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LINGUIST List 16.3238

Wed Nov 09 2005

Diss: Cognitive Science/Discourse Analysis: Tenbrink: 'L

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        1.    Thora Tenbrink, Localising Objects and Events: Discoursal applicability conditions for spatiotemporal expressions in English and German


Message 1: Localising Objects and Events: Discoursal applicability conditions for spatiotemporal expressions in English and German
Date: 09-Nov-2005
From: Thora Tenbrink <tenbrinkinformatik.uni-bremen.de>
Subject: Localising Objects and Events: Discoursal applicability conditions for spatiotemporal expressions in English and German


Institution: University of Bremen
Program: SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2005

Author: Thora Tenbrink

Dissertation Title: Localising Objects and Events: Discoursal applicability conditions for spatiotemporal expressions in English and German

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
                            Discourse Analysis

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
                            German, Standard (deu)

Dissertation Director:
John Bateman
Christian Freksa

Dissertation Abstract:

Does temporal language depend on spatial language? This widespread view is
based on a number of intuitively appealing aspects that together strongly
suggest a conceptual dependency relation between the domains of space and
time. Among these, the similarity and frequent identity of spatial and
temporal linguistic expressions plus the existence of consistent metaphors
that express temporal phenomena in terms of spatial language are perhaps
the strongest. Undoubtedly, temporal and spatial expressions are
morphosyntactically and semantically close, and conceptually highly
compatible.

But is this close relationship also reflected in the application of the
terms in natural discourse? The thesis addresses this question by drawing
together findings on the applicability of spatial and temporal dimensional
terms, i.e., terms that describe the relation of entities to each other on
a spatial or temporal dimension (such as before/after, right/left, etc.),
followed by empirical investigations that complement earlier results. The
method of cognitively motivated discourse analysis adopted takes into
account relevant approaches to the investigation of natural discourse but
focuses on aspects that highlight the relationship between cognition and
language usage. Central to this approach is the assumption that all
systematic differences in speaker preferences must have systematic reasons.
By analysing natural language, then, principles for the application of
spatial and temporal terms are identified that can be traced back to
general discourse phenomena interacting with cognitive, domain-related
aspects.

The comparison of applicability conditions leads to the conclusion that the
application of spatiotemporal dimensional terms in natural discourse does
not reflect a conceptual dependency relationship between space and time.
Both the fundamental differences and a number of parallels that could be
identified can be traced back to more general discourse phenomena as well
as to (shared and diverging) conceptual aspects concerning the two
cognitive domains.





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