A critical assessment of the following dissertation Target length: 800 wordsAssesses learning outcomes 1-5What topic or area of linguistics is being addressed?Do you think that sufficient background information or context is provided in the Literature Review/State of the Art?Is there irrelevant material in the literature review? Does it appear that the author is including everything he/she has read?Do the subsequent chapters follow in a natural manner from the literature review? Is there a research question and what is it?What research method(s) is used, e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed?If a quantitative method is used, are any statistical methods discussed?If a qualitative method is used is there an analytical or theoretical framework used for the analysis of the data?What results are found?How do the results relate to the background?Do the results support the theory?Approximately what percentage of the dissertation is taken up with: (i) the Introduction; (ii) the State of the Art; (iii) Results; (iv) Discussion; (iv) Conclusion. In general the following aspects of the dissertation should be addressed in your critique although these will vary depending upon the dissertation. Feel free to address other points as you see fit. Note that this assignment is not just a list of yes/no questions but these types of question should be addressed in your report. The report should also enable the reader to learn what the dissertation was about and what the main conclusions were. The Dissertation Note that if your dissertation is judged to be one of the best ones, we may well put it on blackboard (anonymised) for next year’s students to critique in terms of the above questions.
a_critical_assessment_of_a_dissertation_from_previous_years.docx

exploring_a_cognitive_approach_to_language_production.docx

Unformatted Attachment Preview

A critical assessment of the following dissertation


Target length: 800 words
Assesses learning outcomes 1-5
In general the following aspects of the dissertation should be addressed in your critique
although these will vary depending upon the dissertation. Feel free to address other points as
you see fit. Note that this assignment is not just a list of yes/no questions but these types of
question should be addressed in your report. The report should also enable the reader to learn
what the dissertation was about and what the main conclusions were.
The Dissertation











What topic or area of linguistics is being addressed?
Do you think that sufficient background information or context is provided in the
Literature Review/State of the Art?
Is there irrelevant material in the literature review? Does it appear that the author is
including everything he/she has read?
Do the subsequent chapters follow in a natural manner from the literature review? Is
there a research question and what is it?
What research method(s) is used, e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed?
If a quantitative method is used, are any statistical methods discussed?
If a qualitative method is used is there an analytical or theoretical framework used for
the analysis of the data?
What results are found?
How do the results relate to the background?
Do the results support the theory?
Approximately what percentage of the dissertation is taken up with: (i) the
Introduction; (ii) the State of the Art; (iii) Results; (iv) Discussion; (iv) Conclusion.
Note that if your dissertation is judged to be one of the best ones, we may well put it on
blackboard (anonymised) for next year’s students to critique in terms of the above
questions.
1
From Thought to Language: Exploring a
Cognitive Approach to Language Production
Abstract
The Cognitive Linguistics approach has rarely contemplated certain aspects of Language
Production. Since the scope of a study involving every facet of this area is rather vast and
diverse, it is best to focus on a single aspect at a time. Hence, this paper deliberates only on the
notion of Lexical Access from the Production point of view. Apart from glancing at the current
theories of Lexical Access, the paper aims to explore how a model based on the tenets laid out
by Cognitive Linguistics, namely the Theory of Access Semantics (also known as LCCM
Theory) as proposed by Evans (2009), might be used to accommodate this phenomenon. The
study thus examines if this system could work as a functional model for Lexical Access, while
suggesting certain modifications for it to fit the required criteria. The main area of interest is
enumerating the factors affecting this process – namely Semantic Specificity, Context, Degree
of Semantic Emphasis, Degree of Articulatory Emphasis and Semantic/Articulatory
Generalisation. Consequently, the paper attempts to offer a theoretical account for a functional
model (described as the CMLC Model) that explains the way in which words are selected for a
specific context – on a monolingual and multilingual/cross-linguistic level. It must be noted that
this is by no means a fully-developed theory, and requires a great deal of further research for the
ideas stated herein to reach fruition at that level.
2
1 CONTENTS
2
3
4
Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4
2.1
Aim and Objectives ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5
2.2
Research question and hypothesis …………………………………………………………………… 10
Theoretical Background ………………………………………………………………………………………… 11
3.1
Commitments to and of the Approach ……………………………………………………………… 11
3.2
Subsequence and Cascade/Connectionist Models of Lexical Access ……………………… 13
3.2.1
Subsequence Model: Levelt and Schriefers (1987) ……………………………………… 13
3.2.2
Cascade Model: Dell, et al. (1999)…………………………………………………………….. 15
3.3
The LCCM Theory …………………………………………………………………………………………… 17
3.4
Synonymy …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 33
3.5
Equivalence…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 36
3.6
Equivalence from a Cognitive Linguistics Perspective …………………………………………. 37
3.7
Entrenchment, Collocations and Salience …………………………………………………………. 39
3.8
Entrenchment and Equivalence – A Debatable Dichotomy ………………………………….. 42
CMLC – A Functional Lexical Access Model? …………………………………………………………….. 44
4.1
LCCM Upside-Down: CMLC? ……………………………………………………………………………. 44
4.2
Factors Affecting Lexical Access in Language Production ……………………………………. 50
4.3
The CMLC Model: An Overview ……………………………………………………………………….. 60
5
Conclusion …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 64
6
References …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 67
7
Appendix A – List of Figures …………………………………………………………………………………… 70
3
Acknowledgements
I take this opportunity to thank my family and friends for their constant support
throughout this endeavour. Special thanks to my dissertation supervisor and the
personal tutor for being so patient with me and helping channelise my wayward
thoughts into something productive. I would also like to express my gratitude to my
fellow linguists – Jenny, Sahar, Jordan, Leo and Albert, as well as all the lecturers for
their unending support and constructive input. Most of all, I thank the university for
giving me the chance to learn with and from such bright stars from the world of
Linguistics.
4
2 INTRODUCTION
Language Production is as human a tendency as is visual perception, bipedalism,
culture, emotions or any process involving higher-level cognitive functioning. In recent
views on Language Production and the way in which it occurs, a set of “informationally
encapsulated” units (Fodor, 2008) are described – wherein distinct phonological,
syntactic and semantic components are believed to co-exist and interact.
For reasons explained below, in this study, we choose to follow the tenets laid out by
the relatively new (Evans & Green, 2014) discipline of Cognitive Linguistics – a school
of thought that involves the understanding that language is incorporated into the
cognitive system along with other cognitive mechanisms such as conceptualisation,
recall and recollection, and even perceptual processing. It is a matter of consensus
among Cognitive Linguists that language seems to be inextricably connected to each of
these systems, among others.
Despite the fact that Cognitive Linguistics is now a thriving approach, a preliminary
glance at various books, journals etc. has revealed very little work on the subject from
this perspective except for the preliminary foundation laid by Levelt and Schriefers
(1987), Levelt (1992) and Dell & O’Seaghdha (1992) and those building on it. Apart
from that, the indicated theories seem to overlook the factors affecting the process of
Lexical Access, showing greater focus on defining the process itself. The notion of
“entrenchment” (Schmid, 2007), which is an inherent part of Cognitive Linguistics,
seems to play an important role in this process, but requires a more detailed
investigation of how it works with regards to Lexical Access. As a result of this need to
study factors such as entrenchment, which have their theoretical bases in Cognitive
Linguistics, the paper employs the tenets laid out by this field and uses the point of view
presented by it. In doing so, it also aims at maintaining a streamlined focus in terms of
scope, rather than attempting to explain every single facet of Language Production,
Cognitive Linguistics or even Lexical Access. This dissertation thus seeks to remedy the
issues posed, by exploring simply whether a well-articulated Cognitive Linguistics
approach such as Evans’ Theory of Access Semantics (2009), might be used to explain
the point at hand, while other relevant factors included in the field follow suit.
5
2.1 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The overall aim of this dissertation is to propose a detailed model of the factors
affecting Lexical Access in Language Production, involving examples of adjectives
and other parts of speech across languages in order to bolster the claims made. The
objectives of the study are as follows:
i) To explore the existing theories of Lexical Access from the Cognitive
Linguistics perspective, and suggest a more comprehensive model for the
same. In particular, to explore Evans’ theory of Access Semantics (Evans,
2009), which proposes the pairing of conceptual profiles with specific lexical
items, from a Language Production point of view.
ii) Subsequently, to study “equivalence” substitution: how the absence of a
particular word to signify a concept can enable the selection of a different
word or phrase that might seem equivalent in some way.
iii) More specifically, to study the phenomenon of entrenchment through the
means of lexical associations, and how they manifest in discourse – whether
spoken or written.
iv) Finally, to describe the semantic and articulatory aspects involved in the
process of Lexical Access, and study how they interact with each other.
We now discuss each of these points individually.
i)
Current Theories of Lexical Access: Levelt and Schriefers (1987) describe a
model which involves the “modular” approach; suggesting that the process
of lexical access starts with the “Conceptualiser,” which “maps a
communicative intention onto a preverbal message” (Levelt & Schriefers,
1987, pg. 397) followed by the “Grammatical Encoder,” which uses this
preverbal message in order to produce the “surface structure.” This is then
carried through to the “Sound Form Encoder,” which “applies the surface
structure to a phonetic and articulatory plane” (Levelt & Schriefers, 1987,
pg. 397) which in turn is produced by the “Articulator.” In a later paper by
Levelt (1993), levels 2 and 3 were combined to form the “Formulator.”
While this forms a basic working premise within which lexical access could
6
occur, we take things one step further in this paper by suggesting the
presence and interaction of a number of dimensions or factors that affect the
process.
On the other hand, there exists a separate theoretical approach to the
process of Lexical Access. Proposed by Dell, et al. (1999), this “cascade”
model suggests that the Grammatical Encoder and Sound Form Encoder
work in a parallel manner, rather than sequentially. This could certainly be
the case, as will be discussed in chapters 3 and 4, and is relevant as one of
the cornerstones for the Factors Affecting Lexical Access to be built around.
ii) Equivalence Substitution: The concept of “equivalence,” as proposed by
Jakobson (1959), shall also be taken into consideration herein, with regards
especially to the aspects of “Context,” “Semantic Specificity” and
“Semantic/Articulatory Generalisation.” This paper shall study the existence
of intra-lingual equivalence (Jakobson, 1959), and the ability of individuals
to substitute one word or phrase for another when required.
iii) The role of Entrenchment in Discourse: A vital aspect when it comes to
lexical access, entrenchment is also a very intrinsic part of the Cognitive
Linguistics school of thought. The extent to which the usage of a particular
word or phrase is entrenched is vital in this scenario, especially when it
comes to “Context” as a factor of lexical access. This shall also be examined
further in the Theoretical Background.
iv) Factors Affecting Lexical Access: As mentioned above, the main aim of this
paper is to suggest a set of factors affecting the process of lexical access,
while also taking into consideration the way in which they interact, and how
they may be related to other cognitive and perceptual processes; the
relationship which forms the basis of Cognitive Linguistics. We suggest the
existence of 5 factors – Semantic Specificity, Degree of Semantic Emphasis,
Degree of Articulatory Emphasis, Context and Semantic/Articulatory
7
Generalisation. These shall be reviewed in detail in chapter 4. However, the
obvious question remains to be answered – why these factors?
The elements mentioned above are broadly divided into Semantic,
Articulatory and Contextual operations. It can be assumed that language is
set within these categories; Lexical Access in spoken language requires
conceptual representation (meaning), articulatory representation (speech)
and contextual awareness (linguistic and extralinguistic framework) in order
to function in an efficient and effective manner.
Given this idea, we propose that the factors involved in conceptual
representation would include the following:

Semantic Specificity (narrow conceptual definition) – Not to be
confused with the “semantic specificity hypothesis” suggested by Pine,
et al.. (2010), this relates to the activation of specific parts of the
conceptual system, or as explained in chapters 3 and 4 on the basis of
Evans’ (2009) LCCM Theory, those of the Cognitive Model Profile.

Degree of Semantic Emphasis (convention-driven emphasis attached to
a specific word or phrase) – This is based on the notion of “extreme and
scalar adjectives” as proposed by Paradis (2001), wherein Bolinger’s
(1967, pg. 4) statement is cited – “…comparability is a semantic feature
coextensive with ‘having different degrees’ or associated to items which
are ‘susceptible to be laid out on a scale’”

Semantic Generalisation (broad conceptual description) – This factor is
related to the notion of the Cognitive Model Profile as per Evans’ (2009)
claim.
The Articulatory representation would involve:

Degree of Articulatory Emphasis (emphasis created by prosodic factors)
– This is based on the suggestion that “lexical stress,” “lexical tone,”
and other syllabic and segmental information as “independently
represented dimensions,” Goldrick (2014, pg. 236).

Linguistic Context – This point finds basis in Evans’ (2009) LCCM
Theory.
8

Articulatory Generalisation (broad phonological similarities) – This is
based on a notion proposed by Dell, et al.. (1999) in their “cascade”
model.
Contextual awareness includes various aspects of the Linguistic and
Extralinguistic Context, as described by Evans in his account of the LCCM
Theory (2009).
These factors have been studied under various terminologies before; in this
paper we attempt to consolidate them all into a single working model to see
how they interact. While we do not suggest that they are the only factors
involved, it must be noted that they are certainly important when
considering Lexical Access, as is substantiated by their respective scholarly
works. Given that most of them fall within the Cognitive Linguistics
approach, and many are based on Evans’ (2009) LCCM Theory, these two
aspects shall become the primary fulcra of the suggested model.
This paper thus reviews the Theory of Lexical Concepts and Cognitive Models
(LCCM Theory, also known as the Theory of Access Semantics) as suggested by Evans
(Evans, 2009), and attempts to use its structure as a fundamental premise on which to
base the claims made. Evans’ theory of Access Semantics creates a plausible argument
for the way the cognitive system functions with reference to the perception of language,
but does not necessarily mention that it is limited to comprehension. That is, it mainly
explores the way the hearer or reader of language would access the conceptual
information within their cognitive system in order to make sense of the items they are
presented with. These items, according to Talmy (2000) (cited in Evans, 2009 pg. 102),
are divided into “closed class” and “open class” categories. Despite it being a theory of
Access Semantics, wherein conceptual information is accessed through words, the
LCCM Theory could be turned ‘upside down,’ to see if it could be expanded to include
the functioning of language production as well. That is, while the current theory deals
with the Language>Cognition process, we shall attempt to see if it works from the
Cognition>Language perspective.
Given these points, it may be assumed that if the system of Access Semantics works
along these lines, then that of Lexical Access would work in the opposite direction.
9
However, in this study, we suggest that while the basic premise might be true, when it
comes to production, a few more factors need to be taken into consideration as a means
of expanding the given theory.
The methodology involved herein consists mainly of the theoretical approach, while
also using supporting information drawn from corpora to substantiate the claims made.
The use of 4 different languages – namely English, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati, is twofold in its objectives. The first aim is to explore the variety of occurrences and
variations that occur across languages that vary on the scale of similarity. The second is
aimed at bolstering the claims made further, so as to suggest a generic, working theory
on a cross-linguistic level.
It may be noted during the course of the paper that the examples stated involve
mainly adjectives. This is because adjectives seem to provide a wide range of
possibilities when it comes “scalar” and “extreme” (Paradis, 2001) kinds of instances,
so as to create further clarity of functioning in terms of the factors mentioned above.
The theory could, of course, also be applied to other parts of speech, including nouns,
verbs, adverbs, prepositions, etc.
It has been suggested that there are no absolute “synonyms” (Cruse, 2000). With this
point in mind, we suggest the use of the term “equivalents,” as indicated by Jakobson
(1959), in order to discuss the process of substitution and the elements thereof. One can
consider two kinds of “equivalents.” The first category is the “semantic” equivalents,
which would focus mainly on ‘getting the point across through any means necessary,’
without any consideration towards formal or grammatical similarity between the source
and target equivalents. The best example of this would be the use of a phrase in order to
substitute a word, usually seen in spoken discourse. On the other hand, there exist the
“formal” equivalents, which not only include the use of words within the same
grammatical and semantic category, but also ones that may not necessarily carry similar
semantic structure. The best example of this is the use of the word “thing,” or in
informal discourse, even “thingy,” to express the existence of a noun that for some
reason has either slipped the speaker’s mind, or has lesser semantic focus and greater
perceptual focus, as in Hand me the thing. This point shall also be discussed further in
the Theoretical Background.
10
2.2 RESEARCH QUESTION AND HYPOTHESIS
The research questions for this study are as follows:
a) Whi …
Purchase answer to see full
attachment