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.


Constructional similarity space. The Hup and Lao constructions are the most inclusive and are plotted on the right. As we move toward the left of Dimension 1, constructions become progressively more restrictive. On Dimension 2, Indo-Pakistani Sign Language and Mah Meri are most sharply distinguished, due to their differential extension over clip space (see Figure 8).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 9: Constructional similarity space. The Hup and Lao constructions are the most inclusive and are plotted on the right. As we move toward the left of Dimension 1, constructions become progressively more restrictive. On Dimension 2, Indo-Pakistani Sign Language and Mah Meri are most sharply distinguished, due to their differential extension over clip space (see Figure 8).

Mentions: Another way to see the similarity of the constructions to one another is to plot constructions, rather than clips. We ask here: to what extent are each of the reciprocal constructions used in all of the languages similar or dissimilar to one another? Constructions from unrelated languages will be grouped together to the extent that they partition the clip space in similar ways; to the extent that they partition the space in different ways, they will lie far apart from each other. Using multidimensional scaling once again, but taking constructions as our unit of analysis, we can get an overview of the similarity of construction types. The same procedure described above was applied. The stress of the model was 0.15, the RSQ was 0.91. Figure 9 shows a plot of the main reciprocal encoding strategies. Going from right to left, constructions become progressively more restricted in how many clips they are applied to: Lao and Hup are most inclusive; Mah Meri and Indo-Pakistani Sign Language most restrictive (see Figures 6–8 to see extensional spaces). Notice, too, that many of the constructions cluster at the more inclusive end of extensional space: in effect, less than a third of languages are highly selective in their application of reciprocals.


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

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

Constructional similarity space. The Hup and Lao constructions are the most inclusive and are plotted on the right. As we move toward the left of Dimension 1, constructions become progressively more restrictive. On Dimension 2, Indo-Pakistani Sign Language and Mah Meri are most sharply distinguished, due to their differential extension over clip space (see Figure 8).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 9: Constructional similarity space. The Hup and Lao constructions are the most inclusive and are plotted on the right. As we move toward the left of Dimension 1, constructions become progressively more restrictive. On Dimension 2, Indo-Pakistani Sign Language and Mah Meri are most sharply distinguished, due to their differential extension over clip space (see Figure 8).
Mentions: Another way to see the similarity of the constructions to one another is to plot constructions, rather than clips. We ask here: to what extent are each of the reciprocal constructions used in all of the languages similar or dissimilar to one another? Constructions from unrelated languages will be grouped together to the extent that they partition the clip space in similar ways; to the extent that they partition the space in different ways, they will lie far apart from each other. Using multidimensional scaling once again, but taking constructions as our unit of analysis, we can get an overview of the similarity of construction types. The same procedure described above was applied. The stress of the model was 0.15, the RSQ was 0.91. Figure 9 shows a plot of the main reciprocal encoding strategies. Going from right to left, constructions become progressively more restricted in how many clips they are applied to: Lao and Hup are most inclusive; Mah Meri and Indo-Pakistani Sign Language most restrictive (see Figures 6–8 to see extensional spaces). Notice, too, that many of the constructions cluster at the more inclusive end of extensional space: in effect, less than a third of languages are highly selective in their application of reciprocals.

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.