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Slips of the Ear

Errors in the Perception of Casual Conversation

Zinny Bond

Occasionally, listeners' strategies for dealing with casual speech lead them into an erroneous perception of the intended message - a slip of the ear. When such errors occur, listeners report hearing, as clearly and distinctly as any correctly perceived stretch of speech, something that does not correspond to the speaker's utterance. This book describes and analyzes a collection of almost 1000 examples of misperceptions from real-life conversations. Its coverage includes: complete data set of misperceptions in casual conversation; language understanding in ordinary circumstances; and, classifications and descriptions according to linguistic properties.

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Edited by Phillip Tedeschi and Annie Zaenen

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Maria Manoliu-Manea

This book constitutes a quest for discourse and pragmatic features responsible for so-called optional grammatical choices. In an attempt to adduce new evidence for the assumption that, in order to capture adequately the reasons for the choice of various grammatical devices, a multi-variable model is necessary which could account for the development and the functioning of grammaticalized ethno-linguistic features in a variety of languages. The main hypothesis put forward is that, limited as they are by the possibilities of a given language, the choices open to speakers when reconstructing linguistically the state of affairs are determined first and foremost by their foci of attention. Orality is one the most salient features of Romanian, but the profound consequences of such a feature for Romanian grammar have not been fully explored. The most frequently invoked characteristic of this orality has been labeled 'redundancy', as is manifest in the proliferation of clitics. But, as shown by the data analyzed in this book, the impact of orality on Romanian grammar is much more far-reaching, encompassing such phenomena as: the preference for specific syntactic constructions as markers of the central discourse entity around which the event is reconstructed linguistically; the grammaticalization of the means for marking differences in the degree of discourse prominence (the degree of discourse-activated knowledge); the extensive use of markers of discourse continuity; the means by which the story is 'visualized'; the grammaticalization of various means used for marking stage distance (backgrounding versus foregrounding the event); and, diversified means for marking differences between speakers' expectations. The book highlights those features of Romanian grammar which can be most satisfactorily explained by the interaction between grammar and various discourse and pragmatic strategies.

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Sjef Barbiers, Olaf Koeneman, Marika Lekakou and Margreet van der Ham

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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.