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Academic Paper


Title: Force-dynamic cultural models in a scalar adjectival construction
Author: Kim Ebensgaard Jensen
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://personprofil.aau.dk/118255?lang=en
Institution: Aalborg University
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Semantics; Syntax; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Consider the following instances of the scalar adjectival [too ADJ to V]-construction:/L//L/(1) The tatty furniture betrayed elegant lines, and the windows, too grimy to see through, stretched up ten feet. (COCA 2011 FIC Bk:NeverGentleman)/L/(2) They're too slow to catch a seal in open water. (COCA 2011 MAG NationalGeographic)/L/(3) If the making of a revolution is drama, punctuated with tragedies too numerous to count, making peace is long-form prose requiring iterations of conversation between people. (COCA 2011 MAG TechReview)/L/(4) I'm too young to get married. (COCA 2011 FIC Callaloo)/L/(5) I'm in a certain group that's almost too old to hire. (COCA 2011 NEWS Denver)/L/(6) Mr. Turman insisted he was too busy to meet at any other time. (COCA 2011 NEWS NYTimes)/L//L/In all instances, semantic relations of force-dynamics are set up between the adjective and verb positions, such that the adjective describes an attribute or a feature, the degree of which is so high that the situation predicated by the verb is prevented from happening. However, while (1-3) reflect perceptions of 'natural' force-dynamic relations, (4-6) appear to draw on culturally defined force-dynamic relations. This seems to indicate that the constructional semantics may interact with underlying cultural models (Holland & Quinn 1987, Ungerer & Schmid 2006: 51-59) of force-dynamics or causation (d'Andrade 1987: 117-118). In their study of the English into-causative, Gries & Stefanowitsch (2004: 232-234) suggest that collexeme combinations in a construction indeed can reflect cultural models. Applying covarying collexeme analysis (Stefanowitsch & Gries 2004) and simple collexeme analysis (Stefanowitsch & Gries 20003), the present study investigates collexeme combinations in the [too ADJ to V]-construction in the COCA (Davies 2008-2013) in order to see how the constructions, via collexeme combinations, reflects force-dynamic cultural models.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: 5th UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference, Lancaster University, July 29 - 2014.


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