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Whose mind do classifications of modality mirror? / Divjak, Dagmar ; Szymor, Nina ; Lečić, Dario ; Clancy, Steven ; Lyashevskaya, Ol'ga ; Ovsjannikova, Maria ; Stanojević, Mateusz-Milan ; Peti-Stantić, Anita.

By: Divjak, Dagmar.
Contributor(s): Szymor, Nina [aut] | Lečić, Dario [aut] | Clancy, Steven [aut] | Lyashevskaya, Ol'ga [aut] | Ovsjannikova, Maria [aut] | Stanojević, Mateusz-Milan [aut] | Peti-Stantić, Anita [aut].
Material type: materialTypeLabelArticleDescription: .Other title: Whose mind do classifications of modality mirror? [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): 6.03 | modality, Slavic, corpus, speaker judgments, cognitive reality | modality, Slavic, corpus, speaker judgments, cognitive reality In: 13th International Cognitive Linguistics ConferenceSummary: Over the past two decades, a number of theoretical accounts have been proposed to capture modality. Linguists do not agree on the number of modality types to distinguish: Palmer (2001) proposes two types (event modality and propositional modality), Perkins (1983) suggests three (dynamic, deontic and epistemic modality), and van der Auwera and Plungian (1998) insist on four (deontic, epistemic, participant-internal, and participant-external modality). Whence this disagreement? In this talk, we look at the extent to which theoretical linguistic classifications of modality correspond to semantic categories that naïve speakers employ, and the implications this has for usage-based theories of language. Using corpus and behavioral data from (speakers of) Russian, Polish, Czech and Croatian, we unpick existing classifications with the aim to shed light on the number and nature of modal categories that are supported by language use. In a first step, we analyze random samples of 250 independent observations for the most frequent modal words in all 4 languages, extracted from the national corpora. Observations are annotated for modal type according to Perkins (1983), van der Auwera and Plungian (1998), Bybee et al (1994), and Coates (1995) as well as for morphological, syntactic and semantic usage properties using the Behavioral Profiling approach (Divjak and Gries 2006). Multiple correspondence analysis suggests that modal types and usage properties do not align, and (polytomous) regression models have poor accuracy when predicting modal type from usage. Significantly better results were obtained with modal functions, i.e. possibility, necessity, probability and permission, across all 4 languages. In a second step, we validate our findings experimentally using a forced choice and a sorting task. In the former, naive native speakers are exposed to definitions and prototypical examples of modal types or functions, then label a number of authentic corpus sentences accordingly. In the latter, naïve native speakers sort authentic corpus sentences into semantically coherent groups. Naïve speakers perform at chance in the labeling task, regardless of whether the classification is type-or function-based, but their intuitive sorting bears close resemblance to the possibility-necessity axis in the function-based classification. Typologically supported classifications often refer to tendencies shared across languages to substantiate claims about (universal?) cognitive capacities. However, our findings suggest that these classifications, despite being psychologically plausible, may lack a direct link with properties that can be observed in usage samples taken from specific (groups of) languages. Slavonic languages, for example, do not seem to have invested in properties that delineate modal types, and as a consequence, these categories cannot be abstracted from usage and lack cognitive reality for speakers of those languages. This finding questions the wholesale incorporation of existing classifications into a usage-based framework that adheres to the Cognitive Commitment ; it encourages cognitive linguists to critically re-examine the concepts on which they build their descriptions and challenges them to take usage based evidence seriously. References Bybee, Joan L., Revere D. Perkins, and William Pagliuca (1994) The Evolution of Grammar: Tense, Aspect and Modality in the Languages of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Coates, Jennifer. (1995) The Expression of Root and Epistemic Possibility in English, in Joan Bybee and Suzanne Fleischman (eds.) Modality in grammar and discourse, pp. 55-66. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Croatian national corpus HNC http://www.hnk.ffzg.hr/default_en.htm Czech national corpus CNC - http://ucnk.ff.cuni.cz/index.php Divjak, Dagmar S., and Stefan Th. Gries (2006). Ways of Trying in Russian. Clustering Behavioral Profiles. Journal of Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 2 (1): 23-60. Palmer, Frank R. (2001) Mood and Modality. 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Perkins, Michael R. (1983) Modal Expressions in English. London: Frances Pinter & Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Polish national corpus NKJP http://www.nkjp.pl/ Russian national corpus RNC http://www.ruscorpora.ru/ Van der Auwera, Johan, and Vladimir A. Plungian (1998) Modality’s semantic map. Linguistic Typology 2: 79-124.
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Over the past two decades, a number of theoretical accounts have been proposed to capture modality. Linguists do not agree on the number of modality types to distinguish: Palmer (2001) proposes two types (event modality and propositional modality), Perkins (1983) suggests three (dynamic, deontic and epistemic modality), and van der Auwera and Plungian (1998) insist on four (deontic, epistemic, participant-internal, and participant-external modality). Whence this disagreement? In this talk, we look at the extent to which theoretical linguistic classifications of modality correspond to semantic categories that naïve speakers employ, and the implications this has for usage-based theories of language. Using corpus and behavioral data from (speakers of) Russian, Polish, Czech and Croatian, we unpick existing classifications with the aim to shed light on the number and nature of modal categories that are supported by language use. In a first step, we analyze random samples of 250 independent observations for the most frequent modal words in all 4 languages, extracted from the national corpora. Observations are annotated for modal type according to Perkins (1983), van der Auwera and Plungian (1998), Bybee et al (1994), and Coates (1995) as well as for morphological, syntactic and semantic usage properties using the Behavioral Profiling approach (Divjak and Gries 2006). Multiple correspondence analysis suggests that modal types and usage properties do not align, and (polytomous) regression models have poor accuracy when predicting modal type from usage. Significantly better results were obtained with modal functions, i.e. possibility, necessity, probability and permission, across all 4 languages. In a second step, we validate our findings experimentally using a forced choice and a sorting task. In the former, naive native speakers are exposed to definitions and prototypical examples of modal types or functions, then label a number of authentic corpus sentences accordingly. In the latter, naïve native speakers sort authentic corpus sentences into semantically coherent groups. Naïve speakers perform at chance in the labeling task, regardless of whether the classification is type-or function-based, but their intuitive sorting bears close resemblance to the possibility-necessity axis in the function-based classification. Typologically supported classifications often refer to tendencies shared across languages to substantiate claims about (universal?) cognitive capacities. However, our findings suggest that these classifications, despite being psychologically plausible, may lack a direct link with properties that can be observed in usage samples taken from specific (groups of) languages. Slavonic languages, for example, do not seem to have invested in properties that delineate modal types, and as a consequence, these categories cannot be abstracted from usage and lack cognitive reality for speakers of those languages. This finding questions the wholesale incorporation of existing classifications into a usage-based framework that adheres to the Cognitive Commitment ; it encourages cognitive linguists to critically re-examine the concepts on which they build their descriptions and challenges them to take usage based evidence seriously. References Bybee, Joan L., Revere D. Perkins, and William Pagliuca (1994) The Evolution of Grammar: Tense, Aspect and Modality in the Languages of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Coates, Jennifer. (1995) The Expression of Root and Epistemic Possibility in English, in Joan Bybee and Suzanne Fleischman (eds.) Modality in grammar and discourse, pp. 55-66. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Croatian national corpus HNC http://www.hnk.ffzg.hr/default_en.htm Czech national corpus CNC - http://ucnk.ff.cuni.cz/index.php Divjak, Dagmar S., and Stefan Th. Gries (2006). Ways of Trying in Russian. Clustering Behavioral Profiles. Journal of Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 2 (1): 23-60. Palmer, Frank R. (2001) Mood and Modality. 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Perkins, Michael R. (1983) Modal Expressions in English. London: Frances Pinter & Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Polish national corpus NKJP http://www.nkjp.pl/ Russian national corpus RNC http://www.ruscorpora.ru/ Van der Auwera, Johan, and Vladimir A. Plungian (1998) Modality’s semantic map. Linguistic Typology 2: 79-124.

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