continually emergent, conventionalization and vernacularization operate across individuals producing the illusion of shared grammatical systems. Conventionalization results from the emergence of parallel expectations for the use of linguistic elements organized into syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships. In parallel, vernacularization indexes linguistic forms to sociocultural identities and stances. Evidence implying entrenchment and conventionalization is provided in asymmetrical frequency distributions.

Who Decides?

Competing Narratives in Constructing Tastes, Consumption and Choice


Edited by Nina Namaste and Marta Nadales

How is the meaning of food created, communicated, and continually transformed? How are food practices defined, shaped, delineated, constructed, modified, resisted, and reinvented – by whom and for whom? These are but a few of the questions Who Decides? Competing Narratives in Constructing Tastes, Consumption and Choice explores. Part I (Taste, Authenticity & Identity) explicitly centres on the connection between food and identity construction. Part II (Food Discourses) focuses on how food-related language shapes perceptions that in turn construct particular behaviours that in turn demonstrate underlying value systems. Thus, as a collection, this volume explores how tastes are shaped, formed, delineated and acted upon by normalising socio-cultural processes, and, in some instances, how those very processes are actively resisted and renegotiated.

Contributors are Shamsul AB, Elyse Bouvier, Giovanna Costantini, Filip Degreef, Lis Furlani Blanco, Maria Clara de Moraes Prata Gaspar, Marta Nadales Ruiz, Nina Namaste, Eric Olmedo, Hannah Petertil, Maria José Pires, Lisa Schubert, Brigitte Sébastia, Keiko Tanaka, Preetha Thomas, Andrea Wenzel, Ariel Weygandt, Andrea Whittaker and Minette Yao.


Edited by Jacqueline Knörr and Wilson Trajano Filho

This book deals with creolization and pidginization of language, culture and identity and makes use of interdisciplinary approaches developed in the study of the latter. Creolization and pidginization are conceptualized and investigated as specific social processes in the course of which new common languages, socio-cultural practices and identifications are developed under distinct social and political conditions and in different historical and local contexts of diversity. The contributions show that creolization and pidginization are important strategies to deal with identity and difference in a world in which diversity is closely linked with inequalities that relate to specific group memberships, colonial legacies and social norms and values.


Edited by Gudrun Held

The papers in this volume study the relationship between language use and the concept of the “tourist gaze” through a range of communicative practices from different cultures and languages. From a pragmatic perspective, the authors investigate how language constantly adapts to contextual constraints which affect tourism discourse as a strategic meaning-making process that turns insignificant places into desirable tourist destinations. The case studies draw on both, in situ interactions with visitors, such as guided tours and counter information, old and new mediatized genres, i.e. guide books, travelogues, print advertising as well as TV-commercials, service web-sites and apps. Despite the diversity of data, one of the common findings in the volume is that staging the sensory ‘lived’ tourist experience is the lynchpin of all communicative practices. Hence, the use of tourism language reveals itself as the mirror of how ‘people on the move’ continuously enact as ‘tourists’ and ‘places’ are constructed as must-see ‘sights’.


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.

Dorien Van De Mieroop and Isolda E. Carranza

In this article, we analyze three cases in which subordinates’ oral claims are refuted by superiors who draw on written documents of which the subordinates are the (in)direct authors. In this ventriloquization process (Cooren, 2012), the superiors construct these written documents as facts, which have institutionalized the evidential status of the claims. In particular, we use courtroom data and data from performance appraisal interviews in a medical organization. This comparison revealed that the latter allowed for a more flexible handling of written documents, while the former displayed a much more rigid structure in which the ‘incorporation’ of written records immediately entailed a number of interactionally non-negotiable implications. Overall, it became clear that by drawing on the different ontological status of written records, superiors subject subordinate participants to their authority, as such constituting the organization in the name of which they are acting and which reflexively entitles them to act in this way.

Reflections on discourse and knowledge

An interview with Teun van Dijk

József Andor

Russophobia in DotA 2

A critical discursive analysis of online discrimination

Albin Wagener

Online gaming has been a fascinating field of study for the last ten years, especially in the field of socialization (Kolo & Baur, 2004) or even language use and language learning (Thorne, Black & Sykes, 2009). It has become clear that gamers are able to perform processes of identification in completely new ways in these particular contexts, yet forums linked to specific games become a new source of metapragmatic or metadiscursive utterances. Through their experiences in the game, users make comments, assumptions and draw conclusions in order to ‘do identity’ and separate themselves from Others. The aim of this paper will be to analyse the discourses produced in a corpus of forum discussions linked to “DotA 2”, a popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game where players from every country of the world gather, which leads to specific forms of discrimination—especially towards Russian gamers. In order to analyse these discursive productions and their semantic and pragmatic impacts, we will use three different approaches in order to triangulate our results: a lexicometric analysis (Garric & Capdevielle-Mougnibas, 2009), the semantic study of argumentative possibilities (Galatanu, 2009) and the mobilization of the proximization model (Cap, 2010), in order to understand the semantic variations and dynamics that are at use when gamers publish discourses about Russian players. In particular, we wish to explore how these precise discourses about Russian players are drawing on pragmatics of common sense (Sarfati, 2011), insofar as they rely on prediscourses (Paveau, 2006) to maintain pragmatic effects which imply cognitive impacts on speakers (Maillat & Oswald, 2009) as well as on the interdiscourses at use (Garric & Longhi, 2013).

Siaw-Fong Chung

The occurrences of kill and killer are often understood as negative; however, evidence suggests that these words also have positive meanings. To many people, the use of kill and killer indicates physical death, but we found other meanings of these words. First, death is the worst possible outcome, but it is not necessarily a consequence of kill and killer. Second, killer, in particular, has a strong positive meaning that is extended from the ‘deadly’ meaning of kill. Third, we found that the figurative use of killer appeared more often in magazines and newspapers, as well as in fiction but with different purposes, when we compared the data from magazines and newspapers with those from different genres. The results obtained by analysing magazine and newspaper corpora in the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) showed the importance of pragmatic interpretation in understanding meanings.

Mohammad Ali Salmani Nodoushan

In this paper, I will review Davidson’s paratactic account of indirect reports, the attacks leveled against it, and the support it received. I will then provide data from Persian which seem to support the idea that neither Davidson and his proponents nor his opponents were completely right, and that an adequate theory of indirect reports is doomed to be semantico-pragmatic in nature.

Contested Communities

Communication, Narration, Imagination


Edited by Susanne Mühleisen

This interdisciplinary volume investigates com-munity in postcolonial language situations, texts, and media. In actual and imagined communities, membership assumes shared features – values, linguistic codes, geographical origin, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, professional interests and practices. How is membership in such communities constructed, manifested, tested or contested? What new forms have emerged in the wake of globalization, translocation, and digital media? Contributions in linguistic, literary, and cultural studies explore the role of communication, narratives, memory, and trauma in processes of (un)belonging.
One section treats communication and the speech community. Here, linguistic contribu-tions investigate the concept of the native speaker in World Englishes, in socio-cultural communities identified by styles of verbal duelling, in diaspora communities, physical and digital, where identification with formerly stigmatized linguistic codes acquires new currency. Divisions and alignments in digital communities are at stake in postcolonial African countries like Cameroon where identification with ex-colonizer and ex-colonized is a hot issue. Finally, discourse communities also exist in such traditional media as newspapers (e.g., the Indian tabloid in English).
In a section devoted to narrative and narration, the focus is on literary perspectives – post-colonial memory, trauma, and identity in Caribbean literary works by David Chariandy and Pauline Melville and in Australian Aboriginal fiction; narratives of banditry in colonial India; xenophobia and urban space in South Africa; human–animal community crossings and anthropomorphism in Life of Pi.
A third section, on linguistic crossings in transnational music styles in global and Ugandan music industries, examines language, style, and belonging in music cultures. The volume closes with a controversial debate on the agendas of academic/non-academic and postcolonial/Western communities with regard to homophobia in Jamaican dancehall culture.

Eric A. Anchimbe, Susan Arndt, Roman Bartosch, Carolyn Cooper, Daria Dayter, Dagmar Deuber, Tobias Döring, Stephanie Hackert, Caroline Koegler, Stephan Laqué, Andrea Moll, Susanne Mühleisen, Jochen Petzold, Katja Sarkowsky, Britta Schneider, Anne Schröder, Jude Ssempuuma, Robert JC Young

Ten Lectures on Language, Culture and Mind

Cultural, Developmental and Evolutionary Perspectives in Cognitive Linguistics


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.


Edited by Jacob Høigilt and Gunvor Mejdell

The Politics of Written Language in the Arab World connects the fascinating field of contemporary written Arabic with the central sociolinguistic notions of language ideology and diglossia. Focusing on Egypt and Morocco, the authors combine large-scale survey data on language attitudes with in-depth analyses of actual language usage and explicit (and implicit) language ideology. They show that writing practices as well as language attitudes in Egypt and Morocco are far more receptive to vernacular forms than has been assumed.

The individual chapters cover a wide variety of media, from books and magazines to blogs and Tweets. A central theme running through the contributions is the social and political function of “doing informality” in a changing public sphere steadily more permeated by written Arabic in a number of media.

The e-book version of this publication is available in Open Access.


Ronald Langacker

These lectures provide a basic introduction to the linguistic theory known as Cognitive Grammar. It is argued that a conceptualist semantics, well motivated in its own terms, provides the basis for a symbolic view of grammar. Consisting in the structuring and symbolization of conceptual content, grammar is inherently meaningful, and basic grammatical notions have conceptual characterizations. An account is given of grammatical categories, markings, and constructions. A number of central topics are examined in detail, including subjects, possessives, locatives, voice, and impersonals.


Ronald Langacker

This book reviews the basic claims and descriptive constructs of Cognitive Grammar, outlines major themes in its ongoing development, and applies these notions to central problems in grammatical analysis. The initial review covers conceptual semantics, the conceptual characterization of grammatical categories, grammatical constructions, and the architecture of a unified theory of language structure. Main themes in the framework’s development include the dynamicity of language structure, grammar as the implementation of semantic functions, systems of opposing elements to serve those functions, and organization in strata representing successive elaborations of a baseline structure. The descriptive application of these notions centers on nominal and clausal structure, with special emphasis on nominal grounding.


Ewa Dąbrowska

This volume presents a synthesis of cognitive linguistic theory and research on first and second language acquistion, language processing, individual differences in linguistic knowledge, and on the role of multi-word chunks and low-level schemas in language production and comprehension. It highlights the tension between “linguists’ grammars”, which are strongly influenced by principles such as economy and elegance, and “speakers’ grammars”, which are often messy, less than fully general, and sometimes inconsistent, and argues that cognitive linguistics is an empirical science which combines study of real usage events and experiments which rigorously test specific hypotheses.

Aorists and Perfects

Synchronic and diachronic perspectives


Edited by Marc Fryd and Pierre-Don Giancarli

This volume gathers nine contributions dealing with Aorists and Perfects. Drinka challenges the notion of Aoristic Drift in Romance languages. Walker considers two emergent uses of the Perfect in British English. Jara seeks to determine the constraints on tense choice within narrative discourse in Peruvian Spanish. Henderson argues for a theory based on Langacker’s ‘sequential scanning’ in Chilean and Uruguayan Spanish. Delmas looks at ’Ua in Tahitian, a polysemic particle with a range of aspectual and modal meanings. Bourdin addresses the expression of anteriority with just in English. Yerastov examines the distribution of the transitive be Perfect in Canadian English. Fryd offers a panchronic study of have-less perfect constructions in English. Eide investigates counterfactual present perfects in Mainland Scandinavian dialects.

Contextual effects on explicature

Optional pragmatics or optional syntax?

Robyn Carston and Alison Hall


The debate between advocates of free pragmatic enrichment and those who maintain that any pragmatic contribution to explicature is mediated by a covert linguistic indexical took a new turn with the claim that these covert elements may be optional (Martí, 2006). This prompted the conclusion (Recanati, 2010b) that there is no longer any issue of substance between the two positions, as both involve optional elements of utterance meaning, albeit registered at different representational levels (conceptual or linguistic). We maintain, on the contrary, that the issue remains substantive and we make the case that, for a theory of the processes involved in utterance comprehension, the free pragmatic enrichment account is indispensable. We further argue that the criticism of free enrichment that motivates at least some indexicalist accounts rests on a mistaken assumption that it is the semantic component of the grammar (linguistic competence) that is responsible for delivering truth-conditional content (explicature).

Beáta Gyuris


The aim of this paper is to provide new insights for the analysis of bias in polar questions by showing that the distinction proposed by Sudo (2013) between evidential and epistemic biases leads to an integrated picture of the Hungarian system of polar interrogatives. For the first time, a comprehensive analysis of this system is given here and it is shown how the contributions of certain formal features, such as the interrogative and the negative particles, can be captured independently. This perspective helps to explain restrictions on the occurrences of the different forms of polar interrogatives in Hungarian with respect to a large number of question uses. The paper derives the biases associated with the individual constituents from different sources and makes some proposals on how their impact could be incorporated into a formal model of dialogue.

Elly Ifantidou


Pragmatic transfer traces back to Thomas’ (1983, 1984) definition of “pragmatic failure” as a violation of sociolinguistic rules which result in misinterpretation (for a historical overview, see Bou Franch, 2012). As a result, negative transfer has received a great deal of attention for being a cause of miscommunication in L2 and a domain where corrective strategies towards native-like performance were much in need (see Kasper, 1992). In this study, positive transfer is triggered by a cognitive procedure rather than a sociolinguistic skill and is examined in terms of learners’ acquired ability to infer pragmatic meanings in L1 and L2. Using the relevance-theoretic distinction of conceptual-procedural meaning (Wilson, 2011), the study seeks to unveil facilitating effects of L1, L2 and interventions on participants’ ability to interpret newspaper editorials while using procedural expressions as evidence for pragmatic inferences drawn.

Roberta Colonna Dahlman


The protagonist projection hypothesis was formulated by Holton (1997) in order to account for cases where the speaker seems to utter contradictory statements. Holton argues that in these cases the speaker projects herself into the mind of someone else. Three different sentence-types have been classified as examples of protagonist projection: (i) sentences with factive verbs (tell+wh, know), (ii) sentences that realize free indirect discourse, and (iii) sentences that do not realize free indirect discourse, but are still assumed to be instances of speaking from someone else’s perspective. Regarding the sentences in (i), I argue, following Tsohatzidis (1993, 1997, 2012), that neither tell+wh nor know must be considered as factive predicates. As for the sentences of type (ii), I conclude that free indirect discourse is an instance of protagonist projection. Finally, the sentences of type (iii) are accounted for as cases of utterances whose syntax is partially unpronounced.