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These lectures deal with the role of cognitive modelling in language-based meaning construction. To make meaning people use a small set of principles which they apply to different types of conceptual characterizations. This yields predictable meaning effects, which, when stably associated with specific grammatical patterns, result in constructions or fixed form-meaning parings. This means that constructional meaning can be described on the basis of the same principles that people use to make inferences. This way of looking at pragmatics and grammar through cognition allows us to relate a broad range of pragmatic and grammatical phenomena, among them argument-structure characterizations, implicational, illocutionary, and discourse structure, and such figures of speech as metaphor, metonymy, hyperbole, and irony.
Editors: Chungmin Lee and Jinho Park
Evidentials and Modals offers an in-depth account of the meaning of grammatical elements representing evidentiality in connection to modality, focusing on theoretical/formal perspectives by eminent pioneers in the field and on recently discovered phenomena in Korean evidential markers by native scholars in particular. Evidentiality became a hot topic in semantics and pragmatics, trying to see what kind of evidential justification is provided by evidentials to support or be related to the ‘at-issue’ prejacent propositions. This book aims to provide a deeper understanding of such evidentiality in discourse contexts in a broad range of languages such as American Indian, Korean and Japanese, Turkish and African languages over the world. In addition, an introduction to the concept of evidentiality and theoretical perspectives and recent issues is also provided.
Author: Ariel Cohen
Some sentences contain no overt quantifier, yet are interpreted quantificationally, e.g., Plumbers are available (entailing that some plumbers are available), or Plumbers are intelligent (whose entailment is less clear, but seems to be saying that a large number of plumbers are intelligent). Where does the quantifier come from? In this book, Ariel Cohen makes the novel proposal that the quantifier is not simply an empty category, but is generated by reinterpretations mechanisms, which are governed by well specified principles. He demonstrates how the puzzling and sometimes mysterious properties of such sentences can be naturally derived from the reinterpretation mechanisms that generate them. The resulting picture has substantial implications that language contains hidden elements, underlying its surface structure.
In Ten Lectures on Event Structure in a Network Theory of Language, Nikolas Gisborne explores verb meaning. He discusses theories of events and how a network model of language-in-the-mind should be theorized; what the lexicon is; how to probe word meaning; evidence for structure in word meaning; polysemy; the lexical semantics of causation; a type hierarchy of events; and event types cross-linguistically. He also looks at the relationship between different classes of events or event types and aktionsarten; transitivity alternations and argument linking. Gisborne argues that the social and cognitive embedding of language, requires a view of linguistic structure as a network where even the analysis of verb meaning can require an understanding of the role of speaker and hearer.
In: Contrastive Pragmatics

Abstract

In this paper, we explore how robots can be used to study pragmatic strategies across a number of languages. Robots can assume many of the roles played by human interaction partners in a range of situations. They can be programmed to produce specific behaviours, each time repeating a behaviour in an identical way for as often as necessary. Thus, robots can be useful tools for investigating human behaviour in certain situations and even in cross-cultural contexts. We explore this use of robots in two case studies – one which investigates the delivery of bad news in Danish, German and English, and one which examines the giving of feedback in Danish, German and Polish. In both studies, systematic intercultural differences become apparent in the pragmatic strategies that are adopted. On the basis of the results, we discuss the advantages, potential pitfalls and possible solutions of using robots in the study of contrastive pragmatics.

In: Contrastive Pragmatics

Abstract

The present study examines request perspective, the least researched form of mitigation in requesting, while focusing on a type of request characterized by a strong preference for speaker perspective in English and for hearer perspective in most other languages researched to date. It examines requests produced by 900 speakers from nine different (inter)language groups: five groups of native speakers (English, German, Greek, Polish and Russian) and four groups of advanced learners of English as a foreign language (German, Greek, Polish and Russian L1s).

While our learners used more conventionally indirect forms than did the native speakers of the respective L1s, showing awareness of this English pragmatic norm, they retained a preference for the hearer perspective. These results suggest reliance on pragmatic universals as an alternative explanation to pragmatic transfer, also illustrating the need to address less salient pragmatic features in English language teaching.

In: Contrastive Pragmatics
Author: Claire Kramsch

Abstract

Pragmatics has focused predominantly on the locutionary form and illocutionary force of utterances but largely ignored their perlocutionary effects. A shift toward the perlocutionary would require much greater attention being given to the historical and political context in the production and reception of utterances, as well as to interpretation as a performative process. This paper takes as empirical data a press report on the performance of a particular speech act by Donald Trump and its perlocutionary effect both on his addressee and on the readers of the incident as reported in the online versions of the New York Times and Die Zeit. It shows the value of focusing on perlocution for the study of political discourse in these global times. It also shows what pedagogical purchase can be gained by discussing perlocutionary acts and effects in communicative language teaching, rather than focusing exclusively on illocutionary acts.

In: Contrastive Pragmatics
Author: Karin Aijmer

Abstract

Contrastive pragmatics is closely associated with the use of parallel and comparable corpora for studying the similarities and differences between languages. Parallel corpora have now been extended to more than two languages making them more relevant for typological research, and they can be used to investigate whether there are (discourse) universals across languages. Contrastive pragmatic studies also need to take into account aspects of the communication situation and the social and cultural context. As a result, many contrastive studies nowadays are doubly contrastive in that they compare pragmatic phenomena across both genres and languages. Scholars have also begun to combine contrastive analysis (translations) with the diachronic analysis of pragmatic phenomena in historical corpora, and pragmatic phenomena are studied contrastively with the focus being on sociolinguistic aspects. Illustrating these new uses is a case study which compares English absolutely with Swedish absolut.

In: Contrastive Pragmatics