Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

E-mail this page

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Dissertation Information

Title: Texts as Image-Schemas: A crosslinguistic analysis of discourse in the light of cognitive linguistics Add Dissertation
Author: Tania Salies Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Oklahoma State University, English Department TESL/Linguistics Program
Completed in: 1997
Linguistic Subfield(s): Discourse Analysis;
Director(s): Carol Moder
Gene Halleck
Cheryl Scott
Ravi Sheorey

Abstract: This dissertation demonstrated that different languages have different properties that cluster to construe the COMMUNICATIVE TEXT image-schema. Particularly, it studied sentence and attention unit length, independent clauses/sentences, right branching constructions, head-modifier sequences, and the use of content words in published Brazilian Portuguese (BP) and English institutional expository texts. Data came from five sources: The Public Affairs Service of Petrobras, the state owned oil company in Brazil; Phillips Petroleum Special Projects Department; The Public Affairs Department of Exxon Corporation; Shell Centre; and Texaco Inc. They were analyzed by means of descriptive statistics such as frequencies and qualitatively according to perceptual, cognitive, and pragmatic constraints. Within the same framework, this dissertation also investigated the English translated variants of the texts published by Petrobras Public Affairs Service. A Mann-U test for independent groups compared the results of the BP and English conditions and a Friedman test for dependent groups compared the three research conditions.
Results indicated a link between linguistic devices present in the data and cognitive-perceptual constraints. While the category COMMUNICATIVE English TEXTS exhibited attributes such as short sentences, long attention units, frequent independent constructions and content types, the category COMMUNICATIVE BP TEXT showed long sentences, short attention units, frequent repetition of content tokens, and few independent constructions. The two groups significantly differed in the way they organized and used those attributes. The co-occurence of these attributes constitutes cases of English or Portuguese discourse close to the prototypical and likely to instantiate the core image-schema the addresser intended to convey with no extra processing cost. Furthermore, the qualitative analysis indicated that differences between a COMMUNICATIVE BP text and a COMMUNICATIVE English text apparently derives from anaphoric ties, mainly verb and noun inflections, as well as from the perceptual salience of autonomous entities in BP, a language in which heads normally precede modifiers. Those BP attributes allow readers to process on-line even at the constituent level, posing fewer constraints than English on the working memory of its users. English translation emerged as a fuzzy category at the borders of the BP and English COMMUNICATIVE TEXTS.