This study has a dual orientation and a dual aim: theoretical and analytical. On the theoretical side, it presents a relatively little known cognitive model of categorization, Vantage Theory (VT), associated with the name of Robert E. MacLaury, and first proposed to account for categorization in the color domain. It also surveys linguistic applications of the model and proposes its adaptation, called Extended Vantage Theory (EVT), locating it in the context of previous modifications and adaptations. In the analytical part, the adaptation serves a specific purpose: an account of the use of the English articles. Being an exercise in cognitive linguistics, the book attempts to find cognition-driven motivation not only for the standard, “textbook” examples of article use, but also for ambiguous ones (e.g. “I intend to date a Norwegian,” “The boy who wrote this e-mail must be expelled”), ones that are subject to pressures from discourse (e.g. associative links, discourse-initial “the”), or ones that apparently fly in the face of both logic and conventionalized English usage (e.g. “a British Isles,” “a United Nations”). Motivation, it is claimed, resides in speaker-produced conceptualization of and point of view (vantage) on the scene being described.
The book is thus as much a testing ground for a theory as it is a hands-on struggle with specific data.
Schematic Table of Contents:
Chapter 1. Vantage Theory: origin and basic tenets.
Chapter 2. Vantage Theory: linguistic applications.
Chapter 3. The English articles: a background survey.
Chapter 4. (E)VT and the English articles.
Chapter 5. EVT and articles in discourse.
Chapter 6. EVT and articles: a further extension.
Index of names.