Cognitive and Communicative Approaches to Linguistic by Ellen Contini-Morava

By Ellen Contini-Morava

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A great deal must be known in advance about cognition for grammatical analysis to be possible; so much, in fact, that the writing of a complete cognitive grammar is presently unfeasible . . A Columbia-school analysis starts with much less: morphemes and their observed occurrences . . Columbia-school linguists thus allow the feasibility of writing complete grammars, and in fact attempt to do so. [pp. 329–331] This gives a very inaccurate impression. Most of what I think I know about cognition was inspired by linguistic analysis, and the same is true of Cognitive linguistics 4 42 Ronald W.

Discussion Why does this type of construction exist? Indeed, why is it cross-linguistically prevalent? It is not an idiosyncrasy of one language, or even one linguistic area, so it must have some functional motivation. Its function, I suggest, resembles that of so-called “raising” constructions, which provide a means for naturally salient entities to occur in grammatically salient positions (notably clausal subject): (22) a. For the prime minister to resign is unlikely. b. The prime minister is unlikely to resign.

There is usually a primary focal participant, termed the trajector (tr), and often a secondary focal participant, called a landmark (lm). The trajector is the entity the expression seeks to locate, track, assess, or characterize, and a landmark (when present) is another salient entity evoked for this purpose. In the case of above, the trajector is located in the vertical dimension with respect to a landmark found at a lower point along this axis, whereas below reverses these specifications and situates its trajector with respect to a landmark found at a higher point.

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