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On the Offensive

By Karen Stollznow

On the Offensive " This book sheds light on the derogatory phrases, insults, slurs, stereotypes, tropes and more that make up linguistic discrimination. Each chapter addresses a different area of prejudice: race and ethnicity; gender identity; sexuality; religion; health and disability; physical appearance; and age."



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Dissertation Information


Title: The Conceptual Domain of EARTH. Towards a Cognitive Account Add Dissertation
Author: Adam Glaz Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://serwisy.umcs.lublin.pl/adam.glaz
Institution: Maria Curie Sklodowska University, Department of English
Completed in: 2001
Linguistic Subfield(s): Semantics;
Director(s): Henryk Kardela

Abstract: (Now published by Maria Curie-Sklodowska University Press (http://www.umcs.lublin.pl/str.html?id=51) as The Dynamics of Meaning. Explorations in the Conceptual Domain of EARTH. For brief information see http://klio.umcs.lublin.pl/~linguist/glaz.html)

The dissertation is an attempt to describe the meaning of a word within the framework of cognitive linguistics, which leads one to a description of the relevant conceptual domain. Specifically, Ronald Langacker's network model is combined with Catherine Fuchs's conception of dynamic semantic space in an analysis of the conceptual domain of EARTH. A word's meaning is further said to be modified contextually (co-textually), polysemy being treated as a natural phenomenon.

Because the meaning of a word is viewed in global terms (i.e. it involves all of its senses) as a dynamic phenomenon, rather than present a complete description of the meaning of 'earth', I propose an account of the pertinent processes. It is claimed that a reliable description of the semantics of a word must take into account three factors: (1) the word's semantic potential, i.e. the whole conceptual domain it can evoke, with intracategorial trensions arising between its senses; (2) its relationships with semantically related words (in this case the relationships between 'earth' and 'world', 'soil', 'land' and 'ground'), i.e. intercategorial tensions; and (3) contextual modifications of its meaning. A network of the conventionalized senses of 'earth' serves as the starting point for an analysis of such modifications.

It is claimed that the three factors, distinguished for research and descriptive purposes, must be viewed as different aspects of the same phenomenon.

In the Appendix, I also propose an account of the apparently inconsistent use of articles (the zero or the definite article) with the word 'earth', as well as the word's capitalization. Especially important prove the notions of imagery, subjectification and the role of the speaker.

The analysis is based on two types of data: a collection of The Times and The Sunday Times for 1995 (about 40,000,000 words of running text) and six novels by Martin Amis.