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Linguist's Lounge / hi everyone. greetings for all
« Last post by Kissimpus on October 13, 2018, 03:54:58 AM »
hi everyone. it is great site. thanks for all.
Semantics and Pragmatics / Re: Semantic components and semantic primes
« Last post by Daniel on October 11, 2018, 01:23:13 PM »
Wierzbicka's work is about lexical meaning, properties of words. Talmy's work is about function (event or conceptual structural meaning), properties of grammatical structure. There is likely to be some overlap between the two once both theories are polished, and I imagine either would accept that overlap as relevant if they accepted the details of the other theory in general but they're talking about different things. For example, words identified by Wierzbicka's categories might fit into the grammatical slots identified by Talmy, but one problem is (in)directness, because Wierzbicka's categories are so abstract that those primitives might fight into almost any part of speech in various functions, so it isn't clearly how exactly to connect the theories except to notice some conceptually similar points.

Furthermore, Talmy's work can be interpreted loosely as a description of cross-linguistic variation, rather than necessarily a theory about the inner-workings of languages. Wierzbicka's work is essentially irrelevant if it doesn't have theoretical validity-- it's analytical/predictive, not loosely descriptive.

Making a connection between these two approaches is a very interesting possibility, although your results would then be contingent on both approaches being accepted. Generally Talmy's work seems widely accepted (with a few exceptions that work out as additional details, like "equi-polent" languages where Serial Verb Constructions behave in the middle of his verb-framed and satellite-framed types), but I think partly because it is a descriptive tool rather than necessarily a theoretical analysis, in which case it might not be as strictly accepted if required to be a theoretical explanation rather than just labels. Weirzbicka's work is highly controversial (to the extent that I'd say the vast majority of linguists may reject it), although it can be interpreted less controversially if we loosen the goal from lexical decomposition of all vocabulary (a way it is often interpreted, and seems to be sometimes suggested by Wierzbicka et al. themselves), versus just an enterprise in finding common meanings cross-linguistically and thereby partial lexical decomposition for some vocabulary. The semantic primes are either ingredients to build all vocabulary (with a high burden of proof) or just common, shared cross-linguistic elements with vocabulary in all languages (still not uncontroversial, but less extreme). Note that the number of primes has fluctuated over the years such that the second interpretation might be more plausible. Regardless, there is essentially no imaginable way to get from the core primes to "tree" or "squirrel", so I personally find the second interpretation much more likely.
Semantics and Pragmatics / Semantic components and semantic primes
« Last post by Mirta on October 11, 2018, 01:10:26 AM »
Hi everyone,
I am an Italian PhD student in linguistics and I am interested in the analysis of the expression of Manner.
I went throught the works of Lakoff, Talmy and Wierzbicka recently and their event semantics raised some questions in me which I am not sure to be able to answer.
So, I would ask to the semanticists on this forum: in your opinion, what is the difference between Talmy's semantic components Move, Figure, Ground, Path and  Wierzbicka's semantic primes MOVE, I/YOU/THIS, WHERE/HERE?

Is it just a terminological difference?Both authors seem to assert that these semantic "elements" are universally shared and not further decomposable. Am I wrong? Could you make some clarification? Many thanks.   
Linguist's Lounge / Re: MORPHEME
« Last post by Daniel on October 09, 2018, 07:44:51 AM »
It depends on your theory/analysis!

-ed marks past tense in English, of course. But exactly how you analyze that depends on your textbook/instructor/theory. There are a lot of different possibilities.
Linguist's Lounge / MORPHEME
« Last post by jungjae97 on October 09, 2018, 01:18:15 AM »
just a simple question as i just started in this field.
when we breakdown the chain for the word 'laughed' what do we categorized the 'ed' as?
Language-specific analysis / Re: What language is this?
« Last post by panini on October 06, 2018, 07:10:31 AM »
No, actually I meant, ask your Finnish friend of she understands anything from the Veps video. That gives you a way of calibrating her non-recognition of the recording in question. If she says "I sort of understand it" to Veps that I would say that the Banter video is unlikely to be in a Finnic language. But if she has the same reaction to Veps, then I'd say her language-recognition skills are tightly tuned to Finnish in particular.

Where did this video come from in the first place? I would also entertain the theory that it's mock language. I've heard some hilarious mock Norwegian videos that were not actually in Norwegian, but it took speakers a minute to figure out that it wasn't actually Norwegian.
Language-specific analysis / Re: What language is this?
« Last post by aramis720 on October 05, 2018, 07:29:16 PM »
Are you suggesting I contact the woman in the video about Veps?
Language-specific analysis / Re: What language is this?
« Last post by aramis720 on October 05, 2018, 07:28:01 PM »
Great, thanks. I'll check with her.
Semantics and Pragmatics / Re: Plural language used for a singular actor
« Last post by Daniel on October 04, 2018, 10:26:32 AM »
More generally, this relates to groups performing collective actions:

"We called for help." (As in your situation.)
"We drove here as a family." (But not everyone drove, perhaps just the parents or one parent.)

"Drive" is an especially interesting verb in this case, because it can even be extended to singular usage for passengers. "How did you get here?" -- "I drove.", even if actually it wasn't "I" who drove but a friend, while I rode in the car. The collective action of "driving" though applies to the whole group. Note that it does not apply when riding the bus, even though there is a driver there, but not part of the relevant group. I suppose in some sense this relates to responsibility, similar to how someone in the workplace might be reprimanded for not doing a task but (probably) only if someone else (e.g., on their team) didn't already do it. "You should have done it!" -- also interesting that in English, "you" is ambiguous between singular and plural, and I think in some cases that fits this type of discourse well, although I'm not sure how that works out in other languages.

Collectivity and related semantic concepts are complicated for linguistic analysis and in some ways just beginning to be explored in linguistic theory (at least compared to other topics). Even just plurals in general are a more complex topic than singulars, when for example thinking about the sort of referents that noun phrases express: we think about entities as subjects ("Who drove?" / "John drove."), but in fact once we consider data from plurals we must consider sets of entities rather than just individuals, and everything gets much more complicated. (There's also a question of whether singulars are sets of single individuals, or if there is actually a substantive distinction between singulars as individuals and plurals as sets!) See, for example, Lasersohn (1995), Plurality, Conjunction and Events:

As panini points out, "let's" often has this collective sense, but it's by no means a grammatical anomaly, no more than other collective/plural/etc. usage in general.
Semantics and Pragmatics / Re: Plural language used for a singular actor
« Last post by panini on October 04, 2018, 08:36:22 AM »
If Bob were alone and said "Let's call for help", the weirdness would be him talking to himself and not just doing it. Or, using the hortative, rather than saying "I should call for help". To make it situationally less odd, suppose there's a dead rat in the road and the intent is to toss it in the ditch. Then you might say "One of us should toss it in the ditch", or "Let's toss it in the ditch". I would vote for the second option. The form addresses the group (which includes me); it's unrealistic to expect more than one person to participate in the rat-toss. The "Let's" form is addressed to a group, which does not mean that there is a reasonable expectation that every addressee will perform the action. The let's-form has an advantage over the option "Jill, toss the rat!" because it is less likely to generate the response "Who died and made you the boss?" It's a vague and avoidable suggestion that does not impose a burden on any addressee. It's better that "Somebody should...", which carries the scent of moral dictation (which nobody likes). Although, if you plan on tossing the rat yourself, then "Somebody should toss that rat" is a better form to use, if your goal is to claim moral superiority. (That could backfire if you don;t move quickly enough).

Anyhow, the grammar is fine.
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