Language Grammar

Animacy and reference : a cognitive approach to corpus by Mutsumi Yamamoto

By Mutsumi Yamamoto

The concept that of 'animacy' matters the basic and cognitive query of the level to which we realize and show residing issues as saliently human-like or animal-like. In Animacy and Reference Mutsumi Yamamoto pursues major ambitions: First, to set up a conceptual framework of animacy, and secondly, to give an explanation for how the idea that of animacy will be mirrored within the use of referential expressions. Unlike Read more...

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Extra info for Animacy and reference : a cognitive approach to corpus linguistics

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People sometimes name computers and may refer to/address them by means of a second person personal pronoun; these points will turn out to be significant in terms of the interacting parameters, the Hierarchy of Persons and the Individuation Scale, which will be discussed in the following section. Cars are another example of typically animate-looking machines. They take us where we want to go. It might be argued that they were originally substitutes of horses, and it is quite likely that owners sometimes regard them as members of their families.

Silverstein 1976: 122). WHAT IS ‘ANIMACY’? 39 2. One aspect of the concept of individuation which will not be given close observation is ‘definiteness’/‘referentiality’. ‘Definiteness’ and ‘referentiality’ can be treated as sub-parameters (or, collectively, as one sub-parameter) of the individuation concept (Hopper and Thompson 1980: 253). Consider the following examples: a. I love Greek people. b. I love the Greek people in my neighbourhood. In (a), the noun phrase ‘Greek people’ is indefinite and is used in a non-referential or denotational way, whereas ‘the Greek people in my neighbourhood’ in (b) is both definite and referential; clearly, the latter expression designates more individual animate beings than the former.

One useful theoretical device to explain gradience is ‘prototype theory’; Lakoff (1987: 8) states: WHAT IS ‘ANIMACY’? (4) 15 The approach to prototype theory that we will be presenting here suggests that human categorization is essentially a matter of both human experience and imagination — of perception, motor activity, and culture on the one hand, and of metaphor, metonymy, and mental imagery on the other …. The most significant achievement of prototype theory seems, according to Lakoff, that it frees not only categorisation but also general human thoughts from the yoke of classical dogmas such as (1987: 9): (5) a.

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