Causal Categories in Discourse and Cognition

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Ted Sanders, Eve Sweetser
Walter de Gruyter, 2009 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 249 pages
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All languages of the world provide their speakers with linguistic means to express causal relations in discourse. Causal connectives and causative auxiliaries are among the salient markers of causal construals. Cognitive scientists and linguists are interested in how much of this causal modeling is specific to a given culture and language, and how much is characteristic of general human cognition.Speakers of English, for example, can choose between because and since or between therefore and so. How different are these from the choices made by Dutch speakers, who speak a closely related language, but (unlike English speakers) have a dedicated marker for non-volitional causality (daardoor)?

The central question in this volume is: What parameters of categorization shape the use of causal connectives and auxiliary verbs across languages? The book discusses how differences between even quite closely related languages (English, Dutch, Polish) can help us to elaborate the typology of levels and categories of causation represented in language. In addition, the volume demonstrates convergence of linguistic, corpus-linguistic and psycholinguistic methodologies in determining cognitive categories of causality. The basic notion of causality appears to be an ideal linguistic phenomenon to provide an overview of methods and, perhaps more importantly, invoke a discussion on the most adequate methodological approaches to study fundamental issues in language and cognition.

 

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Contents

Causality in language and cognition what causal connectives and causal verbs reveal about the way we think
1
A mental space analysis of subjectivity in causal connectives
19
Causal Connectives in Dutch Biblical Translations A cognitive linguistic approach
61
Evidence from Polish English and Dutch
91
a usagebased analysis
119
the case of Dutch doen and laten
173
Causal categories in discourse Converging evidence from language use
205
Backmatter
247
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About the author (2009)

Ted Sanders, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands; Eve Sweetser, University of California, Berkeley, USA.

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