Agiş 1
POLYSEMY VERSUS MONOSEMY IN FRENCH L2 ACQUISITION BY TURKISH
STUDENTS: THE VERBS VOIR (TO SEE) AND ENTENDRE (TO HEA...
Agiş 2
second one’s ‘the music’. At this point, concerning the relationship between the figure and the
ground, Langacker (...
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from the meanings of its parts and the manner of their combination, and also sense selection, as
one needs to selec...
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such as “le jour” (the day) may consist of atemporal relations zero-derived from an NP (see
Langacker, 1991: 66),
(...
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“You have nothing to see inside”
“these are not your affairs”
Besides, in (9) “que” (than) can be regarded as a men...
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the fact that we have to activate diverse image, construction and event schemata using different
languages. In fact...
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In (8) we have to set the image schema where exists the behaviors of the two animals
towards each other. This frame...
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mind to apply it to the L2 context in an appropriate way; but what do we need for doing so?
Answer: the “Interlangu...
Agiş 9
or listening to a French conversation. The best solution to solve this schemata resetting
problem should be a teach...
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Agis, Derya. October 20 – 21, 2005. Third International Graduate Students Conference on Linguistics and Language Teaching, Polysemy versus Monosemy in French L2 Acquisition by Turkish Students: The Verbs VOIR (to see) and ENTENDRE (to hear), and Cognit

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Agis, Derya. October 20 – 21, 2005. Third International Graduate Students Conference on Linguistics and Language Teaching, Polysemy versus Monosemy in French L2 Acquisition by Turkish Students: The Verbs VOIR (to see) and ENTENDRE (to hear), and Cognitive Linguistics, Cukurova University, Adana, Turkey.

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Agis, Derya. October 20 – 21, 2005. Third International Graduate Students Conference on Linguistics and Language Teaching, Polysemy versus Monosemy in French L2 Acquisition by Turkish Students: The Verbs VOIR (to see) and ENTENDRE (to hear), and Cognit

  1. 1. Agiş 1 POLYSEMY VERSUS MONOSEMY IN FRENCH L2 ACQUISITION BY TURKISH STUDENTS: THE VERBS VOIR (TO SEE) AND ENTENDRE (TO HEAR), AND COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS DERYA AGIS Hacettepe University Department of English Linguistics ABSTRACT In this study I intend to discuss the stages of the French L2 (second language) acquisition at which the Turkish students begin to use the correct forms of two verbs with different meanings: voir (to see) and entendre (to hear). For doing so, I distributed a meaning judgment test of twenty-five questions with uses of these two verbs in different contexts. I examined the eleven meanings of the verb voir (to see), and the ten meanings of the verb entendre (to hear). Five intermediate, five upper-intermediate and five advanced level Turkish French students completed my test. I analyzed whether they used the verbs with their appropriate meanings, according to the context. I calculated the rate of the correct and the incorrect uses of the verbs by each group of students. Additionally, I plan to answer the question how one can identify diverse senses, and separate them from diverse modulations of the same sense in a foreign language in terms of Frame Semantics (Fillmore 1976; Fillmore 1982 ; and Fillmore & Atkins 1992), and other theories of cognitive linguistics (Lakoff 1987 ; Langacker 1987, 1990, 1991, etc.). Finally, I suppose that for facilitating the acquisition of different uses of these verbs, we can refer to the “Interlanguage Transitions’ Reinforcement Method,” that I develop for teaching languages within the framework of cognitive linguistics. 1. INTRODUCTION This paper deals with the acquisition of the two French perception verbs voir (to see) and entendre (to hear), first, by analyzing the concepts of monosemy and polysemy within the framework of cognitive linguistics, second, by discussing several meanings of these two verbs and the errors the L2 learners commit, and finally, by offering a new method for their teaching. 2. SEMANTICS: POLYSEMY VERSUS MONOSEMY People are more concerned with what they are conceiving than that they are conceiving it in a particular way (Langacker, 2000: 46). The sentences “I see the sea” and “I hear the music” have conceptual contents: ‘I’, ‘sea’, and ‘music.’ But by saying these sentences, the speaker is aware of the fact that s/he is profiling a relationship with a “figure/ground organization on the scene” (Langacker, 2000: 46). The first sentence’s clause-level figure is ‘the sea’, and the
  2. 2. Agiş 2 second one’s ‘the music’. At this point, concerning the relationship between the figure and the ground, Langacker (2000: 46) points out an important analogy: The situation is analogous to that of a person wearing glasses. The glasses are in large measure responsible for shaping the wearer’s perceptual experience, determining what is seen and how it appears. Yet ordinarily the wearer is not even conscious of them. When attention is strongly focused on the external situation, the glasses themselves become almost literally “invisible”. According to Fauconnier (1985, 1997), Cutrer (1994) and (Fauconnier and Sweetser (1996) the concept of “mental space organization” is an example of “invisible semantic constructs” (ctd. in Langacker 2000: 47). Meanwhile, I suggest that the reality, the desire and the culture of a person influence the formation of concepts in our minds, and as a result of the latter, the schema (a structure in the human brain that consists of mental representations of concepts around us in a clear and organized manner) of that person influences how we interpret the meaning of a sentence. The French verbs voir (to see) and entendre (to hear) don’t have just one meaning, but several meanings, which may not exist in other languages. There are several meaning differences between the Turkish verbs görmek (to see) and işitmek (to hear) and their French counterparts voir and entendre. Turkish students, learning French as a second language suffer from those meaning differences in the two languages, and cannot understand some of the meanings of these mentioned two verbs. What we have to discover, are those other meanings of these two polysemous verbs, which can be regarded as single linguistic forms, with which two or more related senses are associated (Taylor, 2003: 144), and whose Turkish counterparts, regarded as monosemous – with one meaning, – or may have different meanings from those French verbs. In the interpretation of several meanings of these verbs, one needs to construct these relationships indicated by Langacker (2000: 49): (a) a conceptualizer, a speaker or an addressee, (b) a construal relationship between a conceptualizer and the conceptualization entertained, (c) a maximal scope of the expression, such as the whole array of content it evokes, (d) an immediate scope, incorporating those facets of the maximal scope, which figure most directly in the characterization of the profiled entity, and finally (e) the expression’s profile, the entity it designates, serving as a focal point within its immediate scope. In the following two subchapters of this chapter, I aim to observe the interpretation of the two French verbs in terms of these definitions, and also give a new direction to the compositionality principle, the fact that the meaning of a complex expression can be computed
  3. 3. Agiş 3 from the meanings of its parts and the manner of their combination, and also sense selection, as one needs to select just one of the senses of each polysemous word in each expression (Taylor, 2003: 145). 2. 1. DIVERSE MEANINGS OF THE VERB VOIR (TO SEE) AND THE ERRORS OF THE FRENCH L2 LEARNERS The French verb voir (to see) has many different meanings. These meanings can be explained within the framework of cognitive linguistics. I aim to explain how we can explain these different meanings of this verb, referring to the above-cited terms of cognitive linguistics. The French verb voir (to see) can mean (1) ‘to see with one’s eyes’ - all groups of students answered the questions with this simple meaning of the verb correctly,- (2) ‘to visit’ - three students of the immediate-level group, and one in the upper-intermediate-level group mistook its meaning, but all advanced level students judged it as correct, -(3)‘to understand’ - all students coped with this meaning of the verb, - and (4) ‘to try’ (only two students in the intermediate-level group judged its use as incorrect); moreover, the verb has some phraseological meanings, when it is used as in the following phrases from (5) to (11). Every expression has a scope; here the verb voir (to see) requires for its scope diverse verbs in order to have divergent meanings. Within the expression’s maximal scope (MS) we can find also an immediate scope (IS) that comprises the general locus of attention. The maximal scope has the reference point and the knowledge provided by using the verb voir (to see). The first noun’s profile is the immediate scope for the second noun, as the subject’s profile constitutes the object’s immediate scope. In addition, the maximal scope can be the time of an event, for example, (5) is generally used with simple present, past and future tenses. The portmanteau and the bound morphemes are the immediate scope of these, and they profile a process comprising an internal portion of the bounded event designated by the verb stem, they are performing on, as indicated by Langacker (2000: 52). In all sentences the conceptualizer is present as the speaker or the addressee. When it comes to the other terms, cited above, for understanding (5) we must identify all of its constituents. The verb voir (to see) is used with “le jour” (the day). It is really difficult to understand its meaning for a person, who does not know that it means ‘to be born.’ A person, who doesn’t know French should interpret it as ‘to survive’, ‘to see the sun’, ‘to wake up in the morning’, etc.; here the time is important in determining the real meaning of the phrase. Four students in the intermediate-level group and two students in the upper-intermediate, and one student in the advanced group interpreted as incorrect. As Langacker (1991) defends, only nouns and NPs designate things, and only other categories designate relations. Expressions,
  4. 4. Agiş 4 such as “le jour” (the day) may consist of atemporal relations zero-derived from an NP (see Langacker, 1991: 66), (5) il a vu le jour he has seen the day “he has ssen the day” “he was born” In (6) we encounter two difficult sentences, one of which is indicated within parentheses; but here the tense is important, as the first one must be used with the present tense, and the second with the future tense. Also the negativizer “ne…pas” is crucial at this point, as it can be regarded as the part of the immediate scope of the first sentence (the conjugation with a negativizer), which gives the sense of something unnecessary. In the second sentence “tout” (all) in the immediate scope gives the meaning of sufficiency, and the unnecessity of remaining at the same place for more time. But for a person who has no schema for (6), it is hard to conceive that here one talks about an abnormal, crazy thing. None of the Turkish students judged it as correct. (6) qu’est-ce qu’ il ne faut pas voir! (on aura tout vu) what is this that it not is necessary neg. to see (we will have all seen) “What is not necessary to see! (we’ll have seen all)” “what a crazy thing” Moreover, in (7) the verb “pouvoir” (can, to be able to) with the negativizer “ne…pas” forms the maximal scope, and the verb voir (to see) appears as the immediate scope. At first, no one may judge that it indicates the unwillingness of the person to see a terrible scene without the appropriate schema of the sentence in his / her mind. Only one of the advanced- level and the upper-intermediate-level students interpreted the sentence correctly. (7) je ne peux pas voir I not can neg. to see “I cannot see it” “I cannot dare to see it” Additionally, in (8) the verb avoir is the maximal scope; “rien” (nothing) used with the verb avoir (to have) indicates that the listener has nothing to occupy himself / herself with in a certain place “là-dedans” (inside there). All the students only understood the literal meaning of the sentence, but not the metaphorical one. (8) tu n’ as rien à voir là-dedans! You not have nothing to see there-inside
  5. 5. Agiş 5 “You have nothing to see inside” “these are not your affairs” Besides, in (9) “que” (than) can be regarded as a mental concept, which assigns the role of profile to “de feu” (the fire). It is hard to guess the right meaning of the phrase, as many would consider fire as danger, but they wouldn’t figure that it is indicated as a trivial item. All students interpreted this sentence in different ways, but no one guessed its real meaning. (9) n’ y voir que de feu not there to see than some fire “not to see there anything else other than fire” “not to notice anything” The meaning of the sentence in (10) is clearer than those previously mentioned. But here in place of the tense, it is better to think about the preposition “à” (to), which implies the target of the whole sentence, this preposition gives the meaning that the duty of the implicit pronoun, which is the subject, is not telling stories. All interpreted this sentence correctly, most probably due to the preposition. (10) il faudrait voir à ne pas me raconter d’ histoires! It would be necessary to not neg. to me to tell some stories “It would be necessary not to tell me stories!” “pay attention not to tell me stories!” Finally, (11) presents “de” (of) as a partitive preposition, and “toutes les couleurs” (all the colors) as the object of the sentence. It is easy to derive the meaning of this sentence, as this type of a schema may exist in the mind of every one from every culture. However, four immediate-level, four upper-intermediate and three advanced-level students judged the sentence as incorrect, as the use of the preposition was absent in their schemata. The use of “couleurs” was interpreted as an indicator of a positive situation rather than a negative one. (11) “il m’en a fait voir de toutes les couleurs” it to me from them has made see of all the colors “he made me to see all the colors” “to make some one to see all kinds of mischief” 2. 2. DIVERSE MEANINGS OF THE VERB ENTENDRE (TO HEAR) AND THE ERRORS OF THE FRENCH L2 LEARNERS Langacker (1987: 47) suggests that “lexicon and grammar are storehouses of conventional imagery, which differ substantially from language to language,” and claims that there is no “full universality” of semantic structure. These proposals of Langacker provide evidence for
  6. 6. Agiş 6 the fact that we have to activate diverse image, construction and event schemata using different languages. In fact, “humans have the capacity to construe conceptual content in alternate ways (Langacker, 1990: 5). The French verb entendre (to hear) can mean the following (1) to hear with one’s ears, (2) to listen to, (3) to understand, and (4) to aim at, to intend, to want. In each case it is the context that assigns the meaning to each sentence. All students judge the sentences with those meanings as correct. But in (5) we encounter a rare meaning of the verb entendre (to hear); here entendre (to hear) means to behave in such a way that you prefer. None of the intermediate and upper-intermediate level students judged it as grammatical, but all advanced- level students judged it as correct. (5) fais comme tu l’entends make order, 2nd Pers. Sg.order how you it hear “make it how you hear it” “make it your way” In (6) we encounter the meaning of the verb entendre as to hear; though, it is the special context that assigns the meanings to the two uses of the verb entendre (to hear) used here; but it is the verb of the relative clause, the MS that emphasizes the situation of a person who doesn’t hear the sound of a bell, and in the main clause, the IS, implies what happens to that person next. Without an image schema and as a consequence of this a construction schema in the mind of a person, s/he may never understand the exact meaning of the sentence, which consists of the statement that ‘we have to listen to both parts before deciding who is right and who is wrong’. No one judged this sentence as correct except for four advanced-level students. (6) “qui n’entend qu’une cloche n’entend qu’ un son” who not hears than a bell not hears than a sound “who doesn’t hear anything other than a bell doesn’t hear anything other than a sound” “we have to listen to both parts” The interpretation of (7) is similar to that of (11) in the previous chapter; the main element is “de” (of) and the image schemata to be activated obligatorily are “bonnes” (good) and “toutes les couleurs” (all the colors). The judgment results were the same as those of (11). (7) en sentir de belles (de bonnes / de toutes les couleurs) of it to hear of beautifuls (of goods / of all the colors) “hearing about the good colors and all the colors of something” “to make some one to hear all kinds of mischief”
  7. 7. Agiş 7 In (8) we have to set the image schema where exists the behaviors of the two animals towards each other. This frame helps us to understand the sentence in each culture. All students, except for two intermediate-level students judged it as correct. (8) s’entendre comme chien et chat oneself to hear as dog and cat “to get on well as dogs and cats” “to quarrelle always” Though, in (9) it is important where the past participle of entendre is attached; it is an adjective to be interpreted with “air” (air). It is the preposition that gives meaning to the sentence, as it indicates the mode of the action of the main verb “se regarder”; therefore, “air entendu” (heard air) receives its meaning via the used preposition. All advanced-level students, but none of the other students judged it as correct. (9) se regarder d’ un air entendu oneself to look of an air heard “to see oneself with a heard air” “to understand each other” At the end, in (10) the reflexive pronoun “se” (himself) is the part of the MS with the tense, whereas “en peinture” form the profile. The speaker or the hearer must use the schema in his / her mind; if one *hears himself in painting, what happens? As one cannot hear himself / herself in painting, all intermediate-level students judged the sentence as wrong; but the reason why they did so is that they couldn’t activate the appropriate schema in their minds. Four upper-intermediate and all advanced-level students judged it as correct. (10) il s’ entend en peinture he himself hears in painting “he hears himself in painting” “he is talented at painting” 3. A SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF ACQUIRING APPROPRIATE SCHEMATA: INTERLANGUAGE TRANSITIONS’ REINFORCEMENT METHOD Now it is time to talk about my theory of teaching, based on cognitive linguistics; as we see objects we frame them, and iconize them according to cultural modals. We have to activate the appropriate image and conceptual schemata in the language to which we code-switch. Thus, we have to acquire schemata of the both our native language and our second language. As some given schemata (the schemata of one’s L1) lack, or we encounter a new schemata (the schemata of one’s L2) of the second language we learn, we have to reset the schemata in our
  8. 8. Agiş 8 mind to apply it to the L2 context in an appropriate way; but what do we need for doing so? Answer: the “Interlanguage Transition’s Reinforcement Method!” Let’s observe how this new theory will work. Via the pictures the teacher shows, the students may recognize that they are living in a different country, they make some contrastive analyses, and correct their errors. On the other hand, the relationships between the verbs voir (to see) and entendre (to hear) can be explained in terms of cognitive processes, governed by the principle of figure and ground: the onstage part (participants) is against the offstage ground (settings), or the speaker; the syntactic figure among the participants is the subject, and the syntactic ground, another participant is the object (Ungerer et al. 1996: 205). As a result, the appropriate visual stimuli, therefore, the movies, pictures, photos, cartoons, etc. must be shown to the L2 learners by implying the meanings they assume in different contexts, and the equivalent expressions in their L2. This will help them to activate the appropriate image, construction and event schemata in both languages where necessary. The conceptualizations of linguistic forms can be included in Lakoff’s (1987) “idealized cognitive model”. They are produced by human knowledge and differ from culture to culture. For this reason, we have to refer to an acculturation method in language teaching; the music, the cultural events, feasts of the country whose language is learned as a second language must be explained to the learner by making him / her participate in similar activities organized with similar items for providing the learners with the culturally similar audio-visual stimuli so that they can develop new cultural schemata. In fact, these should help the L2 learners to improve their language skills by referring to the frame semantics, as only this approach permits us to use frames with single lexical representatives (see Fillmore 1985: 225 – 230). Lexical elements are crucial in understanding, and the truth is determined compositionally through a bottom up operation using symbolic operations (Fillmore 1982: 230 – 232). Frame Semantics aims to represent the meanings of words, sentences, and texts uniformly (1976: 28). A text evokes a frame associated with itself (Fillmore 1985: 232). Besides, Fillmore & Atkins (1992) show the perspicuity of the Frame Semantics for lexicography. Each word may have different meanings in diverse contexts, and the students must be forced to learn to activate the diverse schemata to use these words in the appropriate contexts. 4. CONCLUSION In short, Turkish French L2 learners make mistakes on the interpretation of the French perception verbs voir (to see) and entendre (to hear), used in diverse contexts. The reason for that, is that they cannot establish the appropriate schemata, absent in their L1, speaking French
  9. 9. Agiş 9 or listening to a French conversation. The best solution to solve this schemata resetting problem should be a teaching method, based on cognitive linguistics: it is the “Interlanguage Transitions’ Reinforcement Method”. 5. REFERENCES Fillmore, Charles, (1976): “Frame semantics and the nature of language,” In Origins and Evolution of Language and Speech, Stevan R. Harnad, Horst D. Steklis, & Jane Lancaster (eds.), Annals of the NY Academy of Sciences, Vol. 280, 20-32. Fillmore, Charles, (1982): “Frame Semantics,” The Linguistic Society of Korea (ed.). Linguistics in the Morning Calm, Soeul, Hanshin, 111-137. Fillmore, Charles. (1985): “Frames and the Semantics of Understanding,” Quaderni di Semantica, 6, 222-254. Fillmore, Charles & B. T. Atkins. (1992): “Towards a Frame-based organization of the lexicon: the semantics of RISK and its neighbors,” In Frames, Fields, and Contrasts: New Essays in Semantics and Lexical Organization, Adrienne Lehrer and Eva Kittay (eds.), Hillsdale, Lawrence Erlbaum, 75-102. Lakoff, George, (1987): Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. What Categories Reveal about the Mind, Chicago, University of Chicago Press. Langacker, Ronald, W., (1987): Foundations of Cognitive Grammar Vol. 1: Theoretical Prerequisites, Stanford, Stanford University Press. Langacker, Ronald, W., (1990): Concept, Image, and Symbol. The Cognitive Basis of Grammar, Berlin, Mouton de Gruyter. Langacker, Ronald, W., (1991): Foundations of Cognitive Grammar Vol. 2: Descriptive Application, Stanford, Stanford University Press. Langacker, Ronald, W., (2000): Grammar and Conceptualization. Berlin & New York, Mouton de Gruyter. Taylor, John, R., (2003): Linguistic Categorization, Oxford, Oxford University Press. Ungerer, Friedrich & Schmid, Hans–Jörg, (1996): An Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics, London and New York, Longman.

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