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Title: English Abstract Nouns As Conceptual Shells: From Corpus to Cognition
Written By: Hans Ulrich Schmid
Series Title: Topics in English Linguistics 34

Being somewhat elusive, abstract nouns have never been very popular as objects of linguistic research. English Abstract Nouns as Conceptual Shells fills this long-standing gap in English and general linguistics. Based on a systematic analysis of a very large corpus, it introduces a conceptual and terminological framework for the linguistic description of abstract nouns. The uses and meanings of 670 abstract English nouns are described, among them some of the most frequently used nouns in English like thing, fact, case, point, idea, reason, problem and question. Going beyond mere description, the book then explains the ways in which speakers and writers of English benefit from the use of these nouns. Semantic, pragmatic, rhetorical, textual and cognitive functions of abstract nouns are discussed, always with reference to the empirical observation and statistical analysis of the corpus data. In this way, a link between the corpus method and functional and cognitive theories of language is established. The central theoretical claim of the book is that there is a functional class of abstract nouns which are used by speakers to create conceptual shells for complex pieces of information. The latter are expressed by clauses or even longer passages somewhere else in a text or discourse. As a terminological reflection of this claim, the nouns themselves are referred to as shell nouns and the passages to which they are linked as shell contents. The book includes an appendix giving statistical information on the lexico-grammatical usage of the 670 nouns. From the contents: Part I Foundations: Theory, terminology and methodology Introduction Approaching shell nouns The links between shell nouns and contents The systematic investigation of shell nouns Semantic prerequisites Part II The use of shell nouns Describing shell-noun uses Factual uses Linguistic uses Mental uses Modal uses Eventive uses Circumstantial uses Summary of Part II Part III Functions of shell nouns Introduction to Part III Semantic functions Pragmatic, rhetorical and textual functions Conclusion and outlook Appendix Notes References Index of shell nouns Index of subjects

Publication Year: 2000
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
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Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics
Subject Language(s): English
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 3110167670
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 457 p
Prices: DM 178,- /EUR 91,01 /vS 1299,-