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LINGUIST List 20.2414

Mon Jul 06 2009

Diss: Psycholing/Semantics: Cardini: 'Language and Thought: A...'

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        1.    Filippo-Enrico Cardini, Language and Thought: A linguistic and non-linguistic comparison between English and Italian in the domain of manner of motion

Message 1: Language and Thought: A linguistic and non-linguistic comparison between English and Italian in the domain of manner of motion
Date: 05-Jul-2009
From: Filippo-Enrico Cardini <f_cardini_2000hotmail.com>
Subject: Language and Thought: A linguistic and non-linguistic comparison between English and Italian in the domain of manner of motion
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Institution: Lancaster University
Program: Ph.D. Program in Linguistics - Testing Linguistic Relativity
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Filippo-Enrico Cardini

Dissertation Title: Language and Thought: A linguistic and non-linguistic comparison between English and Italian in the domain of manner of motion

Linguistic Field(s): Psycholinguistics
                            Semantics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
                            Italian (ita)

Dissertation Director:
Paul Chilton

Dissertation Abstract:

This doctoral thesis addresses the issue of linguistic relativity, the
theory postulating the existence of non-linguistic cognitive differences
between speakers of contrasting languages. This hypothesis is tested in the
present thesis by means of a comparative study between English and Italian
speakers with respect to the conceptual domain of manner of motion. The
study, thus, provides some additional contribution to the current research
on motion conceptualisation, both in theoretical and in empirical terms. On
the theoretical side, one should highlight in particular the creation of
some semantic criteria for determining what should (and should not) count
as a 'manner of motion verb'. On the empirical side, the thesis describes
an investigation into linguistic relativity which has produced a large
amount of data through linguistic and psycholinguistic experiments
conducted on native speakers, as well as through a dictionary-based lexical
survey of English and Italian manner of motion verbs. The investigation
into the relativity hypothesis has first sought to establish whether and to
what degree the speakers of the two languages examined differ in
availability and use of manner of motion verbs. In doing this, valuable
information has been gathered especially with respect to Italian, for which
little experimental data were available before the present study. In line
with predictions based on Talmy's (1985, 1991) classification of language
types, English and Italian speakers have been found to differ significantly
in the variety and frequency of use of manner of motion verbs in their
colloquial speech (with English speakers displaying a much wider repertoire
and a much more frequent mention of such verbs than Italian speakers).
However, when tested on a non-linguistic cognitive task aimed at measuring
the degree of visual attention paid to manners of motion, the difference
between the two linguistic groups was not significant. Consequently, the
study has provided negative evidence for linguistic relativity.



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