Stanojević, Mateusz-Milan

Concreteness, subjective frequency and the thing/relation distinction in Croatian / Mateusz-Milan Stanojević ; Anita Peti-Stantić. - 2017 - str.

There are concreteness/abstractness rating lists for a variety of languages (e.g. Brysbaert et al. 2014). Recently, concreteness has been linked with imageability, defined as the ease with which a word gives rise to a sensory mental image (Gvion et al. 2013). Although this is in line with the cognitive linguistic efforts to elucidate the cognitive reality of a variety of semantic categories (cf. Paivio’s dual coding as the basis of metaphorical processing), such studies have rarely been connected to grammatical categories established in conceptual terms or conducted for Slavic languages. In this paper we report on the initial steps in an ongoing large-scale study which is an attempt to rectify this situation. Its aims are (1) to build a repository of Croatian lexemes rated for concreteness and imageability ; (2) to explore whether differently rated lexemes are processed differently in grammatical constructions (e.g. coordination, ellipsis), as a way to identify the role of local and global grammatical and semantic factors in online processing. The first step, reported on here, is to explore concreteness (Brysbaert et al. 2014) and subjective frequency (Balota et al. 2001) ratings of 3000 (30 sets of 100) adjectives, nouns and verbs, and relate them to their conceptual characteristics (things vs. relations) as defined in Langacker’s cognitive grammar. The sets were obtained from the 1.4 billion hrWaC corpus of Croatian based on a frequency criterion (raw frequency greater than 3000), and rated by 900 native speakers of Croatian. We hypothesized that: (1) nouns, due to their thing-like nature, will have the highest concreteness ratings ; (2) verbs will be rated as having the highest subjective frequency due to their schematicity (ability to combine with a number of different participants) ; (3) concreteness and subjective frequency ratings will correlate. Our results show that although no significant differences were found between the corpus frequencies of nouns, verbs and adjectives, their concreteness and subjective frequency ratings were significantly different. As hypothesized, nouns were rated as most concrete (and adjectives as least concrete), and verbs as subjectively most frequent. This gives credibility to Langacker’s conceptual distinction. Relative frequency ratings, however, do not correlate with subjective ratings overall, but there is a weak positive correlation for verbs. The cognitive and conceptual/grammatical factors that may lead to such results include frequency bands (the idea that there are frequency thresholds that group together), different combinatorial potential for different parts of speech, and the local ability to create different minimal contexts depending on the word’s meaning. References Balota, David A., Maura Pilotti and Micahel J. Cortese (2001). Subjective frequency estimates for 2, 938 monosyllabic words. Memory & Cognition 29 (4): 639-647. Brysbaert Marc, Amy Beth Warriner &Victor Kuperman (2014). Concreteness ratings for 40 thousand generally known English word lemmas. Behav Res. 46:904–911. doi:10.3758/s13428-013-0403-5 Gvion, Aviah and Naama Friedman (2013). “A selective deficit in imageable concepts: a window to the organization of the conceptual system.” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Vol. 7. Article 226. Paivio, Allan (2010). “Dual coding theory and the mental lexicon.” The Mental Lexicon 5(2):205-230.


Peti-Stantić, Anita ;

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