Ongoing projects

Towards an inclusive Covid-19 crisis communication policy in Belgium: the development and validation of strategies for multilingual and media accessible crisis communication 01/02/2021 - 31/03/2022

Abstract

The interdisciplinary project subsidized by Sciensano aims to develop an effective strategy for more inclusive (digital) crisis communication, which takes account of the socio-linguistic diversity of Belgium and actively battles information inequality. The focus lies on how government communication about Covid-19 information during the pandemic can be improved through bespoke (re)translations and accessible media and language tailored to linguistic minorities' needs and specific needs groups. These needs include the information's linguistic/multimodal form, the communicative channels and dissemination measures.

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Complexity in complementation: understanding long-term change in verb complementation in terms of inter- and intra-individual variation. 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

The main objective of this proposal is to establish the impact of inter-individual differences in cognitive representations on long-term population-level language change. In examining how the individual and community levels interact, the project seeks to contribute to a theory of language as a complex adaptive system. This theory views language as a self-organizing network which at the macro-level shows properties that are not recurrent at the individual level and yet emerge out of complex behaviour at that level. A more specific goal is to chart, and explain, the range of variation in the English complementation system by studying variation between patterns such as 'I remember that a detective came in' and 'I remember a detective coming in'. While a certain amount of variation can probably be accounted for by a desire of varying itself, it has been shown that the choice between complement variants is influenced by factors such as animacy (human or abstract) or clause length. At the same time existing studies have experienced difficulties with robustly accounting for the variation by means of population-level (social) variables only. When social clues are insufficient to determine usage, cognitive mechanisms may come into play that are different between individuals and therefore cannot easily be averaged over. This project seeks to advance our insight in the functionality of abstract grammatical variation of this kind by putting individual-level analysis more central.

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Effective information exchange and care orientation in Covid-19-related contact tracing phone calls. An applied sociolinguistic and conversation analytic enquiry into optimizing interactional dynamics and pragmatic awareness. 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2021

Abstract

Responding to a number of urgent problems noted in the area of Covid-19 contact tracing (reluctance to give information, lack of care orientation, script-dominated talk), this project analyses and seeks to optimize the interactional functioning of the contact tracing phone call services coordinated by the Flemish Agency for Health & Care. It combines 4 objectives: (i) diagnosis of interactional practice in 3 cycles of data collection and analysis (incl. 1 cycle on encounters in other languages than Dutch); (ii) recommendations for practice, the development of training materials and a recruitment package; (iii) a pilot implementation followed by an efficacy measurement; and (iv) societal impact on the general public's support for contact tracing. The project inserts itself in an applied, interactional sociolinguistic and conversation analytic research tradition on medical encounters and institutional interviewing on sensitive topics. It addresses a current gap in (i) fundamental knowledge about the linguistic interactional dynamics of contact tracing calls as a specific type of institutional encounter and (ii) applied knowledge on how to improve task-oriented efficiency and enhance pragmatic awareness of practitioners as a dimension of professional reflexivity in a currently, important domain of combatting and containing the Covid-19 pandemic. The project benefits from close collaboration between relevant linguistic, medical and ethical expertise.

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A semantic typology of present-tense constructions. 01/05/2020 - 30/04/2024

Abstract

The default function of a present-tense construction would appear to be locating situations at the time of speaking. Yet language-specific and contrastive research has demonstrated that, in various languages, the present tense turns out to do anything but evoke the time of speaking when it combines with event verbs. This phenomenon, called the "present perfective paradox", has been analyzed as a consequence of the interaction of the present tense with specific types of aspectual constructions which convey a bounded perspective on a situation. The current project sets out to analyze the manifestation of the present perfective paradox in a typologically adequate sample of languages. On the one hand, the project has descriptive objectives: it will chart the characteristics of present-tense constructions and the way they interact with different types of aspect, on the basis of existing grammars, questionnaires and advanced elicitation techniques. This description will provide a unique perspective on the meaning types that can be expressed by means of so-called present-tense constructions across languages. In addition to these descriptive goals, the project aims to offer theoretical contributions to the study of tense and aspect across languages, as it will provide cognitive-functional explanations for the patterns attested, both cross-linguistically and within specific languages. Ultimately, this typological investigation will allow us to come up with a semantic connectivity map, reflecting theoretically plausible patterns of polysemy and diachronic change for present-tense constructions.

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Linguistic pragmatics 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

This research agenda topicalises the institutional management of superdiverse multilingualism in urban contexts in Belgium with an empirical focus on the pragmatics of categorisation processes. This over-arching topic will be examined in several concrete research projects which zoom in on one particular type of institution, interaction or context. Methodologically, linguistic ethnography will be combined with research methods for interactional and pragmatic analysis.

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Corporate language policy and categorising professionals in workplace encounters. 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2023

Abstract

This project examines the historical development of a corporate language policy, the interactional dynamics of workplace encounters and specific categorisation processes in internationalised, multilingual business contexts in Belgium.

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Cancelability or Argumentativity? Towards a Conventionalist Theory of Scalar Implicatures. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

This project concerns the distinction between semantics and pragmatics, i.e. the question of which aspects of meaning are conventional and encoded in language, and which are pragmatically inferred in context. In this connection, 'scalar implicatures' (SIs) have always been a matter of debate, because on the one hand they seem to be conventionally associated with certain expressions, but on the other they are context-dependent. For example, "some" is said to generally implicate "not all", e.g. in "Some of my friends are Dutch", but there is no such implicature in "If you eat some of her cake, she will be mad". Moreover, the "not all" implicature can be denied "without contradiction" (Levinson 2000: 68), as in "Some, in fact all, of my friends are Dutch". When the implicature is absent (due to the context or due to explicit denial), it is said to be 'canceled'. Cancelability is often evoked as one of the main arguments for regarding SIs as pragmatic (e.g. Geurts 2010: 82; Levinson 2000: 57; Recanati 2010: 152). A second important argument is supplied by the results of psycholinguistic experiments, which often favor pragmatic theories of SIs (e.g. Breheny et al. 2006). In the present project, a 'conventionalist' account of SIs will be developed by questioning the standard arguments for viewing SIs as pragmatically inferred and by reanalyzing scalar implicatures and their cancelation in the light of Anscombre and Ducrot's (1983) theory of argumentation. The development of this new account will imply the formulation of novel hypotheses, which will be tested by means of a detailed corpus study and a series of questionnaires. The project will not only consider frequently studied terms such as "or", "some" and numerals (e.g. "two"), but also other scalar expressions such as "warm" and "possible". Also, it will be verified whether the results of existing psycholinguistic experiments may have been skewed by a neglect of the argumentative aspect of sentences. Thus, the present project brings together two traditions of linguistic analysis that have not very frequently been confronted with one another: the Gricean tradition (initiated by Grice 1975), and the argumentative one (initiated by Anscombre & Ducrot 1983). The conventionalist theory that will be developed not only challenges the standard Gricean arguments against conventionalism, but also invites conventionalists and theories inspired by Anscombre and Ducrot (1983) to reflect on the context-dependency of lexical and argumentative meaning. It will thus constitute an innovative contribution to the ongoing debates on the interface between pragmatics and semantics and on the nature of lexical meaning.

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Research and Training programme Historical Sociolinguistics 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

The aim of this FWO Scientific Research Network application is threefold: (1) to consolidate the Historical Sociolinguistics Network (HiSoN) and firmly secure the position of Flemish expertise in the research network internationally; (2) to initiate a range of new activities as part of a broader Historical Sociolinguistics Research and Training Program, with a distinct focus on postgraduate training and joint research initiatives; (3) to expand the existing network interdisciplinarily and attract young and established scholars from neighboring disciplines. The research unit Mind-Bending Grammars (https://www.uantwerpen.be/mind-bending-grammars/) will contribute with its unique expertise on the interaction of sociolinguistic and cognitive factors in language variation and change. To this purpose MBG makes use of state-of-the-art methods from computational and corpus linguistics, including data-driven identification of social networks and communities of practice.

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Past projects

Cancelability or Argumentativity? Towards a Conventionalist Theory of Scalar Implicatures. 01/10/2017 - 28/02/2020

Abstract

This project concerns the distinction between semantics and pragmatics, i.e. the question of which aspects of meaning are conventional and encoded in language, and which are pragmatically inferred in context. In this connection, 'scalar implicatures' (SIs) have always been a matter of debate, because on the one hand they seem to be conventionally associated with certain expressions, but on the other they are context-dependent. For example, "some" is said to generally implicate "not all", e.g. in "Some of my friends are Dutch", but there is no such implicature in "If you eat some of her cake, she will be mad". Moreover, the "not all" implicature can be denied "without contradiction" (Levinson 2000: 68), as in "Some, in fact all, of my friends are Dutch". When the implicature is absent (due to the context or due to explicit denial), it is said to be 'canceled'. Cancelability is often evoked as one of the main arguments for regarding SIs as pragmatic (e.g. Geurts 2010: 82; Levinson 2000: 57; Recanati 2010: 152). A second important argument is supplied by the results of psycholinguistic experiments, which often favor pragmatic theories of SIs (e.g. Breheny et al. 2006). In the present project, a 'conventionalist' account of SIs will be developed by questioning the standard arguments for viewing SIs as pragmatically inferred and by reanalyzing scalar implicatures and their cancelation in the light of Anscombre and Ducrot's (1983) theory of argumentation. The development of this new account will imply the formulation of novel hypotheses, which will be tested by means of a detailed corpus study and a series of questionnaires. The project will not only consider frequently studied terms such as "or", "some" and numerals (e.g. "two"), but also other scalar expressions such as "warm" and "possible". Also, it will be verified whether the results of existing psycholinguistic experiments may have been skewed by a neglect of the argumentative aspect of sentences. Thus, the present project brings together two traditions of linguistic analysis that have not very frequently been confronted with one another: the Gricean tradition (initiated by Grice 1975), and the argumentative one (initiated by Anscombre & Ducrot 1983). The conventionalist theory that will be developed not only challenges the standard Gricean arguments against conventionalism, but also invites conventionalists and theories inspired by Anscombre and Ducrot (1983) to reflect on the context-dependency of lexical and argumentative meaning. It will thus constitute an innovative contribution to the ongoing debates on the interface between pragmatics and semantics and on the nature of lexical meaning. Anscombre, J.-C., and Ducrot, O. 1983. L'Argumentation dans la Langue. Mardaga, Collection "Philosophie et Langage". Breheny, R., Katsos, N., Williams, J. 2006. Are Generalised Scalar Implicatures Generated by Default? An On-Line Investigation into the Role of Context in Generating Pragmatic Inferences. Cognition 100, 434–463. Geurts, B. 2010. Quantity Implicatures. Cambridge University Press. Grice, H. P. 1975. Logic and Conversation. In P. Cole & J. L. Morgan (eds.) Syntax and Semantics (vol. 3): Speech Acts. New York: Academic Press, 41–58. Levinson, S. 2000. Presumptive Meanings: The Theory of Generalized Conversational Implicature. Massachusetts: The MIT Press. Recanati, F. 2010. Truth-Conditional Pragmatics. Oxford University Press.

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Explaining the dominance of postverbal negation in South American indigenous languages. 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

South American languages offer a puzzle for linguists studying negation. Cross-linguistic comparison of standard negation reveals a universal tendency for languages to have a clausal negator before the verb. This tendency was first observed by Jespersen (1917); it is referred to as the Negative-First Principle (Horn 1989, 2001) and has been confirmed by a number of cross-linguistic studies since then (e.g. Dryer 2013). South American indigenous languages, however, do not follow this tendency and primarily use a clausal negator after the verb. This pattern is found in related and unrelated languages all across the South American continent. It is, in fact, the only macro-area where this pattern is dominant (Vossen 2016). This puzzle has not been explored systematically yet, let alone explained. The project aims to account for the dominant pattern of post-verbal negation in South American languages by exploring it from diachronic, typological and language contact perspectives.

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What can language variation tell us about insubordination? A comparative analysis of independent complement clauses in geographical and stylistic varieties of Spanish. 01/10/2016 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

This project analyzes the dialectal variation of insubordination, the phenomenon whereby a formally subordinate or dependent clause is conventionally used as a main or independent clause (Evans 2007). The empirical focus is on the functional load of que-insubordinate clauses, which are the most frequent insubordinate constructions in Spanish. Que-initial sentences can display several functions in interaction: third-person imperatives, wishes, negative evaluation, echo, disagreement, topic change, etc. Considering their high polyfunctionality, this project addresses two interrelated questions. The first research question (RQ1) concerns the historical dimension of insubordination: how is the diachronic development of insubordinate constructions to be modelled precisely? To answer this question this project builds on the assumption that synchronic variation reflects diachronic evolution (Hopper & Traugott 2003: 1). The second research question (RQ2) deals with the functional load of insubordination: if insubordinate constructions express more than one meaning, on what basis then should it be decided whether we are dealing with one (polysemous) construction or with more than one construction, each expressing a different meaning (homonymy)? In order to properly respond to these questions, the project is based is based on a quantitative and qualitative corpus analysis adopting an interactional constructional approach to language. The analysis will be performed on different corpora that include spoken spontaneous conversations of the main dialectal areas of European and American Spanish. The objective of this project is twofold. From a descriptive point of view, the project attempts to map the situated meanings of independent complement constructions and describe their distribution across selected varieties of Spanish. At a theoretical level and along the lines of the overall Construction-Grammatical approach adopted here, the project aims to model the situated meanings extracted from the corpora in the form of constructional networks, which acknowledge both generalizations and low-level patterns, as well as potential dialectal specificities. This should allow us to extend the framework of Construction Grammar, so that it can accommodate variational data. Moreover, since the networks resulting from the analysis represent synchronic variation of complement insubordination in Spanish, they can shed light on the current debate regarding the diachronic evolution of insubordination. Finally, the project investigates what types of contextual information are required to fully explain the use of these constructions in interaction (conditions on precedent and subsequent discourse, discourse-structural information, information structure, amongst other) and how this information should be formally represented.

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To do or not to do? A corpus-based study of cognitive economizing in grammatical change across the lifespan. 01/10/2016 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

The main goal of the proposed project is to determine the extent to which individual speakers economize their mental grammar by reinterpreting local patterns as belonging to more widely applicable grammatical rules, as manifested in the further generalization of these local patterns. Conversely, analysing this will also lead to insight into which patterns in individuals behave as niches resisting such a realignment to more regularity. These goals tie in with and test psychological assumptions that abstract rules and concrete exemplars (instances accessible in memory) are simultaneously at work in grammatical cognition. The case study that will be analysed to reach this goal is that of the introduction and diffusion of do as a grammatical word in Early Modern English (ca. 1550-1700). Before this period, do was largely limited to its lexical use, illustrated in (1). During this period, however, do was increasingly more often used in, among others, questions (2a) and negative statements (3a), as an alternative to the older structures (2b) and (3b). (1) I already did my homework. (2) a. Do you love me? b. I do not love you. (3) a. Love you me? b. I love you not. By the end of the 17th century do had become more or less obligatory in these uses. As such, it is one of the shibboleths of the English language, not only distinguishing it from other Germanic languages, but exploiting a grammatical option that is very rare across the worlds' languages. The project focuses on the stages of the diffusion of do, where do was already established as an option, but much variation was to be found in the speech community. This poses the fundamental research question of which factors guide this variation at the level of individual speakers. It is examined if, and to what extent, the choice for do is primed by frequent use of modal auxiliaries (will, shall, may, must, can), which typically appear in similar syntactic environments. Together, they could be seen as syntactic markers of all non-neutral statements, i.e. statements that are not (non-emphatic) declaratives. Additionally, it is examined in what contexts patterns like (2b) and (3b) resist the insertion of do the longest. Together, these analyses are expected to considerably advance our knowledge of how much change is possible in abstract cognitive schemas such as grammar across the adult lifespan, and by what kinds of existing regularities this change is guided.

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Evidentiality and evidential marking in French. 15/09/2016 - 14/09/2017

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university. The general topic of this research mission is "evidentiality" or "evidential marking" in French. Within the project there is a subtopic on the epistemic (reportative) 'conditional' ('Il y aurait une quinzaine de victims'). During this research mission, on an empirical level, I want to provide an overview and detailed description of the semantics of known, as well as of newly identified French expressions with possible evidential function (reportative, inferential or perceptual). On the theoretical level, the challenge of this project is to characterize the notion of evidentiality in more precise way than has been done so far, in order to establish operational identification criteria to identify expressions with a fundamentally evidential function from expressions with a merely or mainly epistemico-modal function, so that a uniform analysis can be proposed for all the expressions with evidential function in the empirical part of the study of our set. The results of this empirical and theoretical research will be published in a monograph and in a series of acompanying articles, including first of all an overview article of French expressions with evidential function (in fact a short version of the coming book); further a number of detailed studies about expressions with an interesting evidential function (including the epistemic conditional, "visiblement" and others, to be determined during the project ) and one or two articles on the notion of evidentiality and its "auxiliary notions". During this research project I will also finish a small UA KP BOF project with the publication of one or two articles on the awareness and analysis by French grammarians through the centuries, of the reportative conditional. Finally, during this research project I supervise a PhD project on the origins and original meaning of the epistemic conditional and I will start a new project application about adverbial markers of inferential evidentiality in French.

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'Steeling mind and body': Ideological metaphors in Japan 1937-1945. 15/07/2016 - 14/07/2017

Abstract

How does the authoritarian militaristic regime of the Japanese Empire succeed in convincing its people to fight a war (1931/1937-1945) that lays waste to almost all of East and Southeast Asia? Specifically, drawing on Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis, Rhetoric and Cognitive Linguistics, this dissertation looks at whether and how metaphor and ideological aspects of language use contribute to mobilizing the Japanese (especially the young) during the war years. In this dissertation I focus on a very specific wartime metaphor that links 'effort of body/mind' and 'steel' ('Steel your mind and body' – shinshin-tanren). This metaphor gained such momentum that it trickled from the conceptual and lexical to the graphic level, affecting the very orthography of the kanji characters. Its functioning is considered ideological in the sense that it contributes to a network of ideas, opinions and beliefs that are carried along in the investigated discourse as if commonsensical or natural. The main corpus on which the research is based consists of the two biggest daily newspapers in wartime Japan, Asahi Shimbun and Yomiuri Shimbun, spanning the years between 1931 and 1945, as well as textbooks used in ethics school teaching and legal documents. A secondary corpus contains personal documents, letters and diaries written by Japanese conscripts during the war.

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The reportative conditional in French, an evidential marker. A study into its origin, meaning and meaning evolution. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

In French newspapers, conditional verb forms such as aurait/aurait été (conditionnels) often appear in sentences like Le rédacteur en chef de Charlie Hebdo aurait été tué / Il y aurait une dizaine de morts. They illustrate a kind of use of the conditional that we will label Reportative (henceforth ReportCondit). When using ReportCondits, journalists let their readers know: (a) that they are not themselves the source of the information in the utterance, (b) that they consider the information as not completely certain and (c) that they do not want to commit themselves to its truth. Whereas there has been intensive research on the semantics and pragmatics of the contemporary ReportCondit (including by the promoter), its origin and semantic development has not attracted much attention from scholars, apart from some small-scale research initiated recently by both the promoter and the co-promoter, about: (a) the earliest occurrences of the ReportCondit (e.g. Bourova & Dendale 2006), (b) the identification of the Reportative use by early grammarians (e.g. Dendale & Coltier 2012) and (c) the semantic evolution of the conditional in general (Patard & De Mulder 2012). Currently, manuals on the history of French (e.g. Picoche & Marchello-Nizia 1998) and grammars of old and classical French (e.g. Buridant 2000, Fournier 2002) give no detailed information about the origin, the original meaning and the semantic evolution of the ReportCondit. Therefore, there is an urgent need to supplement the information lacking in the above-mentioned works and to understand how, why and when the ReportCondit acquired the meaning components described in (a), (b) and (c) above, which led linguists (starting with Dendale 1991) to consider it to be an evidential marker, the first to be identified as such in French. Research conducted at the UAntwerp by the promoter and the co-promoter largely contributed to those insights. The aim of this project is thus to (1) identify the precise meaning of the ReportCondit in modern and older stages of French, (2) its co(n)texts of use, (3) its origin and age, (4) its semantic evolution, and (5) its status as an evidential marker. With the funding of this project and the commitment of a PhD student, we can be the first to survey the emergence and evolution of the ReportCondit and thus make an original contribution to a field on the crossroads of French descriptive linguistics and international research on evidentiality.

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Finishing monograph "Modality in Mind. 21/09/2015 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

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The dynamics of correlated multiple grammatical changes in Early Modern English writers (MindBendingGrammars). 01/09/2015 - 31/08/2021

Abstract

Mind-Bending Grammars examines change in mental grammars of 17th century individuals across their lifespan as attested in their writings. The project treats grammar as a self-organizing network of form-meaning schemas continuously fine-tuning itself, where activating one schema may prime formally or functionally associated ones. In analyzing multiple grammar changes in healthy adults it aspires to make a breakthrough in the cognitive modelling of grammar, and is expected to bear on views of cognitive plasticity and self-organizing systems (e.g. ecosystems). To reach these goals it will determine (i) how change in one part of an individual's grammar relates to change in another; (ii) to what extent grammar change in individuals is possible and attested beyond childhood. This is still unsettled. Formal models hold that change occurs in language acquisition, social ones that it mainly results from adult interaction. The first ignore too much adult usage, the second grammar as a system.

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Functional and Cognitive Linguistics (grammar and typology). 01/09/2015 - 31/08/2020

Abstract

The research project Mind-Bending Grammars innovatively combines language change research with research on the individual mind. In the past linguistics has overwhelmingly treated change as happening to an abstract object 'language'. But it is the minds of actual people that change language. Mind-Bending Grammars will greatly contribute to our understanding of the adaptive powers of adult cognition. The project specifically aims at making a breakthrough in two key issues in linguistic theory by tracing with the utmost detail step-by-step changes in grammatical constructions.

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The discovery of the French reportative conditional by grammaticographers 01/02/2015 - 31/12/2015

Abstract

This project investigates when grammaticographers discovered the existence of the French reportative conditional and how they initially described it. It broadens and deepens previously published research by studying much more grammars from the 17th-19th century, after having located them in digital or paper form. It will offer new elements and insights in the study of the etymology and early meaning of the reportative conditional.

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De-auxiliarization in the Dutch and English modals: A comparative diachronic corpus investigation. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

In line with current assumptions about how the grammar of a language is 'created' through history, the modal auxiliaries in English and Dutch ('can'/'kunnen', 'may'/'mogen', etc.) are known to have emerged from full lexical verbs, many centuries ago, and to have gradually acquired auxiliary (i.e. grammatical) status through a process of 'grammaticalization'. According to current views, this process is normally unidirectional (i.e., linguistic forms develop from lexical to grammatical, and from less to more grammatical, but not vice versa). Yet, in the history of both Dutch and English, there is a phase in which the evolution of the modal auxiliaries is reversed (a return to a more autonomous, lexical status, at least partially). In English this phase is situated mainly in the Middle English period, ending around 1500 (after 1500 the modals – at least the central ones – grammaticalized again further). In Dutch, however, this phase only started after 1650, in the New Dutch period, and it seems to be continuing until today. This project involves a systematic diachronic corpus investigation of these phases of re-autonomization of the modals in the histories of Dutch and English. The aim is to achieve a better view of the factors and forces which have effected and affected these processes in both languages, and to compare them, and, thus, to contribute to a better understanding of the processes of and degrammaticalization in general.

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Projet Transversal DRC - Anglais Académique - phase 3. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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Semi-insubordination in Dutch and Norwegian: Grammatical, semantic and discursive properties. 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

Human language is a profoundly variable phenomenon which is constantly being shaped and reshaped by its use in human interaction. Linguists have always been fascinated by the emergence of new, often unusual, constructions. Even more intriguing is the question of how to account for them. This project is concerned with one such remarkable construction, known as semi-insubordination. An example from Dutch is 'misschien dat hij ook komt' (literally 'maybe that he is coming too'). For the average speaker of Dutch, there is nothing odd about this utterance. Yet, upon closer scrutiny, it has the puzzling property that it contains a subordinate clause, 'dat hij ook komt' ('that he is coming too'), but no main clause. Instead, the subordinate clause is headed by an adverb only: 'misschien' ('maybe'). This kind of construction is fairly widespread in several Germanic languages (among others), but it has hardly been investigated. The aim of the present project is to analyze its grammatical and functional properties. The project will be concerned with questions like: which elements can head this construction type, and why? Why do speakers sometimes prefer it over a simple main clause such as 'misschien komt hij ook' ('maybe he is coming too')? Does this kind of construction convey the same meaning as a simple main clause alternative? The study will be based on synchronic corpus data from two languages that prominently feature this construction: Dutch and Norwegian.

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Factors Contributing to Success in Blended Learning - The Case of Language Teaching and Training in Academic and Professional Contexts; 10/09/2014 - 14/07/2017

Abstract

Towards an effective blended online mentoring model for language practitioners The study assesses the effectiveness of mentor-mentee relationships formed online between more experienced and less experienced language practitioners as an alternative to conventional face-to-face mentoring. Traditionally, mentoring relationships were formed fairly informally inhouse in publishing houses and communications bureaus/departments, when less experienced practitioners were able to engage in on-the-job learning from more experienced and knowledgeable colleagues. With downsizing in these sectors came outsourcing, and many experienced staff were forced into a freelance existence as a way of earning a living, and this removed the foundation of traditional mentorships. To whom could newcomers to language practice, or those with some experience in need of lifelong learning experiences, now turn to hone their skills and knowledge, and also to obtain feedback on their work as language practitioners? With corporates having shed this responsibility, the onus has fallen onto professional associations of language practitioners such as text editors, proofreaders, translators and indexers to contribute to the professionalisation of their subsectors by setting mentoring schemes. With practitioners on both sides of this relationship now freelance and often geographically dispersed, the traditional fact-to-face mentoring relationship has become the exception rather than the rule; indeed, some schemes are now pairing mentees with mentors anywhere in the world. This research will entail case studies of a number of mentoring relationships that are having to be maintained online; it will investigate, in particular, what the strengths and weaknesses of blended online learning experiences are, with a view to helping both individuals and professional associations engage in more effective, productive and meaningful mentorships. Also, the various schemes in existence are looking for recommendations for the standardisation of their regulations and modi operandi which this research findings will contribute to. Subjects for the research will be drawn from Australia, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

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Factors Contributing to Success in Blended Learning - The Case of Language Teaching and Training in Academic and Professional Contexts. 09/09/2014 - 08/07/2017

Abstract

A participatory approach to Medical Communication Training Research Question: How does the lecturer meet the (verbal) communication needs of medical pre-professionals in a blended learning environment? Towards a taxonomy of the communication needs of medical pre-professionals. Background In order to investigate the issues raised in the research question the focus is on medical students from the University of Stellenbosch for whom it is compulsory to do a communication course in Afrikaans at the beginning of their studies. Patient care is influenced by the quality of doctor-patient and doctor-colleague communication, and it will directly influence the quality of patient care (e.g., Hewett et al., 2009; Watson et al., 2012). Therefore universities worldwide include communication modules in their medical training. In South Africa there are eleven official languages and the three dominant languages in the Western Cape province are English, Afrikaans and Xhosa, which medical professionals have to master to a certain extend. The University of Stellenbosch's medical faculty decided to address the issue of limited time available for contact teaching of Afrikaans by introducing a blended approach to teaching and learning with 20 hours of contact teaching as well as 20 hours of autonomous online learning. An existing online platform for medical communication training, Medics on the Move (MoM), was incorporated into the syllabus. The development of the original MoM-syllabus started in 2006 as a EU-funded project under the coordination of Prof Kris Van de Poel from the University of Antwerp – and has since developed into an online tool for six European languages at beginners and advanced level with translated support for six other languages. At the end of 2012 this tool was adapted to suit the South African context and the course for beginners was translated into Afrikaans. This approach to medical communication training was introduced to South African students in February 2013. Methodology In order to identify the communication needs of medical pre-professionals, different methodological steps were taken. A literature study was carried out on topics related to blended learning in second language learning, learner autonomy and the role of the teacher facilitating learner autonomy, authenticity of the learning experience, different learning styles and teaching styles in second language communication and the potential of social media in an online learning environment. A diverse set of data was collected from two intakes of first year students in 2013 and 2014 and one intake of sixth year students who had completed their basic training in Spanish in Cuba (2013). A mixed method approach was used and quantitative as well as qualitative data (through questionnaires, focus group discussions and log books) were collected. The quantitative data included an end-of-project usability study and evaluation following a Logic Framework, MoM moodle logs, scores of national proficiency tests in Afrikaans and English, questionnaires indicating communicative needs and professional identity. Additional and complementary data were obtained by the researcher as a participant-observer as well as practitioner studying her own practice (Waters-Adams 2006).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Communication for professionals - nursing. 01/09/2014 - 31/08/2017

Abstract

Nursing is a mobile profession and linguistic and intercultural challenges have become part of professional life. Misunderstandings between nurses, doctors and patients with different cultural backgrounds have an adverse effect on perceived professional status; lead to rejection, stress, job dissatisfaction, burnout, drop out (Van Bogaert, 2009); and affect quality of patient care and treatment failure adversely. Effective communication as the basis of workplace social integration is considered essential to professional nursing practice (AACN, 1998) and learning good communication is central to nursing accreditation standards (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 2003). Communication AND language training is therefore crucial for both indigenous and foreign medical professionals. Needs: Medical language competence needs consist of (1) adequate knowledge of vocabulary, colloquial medical language, an acceptable pronunciation, etc.; (2) complex sentences; and (3) appropriate delivery of the language (slowly, clear, empathetic) (Berbyuk Lindström, 2008; Van de Poel & Brunfaut, 2010). Detailed performance analyses identified communication, target-language fossilisation and pragmatic malfunctioning by non-native speaking medical professionals (Van de Poel 2011; Gasiorek 2012). Aims: Nursing on the Move (NoM) helps to develop lifelong language learning practices. Through multilingual online/mobile learning materials and approaches suitable for blended learning, NoM supports learners in vocational and adult education contexts to improve their communication skills in order to promote personal development, employability and high-quality participation in the labour market. Learners find its tailored approach helpful to working in their own space, at their own pace, using the help functions the program provides. It also aims to support linguistic diversity by integrating language- and nursing-related content; promote the transparency and recognition of qualifications and competencies; develop professional entrepreneurialism, and create an optimal milieu for lifelong learning. Objectives: The tool's main objectives are: • To equip nursing staff with communication competencies (CEFR B) to carry out dedicated communicative tasks in a clinical setting by means of scenarios: patient-centred care, diagnostic procedures, food distribution, shift changes, introducing patient cases to and interacting with colleagues. • To develop a system for recognising the competencies acquired. • To create an optimal environment for lifelong learning which fosters mobility in Europe. • To establish a highly effective learning track for online/mobile autonomous/blended learning, taking into account the learning styles of these professionals and supporting their motivation through gamification strategies, multilingual video cases and social network sites. Basis: NoM is data-driven and relies on published data analyses, guidelines and good practice. To date, communication materials for nursing have not been multilingual, blended or tailored to nurses' learning needs. This project is based on an extensive needs analysis: (1) an international literature review (arising from joint research in Belgium and South Africa); (2) large-scale, online self-assessments by European medical professionals (Van de Poel et al. 2007, 2013); (3) reported needs analyses (Gasiorek 2012); (4) empirical data on communication strategies arising from shadowing nurses (Pretorius 2013–2014); (5) findings from the IENE project (2012); and (6) strategies in the Medical Communication Skills book on transcultural communication (Van de Poel et al. 2013), (7) now integrated in the Going International website (2014).

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Project website

Sollen, wollen and the present subjunctive. Towards a unified description of the relation between evidentiality, modality and reported speech. 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

The deictic analysis of sollen, wollen and the present subjunctive, as markers of indirect verbal information, unearths a number of differences in the relation of the speaker and the information source in each of these elements. These differences are taken to be indicative of a gradual continuum that holds between the categories of 'evidentiality' and 'indirect speech', which seem to be more strongly associated than previously assumed. Moreover, the deictic analysis raises questions as to the categorial status of sollen, wollen and the present subjunctive as modal or evidential elements.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Information structuring by multilingual speakers: codeswitching as a marker of topic-comment or focusbackground. 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

The project starts from concrete multilingual data, compiled from four sample corpora in the LIDES database: two corpora with typologically divergent language pairs (Dutch-Turkish and English-Punjabi) and two corpora with typologically more related language pairs (Dutch-French and English-Spanish). I primarily adopt the IS framework proposed by Lambrecht (1994), in combination with interactional viewpoints on CS (Auer & Di Luzio 1992), and Role and Reference Grammar (RRG (Van Valin 2005)).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Semi-autonomous subordination in Dutch and Norwegian. 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2014

Abstract

Human language is a profoundly variable phenomenon which is constantly being shaped and reshaped by its use in human interaction. Linguists have always been fascinated by the emergence of new, often unusual, constructions. This project is concerned with a remarkable construction, known as semi-autonomous subordination. The aim of the present project is to analyze its grammatical and functional properties. The project will be concerned with questions like: which elements can head this construction type, and why? The study will be based on synchronic corpus data from two languages that prominently feature this construction: Dutch and Norwegian.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Processes of change in modal collocation. 01/10/2013 - 30/06/2014

Abstract

To express 'modality' (roughly the expression of necessity and possibility), English has lexical – e.g. 'modal adverbs' (probably, possibly, well, ...) –, and grammatical strategies – a paradigm of 'modal verbs' (can, will, should, may, must etc.). The combination of these strategies – 'modal collocation' (e.g. may well, could possibly) – has been under-researched and lacks a solid framework. The following facts are the background of my research question: (1) A decline in frequency of the modal verbs; (2) 'Emerging' constructions taking over traditional modal functions (e.g. havta, gonna); (3) A seeming resistance of decline for those modal verbs which co-occur more often with modal adverbs. The proposed research takes a cognitive-functional approach with reference to Construction Grammar. It investigates whether modal collocation should be understood as an emerging construction with strong internal dependencies and a level of schematicity. If this is found, a point can be made that we are dealing with constructional emergence at increasingly more schematic levels – 'constructionalisation'. This, in turn, could explain why the modal verbs that often collocate with modal adverbs have resisted a decline in use. I will additionally investigate whether there is competition between the modal verbs and modal collocation. I hypothesise that several processes of change are at work in modal collocation (e.g. lexicalisation and grammaticalisation), resulting in a continuum of utterances displaying degrees of constructionalisation and different functional uses. I also assume that modal collocation has played a role in the current-day frequencies of modal verbs in English. I will conduct corpus studies on data from Old English until Present Day English, looking into co-occurrence patterns of modal verbs and modal adverbs within the same sentence as well as the individual development of modal (ad)verbs. I will use three parameters for the analysis of constructionalisation (generality, schematicity and productivity) next to parameters traditionally found in grammaticalisation literature. I will also conduct statistical tests, such as collostructional analysis, to back up and elaborate on the findings. Confirming the hypothesis will not only offer insights into the workings of English modality, but it will strengthen the plausibility of constructional approaches to language change, which are still in need of empirical evidence.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Strategies for vocabulary development at the initial stages of academic aculturation. 28/09/2013 - 27/05/2015

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Erasmus Mundus. UA provides Erasmus Mundus research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Academic English: extension, stabilization and integration (2013-2015). 01/04/2013 - 31/03/2015

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand VLIR. UA provides VLIR research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Credit for the Libraries in Social and Human Sciences (Faculty of Arts). 01/01/2013 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Towards occupational autonomy: a comparative survey of the professional status of language practioners in South Africa and Flanders. 05/12/2012 - 04/10/2013

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Erasmus Mundus. UA provides Erasmus Mundus research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

"Seriously, it's just beyond a joke now": 'Teasing' (im)politeness out of Big Brother. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

This project investigates how people tease in two different varieties of English. The purpose is to address some shortcomings in research on politeness and impoliteness. In particular, the project seeks (1) to go beyond the simple opposition between politeness and impoliteness that is characteristic of most earlier work; (2) to pay special attention to hearers' interpretations; (3) to clarify the relationship between everyday concepts of (im)politeness and analysts' concepts; and (4) to explore the cultural variability of (im)politeness practices.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The interaction between tense and lexical and grammatical aspect. A comparative study of present-time marking in the verbal paradigm. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2014

Abstract

This project focuses on the interaction between time reference and classes of lexical aspect (actionality) and of grammatical aspect, from a cross-linguistic perspective. It starts from the observation that the actional features of a verb (e.g. the stativity, telicity, punctuality etc. of the situation designated) and its viewpoint aspect (perfective versus imperfective) often determine the way in which present-time reference is brought about. In many languages, stative and imperfective situations can readily be located in the present through the use of what may be called a present-tense marker. With dynamic and perfective situations, on the other hand, this marker will typically be given a non-present interpretation: past or perfect in some languages, future in other languages and in yet other languages a generic or habitual interpretation arises. This project intends to account for the problem of present-time reference with dynamic/perfectivized verbs, to describe in detail the strategies different languages employ to solve this problem, and to examine what the critical variables are in choosing a particular strategy. At the same time, more fine-grained aspectual and actional distinctions will be introduced than the ones employed in previous studies of this subject.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

A new typology of indefinite pronouns and adverbs. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2014

Abstract

The state of the art typology of indefinites (i.e. indefinite pronouns and adverbs) is Haspelmath (1997). Haspelmath proposes a semantic map with nine regions claimed to be identifiable on semantic grounds and hypotheses about how these regions are related to one another, synchronically and diachronically. After a decade and a half, it is time for a revision. There are 3 main reasons, which imply three research objectives. Firstly, detailed studies show aspects of the Haspelmath hypothesis to be wrong. Thus the corrections have to be integrated into a new account, together with what remains valuable from the original account. Secondly, his typology has a strong European bias. The project will be based on a truly world-wide sample. Thirdly, the map is built on shaky foundations: some regions seem to be defined in terms of the meanings of the indefinites, other regions in terms of the contexts. The project will come up with a new geometry and strictly separate meanings from contexts. The project will use the typological method for a survey account, based on a 179-language sample, as well as corpus-linguistic analysis, for a few restricted (diachronic) studies.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Modal collocation and how delicate modal systems can be. A cognitive-functional corpus study of semantic and syntactic effects of collocation between modal verbs and modal adverbs in UK and US English. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

The research will investigate the dynamic nature of an aspect of language called 'modality', which enables speakers to assess the truth of what they say in terms of likelihood and obligations. Traditionally, the main recognised grammatical category of modality in English is built up of a paradigm of 'modal verbs' (can, could, will, would, shall, should, may, might and must). English, along with a large number of other languages, also has lexical ('more meaningful') means to express modality, for example 'modal adverbs' (probably, possibly, necessarily, certainly, well, ...).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Translating the news: an ethnographically supported linguistic pragmatic study of the role and nature of translation in the Flemish newsroom. 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

Journalists often say that they do not 'translate' foreign news; they produce new(s) stories. Research has shown that they actually do translate sometimes, rather than simply base their own writing on sources in other languages. By analyzing the correspondences and differences between a set of news articles (newspapers, news websites) and a set of (foreign language) press releases and news wires on which these articles are based, by conducting interviews with journalists and by means of participant observation in Flemish newsrooms, we want to shed light on the role and the nature of translation within the newsroom.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The diachrony of tenses in French. 01/10/2011 - 31/01/2014

Abstract

The project deals with the evolution and grammaticalization of the conditional tense in French. The objective is three-fold. It first seeks to trace the principal changes affecting the usages of this verb form, notably with respect to its contexts of use and the related interpretations. The second aim is to determine the (grammaticalization) processes accounting for these changes, with a focus on the mechanisms triggering the emergence of new uses. Finally the path(s) of grammaticalization will be synthesized by means of a semantic map.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Sollen, wollen and the present subjunctive. Towards a unified description of the relation between evidentiality, modality and indirect speech. 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

The deictic analysis of sollen, wollen and the present subjunctive, as markers of indirect verbal information, unearths a number of differences in the relation of the speaker and the information source in each of these elements. These differences are taken to be indicative of a gradual continuum that holds between the categories of 'evidentiality' and 'indirect speech', which seem to be more strongly associated than previously assumed. Moreover, the deictic analysis raises questions as to the categorial status of sollen, wollen and the present subjunctive as modal or evidential elements.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Information structuring by multilingual speakers: code-switching as a marker of topiccomment or focus-background. 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

The project starts from concrete multilingual data, compiled from four sample corpora in the LIDES database: two corpora with typologically divergent language pairs (Dutch-Turkish and English-Punjabi) and two corpora with typologically more related language pairs (Dutch-French and English-Spanish). I primarily adopt the IS framework proposed by Lambrecht (1994), in combination with interactional viewpoints on CS (Auer & Di Luzio 1992), and Role and Reference Grammar (RRG (Van Valin 2005)).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Brusseling language, bustling friction. An ethnographic analysis of linguistic hybridity and purity at a Brussels secondary school. 01/10/2011 - 30/09/2012

Abstract

This project sets out to describe ethnographically (meta-)linguistic practices in a mixed-ethnicity classroom at a Brussels secondary Dutch-medium school. Goals: 1. Documenting and analyzing linguistic hybridity and purity in a metropolitan school. 2. Relating linguistic practices to social categorization processes in a multilingual environment. 3. Identifying how and to what extent local practices relate to larger-scale social and linguistic dynamics.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

A diachronic investigation of the Dutch 'mental state predicates' 01/07/2011 - 31/12/2015

Abstract

This project involves a diachronic (historical linguistic) study of the Dutch mental state predicates 'denken' ('think'), 'geloven' ('believe'), 'vermoeden' ('suppose') and 'vinden' ('find, consider'), on the basis of corpus data from different stages of the language since Old Dutch, in view of a number of theoretical discussions in historical and general linguistics.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Smells like teen spirit? Teenage language, attitudes and identity practices in multi-ethnic urban friendship groups. 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2014

Abstract

This project sets out to describe ethnographically the linguistic practices, attitudes and identity practices of two teenage friendship groups of mixed ethnicity in Antwerp, as especially such groups have been found to function as a transmission channel for the spread of a variety of linguistic features.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Jaspers Jürgen

Research team(s)

From press release to news report: what's translating got to do with it? 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2012

Abstract

What's translation got to do with it? Journalists often say that they do not 'translate' foreign news; they produce new(s) stories. Prior research has shown that journalists actually do have to translate sometimes, even though they are not always trained to do so. By looking at the differences between a set of news articles (news papers, news websites) and a set of foreign language press releases on which these articles are based, we want to shed light upon the role and the nature of translation within the newsroom.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Empirical investigation of objects with l-telic and l-resultative predicates in Spanish 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2012

Abstract

The present research project aims at constructing a database that is intended to support an ongoing research on aspect. The compatibility analysis of objects and verbal predicates will allow to reach a better understanding of the aspectual properties of objects and their interaction with the aspectual properties of the verbal predicates.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: De Cuyper Gretel

Research team(s)

Building language confidence (in cooperation with the Impulse Fund for Migration Policy). 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand Centrum voor gelijkheid van kansen en racismebestrijding . UA provides Centrum voor gelijkheid van kansen en racismebestrijding research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The interaction between tense and lexical and grammatical aspect. A comparative study of present-time marking in the verbal paradigm. 01/10/2010 - 30/09/2012

Abstract

This project focuses on the interaction between time reference and classes of lexical aspect (actionality) and of grammatical aspect, from a cross-linguistic perspective. It starts from the observation that the actional features of a verb (e.g. the stativity, telicity, punctuality etc. of the situation designated) and its viewpoint aspect (perfective versus imperfective) often determine the way in which present-time reference is brought about. In many languages, stative and imperfective situations can readily be located in the present through the use of what may be called a present-tense marker. With dynamic and perfective situations, on the other hand, this marker will typically be given a non-present interpretation: past or perfect in some languages, future in other languages and in yet other languages a generic or habitual interpretation arises. This project intends to account for the problem of present-time reference with dynamic/perfectivized verbs, to describe in detail the strategies different languages employ to solve this problem, and to examine what the critical variables are in choosing a particular strategy. At the same time, more fine-grained aspectual and actional distinctions will be introduced than the ones employed in previous studies of this subject.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Language variation in Flemish public broadcasting: a study of substandardisation processes in television programmes. 01/10/2010 - 30/09/2012

Abstract

The aims of the project are: 1. describe substandardization processes in TV programmes from the four genres and the two periods under investigation; 2. provide a qualitative, discourse- and conversation-analytic comparison between old and recent programmes of the same genre; 3. offer a linguistic-ethnographic description of the ways in which old and recent programmes were and are construed, and of the criteria that were and are relevant in this process.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Jaspers Jürgen
  • Fellow: Van Hoof Sarah

Research team(s)

A new typology of indefinites. 01/10/2010 - 30/09/2012

Abstract

The state of the art typology of indefinites (i.e. indefinite pronouns and adverbs) is Haspelmath (1997). Haspelmath proposes a semantic map with nine regions claimed to be identifiable on semantic grounds and hypotheses about how these regions are related to one another, synchronically and diachronically. After a decade and a half, it is time for a revision. There are 3 main reasons, which imply three research objectives. Firstly, detailed studies show aspects of the Haspelmath hypothesis to be wrong. Thus the corrections have to be integrated into a new account, together with what remains valuable from the original account. Secondly, his typology has a strong European bias. The project will be based on a truly world-wide sample. Thirdly, the map is built on shaky foundations: some regions seem to be defined in terms of the meanings of the indefinites, other regions in terms of the contexts. The project will come up with a new geometry and strictly separate meanings from contexts. The project will use the typological method for a survey account, based on a 179-language sample, as well as corpus-linguistic analysis, for a few restricted (diachronic) studies.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Living imagined identities? A longitudinal analysis of the impact of online dating discourse on experienced identities of Russian speaking-Belgian couples 01/07/2010 - 30/06/2014

Abstract

The project combines linguistic pragmatics, anthropology and communication sciences to study transnational "internet marriages". The processes of identity construction of Russian speaking-Belgian couples will be analyzed, with special attention to the constitutive power of online dating site discourse. The added value of the project is the interdisciplinary and longitudinal research design, the ethnographic field work in a pre-migration context, and the inclusion of a male perspective.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Publication monography "Strukturwandel in Grenzdialekten. Die Konsolidierung der niederländisch-deutschen Staatsgrenze als Dialektgrenze." 08/03/2010 - 31/12/2010

Abstract

The Research Council of the University of Antwerp and the Commission for Publications and Grants of the University Foundation favoured the grant application for the publication of the manuscript 'Strukturwandel in Grenzdialekten. Die Konsolidierung der niederländisch-deutsche Staatsgrenze als Dialektgrenze' .

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The interface between Aktionsart and grammatical tense: A comparative study of the polyfunctionality of present-tense marking in the verbal paradigm. 01/10/2009 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

This project purports an in-depth, cross-linguistic study of the interaction between Aktionsart (lexical aspect) and the present tense. The focus lies on the polyfunctionality of what is conventionally described as a present-tense marker in many languages. Whereas such a marker can naturally combine with stative predicates to yield a present-time reading, dynamic verbs often turn out to be conceptually incompatible with these present-tense markers, which then get another, non-present reading. The main goal of this investigation is to describe and account for this conceptual problem in a number of genetically and geographically unrelated languages.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

AMITy - The Aspect-Modality Interface: a Typological perspective. 01/09/2009 - 31/08/2011

Abstract

In the last decades, the TAM (Tense-Aspect-Modality) categories, which refer to the three main semantic domains marked on the verb in languages, have been extensively investigated from different linguistic perspectives. One of the burning issues in the domain concerns the interconnections between the categories of Tense, Aspect, and Modality, diachronically and synchronically, at the level of grammar and that of discourse. In this area, it is almost always the interactions between tense - i.e. the location of a situation in past present or future time - and modality - i.e. the expression of the speaker'sattitude towards the content of hislher utterance - which have been explored, with a notable emphasis on the relations between past tense and irrealis / epistemicity. The connections between aspect - the way of viewing the internal structure of a situation - and modality are scarcely studied, however, though the link between certain particular aspectual values (most often the imperfective aspect) and modal meaning have been sporadically pointed in some works. The aim of the proposal is thus to investigate this new topic, i.e. the aspect-modality interface, from a synchronic and typological perspective. More precisely, we will tackle the strategies of aspectual verbal forms that allow a modal interpretation in six European (Romance and Germanic) languages, namely French, Spanish, Italian, English, German and Dutch. The objective is to account, by means of corpus analysis, for the correspondences between aspect and modality in these languages and to give a panorama of the convergences and the differences that exist both within and between each language family.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Systematization and transcription of dialect recordings. 01/02/2009 - 31/12/2010

Abstract

For my PhD "Structural change in border dialects" speech data were recorded in NL and GDR. They contain a.o. language material for 27 examined linguistic variables. The entire corpus has largely not yet been opened up and contains valuable information for pioneering research on language change. For transcription and systematical storage a student will be recruited who will be working under supervision of the project manager.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Jespersen's cycle. 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2012

Abstract

The term 'Jespersen Cycle' refers to a set of hypotheses on the development of negative markers. The data on which these hypotheses are based come from the standard languages of Europe. The project has two major aims. The first is to look outside of Europe, and the second is to refine the analysis.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The aspectual contribution of object-arguments to lexical aspect. 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2009

Abstract

In earlier investigation, a threefold aspectual distinction was proposed in the lexical domain as an alternative for the traditional bipartite (domain neutral) division. In this project, we extend the analysis and have a closer look at the aspectual role of direct object arguments. It will be investigated whether a threefold distinction in the nominal domain is a welcome alternative to some problems which appear for the traditional bipartite distinction.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: De Cuyper Gretel

Research team(s)

Sociolinguistic-ethnographic analysis of (sub)standardisation processes at school. 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2011

Abstract

The goals of this project are: 1. To investigate which role Standard Dutch and substandard forms play in daily interaction at school; 2. To analyse how substandard forms interact or compete with pedagogical goals and the teacher's voice; 3. To explore the relationship between small-scale classroom practices and wider-scale social and linguistic processes.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Metaphors and media : the use of metaphors and the construction of news items in the French written press. 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

This project aims to study the role that metaphors play in the construction of news facts in the media. This way, it contributes to two flourishing linguistic research domains: on the one hand, to the study of metaphors, which occupies a central place in cognitive linguistics, mainly due to the work of Lakoff and Johnson; on the other hand, to the research carried out in contemporary pragmatics on the way in which news facts are created and represented in the media. As specific case study, we work on a corpus of French newspaper articles reporting on the riots that set the French suburbs on fire in the fall of 2005.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

L'anglais langue académique: au service de l'enseignement scientifique: organisation d'un système de formation à grande capacité. 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

Le projet adaptera la formation actuelle de l'université FCK aux nouvelles demandes dans le domaine de maitrise de langue académique. A partir d'une analyse avancée des besoins et en adaptant le matériel didactique pour l'anglais académique disponible aussi bien a Kinshasa qu'à l'Université d'Anvers le présent projet vise former des enseignants et introduire un système de formation considérablement plus performant et intensif. Les étudiants devront atteindre les niveaux de maitrise qui donnent accès aux examens intemationaux et aux qualifications internationales reconnues pour les groupes cibles (étudiants de première et seconde année, et étudiants envisageant formation continuée â l'étranger). Un effet multiplicateur est envisagé plus long terme, par l'extension du modèle aussi bien vers les autres universités que vers l'enseignement secondaire.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

A diachronic and synchronic study of the imperative in Dutch, English and German. 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

The subject of this project is the imperative. Our view on the imperative is a broad one: we include first and third person constructions, sometimes referred to as hortatives, and prohibitives. The project consists of two parts: 1. a synchronic study in parallel corpora of Dutch, English and German, 2. a diachronic study in corpora of the same three languages. The main questions are: 1. which functions does the imperative fulfill in Dutch, English and German and what are the differences between these languages?; 2. what other grammatical and/or lexical means do Dutch, English and German use to express the different functions of the imperative in the other languages?; 3. how have the Dutch, English and German imperatives evolved semantically and formally and what are the similarities?

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project MIDP IV (Multilingual Information and informatics Development) : Multilingualism from below. 01/01/2008 - 31/12/2010

Abstract

In standard accounts of language policy and language planning, language users are too often viewed as the 'passive receivers' of linguistic decisions taken at the highest levels of state organization. In defiance of this tendency, the MIDP IV project wants to accentuate that subalternity involves, rather than excludes, agency. Through their everyday language practices and their discursive perceptions and interpretations of linguistic realities, those who are supposed to 'live' the language policies never submissively 'implement' them, but, appropriating them, steer them in novel, unforeseen directions. It is these dialectic processes of interaction between what is designed from above and how it is responded to from below which give shape to societies' overall patterns of multilingualism. This is the focus of the MIDP IV-fieldwork in the Xhariep (Free State Province, South Africa) and also the focus of the publication in which this research and other international research on the topic is reported on.

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The development of markers pertaining to the semantic domain of irreality in the Mande languages. 01/01/2008 - 31/12/2009

Abstract

The proposed project aims to achieve a better understanding of the development and evolution of various markers pertaining to the semantic domain of irreality in the Mande languages (spoken in West Africa). Since these languages are underdescribed, I have to supplement data found in published sources with data gained through fieldwork. This BOF-project should permit me to conduct field work and to create two small corpora.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Idiatov Dmitry

Research team(s)

Sabbatical leave. 01/10/2007 - 30/09/2008

Abstract

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Grammaticalization. 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

Grammaticalisaton is the process through which (combinatons) of independent words develop into grammatical markers. The process 'makes' grammar. It is complex process involving phonology, morpho-syntax and semantics. It is one of the 'hot' topics in contemporary diachronic and typological linguistics.Central dimensons of the process, however, demand futher attention. In this project three dimensions will be analyzed further: - the semantic dimension: from objective to subjective and intersubjective meanings - the nature of the process: grammaticalization and analogy - the teleology of the process: is there unidirectionality?

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The diachrony of Dutch modal expressions, especially the modal auxiliaries. 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2010

Abstract

The "empirical" aim is an in depth analysis of the development of meaning and form in a sample of Dutch modal expressions, from Old Dutch and Early Middle Dutch onwards. The theoretical aims of the project are: - Deepening our insights into the processes of grammaticalization and subjectification. - Deepening our insights into the sturcture of modal meanings, their mutual relations and their relations with nong-modal qualificational and non-qualificational meanings. - Deepening our insights into the functional structurof, and the form-function correlations in the system of expression types of the different modal meaning. - Drawing the implications of all these elements for the treatment of modal meanings and their expressions in a cognitive-functional language theory, and notably for the hypotheses in the functionalist literature regarding the layered representation of qualificational categories.

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Intertextuality and flows of information. 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2010

Abstract

Linguistic analysis of the way in which meanings are generated and transformed in information flows in the context of globalization. The specific focus is on intertextual processes approached from the point of view of ethnographically supported pragmatics-based ideology research, concentrating on the variable use of implicitness and differences in reference to sources. The case to be investigated will be taken from the international printed media in English, the Flemish printed media, and the printed media in French in Belgium, France, Congo, and West Africa.

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A typological study of proper names as a grammatical category: collection of primary data. 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2008

Abstract

My (FWO-funded) postdoctoral research project consists of a typological study of proper names as a grammatical category. Since proper names are understudied in both theoretical and descriptive linguistics, I have to supplement primary data found in published sources with data gained through fieldwork and questionnaires. This BOF-project should permit me to organise some field work and to meet specialists of different language families.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Van de Velde Mark

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Islamic identities in Flanders (1964-present). 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2010

Abstract

In this project, publicly accessible and elicited discourse produced by muslims is studied from the perspective of linguistic pragmatics, cultural history and ethnography. The research will be carried out in view of an analysis of the islamic political identities that are developing in muslim communities in Flanders since 1964.

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Proper names as a grammatical category: a typological study. 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2009

Abstract

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Metaphors and media : the use of metaphors and the construction of news items in the French written press. 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2008

Abstract

This project aims to study the role that metaphors play in the construction of news facts in the media. This way, it contributes to two flourishing linguistic research domains: on the one hand, to the study of metaphors, which occupies a central place in cognitive linguistics, mainly due to the work of Lakoff and Johnson; on the other hand, to the research carried out in contemporary pragmatics on the way in which news facts are created and represented in the media. As specific case study, we work on a corpus of French newspaper articles reporting on the riots that set the French suburbs on fire in the fall of 2005.

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A diachronic and synchronic study of the imperative in Dutch, English and German. 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2008

Abstract

The subject of this project is the imperative. Our view on the imperative is a broad one: we include first and third person constructions, sometimes referred to as hortatives, and prohibitives. The project consists of two parts: 1. a synchronic study in parallel corpora of Dutch, English and German, 2. a diachronic study in corpora of the same three languages. The main questions are: 1. which functions does the imperative fulfill in Dutch, English and German and what are the differences between these languages?; 2. what other grammatical and/or lexical means do Dutch, English and German use to express the different functions of the imperative in the other languages?; 3. how have the Dutch, English and German imperatives evolved semantically and formally and what are the similarities?

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Prohibitives in the world's languages; further exploration of existing data and fine tuning of studies. 01/10/2006 - 30/09/2007

Abstract

De term 'prohibiitve' refers to a negative imperative. In most languages of the world, however, the prohibitive is not simply the combination of an ordinary imperative and an ordinary negation. The project attempts to describe and explain the world wide variation.

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Acquisitive modals, from a Burmese and a typological perspective. 01/01/2006 - 30/06/2006

Abstract

Burmese illustrates that a language can develop an auxiliary of possibility out of a lexical verb meaning 'get'. The path from 'get' to possibility has been neglected in current typological work. The project aims at a description of the facts of Burmese. It also aims at spelling out the cross-linguistic relevance of the Burmese findings.

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Social diversity in judicial reasoning. 01/05/2005 - 30/04/2009

Abstract

An analysis of how references to social diversity are used in argumentative communication in courtrooms. On the basis of authentic courtroom interaction, transcripts of criminal trials collected in the course of fieldwork, we investigate in which ways and under what circumstances participants in a criminal trial (magistrates, prosecutor, lawyers, defendant) handle the topic of social diversity in assessing the punishability of the acts committed by the defendant.

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Project MIDP III (Multilingual Information and informatics Development) : Multilingualism and exclusion. 28/04/2005 - 31/12/2007

Abstract

Whether globalisation, localisation and regionalisation processes of the last decades have led to more linguistic diversity or not, is a matter of on-going dispute – one reason being the changeable, language-ideological ways in which language practice is categorised and essentialised into countable linguistic units. In contrast, it is less controversial that they have led to an increased visibility and awareness of linguistic diversity, as well as to a growing sensitivity and sensibility towards this diversity – in short, to a growing number (and a wider range) of meaning-ascribing discourses surrounding multilingualism. The research project on Multilingualism and exclusion starts from the hypothesis that such discourses do not invariably reflect on, or give rise to, realities of societal integration and emancipation. In practice, they often follow, and are followed by, the mechanisms and effects of exclusion at different levels of society. The research project and the book which results from the project aims at critical analyses of multilingual communities (with special focus on South Africa and the Free State province) and the way they challenge language planners, of the actual management of multilingualism and the individual language user's experience and especially of 'tools' that have been mobilised to effectuate exclusion, forced monolingualism being an obvious one.

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The typology of non-declarative negation. 01/04/2005 - 30/09/2005

Abstract

The project at a typological description and explanation of the combination of negation and mood and modality, more particularly, the combination of negative and the imperative and the interrogative. The work will be based on an areally and genealogically representative sample of ca. 250 languages. The explanation will probably be of a functional-cognitive nature.

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Italian linguistics. 01/01/2005 - 31/12/2006

Abstract

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Argument Structure of BE and Conflation in Romance and Germanic languages. 01/10/2004 - 30/09/2007

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On the origin and development of "relative marking" - with special reference to West African languages. 01/11/2003 - 31/10/2004

Abstract

'Relative marking' is the label given to sets of tense aspect paradigms which are used in clauses with a focus structure (e.g. question word questions or relative clauses) and sometimes also in narrative sequences. This project proposes to carry out an in-depth study of the Chadic languages (in particular Hausa) and addresses the following three questions: (i) What is the extent of the uses of the relative marking ? (ii) What is the origin and the development of relative marking? (iii) What are the other possible correlates of relative marking in languages that have it?

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The notion of 'prise en charge / commitment' in linguistics. 01/10/2003 - 31/12/2005

Abstract

This project aims at the characterisation of the fundamental notion of (non-)commitment / (non-)prise en charge, which is used in the description of a variety of phenomena in enunciative linguistics. Will be studied: the mechanisms and markers of (non- )commitment, the types and degrees of (non- )commitment, its scope andfrontiers, its "subjects" (enunciators) and precise object (truth, argumentative value, ...), the time- point of (non-)commitment and the different layers of responsability of enunciators in a polyfonous marker.

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The Mediterranean as a linguistic area : Synchronic structures and diachronic processes. 01/10/2003 - 30/09/2005

Abstract

The project will investigate whether or not the languages around the Mediterranean have influenced each other with respect to grammar. The focus will be on phonology and morphology.

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Predicative categories and information structure. 01/02/2003 - 31/10/2003

Abstract

This project is aimed at a typological study of relations between the predicative categories and informational structure of a sentence. Predicative categories provide a connection between the referential situation (the situation that is spoken about) and the communicative situation (the situation of the discourse). The most common predicative categories are illocutionary force, polarity, mood, tense, person, etc. The notion of informational structure of a sentence covers the information on its theme and rheme, topic and focus, emphatic (contrastive) constituents, etc.

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Mood and modality. 01/01/2003 - 31/12/2006

Abstract

This project investigates the systems of sentence mood and of (deontic and epistemic) modality and their interrelations. There are two parallel lines of investigation: a typological one, involving a 'horizontal' analysis of these systems in 500 languages, and a language specific one, involving a 'vertical' in depth analysis of the systems in Dutch, German and English. The project aims to contribute to theory formation in cognitive-functional approaches to language.

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Modal auxiliaries and other expressions of modality in Dutch : A corpus-based investigation. 01/01/2003 - 31/12/2006

Abstract

This investigation has two components. (1) An analysis of the Dutch modal auxiliaries, in order to determine (the relations between) their syntactic and semantic properties. (2) An analysis of alternative expressions for the dynamic, deontic and epistemic uses of the modals, in order to determine their syntactic and functional properties, in contrast to those of the modals. The method of investigation is corpus analysis. The theoretical goal is to improve our understanding of how the modal auxiliaries and alternative expressions should be handled in a cognitively and functionally plausible grammar theory.

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Iconicity and the symbolic order of natural language. A study of the principles of iconicity theory on the interface of linguistics and metatheory. 01/01/2003 - 31/12/2006

Abstract

The iconicity principle states the structure of language reflects the structure of reality. This principle interacts with other principles. The project aims to describe the scope of the iconicity principle.

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An analysis of interactional processes during the Guguletu Seven hearings of the South African TRC, with special reference to the entextualization of social debates and divisions. 01/08/2002 - 31/07/2004

Abstract

This project seeks to explicitate the communicative, interactional processes during the TRC hearings. The starting point is the observation that South Africa is a split, fragmented society, mainly because of what it inherited from the apartheid years but also because of increasing economic divisions. Our analysis seeks to elucidate (1) how/whether this fragmentation is articulated during the TRC hearings and (2) to what extent the TRC is able to bridge these divisions, how these attempts are undertaken, etc.

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Intercultural communication in the courtroom. 01/03/2002 - 31/12/2003

Abstract

This project aims at offering a scientific analysis of translation and communication problems in court hearings involving non-Dutch speaking suspects, indicating the consequences of such problems on judiciary decision making, and formulating recommendations. The project is a pilot study of two years, a first year of which is already backed by a contract.

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A discourse oriented analysis of the interpreting process at the TRC hearings with special reference to the role of institutional variation, language differences and the intercultural context. 11/12/2000 - 11/12/2003

Abstract

The present project investigates the interactional language processes that occured during the TRC hearings. As a matter of fact interpreting processes do not occur in isolation. By consequence, the focus is on the rle of institutional discourse, language variation, and the linguistic expression of power in the hearings and interpreting activities of the TRC. In this way the project is to shed light on the way a specific conventional setting like the TRC hearings' operated. It will show the impact of the sociolinguistic and intercultural context. And it will clarify the requirements which training of interpreters should meet. The project is intended to deepen insight in hidden aspects of the interaction itself which bear heavily on its success, such as characteristics of the genre, the power balance and the use that is made of 'culture' in the framework of the interaction.

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Theory of formation in pragmatics, metapragmatic studies and the problem of intercultural and international communication. 01/10/2000 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

1. development of a coherent framework for the description of aspects of language use (from the point of view of linguistic pragmatics, conceived as the cognitive, social and cultural study of language and communication) 2. study of metapragmatic terms 3. applications to intercultural communication (face-to-face) and international communication (diplomacy and news reporting).

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A syntactic atlas of the Dutch dialects 01/01/2000 - 31/12/2003

Abstract

The project aims to make a theoretically sound syntactic atlas of the traditional Dutch dialects of Flanders and the Netherlands, with respect to four themes: word order variation in the right periphery of the sentence, word order variation in the left periphery of the sentence, variation in pronominal reference, and variation in negation and quantification. The atlas will comprise 400 maps; each map will be accompanied by an analysis, a discussion of the literature and a sketch of the theoretical relevance.

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Language, power, and identity. 01/01/1999 - 31/12/2003

Abstract

The relations between language, power, and identity are investigated in view of the social, political, and ideological phenomena observable in connection with discursive patterns, language regimes, and language hierarchies, in particular in a variety of institutional contexts.

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