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Juliane House

Abstract

This paper presents an overview and some tentative results of the project "Covert Translation – Verdecktes Übersetzen", which is currently carried out at the Research Center "Multilingualism", University of Hamburg. The paper is structured as follows: I will first give the background to the project and describe the research questions it is trying to tackle. Secondly, I will present the working hypothesis underlying the investigation conducted by the project’s research team. Thirdly, I will describe the corpus, fourthly the analytic procedure used. Finally, I will present, interpret and discuss some tentative results.

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Bergljot Behrens and Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen

Abstract

The present paper reports on part of a research project financed by the Research Council of Norway, in which we are concerned with contrastive linguistic issues that are central to theoretical as well as practical translation studies. Grounding our reflections on a corpus-based, contrastive study of English, German and Norwegian, we hope to shed new light on the relation between structural differences and language use in the three languages. Our study explores the use of connectives and their translational counterparts. Our goal is to come closer to an understanding of how propositional meanings are linked in text across languages, and what type of constraints regulate the use of connectives with similar meanings.

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Jorunn Hetland

Abstract

This paper focuses on the notion of contrast: how contrast has been defined in the literature, how contrast is realised in natural language, how contrast is related to pitch accent. One pitch accent seems to have an inherent ability to express contrast: the fall-rise. The fall-rise accent plays a key role in the discussions of contrastive topics – and partly foci – in languages as different as English, German, Hungarian and Korean. In the present paper, I show that – whereas all pitch-accents can be used to signal contrast, depending on the relevant context – the fall-rise may induce contrast also in cases where there is no sign in the context that contrast is intended. The fall-rise itself seems to create an illusion of a given closed set to which the accented constituent belongs. This, in turn, induces an implicit reference to alternatives, and thereby contrast, within the given set.

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Nicholas Smith

Abstract

There is a fair degree of consensus that progressive aspect has undergone a substantial growth in use in late modern English, but so far few studies have systematically exploited corpus data to reveal the extent to which changes are still going on. The availability of ‘matching’ one-million word corpora of recent written English, namely the British LOB and FLOB corpora dating from 1961 and 1991 respectively, and their American counterparts Brown and Frown, allows some redressing of the balance: Mair and Hundt (1995) have found that in the newspaper sections of these corpora some functions of the progressive already existing in the 1960s become more common in the 1990s. This paper aims to extend the analysis by exploring the full versions of the British corpora, looking at a wider range of variables. The most striking rise in the progressive occurs in the present tense, where it is realised by a wider range of verb types (increasingly with a contracted auxiliary verb), and appears increasingly far more in main clauses than in subordinate clauses. However, as cautioned by Mair and Hundt, the impression of ‘pure’ grammatical change is somewhat clouded by evidence in the written corpora of stylistic change, in particular a drift towards more colloquial speech habits.

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Christiane von Stutterheim, Ralf Nüse and Jorge Murcia-Serra

Abstract

The paper reports on a series of empirical studies in which language-specific patterns in the construal of events are investigated. The background of the studies is given by crosslinguistic analyses of the verbalisation of events in film renarrations. The results for English, German, Spanish and Arabic suggest that grammaticised categories are relevant for the strategies which speakers of different languages rely on in verbalising information. These results are confirmed by three studies which approach the question from different aspects. In the first investigation speakers are asked to verbalise a sequence of unrelated events presented on a screen. The hypothesis was that speakers of different languages select different components of the depicted scenes for verbalisation. In the second study the voice onset times for these verbalisations are measured to see whether the different event constructions are reflected in the planning processes of the utterances. In the third study comprehension of sentences referring to events is tested, using a self paced reading experiment. The results of the individual studies converge in showing that the construal of events for verbalisation follows language specific patterns.

Wh-Clauses in English

Aspects of Theory and Description

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Joe Trotta

This study provides the first description-oriented, theoretically-unaligned account of wh-clauses in Modern English. The author employs a data-based approach to examine aspects of both generative and non-generative work as regards their relative strengths and weaknesses.
Wh-clauses in English: Aspects of Theory and Description is a unique combination of statistical findings and qualitative analysis. It is not only underpinned by a systematic investigation of the Brown University corpus but also includes attested material from other sources such as the British National Corpus, the CobuildDirect corpus as well as material gleaned from the internet.
The qualitative and quantitative analyses are combined to approach a wide range of theoretical and descriptive issues, such as wh-movement, landing-sites for moved wh-XPs, vacuous movement, island constraints, among others. Not insignificantly, many questions of indeterminacy are addressed, such as the interface of conjunctions and relative words, the problems of demarcation between interrogatives and free relatives as well as structural ambiguities between interrogatives and exclamatives.

New Frontiers of Corpus Research

Papers from the Twenty First International Conference on English Language Research on Computerized Corpora Sydney 2000

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Edited by Pam Peters, Peter Collins and Adam S. Cohen

This volume presents highlights of the first ICAME conference held in the southern hemisphere, in papers on new kinds of corpora for business and communications technology, as well as those comprising computer-mediated communication and college newspapers. The latter yield lively insights into the digitized discourse of younger adults and non-professional writers -- speech communities that have been underrepresented in the standard English corpora. Other groups that are newly represented in research reported in this volume are bilingual users of English in Singapore, Hong Kong and China, as corpus data is brought to bear on second-language speech and writing. The proposed corpus of spoken Dutch profiled here will support research into its variation in different genres and contexts of use in the Netherlands and in Belgium. Research on new historical corpora from C15 to C18 is also reported, along with techniques for normalizing prestandardized English for computerized searching. Meanwhile papers on contemporary usage show some of the continual interplay between British and American English, in grammar and details of the lexicon that are important for English language teachers.

Form and Function of Parasyntactic Presentation Structures

A Corpus-based Study of Talk Units in Spoken English

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Joybrato Mukherjee

This study investigates prosody-syntax interactions from a functional perspective and based on authentic corpus data. Drawing on Halliday's well-known interpretation of the tone unit as an information unit, Halford's idea of a prosodically and syntactically defined talk unit and Esser's concept of abstract presentation structures, a modified talk unit model is developed. The talk unit is built up of one to many tone unit(s). The focus of both the quantitative and the functional analysis is on the interplay between prosodic status and syntactic status at tone unit boundaries by means of which talk units as parasyntactic units are established. The database is provided by a sample of about 50,000 words mainly taken from the London-Lund Corpus of Spoken English. The findings reveal that speakers have at their disposal and make use of prosody-syntax interactions in order to structure information effectively and to allow for or facilitate turn taking. This volume is not only of interest for corpus linguists, but for functionalists in general and intonationists in particular. In analysing the stylistic and pragmatic potential of talk units and applying corpus linguistic methodology, this study breaks new ground with regard to functional and empirical approaches to spoken English.

From Ælfric to the New York Times

Studies in English Corpus Linguistics

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Edited by Udo Fries, Viviane Müller and Peter Schneider

The twenty papers of this volume - published to honour Gunnel Tottie - are of interest to everyone concerned with the study of the English language. The collection is a convincing argument for an approach to language studies based on the analysis of computerized corpora.
Though this is not an introduction to the field but a series of highly specialized studies, readers get a good overview of the work being done at present in English computer corpus studies. English corpus linguistics, though basically concerned with the study of varieties of English, goes far beyond the simple ordering and counting of large numbers of examples but is deeply concerned with linguistic theory - based on real language data.
The volume includes sections on corpora of written and spoken present-day English, historical corpora, contrastive corpora, and on the application of corpus studies to teaching purposes.

New Essays in Deixis

Discourse, Narrative, Literature

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Edited by Keith Green

This volume presents some new work on deixis and, in particular, deixis in narrative and literature. Deixis has long held fascination for both philosophers and linguists alike, and increasingly it is seen as a fundamental element of discourse in works of a more literary-linguistic or stylistic nature. The aim of this book has been to gather and present material on deixis which is often referred to but has hitherto not received the space it warrants. The collection will be of interest to anyone working in linguistics and literary studies. There are essays on deictic processing, non-egocentricity, deictic worlds and the deictic categories. The more literary material focuses on modernist aesthetics, the poetic deictic persona, pronouns and narrative voice, and the problematic deixis of Keats's Odes.