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Conflicts in Interpretation (Advances in Optimality Theory)

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  • ISBN-13: 9781845534387
  • Publisher: Equinox Publishing
  • Release Date: Mar 31, 2010
  • Pages: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 9.0 x 0.5 inches

Overview

Conflicts in Interpretation applies novel methods of constraint interaction, derived from connectionist theories and implemented in linguistics within the framework of Optimality Theory, to core semantic and pragmatic issues such as polysemy, negation, (in)definiteness, focus, anaphora, and rhetorical structure. It explores the hypothesis that a natural language grammar is a set of potentially conflicting constraints on forms and meanings. Moreover, it hypothesizes that competent language users not only optimize from an input form to the optimal output meaning for this form, or vice versa, but also consider the opposite direction of optimization, thus taking into account the speaker as a hearer and taking into account the hearer as a speaker. The book aims to show that such a bidirectional constraint-based grammar sheds new light on the relation between form and meaning, within a sentence as well as across sentence boundaries, within a single language as well as across languages, and within competent adult language users as well as during language development. An important dimension of the book is the structured investigation of issues at the interface of semantics with syntax and pragmatics, such as the effects of distinguishing between speaker's perspective and hearer's perspective in comprehension and production, stable and instable patterns of form and meaning across languages, and the development of a coherent pattern of form and meaning in children. The book will be of interest to any researcher or advanced student in linguistics, cognitive science, language typology, or psycholinguistics who is interested in the capacity of our human mind to map meaning onto form, and form onto meaning.

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