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Abstract

The purpose of the present paper is to analyze L2 and L3 production and comprehension from a cognitive-pragmatic point of view, taking into account Relevance Theory (Sperber and Wilson, 1986; Wilson and Sperber, 2006), Mental Models Theory (Johnson-Laird, 1983) and the Graded Salience Hypothesis (Giora, 1997). Special attention is paid to error analysis and to the detection of error sources, especially in the case of errors not attributable to transfer, interference or overgeneralization. The paper is based on three studies involving, first, L2 and L3 production (Study 1), both production and comprehension (Study 2) and L3 comprehension (Study 3). In general, the phenomena observed can be explained by a combination of Relevance Theory, Mental Models Theory and the Graded Salience Hypothesis. In fact, even when transfer is used as a strategy, its use is relevant to the learner, who assumes that it will be relevant to the recipient as well. The results also shed some light on the multilingual mental lexicon and multiple language processing.

Abstract

This short piece addresses the confusion over terminology that has reigned, and partly still reigns, when it comes to the concept of Universal Grammar (UG). It is argued that whilst there might be changes in terminology and theory, conceptually UG cannot be eliminated. From a biolinguistic perspective, UG is not a hypothesis by any rational epistemological standard, but an axiom. Along these lines, the contemporary evolutionary perspective on the language faculty (FL) is briefly discussed to then argue that UG is necessarily part of FL in both a narrow and broad sense. Ultimately, regardless of terminology, UG is inevitably one of the factors determining the growth of FL.

Abstract

This article investigates diminutive affixes in four unrelated languages: Maale, Walman, Kolyma Yukaghir, and Itelmen, with additional discussion of German, Breton, and Yiddish. The data show variation in the syntax of diminutives. Diminutives differ cross-linguistically in the manner and place of attachment in a syntactic tree. In terms of the manner of attachment, some diminutive affixes are shown to behave as syntactic heads, while others show a behaviour characteristic of syntactic modifiers. In terms of the place of attachment, some affixes attach in the number position, while others attach above it. This article contributes to a discussion of form-function correspondence between syntactic categories (Wiltschko, in press). It shows that although diminutives across languages have the same meaning (or function), they significantly differ in their syntactic structures (or form). Thus, there is no 1:1 correspondence between form and function of diminutives in terms of the attachment and ordering of morphemes.

Abstract

Syntactic approaches to the positioning of adjuncts (e.g., Frey and Pittner (1998), Maienborn (2001), Frey (2003), Pittner (2004), Steube (2006)) postulate base positions for frame as well as for sentence adverbials above the entire proposition. The question arises how these two adverbial types are positioned in relation to each other. Syntactic accounts respond differently to this question. Furthermore, the role of semantic and pragmatic factors for the positioning of adverbials is disputable. The current paper presents the results of two psycholinguistic experiments that provide evidence for a base position account of frame and sentence adverbials. Furthermore, a non-syntactic factor - namely the referentiality of frame adverbials - is shown to influence position preferences.

Abstract

This paper shows the realization of arguments of Latinate double object verbs and an analysis of their inherent semantic meaning in the Late Middle English and early Modern English periods, hence in the time-span when they were borrowed into English. The main aim of this paper is to show that although Latinate verbs occur in a construction with what seems to be an allative preposition, not all of them lexicalize movement in the inherent meanings. In contrast, some Latinate verbs lexicalize only a caused possession. What is more, this paper shows that the caused possession Latinate verbs select a different variant of prepositional object construction than the one selected by Latinate verbs lexicalizing movement.

Abstract

The article examines the interaction of resultative and goal phrases with aspect in Polish and English. The first research problem concerns the ability of resultative and goal phrases to aspectually delimit (telicize) an atelic predicate. Data from English shows that resultative and goal phrases systematically make an atelic predicate telic in non-progressive sentences, but they fail to do so in progressive constructions. In Polish, imperfective (atelic) constructions can never be aspectually delimited by such phrases. It is argued that resultative and goal phrases lose their telicizing potential when in the scope of an aspectual functional head Asp specified as [-telic]. This is the case in English progressive and Polish imperfective sentences. The Asp head is able to override the telicity specification established compositionally within VP. The Asp head in Polish is obligatory and the value of its telicity feature ([+telic] for perfective and [-telic] for imperfective) is responsible for the interpretation of the VP selected by Asp as a complement. In English such projection is optional. When it is absent, the telicity of a predicate can be computed from the default aspectual type of the lexical verb combined with other elements inside VP, including resultative and goal phrases. A related problem also addressed in the article concerns the meaning of progressive / imperfective resultative and goal constructions. The problem is presented as part of a larger task of finding a proper analysis for accomplishment predicates combined with a progressive / imperfective operator. The proposed solution is based on the notion of directionality. It is suggested that resultative and goal constructions denote a process of some entity changing in the ‘direction’ of a new state. When the process is understood as having a culmination, the ‘direction’ of the transition indicates a new state actually holding of the entity undergoing transition. When a progressive / imperfective operator is introduced, it can remove the culmination leaving just the directed-transition process. A formalization of this analysis is provided.