Limits...
The grammar of exchange: a comparative study of reciprocal constructions across languages.

Majid A, Evans N, Gaby A, Levinson SC - Front Psychol (2011)

Bottom Line: Statistical analyses revealed that many languages do, in fact, share a common conceptual core for reciprocal meanings but that this is not a universally expressed concept.The recurrent pattern of conceptual packaging found across languages is compatible with the view that there is a shared non-linguistic understanding of reciprocation.But, nevertheless, there are considerable differences between languages in the exact extensional patterns, highlighting that even in the domain of grammar semantics is highly language-specific.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics Nijmegen, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Cultures are built on social exchange. Most languages have dedicated grammatical machinery for expressing this. To demonstrate that statistical methods can also be applied to grammatical meaning, we here ask whether the underlying meanings of these grammatical constructions are based on shared common concepts. To explore this, we designed video stimuli of reciprocated actions (e.g., "giving to each other") and symmetrical states (e.g., "sitting next to each other"), and with the help of a team of linguists collected responses from 20 languages around the world. Statistical analyses revealed that many languages do, in fact, share a common conceptual core for reciprocal meanings but that this is not a universally expressed concept. The recurrent pattern of conceptual packaging found across languages is compatible with the view that there is a shared non-linguistic understanding of reciprocation. But, nevertheless, there are considerable differences between languages in the exact extensional patterns, highlighting that even in the domain of grammar semantics is highly language-specific.

No MeSH data available.


Extensional range for Hup (top) and Lao (bottom) constructions.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3110972&req=5

Figure 6: Extensional range for Hup (top) and Lao (bottom) constructions.

Mentions: So which events do the different constructions encompass in their range? We can illustrate holding this same plot constant as a general map of the place of the clips in semantic space, and meanwhile superimpose the extensions of each language-specific construction. Figures 6–8 depict some typical extensional ranges for specific constructions in particular languages that we find in our sample. The Venn diagrams indicate which videoclips a particular language construction was applied to. The broadest extensional range was exhibited by the Lao kan3 construction and the Hup interactional (Figure 6), which were permissive in their range. These constructions are used to convey that the individuals are doing an activity together, thus including asymmetrical events such as A delousing B (#51) within their scope. Note how they nevertheless differ in whether they exclude partially symmetric chains (Hup) or radial asymmetrical exchanges (Lao).


The grammar of exchange: a comparative study of reciprocal constructions across languages.

Majid A, Evans N, Gaby A, Levinson SC - Front Psychol (2011)

Extensional range for Hup (top) and Lao (bottom) constructions.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3110972&req=5

Figure 6: Extensional range for Hup (top) and Lao (bottom) constructions.
Mentions: So which events do the different constructions encompass in their range? We can illustrate holding this same plot constant as a general map of the place of the clips in semantic space, and meanwhile superimpose the extensions of each language-specific construction. Figures 6–8 depict some typical extensional ranges for specific constructions in particular languages that we find in our sample. The Venn diagrams indicate which videoclips a particular language construction was applied to. The broadest extensional range was exhibited by the Lao kan3 construction and the Hup interactional (Figure 6), which were permissive in their range. These constructions are used to convey that the individuals are doing an activity together, thus including asymmetrical events such as A delousing B (#51) within their scope. Note how they nevertheless differ in whether they exclude partially symmetric chains (Hup) or radial asymmetrical exchanges (Lao).

Bottom Line: Statistical analyses revealed that many languages do, in fact, share a common conceptual core for reciprocal meanings but that this is not a universally expressed concept.The recurrent pattern of conceptual packaging found across languages is compatible with the view that there is a shared non-linguistic understanding of reciprocation.But, nevertheless, there are considerable differences between languages in the exact extensional patterns, highlighting that even in the domain of grammar semantics is highly language-specific.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics Nijmegen, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Cultures are built on social exchange. Most languages have dedicated grammatical machinery for expressing this. To demonstrate that statistical methods can also be applied to grammatical meaning, we here ask whether the underlying meanings of these grammatical constructions are based on shared common concepts. To explore this, we designed video stimuli of reciprocated actions (e.g., "giving to each other") and symmetrical states (e.g., "sitting next to each other"), and with the help of a team of linguists collected responses from 20 languages around the world. Statistical analyses revealed that many languages do, in fact, share a common conceptual core for reciprocal meanings but that this is not a universally expressed concept. The recurrent pattern of conceptual packaging found across languages is compatible with the view that there is a shared non-linguistic understanding of reciprocation. But, nevertheless, there are considerable differences between languages in the exact extensional patterns, highlighting that even in the domain of grammar semantics is highly language-specific.

No MeSH data available.