Cognitive Corpus Studies: A New Qualitative & Quantitative Agenda for Contrasting Languages

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Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk


This paper is an attempt to find a place for contrastive studies in the present-day linguistics. It focuses on some philosophical and linguistic assumptions of Cognitive Grammar, which is relevant to studying contrasts between languages. Two of the fundamentally important concepts discussed in the paper are the concepts of equivalence and its philosophical ‘anchoring point’ tertium comparationis. The first part of the paper presents a debate on their definitions and interpretation, and a new, evolving perspective in terms of a cognitive corpus linguistic paradigm. Introduced here is the concept of a communicative shift in meaning, or reconceptualization, in terms of the speaker's and addressee's approximation to their universes of thought. What is proposed in this paper is a new look at and a research agenda for the concept of equivalence in contrasting languages, based on two sets of criteria. The first set is qualitative and mental in nature, serving as a crucial function for the entity of Event, while the second is quantitative, capturing distributional and frequency facts, which help to identify the (proto) typical and increasingly peripheral semantic construal-types in the contrasted languages. The discussion is exemplified with English and Polish corpus data of participial modification.

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Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk, B. (2012). Cognitive Corpus Studies: A New Qualitative & Quantitative Agenda for Contrasting Languages. Connexion: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 1(1), 26–64. Retrieved from
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