Collocations, conceptualizations and language variation

Aktivitet: Tale eller præsentation - typerForedrag og mundtlige bidrag

Henrik Hovmark - Foredragsholder

Cognitive Linguistics is concerned with the representation of conceptual structure at all levels of language, including grammatical categories, collocations and syntactic constructions. In this presentation I analyze and discuss the conceptual import of collocational constructions with Danish directional adverb omme (+ PREP + NOUN):

1omme i nakken (’around in the neck’)
2omme bag gardinet (’around behind the curtain’)
3omme bag huset (’around behind the house’)
4omme i haven (’around in the garden’)
5omme i skolen (’around in the school’)

In Danish, collocations of this kind are used to locate an object (thing, person, institution) as part of a motion event, the directional adverb (and the preposition) encoding different spatial characteristics of the path relation between source and goal. The specific spatial characteristic encoded by omme is a horizontal movement around an obstacle (r) situated between p and q.

Looking closer at the collocational data, however, omme cluster in different groups, i.e. with nouns with common semantic import (ex1 ‘body’, ex2 ‘thing’, ex3 ‘building’, ex4 ‘prototypical part of building (surrounding)’, ex5 ‘location of activity or residence’). The clusters represent different conceptualizations, characterized by different points of view (ex1 inherent bodily point of view; ex2-5 goal-oriented point of view), and by different profiling of the basic conceptualization (profiling of the obstacle, ex2-3, or the goal (or source), ex1, ex4-5).

The different conceptualizations might be described as (belonging to) different pre-ordered spatial situation types, each connected to specific, socially motivated communicative needs, and perhaps even to specific speech communities: Several speakers of Danish find ex5 “impossible” and relegate it to the traditional dialects.

The study is based on analyses of the use of omme in KorpusDK, a standard corpus of modern Danish, adding data from dialect archives and the web.
16 jun. 2011

Begivenhed (Konference)

TitelThird Conference of the Scandinavian Association for Language and Cognition
Forkortet titelSALC

ID: 37607034