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Secondary Content

The Semantics and Pragmatics of Side Issues

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Edited by Daniel Gutzmann and Katharina Turgay

In addition to expressing some main content, utterances often convey secondary content, which is content that is not their “main point”, but which rather provides side or background information, is less prominent than the main content, and shows distinctive behavior with respect to its role in discourse structure and which discourse moves it licenses. This volume collects original research papers on the semantics and pragmatics of secondary content. By covering a broad variety of linguistic phenomena that convey secondary content – including expressives, various particles, adverbials, pronouns, quotations, and dogwhistle language – the contributions show that secondary content is pervasive throughout different aspects of natural language and providing new insight into the nature of secondary content through new semantic and pragmatic analyses.
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Edited by Iwona Kraska-Szlenk

Embodiment in Cross-Linguistic Studies: The ‘Head’ edited by Iwona Kraska-Szlenk adds to linguistic studies on embodied cognition and conceptualization while focusing on one body part term from a comparative perspective. The ‘head’ is investigated as a source domain for extending multiple concepts in various target domains accessed via metaphor or metonymy. The contributions in the volume provide comparative and case studies based on analyses of the first-hand data from languages representing all continents and diversified linguistic groups, including endangered languages of Africa, Australia and Americas. The book offers new reflections on the relationship between embodiment, cultural situatedness and universal tendencies of semantic change. The findings contribute to general research on metaphor, metonymy, and polysemy within a paradigm of cognitive linguistics.
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Questions in Discourse

Volume 2: Pragmatics

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Edited by Klaus von Heusinger, V.Edgar Onea Gaspar and Malte Zimmermann

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.
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Questions in Discourse

Volume 1: Semantics

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Edited by Klaus von Heusinger, V.Edgar Onea Gaspar and Malte Zimmermann

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.
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Edited by Manuela E. B. Giolfo and Kees Versteegh

This volume contains sixteen contributions from the fourth conference on the Foundations of Arabic linguistics (Genova, 2016), all having to do with the development of linguistic theory in the Arabic grammatical tradition, starting from Sībawayhi's Kitāb (end of the 8th century C.E.) and its continuing evolution in later grammarians up till the 14th century C.E. The scope of this volume includes the links between grammar and other disciplines, such as lexicography and logic, and the reception of Arabic grammar in the Persian and Malay linguistic tradition.
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Saussure and Sechehaye: Myth and Genius

A Study in the History of Linguistics and the Foundations of Language

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.
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Thomas Van Hoey

From a typological perspective, Chinese meteorological expressions are argument-oriented. However, using a lexical semantic approach, based on corpus data as well as dictionaries and Chinese WordNet, a taxonomical lexical field can be established to further analyze the basic level items. Five main clusters of meteorological expressions are identified: precipitation, wind, thunder, sunshine and cloud. A comparison of these clusters with frames derived from the English FrameNet shows that Chinese has a narrower conception of weather phenomena than English. There is significant influence from the script on the linguistic system, at least in relation to meteorological expressions. It is shown that Chinese uses iconicity in its writing system where it is lacking in its phonology. A special case study are weather-related ideophones, where two strata are found: those that are phonologically and semantically motivated and receive iconic support from the writing system vs. those that do not receive this support.

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Leonard Talmy

For early pre-language hominins, the vocal-auditory channel of communication as then organized may have been unable to accommodate any enhancement in the transmission of conceptual content due to three limitations: comparatively low degrees of parameter diversity, iconicity, and fidelity. We propose that these limitations were overcome by an evolutionary development that enabled an advance from the fixed holophrastic calls of earlier species to the open-ended spoken language of our own species. What developed was a “combinant” form of organization.

Such combinance is a system in which smaller units combine to form larger units. At its smallest scale, this process yields a “clave”. In a clave, generally, units from an inventory at a lower tier combine to form the units of an inventory at the next higher tier in accord with a particular set of constraints. In turn, such claves function as the smaller units that combine to form a larger unit, a concatenation, where the higher tier of one clave serves as the lower tier of the next. The longest such concatenation in language consists of six successive claves. Phonetic features combine to form phonemes under the constraints of feature assembly; phonemes combine to form morphemes under the constraints of phonotactics; morphemes combine to form complex words under the constraints of morphology; morphemes and complex words combine to form expressions under the constraints of syntax; expressions combine to form a single speaker’s “monolog” under the constraints of discourse rules; and such monologs combine to form an exchange between speakers under the constraints of turn-taking.

Our analysis characterizes communication at its most general and contrasts different channels of communication. In particular, the vocal-auditory channel of spoken language is extensively contrasted with the somatic-visual channel of signed language, whose classifier system largely lacks the three limitations of the former. To show this difference, the limitations are analyzed in detail (e.g., iconicity is shown to be based on six properties: prorepresentation, covariation, proportionality, proportional directness, cogranularity, and codomainality). In accord with this difference, the signed classifier system demonstrates the cognitive feasibility of communicating advanced conceptual content with little combinance, but the vocal-auditory channel is seen to have needed the incorporation of combinance for spoken language to evolve.

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Patrick Duffley

The goal of this study is to build on the Cognitive Grammar analysis of full-verb inversion (FVI) and existential structures proposed by Chen (2003, 2011 and 2013). Close attention will be given to two characteristics of these constructions not discussed by this author – lack of subject-verb agreement and the type of pronominal forms that occur in them – and their consequences for FVI’s cognitive structure will be worked out. Further parallels between FVI and the existential there-construction will be brought to light concerning the type of verbal predicate allowed, negation, transitivity, agreement patterns, presentational function, pronominal forms and heaviness of postverbal NPs. The cognitive structure of FVI with lack of S-V concord is argued to be: (1) ground-setter, (2) verb heralding presence/appearance of a generic third-person figure in the ground, (3) nominal identifying the generic figure. Chen’s Invertability Hypothesis is shown to generate false predictions with fronted adjectives and adverbials, and the claim that the preverbal element is in focus is shown to be problematic in the light of its usual status as given information. FVI is argued to be a construction in Goldberg’s (2006) sense of the term, although it does not constitute a meaning-form pairing which is completely independent of the lexical items that instantiate it.