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Title: Representation of Cognitive Structures Syntax and Semantics of French Sentential Complements
Written By: Michel Achard
Series Title: Cognitive Linguistics Research 11

This book investigates French complementation and, more specifically, the distribution of infinitival and finite complements (indicative and subjunctive) in the following contexts: causation/perception, modal, sentential complement, and impersonal constructions. Consistent with the principles of Cognitive Linguistics, it argues that the surface form of each construction reflects a specific cognitive organization, and that formal differences reflect conceptual differences. More specifically, it is shown that: (i) each complement form carries meaning, to be expressed in terms of the cognitive organization it specifically codes, and (ii) the distribution of these forms with the different main verbs is a function of the semantic compatibility between two meaningful expressions. The cognitive grammar position expressed in Langacker (1987, 1991) states that the use of a particular linguistic form by speakers reflects their choice to express their conceptualization in a particular way. The meaning of a linguistic expression is therefore best described as the partial construal it imposes on the scene it describes. In this book, the meaning of complement constructions is analyzed in terms of the specific way in which they structure the subordinate scene. Competing constructions represent alternative construals of the scene. The solution proposed in this book departs from existing analyses in three major ways. First, it accounts at the same time for the form and the distribution of the complements. Secondly, it posits no construction-specific devices to handle different structures. Thirdly, it provides a global understanding of complementation by treating a whole array of constructions in similar ways.

Publication Year: 1998
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
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Linguistic Field(s): Semantics
Cognitive Science
Subject Language(s): French
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 3110157608
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 377pp
Prices: DM 158,-/approx. US$ 113.00