LINGUIST List 10.587

Fri Apr 23 1999

Qs: Tech Translation, CD/ROM/Fr., Spatial Exp.

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>

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  1. Jeff ALLEN, Psychology-based studies on technical writing
  2. Michael Kliffer, Reviews of French dictionaries
  3. mcintyre, spatial expressions: region of interaction; animacy

Message 1: Psychology-based studies on technical writing

Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 20:27:32 +0200
From: Jeff ALLEN <>
Subject: Psychology-based studies on technical writing

Dear colleagues,

I have come across a few books lately (e.g., The Possibility of
Language by Alan Melby, Knowledge and Skills in Translator Behavior by
Wolfram Wilss, Language Engineering and Translation by Juan Sager,
Training the Translator [sorry I cannot remember the author's name:
the book is at home], etc) that discuss various psychological,
cognitive, and psycholinguistic factors involved in the process by
which a human translator translates text from one language into

I would be interested in knowing what books and training manuals
discuss psychological and cognitive issues in the area of learning
technical writing. This could also include language acquisition for
Language for Special Purposes (LSP) domains. I can imagine that in
many cases there is a section of a book or a chapter devoted to the
topic, yet it might not be reflected in the book title.

I would be willing to post a summary based on responses received.

Please reply to me directly at <> 

Best regards,

Jeff Allen

Jeff ALLEN - Directeur Technique
European Language Resources Association (ELRA) &
European Language resources Distribution Agency (ELDA) 
(Agence Europ\233enne de Distribution des Ressources Linguistiques)
55, rue Brillat-Savarin
75013 Paris FRANCE
Tel: (+33) - Fax: (+33)
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Message 2: Reviews of French dictionaries

Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 15:25:37 -0400 (EDT)
From: Michael Kliffer <kliffermcmail.cis.McMaster.CA>
Subject: Reviews of French dictionaries

Does anyone know of reviews of the 2 major French-English dictionaries
on CD-ROM, the Collins and Grand Larousse? If anyone has had
experience with both or either of these programmes, I would very much
appreciate hearing your impressions of them.

Thanks very much,
Mike Kliffer

- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Michael D. Kliffer Phone: 905-525-9140, ext. 23748
Department of French E-Mail:
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
L8S 4M2
- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Message 3: spatial expressions: region of interaction; animacy

Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 15:31:45 +0000
From: mcintyre <>
Subject: spatial expressions: region of interaction; animacy

Dear Linguists, 

This is related to an earlier query on prepositions (10.301.2), which
I promise to summarise soon. Many languages (e.g. Turkish, Indonesian,
Tamil) have a spatial system organised as follows. There is a locative
marker/ case/adpostion which expresses location in, on or near its
reference object. Contextual clues or knowledge of typical
relationships between objects are relied on to specify the spatial
configuration more exactly. An expression 'person [locative desk]'
would be understood to convey that the person is sitting at the desk
(not e.g. on it) and 'picture [locative wall] that it is hanging on
the wall, not e.g. lying near it. In cases where there is potential
ambiguity or in contrastive situations, such languages make use of
more or less grammaticalised expressions with relational nouns of the
type seen in the English expressions 'on (the) top of the shelf', 'at
the back of the house'.

(1) Most reference grammars only say that the locative marker of the
language in question means 'at', 'on' or 'in' and give three examples.
Can anyone recommend some more detailed analyses of such spatial
systems? At the momemnt, I have only the following: -Bauer, W. et al,
1993. Maori. (Routledge)-Becker, A., et al. (eds.) 1988. Reference
to Space. (Strasbourg/ Heidelberg). -Becker, A.,
1994. Lokalisierungsausdr\252cke im
Sprachvergleich. (Niemeyer). -Kukuczka, E., 1984. Lokalrelationen und
Postpositionen im Tamil. Institut f\252r Sprachwissenschaft, Universit\228t
K\246ln. Arbeitspapier 45.

(2) Is a such a spatial system typologically less marked than a system
like that in English, which insists on being more specific (apart from
some uses of 'at' like 'he waited at the pub' which without further
context says nothing about whether he is inside or outside the pub)?

(3) Are generalised locative markers in such languages preferentially
treated as referring to the interior of the RO? Is the interpretation
of 'person [locative car]' always that the person is in the car rather
than near it?

(4) One way (among^others) of describing the ability of locative
markers to refer to both the interior and the proximal exterior of a
reference object would be to assume that locative markers refer to the
'region of interaction' of the reference object (Miller/Johnson-Laird,
1976, Language and Perception). Is there any more recent
(psychological or linguistic) literature which discusses the idea that
we perceive objects as being accompanied by some sort of region or
sphere of influence, perhaps parallelling the human's sense of
personal space? Or is the notion suspect? (5) Is it always the case
that generalised locative markers disallow animate complements in
spatial readings? Do they always get a shifted reading, e.g. a
possessive one like 'book [locative me]'='my book'? I would be
grateful for any examples of, or studies on, locative expressions
which disallow animate complements. I have seen only the following
refs., which deal with blockages on animate complements of expressions
referring to the interior of the reference object: Lindemann, R.,
1997. An Animacy Criterion for the Complements of
Prepositions. Ms. Univ. of Leipzig. -Lindemann, R.,
1998. Bedeutungserweiterungen als systematische Prozesse im Systerm
der Partikelverben mit ein-. In: Olsen, S. (ed), Semantische und
konzeptuelle Aspekte der Partikelverbbildung mit ein-. T\252bingen:

Andrew McIntyre

Dr. Andrew McIntyre
Institut fuer Anglistik, 
Universitaet Leipzig
Bruehl 34
04109 Leipzig

Particle Verb Project homepage:
Tel (home): 0341-983 0602 (from Australia:001149-341 983 0602)
Tel (work): 0341-9737 328 (from Australia:001149-341 9 7373 28)
Fax: 0341-9737 329
Privatadresse: Shakespearestr. 3
 04107 Leipzig
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