Grammatical Effects of Affect A contrastive corpus analysis of the use and meaning of infant and baby

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Abstract: This thesis aims at (1) outlining a basic understanding of how affective, or expressive,meaning can be understood relative to linguistic meaning and language at large, and (2) analysinghow affective meaning may relate to epistemological status and reference type in actual languageuse. The thesis' theoretical framework is largely situated within the paradigm of cognitivelinguistics, and in particular drawing from the work of Langacker (2008). The analysis combinesbasic qualitative and quantitative methods in deconstructing clausal instantiations from transcriptsof spoken English from the COCA corpus. The clausal instantiations are analysed according to threeparameters: Semantic prosody (positive – inconspicuous – negative); Epistemological status(extensional – intensional); and Reference type (specific – non-specific). The results can be said topoint to indications of correlative patterns between affective meaning and epistemological status,whilst finding close to no indications of such patterns between affective meaning and referencetype. The results also point to the necessity of not only considering written text, but also other nonlexicalmeans of communication (such as tone of voice and gestures), in order to successfully studyaffective meaning relative to language and linguistic processing.

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