Survey Seminar Series Spring 2020

The Survey of English Usage organises a number of seminars each year for staff and students from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and beyond. They are generously sponsored by the English Department.

The following research seminar were planned for the Spring term. (The second seminar was cancelled.)


Monday 10 February, 4.15pm, Foster Court 233

  Gunther Kaltenböck (University of Graz)
A dualistic approach to grammar and its application to formulaic sequences

Most grammatical models assume that linguistic structure represents a fairly monolithic system of mental and linguistic activity. Some lines of recent research, however, suggest that human cognitive behaviour, in general, and linguistic discourse, in particular, cannot reasonably be reduced to a single, monolithic system of mental processing but has in fact a dualistic organisation. This talk presents such a dualistic model of grammatical structure and processing, viz. Discourse Grammar (Kaltenböck et al. 2011, Heine et al. 2013), which comprises two distinct components: Sentence Grammar and Thetical Grammar. The paper will furthermore demonstrate the application of such a model for the classification of formulaic sequences (e.g. Wray 2002). Based on the analysis of formulaic sequences in hemispheric speech disorder, the paper argues against a simple equation of ‘formulaic’ with right-hemisphere and ‘novel’ with left-hemisphere, as proposed for instance by the dual process model (e.g. Van Lancker Sidtis 2009, Van Lancker Sidtis and Postman 2006). Instead, it suggests that formulaic expressions fall into essentially two different categories according to their function in discourse: those that operate within the clausal scope of Sentence Grammar (left-hemisphere dominated) and those that are anchored in the immediate situation of discourse, as accounted for by Thetical Grammar (right-hemisphere dominated).

Heine, Bernd, Gunther Kaltenböck, Tania Kuteva, and Haiping Long 2013. An outline of discourse grammar. In Bischoff, Shannon and Carmen Jany (eds.), Functional approaches to language. Berlin : Mouton, 175-233.

Kaltenböck, Gunther, Bernd Heine, and Tania Kuteva 2011. On thetical grammar. Studies in Language 35, 4: 848-93.

Van Lancker Sidtis, Diana. 2009. Formulaic and novel language in a ‘dual process’ model of language competence: evidence from surveys, speech samples, and schemata. In R. Corrigan, E. A. Moravcsik, H. Ouali , & K. M. Wheatley (eds.), Formulaic language. Volume 2: Acquisition, loss, psychological reality, and functional explanations (Typological Studies in Language, 83). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: Benjamins, 445 – 470.

Van Lancker Sidtis, D., & Postman, W. A. 2006. Formulaic expressions in spontaneous speech of left- and right-hemisphere damaged subjects. Aphasiology 20, 5: 411 – 426.

Wray, Alison. 2002. Formulaic language and the lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tuesday 17 March, 4.15pm, Foster Court 114

Philip Durkin (Deputy Chief Editor and Principal Etymologist, OED)
An expanding or a fragmenting lexicon? Some possible approaches to loanwords, lexical change, and multilingual practices in Early Modern English

This event was cancelled due to Covid-19.

All welcome! Drinks afterwards.

Past events

This page last modified 8 October, 2020 by Survey Web Administrator.