This paper examines Harold Pinter’s late play Mountain Language as a depiction of political oppression specifically rooted in linguistic oppression. The play presents a “mountain people” who have been forbidden to use their “mountain language” by a coercive state authority. The play contrasts the brutality of the officers and guards with the humanity (represented through two still-life ‘tableau’ scenes) of the victims, the “mountain people.” The paper notes, however, that there is an unsettling linguistic twist to the play, in that the “mountain language” and the “language of the capital” are both English in performance. The paper suggests that this is partly motivated by Pinter’s expressed desire to make the play disturbingly recognizable to western audiences, thus removing the spectator’s or reader’s ability to judge such oppressions as being exotic, irrelevant, or encountered only in distant unstable countries. The paper argues that Pinter’s focus upon linguistic prohibition, linguistic discrimination, and linguistic denigration is rendered unexpectedly universal through the reliance of the text upon English as the medium for both the prohibited language and the language of authority.
The paper proposes design of a generic database for multiword expressions (MWE), based on the requirements for implementation of the lexicon of Czech MWEs. The lexicon is aimed at different goals concerning lexicography, teaching Czech as a foreign language, and theoretical issues of MWEs as entities standing between lexicon and grammar, as well as for NLP tasks such as tagging and parsing, identification and search of MWEs, or word sense and semantic disambiguation. The database is designed to account for flexibility in morphology and word order, syntactic and lexical variants and even creatively used fragments. Current state of implementation is presented together with some emerging issues, problems and solutions.
Graph theory, which quantitatively measures the precise structure and complexity of any network, uncovers an optimal force balance in sentential graphs generated by the computational procedures of human natural language (CHL). It provides an alternative way to evaluate grammaticality by calculating ‘feature potential’ of nodes and ‘feature current’ along edges. An optimal force balance becomes visible by expressing ‘feature current’ through different point sizes of lines. Graph theory provides insights into syntax and contradicts Chomsky’s current proposal to discard tree notations. We propose an error minimization hypothesis for CHL: a good sentential network possesses an error-free self-organized force balance. CHL minimizes errors by (a) converting bottom-up flow (structure building) to top-down flow (parsing), (b) removing head projection edges, (c) preserving edges related to feature checking, (d) deleting DPmovement trajectories headed by an intermediate copy, (e) ensuring that covert wh-movement trajectories have infinitesimally small currents and conserving flow directions, and (f) robustly remedying a gap in wh-loop by using infinitesimally inexpensive wh-internally-merged (wh- IM) edge with the original flow direction. The CHL compels the sensorimotor (SM) interface to ground nodes so that Kirchhoff’s current law (a fundamental balance law) is satisfied. Internal merges are built-in grounding operations at the CHL–SM interface that generate loops and optimal force balance in sentential networks.
Agata Savary, Silvio Ricardo Cordeiro, Timm Lichte, Carlos Ramisch, Uxoa Iñurrieta and Voula Giouli
Multiword expressions can have both idiomatic and literal occurrences. For instance pulling strings can be understood either as making use of one’s influence, or literally. Distinguishing these two cases has been addressed in linguistics and psycholinguistics studies, and is also considered one of the major challenges in MWE processing. We suggest that literal occurrences should be considered in both semantic and syntactic terms, which motivates their study in a treebank. We propose heuristics to automatically pre-identify candidate sentences that might contain literal occurrences of verbal VMWEs, and we apply them to existing treebanks in five typologically different languages: Basque, German, Greek, Polish and Portuguese. We also perform a linguistic study of the literal occurrences extracted by the different heuristics. The results suggest that literal occurrences constitute a rare phenomenon. We also identify some properties that may distinguish them from their idiomatic counterparts. This article is a largely extended version of Savary and Cordeiro (2018).
Goodwin and Innocenti (2016) have contended that giving reasons may be a form of enactment, where a claim is supported by the very activity of making the claim. In my view, the kind of interaction that these authors are considering should be analysed as a form of advocacy, and therefore as an exercitive speech act. In this paper I will suggest that acts of advocating, qua illocutions, institute a normative framework where the speaker’s obligation to justify cannot be redeemed by a mere “making reasons apparent”. In general, giving reasons is part of the procedure in virtue of which the advocate’s authority to exert influence is recognised by their addressees. This illocutionary effect should be distinguished from other perlocutionary consequences.
This paper presents a newly-compiled diachronic corpus of Australian English (AusBrown). With four sampling time points (1931, 1961, 1991 and 2006), Aus-Brown is designed to match the current suite of British and American ‘Brown-family’ corpora in both sampling year and design. We provide details of the composition and compilation of AusBrown, and explore the broader context of its ‘Brown-family background’ and of complementary Australian corpora. We also overview research based on the Australian corpora presented, including several AusBrown-based papers.
This paper combines quantitative and qualitative methodologies to study the persuasive strategies employed by candidates taking part in televised pre-election debates in Poland and the United States between 1995 and 2016. First, the authors identify the key strategies and calculate the frequency with which they are used by individual candidates. This allows for numerical comparisons between politicians in the two polities, as well as between winners and losers, and candidates of the right and the left politically. These statistical results led the authors to look more closely at the individual styles of two contrasting debaters. We conclude that the rhetorical landscape of political communication does not differ greatly between the two countries; although the data suggest noticeable differences in the approach of political parties and between individuals.
The aim of this study is to explore the discursive practices of foreign policy experts. While policy decisions involving war and peace keep people alarmed all over the globe, most of these decisions are shaped by policy experts who work on influencing public opinion through the media (Manheim, 2011). This study adopts a critical discursive stance and uses argumentation analysis to examine the ideological backdrop to the discourse of thirty opinion articles authored by American foreign policy experts in print media. Drawing on the Pragma-dialectical method of augmentation analysis (van Eemeren and Grootendorst, 2004), and more particularly on its notion of strategic maneuvering, the analysis examines the confrontational strategies used by this group of experts and attempts to determine the rhetorical goals pursued by these strategic maneuvers.
Peter Petré, Lynn Anthonissen, Sara Budts, Enrique Manjavacas, Emma-Louise Silva, William Standing and Odile A.O. Strik
The present article provides a detailed description of the corpus of Early Modern Multiloquent Authors (EMMA), as well as two small case studies that illustrate its benefits. As a large-scale specialized corpus, EMMA tries to strike the right balance between big data and sociolinguistic coverage. It comprises the writings of 50 carefully selected authors across five generations, mostly taken from the 17th-century London society. EMMA enables the study of language as both a social and cognitive phenomenon and allows us to explore the interaction between the individual and aggregate levels.
The first part of the article is a detailed description of EMMA’s first release as well as the sociolinguistic and methodological principles that underlie its design and compilation. We cover the conceptual decisions and practical implementations at various stages of the compilation process: from text-markup, encoding and data preprocessing to metadata enrichment and verification.
In the second part, we present two small case studies to illustrate how rich contextualization can guide the interpretation of quantitative corpus-linguistic findings. The first case study compares the past tense formation of strong verbs in writers without access to higher education to that of writers with an extensive training in Latin. The second case study relates s/th-variation in the language of a single writer, Margaret Cavendish, to major shifts in her personal life.