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Abstract

In this article, we deal with similarity between epigenetic marks in the DNA and the so-called hapaxes in language. A grammar description based on hapax legomena is designed. We reflect hapax analysis of Czech language provided by Novotná (2013) and avoid random selection of the corpus. For this reason, we analyze the corpus of 12 authentic books from 12 authors who elaborated the theme “What’s new in…” concerning their field of science, assigned by Nová beseda publishing. By analyzing middle-sized corpus, we expected results similar to those in case of large-scale national corpus (see Novotná 2013). We chose to classify hapaxes into different categories in comparison to Novotná, yet the results show similar language productive categories. This kind of language potentiality seems to be analogical to epigenetic processes in biology, which is briefly introduced.

Abstract

In January 2018, the President of the Czech Republic was elected. Before that, each of the candidates communicated their intention to run for the office in a different kind of speech. By using selected characteristics we evaluate and compare these candidate speeches. Subsequently, we reflect on the possibilities of correlating the results of the election with data collected during the analysis.

Abstract

This work presents a study of mixed gender agreement in the case of hybrid nouns in Russian. Examination of a number of approaches which seek to account for the category “gender” shows that these approaches are problematic when trying to explain mixed gender agreement in hybrid nouns. It is proposed here that the multiple-layer DP-hypothesis by Zamparelli (1995 and subsequent work) is best suited to analyze the Russian data. However, this rests on the crucial assumption that Russian demonstratives can occupy multiple positions within the DP, something that must still be verified by future work.

Abstract

Clauses can show closest-conjunct agreement, where the verb agrees only with one conjunct of a conjoined subject, and not with the full conjoined subject. The aim of this study is to examine the properties of word order and closest-conjunct agreement in the Greek Septuagint to distinguish which of them are due to the native syntax of Koiné Greek, possibly influenced by contact with Hebrew, and which of them are the result of a biblical translation effect. Both VSO and closest-conjunct agreement in the case of postverbal subjects have been considered characteristics of Biblical Hebrew. VSO becomes a neutral word order for Koiné Greek, and Koiné Greek exhibits examples of closest-conjunct agreement as well. The present study shows that VSO is the neutral word order for various types of texts of Koiné Greek (biblical and non-biblical, translations and non-translations) and that closest-conjunct agreement is also present with similar characteristics in pre-Koiné Greek. All relevant characteristics reflect a type of a syntactic change in Greek related to the properties of the T domain, and evidenced not only in translations or Biblical Greek. However, the frequencies of word orders are indeed affected by the source language, and indirect translation effects are evident in the Greek Septuagint.

Abstract

Implicit causality of interpersonal transitive verbs (IC) pertains to preferences to attribute the cause of a given action to the subject or the object referent in active clauses. Causal attribution is operationalized as the probability of referential continuation in a subsequent explanatory clause. This paper presents an explorative investigation into the causal biases of action verbs, which in contrast to affective verbs have received less attention in IC research. We approach implicit causality as a discourse level phenomenon based on the textual level of discourse representation and enriched by conceptual knowledge. In study 1, we targeted IC effects of German action verbs (N = 52) in sentences containing causal, additive and adversative connectives. Results showed that IC based categories of subject-object-, and non-biasing predicates were clearly discernable in causal contexts only. In study 2, we examined effects of situational knowledge (physical affectedness & social acceptability) and affective appraisals (valence & arousal) represented in the conceptual structure of the verbs on the construal of causality biases and their interplay with immediate contextual information such as gender of referents. Results show that higher degrees of physical affectedness were associated with causal attribution to the object referent. This effect was modulated by the affective properties of the verbs. Our findings revealed the influence of physiological arousal, an affective dimension not considered in previous investigations of IC. Actions with a strong physical impact that were characterized by high arousal, e.g., kick, or tickle were more likely to be explained with reference to the subject. Participants also considered the available contextual information, as indicated by the significant interactions of gender information with arousal. Within the subsample of non-biasing verbs, higher estimates for social behavior increased probabilities of causal attributions to the subject.

Abstract

Singular nouns in the scope of a distributive operator have been shown to be treated as conceptually plural (). The source of this conceptual plurality is not fully clear. In particular, it is not known whether the concept of plurality associated with a singular noun originates from distributing over multiple objects or multiple events. In the present experiment, iterative expressions (distribution over events) were contrasted with collective and distributive sentences using a Stroop-like interference technique (; ). A trend in the data suggests that event distributivity does not elicit a plural interpretation of a grammatically singular noun, however the results were not statistically significant. Possible causes of the non-significant results are discussed.

Abstract

A description of living systems is still a topic of discussion among a number of disciplines. By an evaluation of the approaches, we get to an axis differentiating those that are indisputable in sense of dealing with verifiable and measurable phenomena. We thus also get to approaches that integrate particular extensions when dealing with the possibilities to describe living systems and processes. It is a task for biosemiotics to find connections of these approaches and thus ways to enrich each other or simply describe phenomena to the widest extent possible. One of the authors whose work is permeated by this idea is Howard Pattee. Inspired by his work, we discuss the options of description when talking about living systems and semiotic apparatuses. We do so by a formulation of two viewpoints that differ in questions of contextual dependency, interpretation and necessity of the existence of an autonomous agent as indispensable elements for the description of life phenomena.

Abstract

The precedent phenomenon is estimated as a productive source for creating the language game in the headlines of political media discourse. Headlines based on a language game draw the attention of the reader more quickly. There are often used precedent phenomena, understood as culturally loaded signs, known to a major part of the representatives of the same national community. That is a precedent phenomenon that may serve multiple purposes. We have focused on its effect applied in the headings. The coincidence of the background knowledge of the author and the reader contributes to the hidden influence on the images of politicians formed in the mind of the reader.

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to overview the presence of catastrophes in game worlds and, in particular, to investigate what they can tell us about real catastrophes. To this end, we present a semiotic typol-ogy of catastrophes, confronting them with epistrophes and apostrophes and further articulating them relative and absolute cessation events. Then we highlight the long-standing relationship between playfulness and disasters in literature, cinema and video games underlining how the suppos-edly opposite characteristics of the two are, in fact, a very productive cultural trope. To conclude, we look into some examples of catastrophes in game worlds, both relative (such as the “corrupted blood incident” in World of Warcraft) and absolute (the end of the worlds in StarWars Galaxies and Matrix Online).

Abstract

The article examines the individual and social, practical, and theoretical presumptions (“idols” and “beliefs”) that constitute the conscious and unconscious re-construction of the social reality and reality of different conventional sign systems that represent and are represented by society. It is shown that in everyday life and in theoretical studies, we quite often analyze sign systems as if they were autonomous and empirically “given” realities. The work explains how this “natural belief” originated and developed. It is argued that conventional sign systems cannot be reduced to the reality of material “sign vehicles” because in society, sign systems are both subjective and objective, internal and external, and process and object.