The Case Of The Wandering Nucleus

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  • The Case Of The Wandering Nucleus

    1. 1. A Cognitive Approach to Nucleus Placement Liceo Cultural Británico Teacher Training College SATURDAY SEMINAR SEASON 2007 15 September 20007 Prof. Andrea Perticone The Case of the Wandering Nucleus
    2. 2. “ Language exists to conceal our thoughts.” (Voltaire) “ People use language to conceal the fact that they have no thoughts.” (Kierkegaard)
    3. 3. “ Language is the mother of thought, not its handmaiden” (Karl Kraus)
    4. 4. “ Language is not only the vehicle of thought, it is a great and efficient instrument in thinking.” (Humphrey Davy)
    5. 5. “ Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.” (Benjamin Lee Whorf) <ul><li>“ The limits of my language mean the limits of my world” </li></ul><ul><li>( Ludwig Wittgenstein) </li></ul>
    6. 6. Abstract The English Nucleus (the most prominent accent in the sentence) appears to have a vexing habit of wandering around. It often fails to show up where you expect it to be. In this seminar we will explore some accounts of this: the grammatical approach and the discoursal approach. A cognitive approach will be proposed, which employs the notion of Figure and Ground, a principle of Gestalt psychology.  
    7. 7. Overview of the session <ul><li>Focus </li></ul><ul><li>Nucleus </li></ul><ul><li>Nucleus placement </li></ul><ul><li>Two accounts of nucleus placement: grammatical and discoursal </li></ul>
    8. 8. Overview cont’d <ul><li>Gestalt psychology </li></ul><ul><li>Figure and Ground </li></ul><ul><li>Application of FG to NP </li></ul>
    9. 9. Distribution of accents in sentences (utterances) <ul><li>content words (or lexical items) vs. function words </li></ul>ACCENTED Content words: N. Lexical V, Adj, Adv. UNACCENTED Function words: preps, prn, arts, AUX V, etc. “grammar” words We have been WAITING for TWO HOURS .
    10. 10. Nucleus: THE LAST ACCENT IN AN UTTERANCE <ul><li>We have been WAITING for TWO HOURS . </li></ul>NUC
    11. 11. Focus <ul><li>“ The concentration of attention on the whole or a part of the utterance to which the speaker wants the hearer to pay attention” (Wells, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>If all info is new, then BF. </li></ul><ul><li>If only part of the info is new, then NF. </li></ul><ul><li>The scope of the focus has been narrowed down. </li></ul>
    12. 12. <ul><li>Part of the information is said to be OUT OF FOCUS because it is OLD*: </li></ul><ul><li>- mentioned before, explicitly or implicitly, or </li></ul><ul><li>- both speaker and hearer have visual access to the referent of the information- referent physically present . </li></ul><ul><li>* old/ given </li></ul>Narrow Focus
    13. 13. <ul><li>A: How old are your sisters? </li></ul><ul><li>B: My ELDER sister is forty - SEVEN, and my YOUNGER sister is THIRTY-seven. </li></ul><ul><li>A: (Showing book to friend). This is an INTERESTING book. You should read it. </li></ul>Nucleus Placement in Narrow Focus: examples* <ul><li>Underlining marks focus; caps mark Nuc </li></ul>
    14. 14. Broad Focus and Nucleus Placement <ul><li>Rule of broad focus or LLI Rule: </li></ul><ul><li>ALL the information is NEW to the listener  whole utterance is in focus </li></ul><ul><li> Nucleus on LAST LEXICAL ITEM (LLI) </li></ul>We have been waiting for TWO HOURS . My elder sister lives in SPAIN. I love playing the PIANO.
    15. 15. Nucleus Placement: over 2 u <ul><li>THINK: WHERE DOES THE NUCLEUS FALL IN THE FOLLOWING SENTENCES? (BF) </li></ul><ul><li>1. Customer: Waiter! There’s a fly in my soup! </li></ul><ul><li>Waiter: I’m terribly sorry, sir. Perhaps you’d like a beetle in it? </li></ul><ul><li>2. I’m off to the garage now. I must have a new exhaust-pipe fitted. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Nucleus Placement: over 2 you 2 <ul><li>(A young man has given his girlfriend a rather gaudy outfit) </li></ul><ul><li>3. G: It’s horrible. Why did you buy it? </li></ul><ul><li>B: The price was right. </li></ul><ul><li>4. Oh no! The meal’s burning!!!! </li></ul><ul><li>5. Everyone get out of here! There’s a bomb in the building! </li></ul><ul><li>6. Your mother phoned. </li></ul><ul><li>7. Oh, shoot. The computer’s gone phut. </li></ul><ul><li>What sentence patterns can you find which do not follow the rule of Broad Focus? </li></ul><ul><li>Why don’t the nuclei fall on the last lexical item ? </li></ul>
    17. 17. Nucleus Placement: over 2 u Answers <ul><li>1. Customer: Waiter! There’s a FLY in my soup! </li></ul><ul><li>Waiter: I’m terribly SORRY, sir. Perhaps you’d like a BEETLE in it? </li></ul><ul><li>2. I’m off to the GARAGE now. I must have a new EXHAUST-pipe fitted. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Answers 2 <ul><li>3. G: It’s horrible. Why did you buy it? </li></ul><ul><li>B: The PRICE was right. </li></ul><ul><li>4. Oh no! The MEAL’S burning!!!! </li></ul><ul><li>5. Everyone get OUT of here! There’s a BOMB in the building! </li></ul><ul><li>6. Your MOTHER phoned. </li></ul><ul><li>7. Oh, shoot. The COMPUTER’S gone phut. </li></ul>
    19. 19. ELLIRs-Exceptions to the LLIR NPs which do not follow the LLIR (Nuc doesn’t fall on LLI even though the utterances are in BF) Why don’t the nuclei fall on the LLI?  big topic of this seminar Answers on the next slides
    20. 20. ... and how about Nucleus Placement in Spanish???
    21. 21. Nucleus Placement in Spanish <ul><li>a. The PRICE was right  Estaba a buen PRECIO. / Lo compré por el PRECIO. </li></ul><ul><li>b. The MEAL’S burning!  Se está quemando la COMIDA! </li></ul><ul><li>c. Your MOTHER phoned.  Llamó tu MAMÁ. </li></ul><ul><li>d. The COMPUTER’S gone phut  Se ¿@#ó la COMPUTADORA!! ( You provide the missing word!) </li></ul>
    22. 22. the KETTLE boiling Hierve la PAVA boiling The KETTLE So ...Is Spanish NP really different from English NP? A bit of syntax.... and moving constituents The noun phrase carries Nuc with it to pre-verbal position
    23. 23. Different resources to mark Nucleus: English vs. Spanish* <ul><li>English: </li></ul><ul><li>(relatively) fixed word order. </li></ul><ul><li>“ wandering” Nucleus. </li></ul>* In BF and sometimes in NF. <ul><li>Spanish: </li></ul><ul><li>(relatively) Flexible word order </li></ul><ul><li>Fixed Nucleus: LLI. </li></ul>
    24. 24. Nucleus Placement in Exceptions to the LLIR(BF): Grammatical Accounts Underlying assumption: It is the language itself that determines the location of the Nuc Nuc Placement determined by syntactic function, grammatical category and semantic meaning of constituents.
    25. 25. Here comes the dreaded bit... Prepare for the rules!!!! Where does the nucleus go???
    26. 26. Nucleus Placement in ELLIR: Grammatico-semantic approaches <ul><li>EVENT SENTENCES ( “What’s happened?”) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A) Inanimate Sub+ intransitive verb denoting (dis) appearance or (mis) fortune. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The COMPUTER’S gone phut. </li></ul><ul><li>An AEROPLANE crashed. </li></ul><ul><li>My CAR broke down. </li></ul>
    27. 27. Nucleus Placement in ELLIR: Grammatico-semantic approaches (cont’d) <ul><li>more EVENT SENTENCES ( “What’s happened?”) </li></ul><ul><li>B) Human Sub+ IV denoting (dis) appearance. </li></ul><ul><li>The PRISONER escaped. </li></ul><ul><li>The TAXI’S just arrived. </li></ul><ul><li>The POSTMAN called. </li></ul>
    28. 28. More ELLIR’s <ul><li>FINAL ADVERBIALS OF TIME: if context-setting AND in final. posit.  not Nuc. </li></ul><ul><li>A. CONTEXT- SETTING ADVERBIALS OF TIME : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I went to LONDON on Thursday. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I saw JOHN yesterday. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>B. TIME-FOCUSING ADV OF TIME: </li></ul><ul><li>We’re meeting at the door at EIGHT . </li></ul>
    29. 29. Adverbials of time and place: English <ul><li>I saw JOHN yesterday. </li></ul>FCSAT (usual position) Is LLI  no Nuc. YESTERDAY,/ I saw JOHN. Fronted becomes FSAT: special case. 2 units, 2 Nuc.
    30. 30. Adverbials of time and place: Spanish Usual position: initial Ayer lo ví a JUAN Lo ví a JUAN ayer. Lo ví a Juan AYER. (no antes de ayer; Juan is old info; NF)
    31. 31. OVER 2 U NOW! <ul><li>I’d better go now. </li></ul><ul><li>He was in England / for almost three days. </li></ul><ul><li>She’s been pretty nice lately. </li></ul><ul><li>What time did you get up this morning? </li></ul><ul><li>The bus leaves at four o’ clock / on Sunday. </li></ul>
    32. 32. OVER 2 U NOW! Answers <ul><li>I’d better GO now. </li></ul><ul><li>He was in ENGLAND / for almost three DAYS. </li></ul><ul><li>She’s been pretty NICE lately. </li></ul><ul><li>What time did you get UP this morning? </li></ul><ul><li>The bus leaves at four o’ CLOCK / on SUNDAY. </li></ul>
    33. 33. More ELLIRs still <ul><li>Time & Space markers: yet, any more, any longer, a minute, a second, a while </li></ul><ul><li>They haven’t ARRIVED yet. </li></ul><ul><li>They don’t MANUFACTURE this any more. </li></ul><ul><li>WAIT a minute! </li></ul>
    34. 34. <ul><li>Discourse markers: </li></ul><ul><li>INTERESTING, really. EASY, in fact </li></ul><ul><li>At an interview, you have to wear a SUIT, of course. Wear a SUIT, then. </li></ul><ul><li>Hearer- Appeal markers : NO, thanks. YES, please. </li></ul><ul><li>Approximative markers: </li></ul><ul><li>He’s going to be away for a DAY or two. </li></ul><ul><li>Is it your BIRTHDAY or something? </li></ul>
    35. 35. <ul><li>Existential “there” constructions: </li></ul><ul><li>Waiter ! There’s a FLY in my soup! </li></ul><ul><li>Everybody out! There’s a BOMB in the school! </li></ul><ul><li>Objects of general reference : something, anything, someone, anyone, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Can I OFFER you anything? </li></ul><ul><li>DRINK something, dear. </li></ul><ul><li>Cf.: </li></ul><ul><li>Te puedo ofrecer ALGO? </li></ul><ul><li>Tomá ALGO. </li></ul>
    36. 36. <ul><li>VOCATIVES IN FINAL POSITION </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s GO, Peter. </li></ul><ul><li>I’m SORRY, sir. </li></ul><ul><li>Get a MOVE on, you fool. </li></ul><ul><li>NOUN + -ING PARTICIPLE : </li></ul><ul><li>Get the FIRE going. </li></ul><ul><li>How’s PETER doing? </li></ul>
    37. 37. Discourse Discourse: takes into account NEW and SHARED INFORMATION SHARED info is anything known by speaker and hearer, the COMMON GROUND DISCOURSE takes into account the context of interaction, e.g time and place where the interaction is taking place
    38. 38. Discoursal accounts of Nuc. Placement <ul><li>Some of the cases dealt with before can be analysed discoursally as well as gramatically: </li></ul><ul><li>Final vocatives: Let’s GO, Peter. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Let’s GO” is NEW information. It’s the message I want to convey. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Peter” is SHARED information. Both Peter and I know I’m talking to him. </li></ul>
    39. 39. * Final CSAT and CSAP, where time and place are treated as shared by speaker and hearer (why?) * Transitive * Adjectival wh- objects: What SUBJECTS did you take ? (both participants know that the hearer takes subjects, not teach them) * Noun Phrases+ predictable verb (inf): I’ve got EXAMS to grade. (why?) *Phrasal verbs: Put your SHOES on. Turn the MUSIC down. (why are ON & DOWN shared?)
    40. 40. * Noun Phrases+ short, predictable relative clause: We’ve got to discuss the REPORT he gave. * Causative have/ get: She’s had her HAIR cut. I got my CAR repaired.
    41. 41. A “different” look at NP... It’s all in your mind!
    42. 42. What’s this?
    43. 44. Gestalt Psychology <ul><li>Gestalt: Gr. for shape, form. </li></ul><ul><li>A psychology term meaning &quot;unified whole&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Theories of visual perception developed by German psychologists in the 1920s. </li></ul><ul><li>When you look at the environment, you look at it as a whole picture, not separate parts. People tend to organize visual elements into groups or unified wholes when certain principles are applied. </li></ul>
    44. 45. Gestalt Principles <ul><li>Similarity </li></ul><ul><li>Continuation </li></ul><ul><li>Closure </li></ul><ul><li>Proximity </li></ul><ul><li>Figure and Ground </li></ul>
    45. 46. <ul><li>SIMILARITY occurs when objects look similar to one another. People often perceive them as a group or pattern. </li></ul><ul><li>CONTINUATION occurs when the eye is compelled to move through one object and continue to another object. </li></ul>OXXXXXXXXXX XOXXXXXXXXX XXOXXXXXXXX XXXOXXXXXXX XXXXOXXXXXX XXXXXOXXXXX XXXXXXOXXXX XXXXXXXOXXX
    46. 47. <ul><li>CLOSURE occurs when an object is incomplete or a space is not completely enclosed. If enough of the shape is indicated, people perceive the whole by filling in the missing information. </li></ul><ul><li>PROXIMITY occurs when elements are placed close together. They tend to be perceived as a group. </li></ul>XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX
    47. 48. Figure and Ground <ul><li>We have an innate tendency to segregate the whole we perceive into two percepts: Figure and Ground. Each is perceived in relation to the other. The Figure is perceived as more salient or prominent than the Ground. Experiences (incl. culture)  Figure </li></ul><ul><li>Pple of Multistability: the tendency of ambiguous perceptual experiences to pop back and forth unstably between two or more alternative interpretations. </li></ul>
    48. 49. Multistability in visual perception If the white area is the Figure, we see a vase on a black background or Ground. If you make the black area the Figure, you see two profiles on a white Ground . The vase-profile image is perceptually ambiguous:
    49. 50. Escher: playing with multistable perception
    50. 51. Escher
    51. 52. One woman or two women?
    52. 54. Not all images can be perceived through multistability...
    53. 55. Which is the Figure? Is there multistability here?
    54. 56. Which is the Ground?
    55. 57. Cognitive Linguistics <ul><li>Languages reflect how our mind segregates the Gestalt into Figure and Ground. </li></ul><ul><li>The book is on the table. </li></ul><ul><li>The book is under the table. </li></ul>? The table is under the book. ? The table is over the book.
    56. 58. What’s this got to do with Nucleus Placement?!
    57. 59. Think of 2 sentences about the image
    58. 60. <ul><li>I saw JOHN yesterday. </li></ul><ul><li>What happened (Fig) more prominent than when (Ground) </li></ul><ul><li>He was having his CAR fixed. </li></ul><ul><li>the state of the car (Fig) was changing under the effect of an activity (Ground) . The car is more salient because its condition changed. </li></ul><ul><li>EAT something. </li></ul><ul><li>The action of eating (Fig) is more salient than the object of the eating (Ground) </li></ul><ul><li>The PRICE was right. </li></ul><ul><li>The price itself (Fig) is the reason why I bought it (Gr), , and therefore more salient . </li></ul>
    59. 61. <ul><li>The book is on the TABLE. </li></ul><ul><li>Location is relevant </li></ul><ul><li>The BOOK’S gone! </li></ul><ul><li>Something’s happened to the BOOK. (affected- change of state) </li></ul><ul><li>There’s a BOOK on the table. </li></ul><ul><li>Existence of book more relevant than location </li></ul>
    60. 62. Proposal 1: Focus and Nucleus are cognitive structures <ul><li>Prosodic Focus is NOT determined by language properties in themselves. </li></ul><ul><li>The context of the interaction can influence perception, but the individual can override it. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus covers the Gestalt. Within the focused event, there is a Figure and a Ground. No multistability. </li></ul><ul><li>Prosodic Focus can SOMETIMES be changed in a way similar to visual focus in multistable perception (NOT in book-table situations). </li></ul><ul><li>Nucleus is determined by the speaker’s perception of salience, i.e. F&G. </li></ul>
    61. 63. Proposal 3: In ELLIRs, the prominent material (incl. Nucleus) is the Figure and any non-prominent material is the Ground Proposal 2: In NF, the material in focus is the Figure and the old info is the Ground
    62. 64. F&G in NF <ul><li>-What would you like for starters? </li></ul><ul><li>-I’d like (G) some PRAWNS (F). </li></ul><ul><li>-There goes Peter. </li></ul><ul><li>-I’ve never LIKED the bastard </li></ul><ul><li>-Careful! This is a POISONOUS snake. </li></ul>
    63. 65. went LONDON Thursday FCSAT: Ground (setting); rest: Figure (event) F&G in BF
    64. 66. Put SHOES on Which is the Figure?
    65. 67. New=Figure Shared= Ground <ul><li>Dogs are not ALLOWED here. </li></ul><ul><li>SILENCE in this court! </li></ul><ul><li>A BOMB’S been found in the room. </li></ul>
    66. 68. dogs not ALLOWED here
    67. 69. BOMB school
    68. 70. SILENCE court
    69. 71. hope LIKED seminar

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