Lecture abstracts (SSoL 2014)

Contents

  1. 1 Jan Bičovský: Srovnávací rekonstrukce
  2. 2 Václav Březina:  Statistics in corpus-based sociolinguistics (A practical workshop)
  3. 3 Václav Březina: Which words are useful for learners? Counting words, distinguishing meanings and developing wordlists (A corpus approach)
  4. 4 Kateřina Chládková: Uncovering the phonological structure of language: perceptual experiments and simulations
  5. 5 Dan Faltýnek - Vladimír Matlach: Gramatické popisy DNA a proteosyntézy
  6. 6 David Gil: How Different Can Languages Be?
  7. 7 Anežka Kuzmičová: Mental imagery and imageability in written narrative
  8. 8 Anna Marzecová: The cognitive benefits of bilingualism: theory, myths & facts
  9. 9 Anna Marzecová: Experimental approaches to the study of bilingual advantage(s): experimental paradigms & methodological considerations
  10. 10 Tereza Nekovářová: Sociální kognice a referenční vokalizace u zvířat
  11. 11 Krzysztof Stroński: Origin and development of ergativity. The case of Indo-Aryan
  12. 12 Krzysztof Stroński: Revisiting hierarchies - Differential argument marking in Indo-Aryan
  13. 13 Krzysztof Stroński: Puzzles of agreement - Lessons from Indo-Aryan
  14. 14 Radek Šimík: Určitost v jazycích bez členu
  15. 15 Wei-lun Lu: From Corpus to Cognition (I): Lexical Patterns in (Mono-lingual Corpora) as a Window to the Mind
  16. 16 Wei-lun Lu: From Corpus to Cognition (II): Use of Parallel Texts as a Methodology in Contrastive Research
  17. 17 Piotr Wilkin: Compositionality – the basics
  18. 18 Piotr Wilkin: Compositionality – problems and solutions

Jan Bičovský: Srovnávací rekonstrukce

Smyslem workshopu bude ozkoušet si rekonstrukční metodologii historické lingvistiky v praxi (na základě umělého, zjednodušeného vzorku). Analýza a komparace, stanovení hláskových zákonů a využití relativní chronologie, rekonstrukce genetických vztahů a prajazyka, využití typologických implikací, rekonstrukce z pohledu prajazyka, identifikace postprajazykových kontaktů.

Václav Březina:  Statistics in corpus-based sociolinguistics (A practical workshop)


This workshop will discuss different statistical procedures available for analysis of sociolinguistic data in large language corpora. I will demonstrate that the traditional approach of using aggregated data with the log-likelihood statistic is in principle unreliable. Instead, the workshop will offer suggestions for alternative methodologies and statistical procedures, which take into account within group differences and therefore produce more meaningful results. As part of the workshop, a new research tool BNC64 Search & Compare will be introduced. BNC64 Search & Compare can carry out detailed analyses based on a socially-balanced spoken corpus BNC64 (1.5 million words). BNC64 represents the speech of 64 speakers - 32 men and 32 women - extracted from the British National Corpus (BNC). BNC64 Search and Compare is a web-based environment that creates simple visualisations, calculates statistics and produces concordances. The website was created to allow for easy visualisations of complex corpus data and easy testing of a number of different sociolinguistic hypotheses. The workshop will be structured around a series of practical exercises guiding the participants through different types of analysis of corpus data and statistical procedures. The following areas will be covered:
-  Sociolinguistic data in language corpora
-  Descriptive and inferential statistics
-  Individual and social variation
-  The null-hypothesis testing paradigm and the "new" statistics


Václav Březina: Which words are useful for learners? Counting words, distinguishing meanings and developing wordlists (A corpus approach)

This talk focuses on the rationale and methodology for the development of pedagogical wordlists – lists of vocabulary intended for teaching and learning purposes. In particular, the talk will discuss some of the methodological decisions that led to the creation of the New General Service List (new-GSL) [http://applij.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/08/25/applin.amt018.abstract]. The new-GSL is a list of 2,500 lemmas based on analysis of four language corpora of the total size of almost 13 billion running words. In the talk, I will also address the issue of future development in this area and discuss automatic semantic tagging of corpora (USAS) as a means of development of even more useful pedagogical wordlists.


Kateřina Chládková: Uncovering the phonological structure of language: perceptual experiments and simulations

Linguistic representations are abstract concepts stored in the mental lexicon of language users. One of the core questions of phonological theory is what kind of representation speakers and listeners have for the sounds of their language. In this talk I will show how one can use the performance of real and virtual language users to reveal the nature of the abstract categories that speakers and listeners possess. The first part of the talk will focus on speech perception experiment with real human listeners. I will present studies on Czech and Dutch that tested that whether listeners make use of phonological features or phonemes during speech comprehension. In the second part of the talk, I will describe a computational model that can be used to reveal how phonological representations are acquired. The focus will be on artificial neural networks that simulate the learning of a five-vowel language. Results of the simulations will show what kind of phonological representations is acquired by virtual language learners. 

Dan Faltýnek - Vladimír Matlach: Gramatické popisy DNA a proteosyntézy

Znalost genetického kódu je triviální intelektuální výbava a vzhledem k aplikacím založeným na této znalosti také fakt všedního dne. V základech popisu genetického kódu stojí formulace vztahu tripletů DNA a aminokyselin, z nichž jsou komponovány proteiny. Koncept genetického kódu se při vývoji molekulární biologie od formulace vztahu tripletů a aminokyselin rozvinul dále a ve vědecké praxi se objevilo množství lingvistických a sémiotických termínů či pojmů, které jsou využívány k vyjádření nejrůznějších aspektů procesu proteosyntézy a fungování organismu vůbec – příkladem je např. kódující a nekódující DNA, transkripční a translační fáze proteosyntézy, korektura replikace DNA, textová a informační charakterizace stringů DNA a aminokyselin. Rozvoj popisu kódového charakteru proteosyntézy byl jednou z klíčových motivací vzniku Biosémiotiky, která představila nejrůznější popisy znakové povahy života a někdy přímo gramatické modely procesu proteosyntézy – některé z nich byly strukturní nebo generativní povahy, často však spočívaly spíše v mechanickém převzetí výkladů úvodů do lingvistiky a sémiotiky. Společnou vlastností těchto biosémiotických gramatických popisů je jejich vzájemná nekorespondence, která je způsobena odlišným pojímáním znaku a znakové povahy popisovaných jevů. Nejednotný přístup k pojetí znaku ve vztahu k procesu proteosyntézy byl nakonec příčinou toho, že se biosémiotika jako relativně mladá věda rozpadla na biosémiotiku a kódovou biologii. Společně s touto nerozhodností biosémiotiky se ale stále více rozvíjí analýza stringů DNA a aminokyselin za využití lingvistických a kvantitativně lingvistických metod. Workshop představí současný stav biosémiotiky a řadu gramatických modelů DNA a proteosyntézy. Na základě jejich srovnání se pokusí formulovat udržitelný znakový model proteosyntézy. Zároveň ukáže základní analytické postupy lingvistické analýzy DNA a proteinů, představí řadu konkrétních analýz DNA. 

David Gil: How Different Can Languages Be?

How Different Can Languages Be? This question has been answered in a variety of ways, ranging from the assertion (associated with generative grammar) that "All languages are essentially the same" to the claim (made by some structuralists and typologists) that "Languages are incommeasurable", or that "There are no limits on the ways in which languages may differ from one another". How can we make sense of these radically opposing viewpoints?
This course provides a critical evaluation of the various answers that have been proposed for this question. It then suggests that the most appropriate answer is in fact an intermediate one, namely: Languages differ from each other more than most linguists think that they do, but still, cross-linguistic variation is constrained by linguistic universals.
The first half of the course will examine two case studies of particular languages that have been argued to differ from Standard Average European in unexpected and profound ways: Riau Indonesian and Pirahã. The descriptions and analyses proposed for these two languages suggest that the degree to which languages may differ from each other has been substantially underestimated not only by generativists but also by many functionalists and typologists. Our discussion will focus on correlations between grammatical structures and sociohistorical properties, in particular whether a language is a standardized national language, a colloquial version of a standard language, a regional language of an ethnic minority, or a "small" language of hunter-gatherers or other similr marginalized communities.
The second half of the course will take a look at the recent debate over the question whether there exist linguistic universals of a formal nature. We shall argue that formal universal categories do exist, while suggesting that they are quite different in nature from those commonly assumed. Interestingly, both sides of the debate seem to share the presupposition that semantic universal categories are more readily indentifiable than formal universal ones. In contrast, we shall argue that there is little or no evidence, at present, in support of such semantic universal categories.

Anežka Kuzmičová: Mental imagery and imageability in written narrative

The objective of this talk is threefold. In the first part, I will discuss two issues central to any inquiry into mental imagery: embodiment and consciousness. I will do so against the backdrop of second-generation cognitive science, more specifically the research framework of embodied cognition, and I will consider two caveats attached to its current exploitation in narrative and discourse studies. In the second part, I will offer a typology of what I propose to be the four basic varieties of mental imagery elicited by written narrative. The typology is grounded in the framework of embodied cognition and it is largely compatible with key neuroscientific and other experimental evidence produced within the framework. Finally, I will make some elementary suggestions as to how the four imagery varieties may be cued by distinct narrative strategies.

Anna Marzecová: The cognitive benefits of bilingualism: theory, myths & facts

In this talk, I will critically explore  the  hypothesis that bilingualism, understood as an active use of more than one language throughout  the  lifespan, can lead to profound cognitive benefits. I will present evidence in favor of beneficial effects of bilingualism on cognitive control in the light of theoretical models that attempt to explain the origin of this advantage and its brain mechanisms. I will also point to studies, which failed to replicate the above-mentioned results. Next, I will attempt to reconcile the contradictory findings. I will analyse the role of different factors, such as age of acquisition of the second language (L2), L2 proficiency, the frequency of switching between languages and the interactional context; and I will discuss their specific contributions towards the emergence of the cognitive benefits.

Anna Marzecová: Experimental approaches to the study of bilingual advantage(s): experimental paradigms & methodological considerations

In the second talk, I will focus in more detail on the methodological aspects of the studies tapping into bilingual advantages. I will more closely present experiments that investigated attentional functioning of bilinguals and their cognitive flexibility. I will provide an overview and a practical presentation of methods and experimental paradigms which are commonly used in this field and will explain how they differ in cognitive demands and aspects of cognitive control measured.

Tereza Nekovářová: Sociální kognice a referenční vokalizace u zvířat

Teorie mysli je schopnost reprezentovat mentální stavy, motivace a znalosti jiných jedinců. Je obsáhle studována z hlediska neuronálního substrátu, ontogeneze i případných patologií, stává se ale prominentním tématem i pro srovnávací psychologii a etologii, kdy je zkoumán fylogenetický původ teorie mysli a její prerekvizity u ostatních živočišných druhů.

Funkčně referenční vokalizace byla považována za lidskou doménu, řada důkazů ji však prokazuje i u dalších živočišných druhů. Tento typ vokalizace nekóduje pouze jednotlivé vlastnosti vokalizujícího jedince jako je druh, velikost a jeho motivační stav, ale informují také o událostech a objektech v okolí.
Referenční vokalizace je vázána nejen na specifické podněty, ale je určována sociálním kontextem. 

Krzysztof Stroński: Origin and development of ergativity. The case of Indo-Aryan

The aim of this presentation is to discuss different models of the development of ergativity in IA. Besides the well-known and established scholarly opinions, less known viewpoints are also dealt with. It has usually been argued that ergativity could have derived either from the passive (cf. Bubenik 1989, 1996; 1998) or the originally PIE ergative construction (cf. Klaiman 1978; Hock 1986; Bynon 2005). In addition to these two basic approaches to ergativity in IA, other perspectives are also taken into consideration here, namely a theory based on the pragmatic properties of OIA and MIA (Andersen 1986a,b), and the hypothesis of possible borrowing from the substratum languages.

The existing scenarios of the emergence of ergativity in IA, including their later mutations, are confronted with the hypothesis of the possible active typology of PIE (cf. Klimov 1973; Bauer 2000).
The split-ergative system existing in OIA could arise from active typology as a secondary development. There are several features of OIA verbal and nominal systems which can be considered an active residue. Some of these features seem to have been preserved in NIA as well.

As regards the assumed language substrata, they had different impacts on OIA (cf. Zakharyin 1979; 1982). Languages of ergative typology such as Burushaski and Tibetan are said to have limited influence (cf. Tikkanen 1988) on Aryan stock, while languages with perceptible active features, i.e. Munda or nominative languages, i.e. Dravidian ones, could trigger the gradual nominativization of split-ergative patterns leading to the complete loss of ergativity in East IA. There is however at least one areal feature which cannot be neglected in the context of the possible substratum, namely considerably strong tendency to maintain or even to reinforce ergativity in the IA dialects spoken in the Himalayan region (Pahari) and its loss in the dialects of the plains.

What I would like to propose here is that the ergative pattern in NIA has been inherited from the MIA, which in turn is probably a continuation of the earlier OIA pattern, although due to language contact it has been either completely ousted by the nominative/accusative pattern or reinforced.

Krzysztof Stroński: Revisiting hierarchies - Differential argument marking in Indo-Aryan

The aim of the present paper is threefold. First, I will attempt to demonstrate how subject marking was introduced in the ergative domain of early NIA, secondly, the differential object marking will be dealt with and thirdly, I will show how the two differential systems interplayed with the animacy hierarchy.

Certainly Indo-Aryan (IA) is a branch which has been very well documented as regards DSM since it is the problem closely related to the emergence and decay of ergativity. There has been a number of studies devoted to the problem of DSM from both diachronic (cf. Bubenik 1996) and typological perspectives (cf. Verbeke 2013). Diachronic explanations pertaining to DSM focus on the disintegration of the former inflectional system of OIA past tenses which has been replaced by an ergative construction of MIA (either through a reanalysis of a passive (cf. Bubenik 1996; 1998) or maintenance of the ergative character of the OIA construction based on the past passive participle with A marked by an instrumental (cf. Klaiman 1978; Hock 1986)).

In the present paper I focus on the early NIA stage in which one can observe stadial introduction of the postpositional A marking with absence of O marking. I attempt to demonstrate the following: that in early NIA optionality of A marking does not preclude maintaining of ergative pattern of agreement, synthetic A marking does not have to be replaced by an analytical one, A marking can but does not have to follow Silverstein’s (1976) hierarchy (relatively high variation between ergative and nominative forms of the 1st and 2nd person pronouns in the inspected corpora). For contemporary dialects such as Rajasthani, Kumauni or Kului (cf. Ṭhākur1975) I will argue that there might be areal pressure which can trigger recession of the A marker (Rajasthani dialects) or its extension to the domains of obligation or modal future (Kumaoni, Garhwali, Kului) or its replacement by a marker used in a standard language used in the area (Kumaoni).

The next step will be to trace the historical development of DOM. Preliminary research carried out by Wallace (1981) for early Nepali and Khokhlova (1992) for Rajasthani has already proved that DOM started in the imperfective domain and then it was introduced to the perfective one. In the present paper this will also be confirmed for less explored languages such as Kumauni, Chambiyali and Braj. The process of introducing DOM will be verified diachronically against the animacy hierarchy, i.e. even though contemporary standard languages such as Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi or some minor dialects belonging to the Rajasthani group (cf. Stroński 2011) follow Silverstein’s hierarchy as regards pronominal O marking, several early NIA dialects had unmarked pronominal O and some of them have not introduced pronominal O marking even today.

This preliminary research aims to answer the question what was the interplay between DSM and DOM in IA from diachronic and typological perspective and what grammatical and pragmatic factors have played major role in both processes.

References
Bubenik Vit, 1996. The Structure and Development of Middle Indo-Aryan Dialects. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.
Bubenik Vit, 1998. A historical syntax of Late Middle Indo-Aryan (Apabhramśa). Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Hock Hans Heinrich, 1986. ‘P-oriented construction in Sanskrit’. In Krishnamurti (et al. eds.)
1986, South Asian Languages. Structure, Covergence Diglossia. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 15–26.
Khokhlova Ludmila V., 1992. ‘Trends in the Development of Ergativity in New Indo-Aryan’. Osmania Papers in Linguistics 18, 71–89.
Klaiman Miriam H., 1978. ‘Arguments against a passive origin of the IA ergative’. Chicago Linguistic Society: Papers from the 14th Regional Meeting, 204–216.
Silverstein Michael, 1976. ‘Hierarchy of Features and Ergativity’. In Dixon Robert M.W. (ed.), 1976. Grammatical Categories in Australian Languages, Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies 112–171.
Stroński Krzysztof, 2011. Synchronic and diachronic aspects of ergativity in Indo-Aryan.Poznań: Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM.
Ṭhākur Maulūrām, 1975. Pahāṛī bhāṣā kuluī ke viśeṣ sadarbh me. Dillī: Sanmārg Prakāśan.
Verbeke Saartje 2011. Ergativity and alignment in Indo-Aryan. Universiteit Ghent: Faculteit Letteren & Wijsbegeert. (PhD thesis)
Wallace W. D., 1981. ‘Object-marking in the history of Nepali: A case of syntactic diffusion’. Studies in the Linguistic Sciences Vol. 11, Num. 2, 107–128.
Primary sources
Bhānāvat Narendra & Kamal Lakshmi (eds.), 1997–1998. Rājasthānī gadya: vikās aur prakāś. Āgrā: Śrīrām Mehrā end Kampanī. (Collection of Rajasthani Prose Texts)
Cauhān, Candra Siṁh, 2008. Kumāunī bhāṣā ke abhilekh. Haldvāni: Aṁkit Prakāśan. (Collection of Kumauni inscriptions).
Chhabra, B. Ch. 1957. Antiquities of Chamba State. Part II. Memoires of the Archeological Survey of India, No 72. New Delhi: ASI.
Joshi Maheshwar P., 2009. ‘Advent of polities in Uttarkhand (Kumaon and Garhwal)’. In Lecomte-Tilouin (ed.) 2009, Bards and mediums: history, culture, and politics in the Central Himalayan kingdoms. Almora: Shri Almora Book Depot, 327–371. (Collection of Kumauni inscriptions).
Pokharel Bālkr̥ṣṇa, 1964. Pāñca śaya varṣa. Lalitpur: jagadambāprakāśan. (Collection of Nepali inscriptions)
Trivedī Vipin Bihārī, 1953. Revātaṭa (Pṛthvīrāj rāso). Lakhnau: Hindi Vibhāg, Lakhnau Viśvavidyālay.
Vājpeyī Shrinandadulāre (ed.), 2009. Sūrsāgar. Kāśī: kāśī nāgarī pracāriṇī sabhā.

Krzysztof Stroński: Puzzles of agreement - Lessons from Indo-Aryan

The present paper is an attempt to trace possible paths of the emergence and development of various agreement patterns in selected Indo-Aryan dialects.

There are two major types of agreement in IA, i.e. single and double agreement.
• The single agreement pattern is represented exclusively by accusative languages. The verb always agrees with A.
• Double agreement is attested in split ergative languages. The verb can agree with A or O. (cf. Das 2006; Verbeke 2013)

Hindi/Urdu is a classical example of the double agreement system. In the imperfective tenses the verb agrees with A and in the perfective tenses either with O or, if O is marked, then the agreement is blocked and the verb takes a default form.

Notwithstanding, certain varieties of Hindi as well as dialects spoken in the so called ‘Hindi belt’ do not follow the rule of agreement blocking and despite introducing O marking they still preserve OV agreement. The widely discussed example is Marwari (conforming to the neighboring Gujarati pattern) (cf. Magier 1983: 321), but the absence of agreement blocking has also been attested at earlier stages of Pahari (Grierson 2005 [1916]: 294-295; 398-399) and Braj (Liperovskij 1988; 2007).

It has always been tacitly assumed that the pronominal system of NIA follows default agreement in the perfective tenses. However, the introduction of the pronominal O marking seems to be a recent phenomenon, and still some dialects show the unmarked pronominal O (Pahari) in the perfective tenses.
Scrutiny of the pronominal system and the status of the main and auxiliary verb in the ergative domain reveals further intricacies of the agreement patterns existing in IA dialects:
• The phenomenon of the split agreement attested in Rajasthani (Magier 1983: 321-322; Khokhlova 2001: 168) and Awadhi (Liperovskij 1997: 241).
• Complex agreement in Pahari and Braj with the 1st and 2nd pers. pronominal O.
• Agreement of pronominal O with the main verb in Rajasthani, Pahari and Western Hindi.
Several views expressed in the 1970s regarding morphology and agreement in the ergative construction gained great popularity, often still being quoted today, e.g.
• “… there are apparently no languages in which an ergative verb-agreement rule is
combined with a nominative-accusative case marking system.” (Anderson 1977: 329-
330)
• “In fact, there are many languages which have an ergative-absolute system for
nominal case-marking and a nominative-accusative system for verb-agreement (the
inverse is rare or nonexistent).” (Comrie 1978: 340)
• “If there is verbal agreement, the verb may agree with the direct object in number (and in gender languages, in gender) but not in person. Subject agreement, if present, is identical with that of intransitive verbs’. (Trask 1979: 388)

Some of them have even become so pervasive that the existing language data has been either neglected or purposely overlooked. However the agreement phenomena observed in the IA languages show clearly that these generalizations do not hold any more.

References
Anderson, Stephen R. 1977. ‘On the Mechanisms by which Languages Become Ergative’. In Li Charles N. (ed.), Mechanisms of Syntactic Change. Austin & London: University of Texas Press. 1977, 217–264.
Comrie, Bernard. 1978. ‘Ergativity’. In Lehmann Winfred P. (ed.), 1978. Syntactic Typology: Studies in the Phenomenology of Language. Texas: University of Texas Press, 323–393.
Das, Pradeep Kumar. 2006. Grammatical Agreement in Hindi-Urdu and its Varieties. München: Lincom Europa.
Grierson, George A. 2005 [1903-1928]. Linguistic Survey of India. Delhi: Low Price Publications.
Khokhlova, Ludmila V. 2001. ‘Ergativity Attrition in the History of Western New Indo –Aryan languages (Punjabi, Gujarati and Rajastahani)’. The Yearbook of South Asian Languages and Linguistics, 159–184.
Liperovskij, Vladimir P. 1997. Očerk grammatiki sovremennogo avadhi. Moskva: Izdatel’skaja Firma ‘Vostočnaja Literatura’ RAN.
Magier, David. 1983. Topics in the Grammar of Marwari. Berkeley (University of California PhD thesis).
Trask, Larry R. 1979. ‘On the Origin of Ergativity’. In Plank Frans (ed.), 1979. ‘Ergativity. Towards a Theory of Grammatcal Relations’. London: Academic Press. 385–404.
Verbeke, Saartje. 2013. Ergativity and alignment in New Indo-Aryan languages. Berlin-New York: Mouton DeGruyter.

Radek Šimík: Určitost v jazycích bez členu

Mnoho jazyků, mezi němi čeština, nedisponuje určitým ani neurčitým členem. Postrádají tyto jazyky zcela kategorii určitosti? Nebo je tato kategorie pouze vyjadřována jinak, než pomocí členů? Jaký je vztah mezi členy (jak je známe např. z germánských či románských jazyků) a zájmeny v jazycích bez členu? Může ukazovací zájmeno (např. ten) hrát roli členu určitého a neurčité zájmeno (např. nějaký) hrát roli členu neurčitého? V čem se členy od zájmen liší? Jakou roli pro určitost hraje aktuální členění? Těmito a dalšími otázkami se budeme v kurzu zabývat. Základem pro diskuzi budou současné sémantické a syntaktické teorie určitosti, členů, a zájmen (pro přehled viz např. Heim(ová) 2011, Dayal(ová) 2011; oboje v Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning, eds. Maienborn, von Heusinger & Portner). Účastníci kurzu budou mít (velmi pravděpodobně) možnost zúčastnit se experimentu i jeho následného vyhodnocení. Kurz lze absolvovat bez předchozích znalostí, avšak znalost základů logiky, sémantiky a syntaxe bezpochyby pomůže.

Wei-lun Lu: From Corpus to Cognition (I): Lexical Patterns in (Mono-lingual Corpora) as a Window to the Mind

In this talk, I will discuss how lexical patterns in language can tell us about the way language is represented in the mind. Case studies will be presented at two levels:  I will first show how the constructional profile of a given lemma can be indicative of its lexical semantics. In addition, I will show how findings of lexical patterns can be applied to the analysis of rhetoric structure. At the end of the talk I will return to how such findings have implications on the way we view language.

Wei-lun Lu: From Corpus to Cognition (II): Use of Parallel Texts as a Methodology in Contrastive Research

This talk is a continuation of the previous one, where I propose to investigate patterns in translated literary texts. In particular, I will argue that the use of parallel texts not only allows us to compare the stylistic and the cognitive aspects of literary works in a cross-linguistically valid way, but also helps to deepen our understanding of the mechanisms relating language use and thinking. I conclude that use of parallel literary texts should be incorporated as a research methodology in cognitive and contrastive linguistics, and can further create cross-fertilization of narratology, translation, and cognitive scientific research.
 

Piotr Wilkin: Compositionality – the basics

The compositionality principle is one of the most widely accepted principles of modern linguistics. What it basically says is that the meaning (or truth, or content, or any other semantic function) of an expression is a function of the meaning (truth, content, etc.) of its constituents. This principle on one hand is very useful theoretically, as it allows for the construction of formal theories of language, on the other hand, it seems to serve an important explanatory function, making it possible to justify our capacity to master a potentially infinite number of sentences with a finite brain.

During the workshop, I will talk about the principle of compositionality and its practical implementations, from the historical and most straightforward ones, to the approaches advertised nowadays. Participants will then be asked to ponder the matter and try to conjure up potential counterexamples to the principle of compositionality. This will build the foundation for the second workshop.

Piotr Wilkin: Compositionality – problems and solutions

Starting with the counterexamples discussed in the previous workshop, I will make small tour of the various problems with the principle of compositionality. The problems discussed will be twofold – one group will focus on the formal and linguistic difficulties of producing a compositional theory of language for a given language fragment. The other group will be cognitive criticisms of the principle of compositionality – namely, ones that claim that compositionality, at least in some of its versions, does not really justify the epistemic phenomena which it aims to describe.

We will discuss the problems and then a set of potential answers and solutions will be presented, both for resolving the formal issues (without delving into too much technicalities – the course will not assume the knowledge of anything but the rudimentary logical notation) and for answering the cognitive criticisms. We will end with a discussion of the state of the principle of compositionality based on all the material discussed.