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Academic Paper

Title: Modulating Attitudes Via Adverbs: A cognitive-pragmatic approach to the lexicalization of epistemological evaluation
Author: Gloria Cappelli
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Institution: Università di Pisa
Linguistic Field: Pragmatics; Semantics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: The most recent developments in the field of anthropological and cognitive sciences have shown that the epistemological evaluation of states of affairs plays a crucial role in human cognition. The interlocutors' epistemological attitudes seem, therefore, to be a crucial element which must always be retrieved in order to assess the epistemic status of the information communicated and to assign to this latter a steady informational status. Verbs of cognitive attitude are means for the expression of this fundamental cognitive dimension and constitute a coherent class through which the English language linguistically carves out and lexicalises the basic dimensions pertaining to the conceptual epistemological domain. The study of a large corpus of occurrences of these verbs allowed for the identification of the ways in which the epistemic and evidential dimensions are modulated and combined in the single verbs in order to render the cognitive attitudes of the evaluator in all their nuances. The lexical combinatory patterns in which these verbs enter help determine which semantic dimensions are involved in the semantic potential of each verb and which are the factors that favour the construal of the cognitive attitude meaning. In particular, I will attempt to demonstrate that the study of the adverbial modification of verbs of cognitive attitude can provide a powerful "tool" for the definition of the uniqueness of the meaning of each verb through a case study represented by the analysis of the combinability of several adverbs with "suppose", "assume" and "guess", which are commonly treated as synonyms and which seem to show large areas of overlap in their meaning.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: In: Bertuccelli Marcella (ed.)[2005], Studies in the semantics of lexical combinatory patterns, Pisa: Edizioni Plus
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