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But, you see, the problem is … Perception verbs in courtroom talk: Focus on you see

Abstract

This article seeks to contribute to the body of research on the use of perception verbs in interaction and, more specifically, to enhance the understanding of how participants in courtroom proceedings exploit you see to manage the discourse as it unfolds and to negotiate stance. Against the background of earlier work on vision words in interaction, the study looks at parenthetical and non-parenthetical you see to reveal both perceptual and cognitive uses, and to identify their local pragmatic effect. As the analysis indicates, in the data at hand, lexical you see is more readily recruited than non-lexical you see, and it is found chiefly in grammatical and declarative questions. At the same time, it is the clause-initial you see that visibly brings out the epistemic tensions between the speakers and serves to contest the addressee’s position. The study corroborates the claim that you see is an argumentative marker, whose meaning (and force) depends on its formal properties (position, complementation) and the relationship between the speakers.

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The construction of cooperative and inferential meaning by children with Asperger syndrome

Abstract

This study aims to apply the Gricean theory of conversational cooperation to the example of inferential meaning in the oral speech of children with pragmatic deficit. Firstly, the analysis pays attention to the use of tropic inferences and particularized implicatures in conversation. Secondly, it focuses on the degree of maintenance or flouting with regard to conversational maxims. On average, study participants are 11.15 years old and possess a confirmed clinical diagnosis of Asperger syndrome. Results suggest a rare understanding and production of tropic inferences and particularized implicatures in dialogues, as well as the systematic application of the maxim of quality, the generalized non-fulfilment of the maxim of quantity and different degrees of fulfilment according to the remaining maxims.

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Exploring syntactic complexity and its relationship with writing quality in EFL argumentative essays

Abstract

To predict syntactic complexity in second/foreign language writing, some studies have advocated the use of T-unit and clausal subordination measures while others have argued for the use of phrase-based measures. This study seeks to identify syntactic features that can be regarded as discriminators among different levels of writing quality. For this purpose, a corpus of argumentative essays by EFL learners was compiled and then the essays were rated and placed into three groups of high-rated, mid-rated, and low-rated essays. The corpus was then coded and analysed for both phrasal and clausal features. The phrasal features were manually coded based on the development scheme hypothesized by Biber, Gray and Poonpon (2011) for academic writing, and the clausal features were analysed using the online L2 Syntactic Complexity Analyzer developed by Lu (2010). A separate ANOVA test was used to compare the three groups of essays for each of the phrasal and clausal features. The findings of the current study demonstrated that subordination and dependent clauses were not good indicators of different writing qualities in our corpus. Also, the pattern of noun phrase complexity predicted by Biber et al. (2011) was not observed across argumentative essays from three different levels of writing quality.

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Metonymy and frame integration: Interfacing between concepts and discourse

Abstract

This article inquiries into specific aspects of the relation between conceptual contiguity found in metonymic shifts and the online construction of frames, seen as a dynamic process of construal. It first reviews the theory of metonymy regarding the conceptual, lexical and contextual facets of the phenomenon. It then explores the possibility of extending the conceptual relevance of metonymy beyond the traditional typological approach of metonymic categorization, re-interpreting it as a frame-integration mechanism, or blending, whereby two frames are brought together into an extended ICM. Metonymic blending is formulated as a partial integration between two input spaces discursively driven, whereby an ad hoc identification of a referential commonness plays the role of the generic space of the blending. Subsequently, in the light of the assumption that frame-extension is not given categorically but it also includes – beyond its cognitive relevance – an interactional aspect, this analysis draws an interesting link: that between the generic space of metonymic blend, and common ground. The latter is precisely what facilitates the metonymic blend, regulating the distance between the integrated frames, at the same time remaining silent as discursively given information.

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The writer’s pragmatic aims attainment in Doris Lessing’s To Room Nineteen: A cognitive linguistics view

Abstract

This paper presents an inquiry into the cognitive-pragmatic specifics of To Room Nineteen by Doris Lessing. Its major goal is to investigate the cognitive means that enable the fulfilment of the writer’s pragmatic aims in the process of literary communication. The research reveals the writer’s aims of raising the problem of women in a patriarchal society and of intensifying manipulative influence upon the reader, which were achieved via the implicit concept of NEUROSIS and the CONTAINER concept used to metaphorically interpret the described events. The investigation proved that the concept of NEUROSIS intensifies psychological manipulation of the reader, ensuring the reader’s engagement in message creation, preserving the reader’s trust regardless of the transference of inaccurate information, etc. It participates in the reader’s neural simulation through nomination of somatisms, retrieval of memories from previous painful experiences, the activation of the “mirroring” phenomenon, etc. Metaphoric modelling provides a psychological manipulation of the reader’s perception through shading and highlighting of the appropriate facets, creating proper associations and establishing specific images. It implements activation of the neural activity, creating imaginative simulation of the reader’s body in action and involving personal cognitive experiences.

Open access
The acquisition of Hungarian recursive PPs

Abstract

In this study an experiment is presented on how Hungarian children interpret two word orders of recursive PPs (subject-PP-verb and PP-subject-verb order). According to the research of Roeper (2011) and Hollebrandse and Roeper (2014), children tend to give conjunctive interpretation to multiple embedded sentences at the beginning of language acquisition. This interpretation later turns into an adult-like, recursive interpretation. Our aim is to discover (i) whether Hungarian children start with conjunction as well, and whether (ii) the apparently more salient functional head lévő appearing in Hungarian recursive PPs can help them to acquire the correct, recursive interpretation early. We also want to find out whether (iii) the word orders in recursive PPs have an influence on the acquisition of children. In this paper two experiments are presented conducted with 6 and 8-year-olds and adults, in which the participants were asked to choose between two pictures. One of the pictures depicted recursive and the other one depicted conjunctive interpretation of the given sentence. In the first experiment subject-PP-verb order was tested, but in the second one sentences were tested with PP-subject-verb order. We will claim that lévő, which is (arguably) a more salient Hungarian functional element than -i, does not help children to acquire the embedded reading of recursive sentences, because both of them are overt functional heads. However, the two types of word orders affect the acquisition of recursive PPs. PP-subject-verb order is easier to compute because the order of the elements in the sentences and the order of the elements in the pictures matches.

Open access
Crimson: More than a shade of red (dictionary definitions versus context use)

Abstract

The paper proposes a study of a sample of 1,000 contexts for crimson, both the adjective and noun, in COCA with the aim of pointing out the insufficient and inaccurate dictionary definitions of crimson. The paper reveals the ambivalent nature of the meaning of crimson and offers a model of the senses of the crimson-adjective, demonstrating also the relative frequencies of the homonymous nouns within each of the senses. The key point of the paper consists in revealing the complex semantic structure of this adjective and its homonymous noun involving a broad range of synesthetic responses to positive and negative experiences of crimson as a visual aspect of a situation represented by various contexts. The analysis also demonstrates a correlation between the different senses of crimson, both noun and adjective, and the specific genres of text.

Open access
A cross-linguistic database of phonetic transcription systems

Abstract

Contrary to what non-practitioners might expect, the systems of phonetic notation used by linguists are highly idiosyncratic. Not only do various linguistic subfields disagree on the specific symbols they use to denote the speech sounds of languages, but also in large databases of sound inventories considerable variation can be found. Inspired by recent efforts to link cross-linguistic data with help of reference catalogues (Glottolog, Concepticon) across different resources, we present initial efforts to link different phonetic notation systems to a catalogue of speech sounds. This is achieved with the help of a database accompanied by a software framework that uses a limited but easily extendable set of non-binary feature values to allow for quick and convenient registration of different transcription systems, while at the same time linking to additional datasets with restricted inventories. Linking different transcription systems enables us to conveniently translate between different phonetic transcription systems, while linking sounds to databases allows users quick access to various kinds of metadata, including feature values, statistics on phoneme inventories, and information on prosody and sound classes. In order to prove the feasibility of this enterprise, we supplement an initial version of our cross-linguistic database of phonetic transcription systems (CLTS), which currently registers five transcription systems and links to fifteen datasets, as well as a web application, which permits users to conveniently test the power of the automatic translation across transcription systems.

Open access
Effects of obstruent voicing on vowel F0: Implications for laryngeal realism

Abstract

It is sometimes argued that languages with two-way laryngeal contrasts can be classified according to whether one series is realized canonically with voicing lead or the other with voicing lag. In languages of the first type, such as French, the phonologically relevant feature is argued to be [voice], while in languages of the second type, such as German, the relevant feature is argued to be [spread glottis]. A crucial assumption of this position is that the presence of certain contextually stable phonetic cues, namely voicing lead or lag, can be used to diagnose the which feature is phono-logically active.

In this paper, we present data on obstruent-intrinsic F0 perturbations (CF0) in two [voice] languages, French and Italian. Voiceless obstruents in both languages are found to raise F0, while F0 following (pre)voiced obstruents patterns together with sonorants, similar to the voiceless unaspirated stops of [spread glottis] languages like German and English. The contextual stability of this cue implies that an active de-voicing gesture is common to languages of both the [voice] and [spread glottis] types, and undermines the idea that a strict binary dichotomy between true voicing and aspirating languages can be reliably inferred based on properties of the surface phonetics.

Open access
Innovations, distribution gaps and mirror images: The reflexes of Proto-Ryukyuan close vowels in a post-nasal position

Abstract

The present paper attempts to systematize and explain the changes in Proto-Ryukyuan (PR) vowels in a post-nasal position as observed in the lexicon of five daughter languages: Ie-Kunigamian/Okinawan, Shuri-Okinawan, Hirara-Miyakoan, Shika-Yaeyaman and Yonaguni/Dunan. The changes in question are related to the mid-vowel raising, which supposedly occurred only after the split of PR, but currently bears the markings of an unconditioned change in virtually in all daughter languages.

Starting with an assumption that in some environments, the post-nasal raising of the mid-vowels led to the merger of original mid- and close vowels, while in different environments changes to the original close vowels keeps the reflexes of mid- and close vowels apart, the paper analyzes and compares Ryukyuan vocabulary containing the pertinent sound sequences of *mi, *mu, *ni and *nu, contrasting it with the reflexes of *me, *mo, *ne and *no. By scrutinizing in detail as many different environments of the sound sequences in question as possible, the paper aims to discover some patterns in the behavior of these sequences, examining both shared innovations and shared retentions among the daughter languages, observing the differences in the PR distribution of post-nasal mid-and close vowels, and entertaining the implications these findings hold for the general knowledge of PR.

Open access