LINGUIST List 13.3040

Thu Nov 21 2002

Diss: Syntax: Ghosh "The syntax-pragmatics..."

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  1. san_subh, Syntax: Ghosh "The syntax-pragmatics interface of Bangla"

Message 1: Syntax: Ghosh "The syntax-pragmatics interface of Bangla"

Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2002 09:34:01 +0000
From: san_subh <>
Subject: Syntax: Ghosh "The syntax-pragmatics interface of Bangla"

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: University of Hyderabad
Program: Centre for Applied Linguistics and Translation Studies
Dissertation Status: In Progress

Author: Sanjukta Ghosh 

Dissertation Title: 
The syntax-pragmatics interface of Bangla

Linguistic Field: 
Syntax, Pragmatics

Subject Language: Bengali

Dissertation Director 1: Probal Dasgupta

Dissertation Abstract: 

The goal of this dissertation is to develop a programmatic tool called
individuation which roughly works as a theory of prominence in
language. To make the idea of individuation more concrete, I use it
as a linguistic feature in the present implementation of the

The linguistic elements which are more individuated contains more
information than others (paradigmatically) and are more prominent than
their syntagmatic neighbours. There are some tools in a language which
are used by the speakers to make any linguistic element more
individuated, therefore, more prominent. Emphasizers, demonstratives
and classifiers are some of them.

The theoretical approach taken in this dissertation follows Nicolas
Ruwet and his hermeneutic way of studying linguistics. This approach
not only considers the grammatical aspect of a linguistic study but
also accounts for the psychological aspects of a communication, a
speaker, and a hearer, as these appear in a linguist's
consciousness. I relate Ruwet's work with Indian study of meaning and
philosophy of language, viz., with Bhartrhari's sphota theory.

Meaning is understood from the words on the basis of their
manifestation as objects of the sense of hearing. Based on this idea
of Bhartrhari, the present work places the hearer in a very important
position in a linguistic theory. Therefore, the grammatical properties
of what is said are not determined from something present in the
formal object but in the generosity of a patient listener who takes on
board the linguistic as well as social context of an act of speaking.

A generous listener decides which constituent of a sentence will
become input for an acceptance-interpretation process in a larger
context. This move of shifting the focus to a hearer makes the
language free from the (structuralist) clutches of
society. Bhartrhari's 'whole over part' view of language which is
supported in this work is opposite to the traditional structuralist as
well as recent Minimalist position. In both these theories, the
smaller constituents are accepted for interpretation as soon they are
formed and a total view of the larger construction is thus
obstructed. Cognition is based in those accounts on parts of a
construction. I have shown in the chapter 4 of this dissertation that
actual cognition does not happen by parts. One of the main aims of
this dissertation is to work towards a more explanatory account of

Chapter 1 introduces the work.

Chapter 2 is the first empirical chapter based on the data from Bangla DP

Chapter 4 is the other major empirical chapter based on the analysis
of data from Bangla imperfective, perfective and conditional
participles. Blocking has taken a central place in writing this
chapter. Observations in at least three parts of this chapter
exemplify blocking among various non-finite participles.

Between these two empirical chapters, the third chapter clarifies my
actual standpoint from which the work has been done. The main theme of
the dissertation is to establish speakers' freedom to assign meaning
to an utterance in a conversation.

Chapter 5 discusses some of the residual issues left by the other
chapters and the future directions of the work.
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