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Semantics and Pragmatics / Re: Construction Grammar and Relevance Theory
« Last post by Matt Longhorn on December 01, 2018, 01:03:57 PM »
Thanks Daniel. I came across it when reading "Semantics and Pragmatics: Drawing a Line" so got a flavour of the vagueness of the distinction between these two disciplines while reading that. It is just nice to be reading in an area that isn't specifically pragmatic in its outlook.
Can you clarify what you mean by not a theory per se with an example of a specific theory? If you could provide an example of something accepted as a full fledged theory that would be helpful.
Unfortunately reading outside of work doesn't leave me much time so I am somewhat myopic in my reading habits. Still splitting time between Koine Greek, learning vocab, reading papers and books on grammar and linguistics applied to the koine era and still try to keep an eye on more general modern stuff. Sounds like a lot, but I tend to focus in depth on one small thing at a time until I burn out and then move to another area and generally just cycle around. As a result I have only looked at relevance theory for the past year and don't really have a wider reading in linguistics than that.
Semantics and Pragmatics / Re: Construction Grammar and Relevance Theory
« Last post by Daniel on December 01, 2018, 12:48:36 PM »
On the one hand, they deal with different domains: pragmatics vs. grammar, so they don't strictly need to be compatible. It's hard to imagine any (reasonable) theory of grammar being completely incompatible with Relevance-theoretic pragmatics.

On the other hand, Construction Grammar, and Cognitive Linguistics in general, does not treat the Semantics/Pragmatics distinction as strictly as other grammatical theories, so that usage and context may either directly or indirectly affect the grammar. In that sense, Relevance may determine which constructions are used and even how they develop. This is not an area I've specifically read much about, but certainly seems like a good one for research, to determine the extent and nuances of the relationship. You might even ask if the constructions found in a language can be substantially explained by Relevance.

At the same time, a challenge is that neither of these is a theory per se in the most specific sense: they are both ideas that can be incorporated into specific theories. It seems extremely likely that "relevance" has some bearing on pragmatic interaction, whether or not formulated in precisely the way current publications say. Constructions are a little bit more controversial (some extreme Generative theories might attempt to deny that they exist entirely, although even then I think they would need to admit that idioms exist, which are the most extreme kind of construction, and then the question just becomes where to draw the line, not whether constructions exist). So these are really just approaches to analysis, and there's a lot of variation out there in specific proposals, with no consensus yet.
Semantics and Pragmatics / Construction Grammar and Relevance Theory
« Last post by Matt Longhorn on December 01, 2018, 04:05:51 AM »
I was hoping someone could give some thoughts on the possibilities and challenges of integrating relevance theory and construction grammar.
I have been reading on relevance theory for about a year now and wanted to move to something else to further my personal reading. Construction grammar has appealed to me for various reasons, but I am only at the start of learning this theory. I just bought the oxford handbook for a comparatively cheap price so am working through that, as well as reading journal articles and
I have stumbled across work by Benoit Leclercq that I will try to get through when I feel up to it, but was hoping others may know resources or have thoughts already that deal with this as well?
Outside of the box / Re: Croatian toponyms
« Last post by Daniel on November 28, 2018, 02:02:51 PM »
There are three questions:
1) Data (you seem to present this reasonably, but there may be other possibilities to consider as well)
2) Methodology (you have yet to address any sort of technical methodology, e.g., along the lines in the table you linked to, using phonetic notation, systematic rules deriving sound changes from one step to the next, etc.*)
3) Interpretation (this is the least certain)

I've really only been commenting on (2), and some about (3). Starting with different data will lead to different hypotheses. Determining which one is better is tricky. The most important thing to look for is consistency, but for some etymologies, especially if they are unique (not following the patterns of other words) then we really can't know much, because there's nothing to compare them to. The possibilities may remain open, without any conclusions. That's just how it works.

So, which approach do you think is more scientific?
One using technical notation, consistent sound change rules, and properly addressing relevant data as well as alternative hypotheses. (That's a lot to ask, but no one said science is easy.) All of your comments here are haphazardly criticizing aspects of the proposal without proposing any alternative in a technical way. That's not going to get us anywhere.

*What is lacking from your "sound changes" in the last post is any sort of systematic pattern. You're just writing out words you imagine from one stage to the next, without any clearly defined methodology. The most important principle of Historical Linguistics is looking for patterns across words, rather than just listing examples you think make sense.

There is literally no point in arguing about any of this without a specific, consistent, technical proposal that shows all of the steps. And honestly I don't know that I have the time to look over a detailed proposal like that, depending on how long it ends up being. That's why I've been talking about methodology this whole time rather than answers, because that's what can be offered here. "What ifs" make all of this too variable to give a clear answer. Post a specific proposal or just accept that "maybe" is a reasonable response.

The off-topic, ad hominem, non-scientific, political, variable arguments in this thread have made me lose track of what we're even talking about. That's not how science works, and I have no interest in continuing with it.
Outside of the box / Re: Croatian toponyms
« Last post by AGuyFromBalkanee on November 28, 2018, 01:09:03 PM »
So, what is that approach you suggest? I've included a list of sound changes I propose in my last post.
And I think my approach is even more scientific than the FlatAssembler's one because that names which I take to be previous names for Zagreb are actually attested, the name "Serbinon" is attested on the Ptolemy's map, the name "Soroga" is mentioned in "Rerum Hungaricarum", and the other names similarly so.
FlatAssembler's proposed ancient name for Zagreb, "Dzigurevos" (supposedly meaning "God's hill"), as far as I know, hasn't been attested anywhere. Here is what he wrote exactly:
Quote from: FlatAssembler
The name Zagreb itself probably means "the God's hill", from the Illyrian word Dzis (God), mentioned on the Messapian inscriptions, and a word related to Proto-Slavic *gora and Sanskrit giri. So, the Illyrian name might have been *Dzigurevos, borrowed into Old Croatian via Vulgar Latin.
He also appears to imply the way the name changed can be explained using the table he made (I linked to it in my last post), even though I find it very hard to believe languages actually behave that way. He derives the rules in that table from some words and place names he claims to have gone from Latin to Croatian early, but I am pretty sure that if you tested those rules with more such words, they will fail to correctly predict how the shapes of the words changed more often than not. And I am also pretty sure no linguist specializing in Serbo-Croatian would affirm you the rules in the table are correct.
So, which approach do you think is more scientific?
Outside of the box / Re: Croatian toponyms
« Last post by Daniel on November 28, 2018, 12:06:37 PM »
Even assuming you're correct about everything you say, your points here are also entirely politically motivated, so you're being hypocritical, and off-topic.

But why should we trust him?
I don't "trust" him, or others. That's not how science works.  I'm just talking about methodology and commenting on linguistics. I'm not suggesting anyone's politically-motivated arguments are better than anyone else's. I have, however, suggested some ways to approach these questions linguistically. That's all. Your replies here simply don't have any relevance to that, so there's nothing more to discuss. This forum is not the place to decide the "official" etymology of anything, so there's really nothing at stake here.

People can write whatever they want on the internet. Most of it is wrong (given several competing theories). This forum isn't going to solve any of that, but we can discuss Linguistics here. What matters a lot more than being right or wrong is learning how to be right next time. If you're not here to do that, then why are you here, and what do you want? This back and forth is tiring, and as far as I can tell, pointless for all involved.
Outside of the box / Re: Croatian toponyms
« Last post by AGuyFromBalkanee on November 28, 2018, 11:38:23 AM »
Well, yes, FlatAssembler did include tables on his web-page explaining what he supposes to be the sound changes from Indo-European to Illyrian (I believe he also posted that one here), from Classical Latin to the Late Latin dialect he supposes to have been spoken in Croatia and from Old Croatian into Modern Croatian. But why should we trust him? After all, he had quite a lot of time to make those stuff up in order to make his theory apparently coherent, right?
And I suppose it seems apparently coherent... until you know a bit more. For instance, that there was a city in ancient times known as Serbinon (and later as Sorba, Soroba, Sogora, Zbreg and finally as Zagreb), which all the historians I've asked agree was modern-day Zagreb. Doesn't that strongly suggest that Zagreb is a Serbian city that was stolen from Serbia by the Croats? And, as FlatAssembler also notes, there was also a river named Serapia, probably the river now known as Bednja. Yes, you can search for alternative etymologies (you can claim whatever you want about a supposed ancient unattested language), but come on now! Serbia, Serbinon, Serapia... Don't you see the connection here?
But, yeah, you are not from Balkan, so it's not important to you.
Outside of the box / Re: Croatian toponyms
« Last post by Daniel on November 28, 2018, 10:44:16 AM »
Yes, off-topic posts will be deleted. Continued ad-hominem or off-topic (including politically motivated) posts will be removed, and your account may be banned. I don't like babysitting, and it's frustrating you're insisting on it. Write maturely and responsibly or leave the forum-- final warning.


from the Illyrian word he reconstructs as *Dzigurevos, supposedly meaning "God's hill". Why is that more credible than saying that the name "Zagreb" comes from the earlier name "Serbinovo"?
Because "credible" doesn't describe general statements like you are making, or many of the general statements flatassembler has made. What is credible is systematically applying standard analyses in linguistics, like the comparative method, and tracing sound changes step by step. If it works out, that's relatively credible. If it doesn't, if there are holes or unknowns in the analysis, that's a good sign it isn't credible.

I don't have the time or interest to attempt to figure out all the nuances of these arguments. But it should be relatively easy to do so if you would like, looking strictly at linguistic analysis, to see what happens.
Outside of the box / Re: Croatian toponyms
« Last post by AGuyFromBalkanee on November 28, 2018, 10:34:15 AM »
Oh, OK, I see my posts get deleted here if I say what I think about the important stuff. Let's try, like FlatAssembler, you know, discuss politics without directly mentioning it.

So, FlatAssembler suggests that the name of the city of Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, comes from the Illyrian word he reconstructs as *Dzigurevos, supposedly meaning "God's hill". Why is that more credible than saying that the name "Zagreb" comes from the earlier name "Serbinovo"? Because any competent historian will affirm you Zagreb was previously known as "Serbinovo".
Historical Linguistics / Re: Romance languages not descended from Latin.
« Last post by Daniel on November 21, 2018, 03:46:56 PM »
The first is that “proto-” when preceeding a language implies two different things. One is that you are looking at a lot of reconstructed forms arrived at by using the comparative method. The other is that you are referring to an undocumented language which immediately preceeded a known language or languages. Whilst it is possible that the reconstructed form is close or even identical to the unknown language, conceptually the two are different things. One is a real thing which is unknown and the other is a reconstruction. The real thing is fixed while the reconstruction is liable to change if new information becomes available and would be different if any of the information we do have had not been available.
Yes, that's correct. And "Proto-X" should always refer to the real, unknown entity, only approximated by specific hypotheses/reconstructions about its structure, just like we're not sure exactly who spoke it where, and various other things. The proto-language is very real (assuming the languages actually are related!), but the details remain a mystery, and even a good approximation via reconstruction won't really settle that.

The second is that Proto-Romance, whichever of the above you mean, is not as far back as we can go. It occupies a gap in knowledge as we have a huge corpus of Classical Latin which cannot be ignored, even if it is acknowledged that it is Vulgar Latin which is an ancestor of Romance languages and not Classical Latin.
OK, I guess I agree in a sense, at least for terminology. But what about comparing this to a number sequence, like "1,2,_,4,5"? We know there is a "proto-number" (gap in the sequence) in there, and we also can try to reconstruct it. I don't see why that is fundamentally different from having a gap at the beginning or end of the sequence. In that sense, "Proto-Romance" shouldn't be a problem at all. (A remaining problem is that it never existed as such in a single place, because it was already in place, all around the Roman Empire, before it became something "different" and drifted in the same direction, in those somewhat separated parts, fueled partly by continued contact, as I wrote about above.)

Vulgar Latin is an ancestor of the Romance languages, but is has a very long history. Accordingly, if Proto-Romance is the immediate ancestor of the Romance languages it is confusing to call it Vulgar Latin.
I guess. I just don't see this as much of a problem, because "Proto-Romance" also can be said to have a long history, even all the way back to PIE (why not?). The idea of "oldness" of languages is meaningless, so instead what you're talking about here is traditional assumptions about spans of time. And that's true, but that's like saying Old English isn't the ancestor to Modern English, because there was Middle English in the middle. More importantly, there's no clear reason to think that "Proto-Romance" and "Vulgar Latin" did not substantially overlap, even if they were not coextensive temporally.

Anyway, terminology aside, it seems like we mostly agree.
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