Danske retningsadverbier og rumlig orientering

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis

This PhD thesis is an investigation of the semantics and pragmatics of Danish directional adverbs (DDA) (for instance op 'up', ned 'down', ud 'out', ind 'in'). The major goal is to explore the relationship between language, culture, and cognition, taking the deictic use of DDA in specific contexts as point of departure. The analysis is made within the framework of Cognitive Linguistics (Talmy, Langacker), and special attention is given to variational and procedural perspec­tives.

The thesis has two major parts. 1) An attempt is made to define the instruc­tional core meaning of DDA, and describe their contribution to spatial language in Danish, using modern corpora and data from the collection of dialectal material at the Dictionary of the Insular Dialects at the University of Copenhagen. 2) An at­tempt is made to pin down the factors determining the choice of DDA by lan­guage users in specific contexts, using data from interviews with dialect-speaking informants from a local community.

The first part of the thesis contains a thorough description of the basic concep-tu­alizations and semantic use potential of DDA. DDA contribute substantially to the well-known coding of Path in a Motion event, i.e. the construal relation be­tween Figure and Ground (Talmy 2000). DDA comprise three forms: ud-Ø, ud-e, ud-ad/-efter. It is argued that the three forms can be described and explained con­vincingly as different ways of profiling a telic-dynamic Motion event in an overall path event frame (Talmy 2000). 1) The dynamic form (ud-Ø) can be accounted for as profiling the entire event. 2) The static form (ud-e) can be accounted for as an example of "fictive motion" (Talmy) or "subjectification" (Langacker), used to highlight the locational end-point of a preceding, presupposed or fictive trajectory of the Figure. 3) The procedural form (ud-ad/-efter) can be accounted for as a form used to high­light a) the procedural aspect of the Motion event (thus leaving the source and goal of the motion unprofiled within the overall scope), and b) the manner of Path (thus underlining the Manner element in the Motion verb).

The second part of the thesis explores possible factors influencing the choice of DDA: 1) perception and conceptualization of the specific spatial location and sur­roundings, 2) basic lexicalized conceptualizations (image schemas) in the DDA, and 3) socio-culturally entrenched conventionalizations of relations between spe­cific DDA and specific spatial entities and locations. It is argued: 1) that the choice and use of DDA is dynamic, but also highly conventionalized and tied to socio-culturally based practices within different speech communities; 2) that the different deictic centres established through conventionalized use of DDA can be connected to local communicative practices; and 3) that language users in their perceptually and conceptually based choice of DDA not only take into account the very abstract basic image schemas, but also specific conceptualizations of spatial situations, based on prior experience and entrenched in con­ventionalized expressions with DDA.

Finally, the thesis contains a lexicographic appendix investigating the use poten­tial of conventionalized expressions in monolingual dictionaries, taking The Danish Dictionary (2003-2005) and the Dictionary of the Insular Dialects (1992-) as examples.

Original languageDanish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
PublisherNordisk Forskningsinstitut
Number of pages251
Publication statusPublished - 2007

ID: 2984367