LINGUIST List 26.2714

Tue Jun 02 2015

Diss: English; Cog Sci, Pragmatics, Semantics, Sociolinguistics, Text/Corpus Ling: Jori Lindley: 'A corpus-based cognitive-functional study of the meaning and use of 'always' and 'never'...'

Editor for this issue: Ashley Parker <ashleylinguistlist.org>


Date: 01-Jun-2015
From: Jori Lindley <jori.lindleygmail.com>
Subject: A corpus-based cognitive-functional study of the meaning and use of 'always' and 'never', and related phenomena, in American English
E-mail this message to a friend

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Program: Department of Applied Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2015

Author: Jori Lindley

Dissertation Title: A corpus-based cognitive-functional study of the meaning and use of 'always' and 'never', and related phenomena, in American English

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
Pragmatics
Semantics
Sociolinguistics
Text/Corpus Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director(s):
Hongyin Tao
Marianne Celce-Murcia
Robert Kirsner

Dissertation Abstract:

This is a multi-faceted corpus study of the adverbs of frequency 'always' and 'never', in which their meanings (exaggerated or literal), tense-aspect preferences, and functions (specifically, the function of 'always' or 'never'
followed by the progressive) across genres are all investigated. I also briefly investigate the maximizers 'utterly', 'completely', 'totally', and 'fully'. Using four corpora and quantitative and qualitative methods, I show that always and never are not as straightforward as they appear. On the contrary, their distribution, meaning, and use are highly dependent on context, both in a larger sense (i.e., genre, pragmatic concerns) and a more specific, local sense (i.e., the immediate linguistic environment, including the verbs, tense-aspect, etc.). For example, I argue that concerns about accountability explain the observed rates of exaggeration across different types of news articles and across academic journals in different fields, and that social concerns involving politeness explain the finding that the
grammatical subject in complaints is more often third person than second person. Throughout, it is shown that a cognitive-functional approach is the most useful for understanding how these very common words are used.

Page Updated: 02-Jun-2015