From Etymology to Pragmatics: Metaphorical and Cultural Aspects of Semantic Structure

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Cambridge University Press, 1990 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 174 pages
This book offers a new approach to the analysis of the multiple meanings of English modals, conjunctions, conditionals, and perception verbs. Although such ambiguities cannot easily be accounted for by feature-analyses of word meaning, Eve Sweetser's argument shows that they can be analyzed both readily and systematically. Meaning relationships in general cannot be understood independently of human cognitive structure, including the metaphorical and cultural aspects of that structure. Sweetser shows that both lexical polysemy and pragmatic ambiguity are shaped by our metaphorical folk understanding of epistemic processes and of speech interaction. Similar regularities can be shown to structure the contrast among root, epistemic and speech act uses of modal verbs, multiple uses of conjunctions and conditionals, and certain processes of historical change observed in Indo-European languages. Since polysemy is typically the intermediate step in semantic change, the same regularities observable in polysemy can be extended to an analysis of semantic change.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
11 Past approaches and problems
13
12 Cognitively oriented recent work in semantics
16
metaphorical connections between semantic fields
18
Semantic structure and semantic change English perceptionverbs in an IndoEuropean context
23
22 The MindasBody Metaphor
28
23 Senseperception verbs in English and IndoEuropean
32
24 The structure of our metaphors of perception
37
42 And or and hut
86
43 Conclusions
111
Conditionals
113
52 Real and apparent ambiguities between classes of conditionals
121
53 If as a topic marker
125
54 The evenif reading of conditionals
133
55 Conclusions
141
Appendix to section 513
142

25 Conclusions
45
Modality
49
32 The root modals in English
51
33 Epistemic modality as an extension of root modality
56
34 Speechact verbs and speechact modality
69
35 Conclusions
73
Conjunction coordination and subordination
76
Retrospect and prospect
145
Notes
149
References
159
Index of names
168
Subject index
170
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