Abstract/Details

Cognitive aspects of the grammaticalization of Medieval Welsh prepositions


2003 2003

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

Prepositions are one of the tools languages can use to mark and distinguish roles associated with particular semantic frames or grammatical functions. This work studies this phenomenon in Medieval Welsh texts from two angles: a catalog of the functions of prepositions, especially of their more abstract uses, and the cognitive mechanisms by which they are extended to those uses; and an analysis of the variety of motivations for preposition choice, especially when marking significant roles associated with particular verbs or particular semantic frames, and how they compete when multiple motivations are present.

What we find is a systematic hierarchy of motivations: (1) Choice dictated by the abstract structure of the scenario, for example identifying a participant as part of a dual or multiplex constituent. (2) Choice dictated by a relatively grammaticalized use of the preposition, typically based on syntactic rather than semantic function, for example identifying a syntactic agent. (3) Choice dictated by the morphology of the verb, typically arising historically from a semantic motivation, as with the use of a co-locational marker with morphologically mutual verbs. (4) Choice expressing an ad hoc metaphoric expression of the scenario. (5) A conventional lexical association of a preposition with a particular verb, typically deriving from one of the other motivations but generalized beyond its original scope. (6) Choice driven by some prototypical semantics of the frame, arising via metaphor but determined by the nature of the metaphoric target domain. (7) Choice driven by a generalize conventional metaphor (e.g. Event Structure) and determined by the nature of the metaphoric source domain.

Beyond the usefulness of such a study in understanding the structures of a particular language, a comparison of studies of this type can contribute to a cross-linguistic understanding of cognitive universals. Adpositional language is typically quite variable in how it bundles groups of spatial meaning, even among closely related languages, making it possible to distinguish significant patterns at a more finely-grained level between languages than within a single language. Finding the commonalties in the metaphoric and grammaticalized extensions of spatial language can help identify universal elements among more complex metaphors.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Linguistics
Classification
0290: Linguistics
Identifier / keyword
Language, literature and linguistics; Cognitive; Grammaticalization; Medieval; Prepositions; Welsh
Title
Cognitive aspects of the grammaticalization of Medieval Welsh prepositions
Author
Jones, Heather Rose
Number of pages
920
Publication year
2003
Degree date
2003
School code
0028
Source
DAI-A 66/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780542252471, 0542252473
Advisor
Sweetser, Eve E.
University/institution
University of California, Berkeley
University location
United States -- California
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
3183821
ProQuest document ID
305338069
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/305338069
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.