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The Social Origins of Language

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Presents a new theoretical framework for the origins of human language and sets key issues in language evolution in their wider context within biological and cultural evolution


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Preposition Placement in English: A Usage-Based Approach

By Thomas Hoffmann

This is the first study that empirically investigates preposition placement across all clause types. The study compares first-language (British English) and second-language (Kenyan English) data and will therefore appeal to readers interested in world Englishes. Over 100 authentic corpus examples are discussed in the text, which will appeal to those who want to see 'real data'


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Academic Paper


Title: The pragmatic variable: Toward a procedural interpretation
Author: Marina Terkourafi
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://faculty.las.illinois.edu/mt217/
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Linguistic Field: Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: Labov defined the linguistic variable as "a class of variants which are ordered along a continuous dimension and whose position is determined by an independent linguistic or extralinguistic variable" (1966:15). A precondition for identifying surface forms as variants of a single variable is semantic, or truth-conditional, equivalence. This requirement proves hard to apply beyond (morpho)phonology, and was subsequently relaxed into one of functional equivalence. The focus of this article is pragmatic variation and how we should interpret functional equivalence to account for this. It is proposed that the variants of a pragmatic variable share a common procedural meaning, defined as a set of instructions guiding the inferential phase of utterance interpretation. Recasting the core meaning of pragmatic variables in procedural terms allows us to co-examine alternating forms that may express different referential meanings, remaining true to the spirit of Labov's proposal, who saw linguistic variables as socially motivated clusterings of forms. (Pragmatic variation, functional equivalence, procedural meaning, Relevance Theory)

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Language in Society Vol. 40, Issue 3, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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