Hard-Science Linguistics (Open Linguistics)

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Then section 3. However, it occurs to us that it is still useful to make a basic distinction between at least two main perspectives on ESP which also happen to coincide with a distinction often made between structural or formal linguistics on the one hand and discourse-analytic or functional linguistics on the other. We mention three typical examples of this kind of study below English , Resche and Peraldi We would suggest that there are at least three main subtypes of concept-oriented study in ESP. Below we give some prototypical examples of these subtypes, as represented by studies published in the journal ASp.

A typical example of this is English , who adopts the terms and methodology of metaphor theory including notions such as assumptive frameworks, metaphorical description and explanation, blending, etc. For example, Peraldi uses large-scale corpus analysis as well as the traditional techniques of componential analysis to explore the conceptual domain of organic chemistry: she points in particular to the fact that the syntax of multiply-modified nominal groups can be used to build up a complex ontology in this domain.

However, we would suggest that many of these studies share some core assumptions. In the following paragraphs, we describe the main positions taken by Lerat , and we make the case for seeing some of his assumptions as fairly typical of an approach which places a specialised discipline and the semantic networks of a discipline in terms of terminology as central components of ESP. Clearly this is a point of contention, and we will return to this later. Turning to syntactic specificities, Lerat points briefly to a general tendency for LSPs towards a more abstract, more impersonal, and more explicit style.

It could be argued that these are essentially semantic rather than formal features of syntax. However, Lerat does not elaborate on this; rather at this point in his article, he turns more specifically to the analysis of language above the level of the sentence:. Lerat 3 2. Nevertheless, according to Lerat, it is at the lower levels of linguistic analysis, that of the group or word, that theoretical linguistics has most to contribute to the description of LSPs 4.

He cites in particular G. It is true that for many professional translators, one of the central problems they encounter is the search for conceptual and terminological equivalence between source and target text. This is certainly the assumption behind university courses which train translators to use terminological databases including our own. And of course for all translators and revisers, there is the issue of clarity and the desirability of producing reliable, readable copy. More generally, such an approach assumes that meaning is entirely dependent on the abstract network of concepts, with little or no consideration for the phraseological constructions which make up a text.

Many readers of ASp will be familiar with the debate about the all-embracing or overlapping status of LGP in relation to LSP, but it seems appropriate here to review the issue again in the light of our distinction between concept-oriented and context-oriented approaches. However, these linguists are also often careful to point out that any one type of LSP corresponds to a selection of potential resources in relation to the LGP, as Resche puts it:. Thus this expression is preferred today in order to emphasise the idea of a continuum, not that of a break [ Resche [our translation] 3.

It follows that, for each register, there is a specific repertoire of different discourse functions, and these are realised by specific lexical and grammatical phrases which are derived from, but also constitutive of, the repertoire of all potential lexico-grammatical resources.

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These studies represent an interesting development of the traditional approach to terminology, in that they involve corpus analysis, the statistical observation of specialised word combinations collocations , and the building of extensive, user-oriented databases. We would suggest that the context-oriented approach includes at least three subtypes, as typified by the following studies previously published in ASp. For example Banks describes the historical development of two of the earliest scientific journals in English and French, with a description of the scientific debates, technical topics, textual sub-genres and other factors which have defined the social and ideological context in which each journal issue evolved over time.

This category ranges from small-scale manual studies of single texts, to large-scale computational comparisons of whole text collections. In some cases, the linguistic features in question lend themselves to small-scale analysis. In Biber et al. Looking at more terminological types of analysis, Williams a describes how to build a specialised ESP dictionary on the basis of concordances derived from the analysis of reference corpora involving several hundreds million words as well as collocational networks derived from the statistical correlation of key lexical items.

However, we would argue that most of these studies share a degree of overlap, in that they often simultaneously combine two or more complementary methodologies.

Linguistics/Introduction

And as Biber et al. It follows from this logo-centric perspective that the systematic analysis of ESP should proceed from the bottom-up, i. It is perhaps worth noting that this argument has most often been adopted by proponents of the Systemic Functional approach which, unlike many other linguistic theories Generative Grammar, Dependency Grammar, Lexical-Functional Grammar, the Frames approach to Semantic analysis, etc. Matthiessen Of course, the term itself is rather slippery, and we have used it here rather opportunistically, in order to group together a variety of studies under the same label.

But it seems clear to us that many linguistic studies do simultaneously attempt to provide an account of ESP in terms of both its extralinguistic context context of situation and its discursive context i. Nevertheless, although we have attempted to bring together the various strands of the context-oriented approach, there are many dissenting voices and contrasting visions.

We discuss some of these details in the following sections of this paper. However, before moving on, we would like to add a final assumption, which is not shared by all context-oriented linguists, but which appears to have been observed by several other analysts see for example Sockett , and which certainly underlies our own approach to ESP. As mentioned below, these are not the same as fixed collocations or other phraseological units such as formulae or idiomatic expressions , which may occur from time to time in ESP texts, but which are not, as we claim, the basic building-blocks of ESP.

And one of the main consequences of the widespread use of corpora in linguistics has been the development of increasingly sophisticated corpus tools which have not only allowed linguists to provide more detailed and statistically accurate descriptions of different ESPs, but have also enabled learners and practitioners to explore their own ESPs. However, another important consequence of the spread of corpus analysis has been the development of new ways of analysing language.

For example, in the era of generative grammar ss , linguists were preoccupied with grammatical paraphrase, derived structures and movement rules, while during the development of text linguistics ss linguists focused on features of cohesion, discourse markers and information structure. It is not surprising then that with the availability of large-scale machine-readable corpora since the s, corpus analysts have similarly developed their own analytical apparatus.

Phraseology: the identification of typical multi-word units of language use and meaning. Stubbs As we have argued elsewhere Gledhill , a, b , this context-oriented perspective to phraseology has profoundly altered the way in which linguists view phraseology and phraseological phenomena in ESP. It is not our purpose here to review this topic in detail, but we suggest the following overall typology, which covers many of the commonly described types referred to in the literature.


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When semantic patterns correspond to lexico-grammatical patterns, they signal something about the conventional meaning or communicative function of the expression e. We would also suggest that the analysis of one type of phraseological phenomenon e. In the examples we examine below, one student initials FS collected an unannotated corpus of 94 English-language technical manuals a typical title being Yale Electric Wire Rope Winch: Installation and Operator's Manual , all roughly corresponding to around 20 different makes of electric winch all of these machines are used to launch gliders, so the products and their technical manuals are subject to very stringent safety regulations.

According to the AntConc 4 wordlist tool Anthony , the Technical Manual corpus includes , words. Many at the top of the list represent noise or meaningless examples. Others are meaningful, but not obviously related to other sequences, as in:. Still, such a tool can be used to reveal some of the more statistically salient patterns in this type of text. Although many of our students including FS in this case consider this type of occurrence to be an exemplar a pattern in itself , it is clear that such examples have to be analysed in terms of a more generic pattern involving potential variations , but also across a more extended stretch of text, as in the following schema based on occurrences :.

Pattern 1. Read all instructions. Failure to observe these instructions could lead to serious injury or death. Thus, for example, if we look in the Technical Manual corpus for variants of pattern 1, such as failure to do so In this case, while the embedded verb refers to a generic process to be retrieved in the preceding text to do so, to do this , the complement of the main verb results in refers exclusively to undesired technical consequences—but not as bad as the dire consequences we saw for pattern 1 , giving the following schema based on 45 occurrences :.

Pattern 2. Failure to do so will result in the outer wraps pressing against the inner wraps resulting in the damage of the cable. Failure to do so could result in electric shock or poor winch operation. Failure to do so may result in equipment damage and limit performance. Of course, it has to be borne in mind that much of this analysis is dependent on human interpretation, and requires the ability to identify a representative corpus of relevant texts. Aston was one of the first to explain how corpus linguistics could be applied to the training of translators in this area.

In his analysis of the different corpora that can be of use in specialised translation, such as monolingual corpora in the target language, parallel corpora and comparable corpora, he underlines the advantages of comparable specialised corpora that are very often ad hoc corpora, i. More recently, other researchers Frankenberg-Garcia ; Stewart ; Gledhill a, b; Loock have emphasised the advantages of using corpora and corpus linguistics in translation training, although in France not many courses have implemented this approach.

Corpora play different roles in all these three phases. Subsequently, translators have to explore the domain and understand concepts that are difficult or unknown. As mentioned above in our discussion of the concept-oriented approach, the technique of querying specialised parallel and comparable corpora in order to understand a domain and to find out its terminological system in both source and target languages has been widely used for many years in the training of translators Maia for example.

Moreover, there has been much research on linguistic markers, which allow the translator to come up with definitional contexts Pearson in the source and target language. Markers of course differ from one language to another. In English, for example, a very common marker appears in the following definition, as shown in example 3 : 5. Generally speaking, such examples show how the trainee translator can come to understand the conceptual structure of a domain by the systematic observation of a corpus, and without any specific computational skills as mentioned above in our discussion of the concept-oriented and context-oriented approaches.

The advantage of querying a corpus for domain-specific knowledge lies in the fact that the corpus yields contexts and definitions that are not in specialised dictionaries, and gives information on the semantic relationships of the terms in the domain hyperonyms, hyponyms, meronyms Semantic prosody is thus situated on the highest level of abstraction in the extended description of the lexical unit: collocation co-occurrence of a node with a specific word , colligation co-occurrence of a node with a set of words belonging to a specific syntactic category , semantic preference co-occurrence of a node with a set of words belonging to the same semantic class, i.

The phenomenon is difficult to detect for non-native speakers, and as discussed by Stewart , it may account for a major difficulty in translation. As translators usually translate into their mother tongue, from a second language, semantic prosody constitutes a collocational pitfall for French-speakers translating from English into French. Moreover, as many researchers Partington ; Berber Sardinha have shown, semantic prosody can differ from one language to the other, and that an equivalent in the target language does not necessarily have the same semantic prosody as the initial word in the source language.

The verb give rise to for example has a negative semantic prosody in contexts in which human beings or their productions or artefacts are concerned, and no semantic prosody at all in other cases. The presence but also absence of this prosody can be illustrated in the following examples:. Moreover in example 5 the presence of important repercussions and of the evaluative adjective significant reinforce the negative connotation. In all three sentences, the consequences have an impact on human beings. In contrast, sentence 8 has no semantic prosody or it is neutral , and the pattern give rise to question s appears to belong to more general academic discourse.

Again, in these examples, there is no observable semantic prosody. As mentioned, the translation equivalents for the first three examples 5, 6, 7 should also have a negative semantic prosody. The only way of finding out which suggested equivalent or even other possibilities is adapted in French is to look up each verb in a French specialised corpus, and then to check, for each individual noun, which verb fits best, taking into account the negative or neutral semantic prosody of the verb in French. Here the French corpus suggests:. The revision process is a critical and necessary stage in any professional translation Mossop ; in our case, it is complicated by the fact that the trainers are often neither native speakers of English, nor specialists in the domain.

Thus we would suggest that corpus analysis, once again, can be extremely useful when revising a translation to check for potential equivalents and lexico-grammatical patterns. This approach not only requires that the trainee translators learn how to use a corpus, but also — and more importantly — what to look for in a corpus.

This is why it is crucial for them to receive specific training in the analysis of monolingual and comparable corpora. However, it would be instructive to finish this article by exploring the different ways in which linguistics has contributed to the field of ESP in the particular context of this journal.

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So a good case can be made to see ASp as representative of a particular community of specialists. Given this degree of cohesion, it would be interesting to observe what articles on linguistics have been submitted to ASp , and how the various linguistic approaches to ESP have evolved in the journal. This made our selection fairly easy before After , the division of papers into topics was replaced by a more synthetic approach. It is not clear to us why this might be. It may be that the apparent growth of linguistics in ASp corresponds to a particular change in the way ESP is taught or researched in the context of French higher education.

But perhaps another explanation lies in a relative expansion in the range and diversity of topics. As we mentioned above, the context-oriented approach and the pervasive use of corpora have multiplied the different number of ways in which linguistic analysis can be conducted on different types of ESP. Although the range is very broad, it can be seen that among the 40 topics listed, the most frequent categories of linguistic contribution to ASp focus on genre analysis the language of specific text types or disciplines , or discourse analysis specific discourse modes or discourse markers.

Although such studies are typically context-oriented, there have also been many concept-oriented contributions, most notably looking at metaphor, terminology and the morphological aspects of term-formation. It is also interesting to note that although most traditional features of syntax verbal groups, nominal groups, pronouns, etc. In this table, we have attempted to categorise the theoretical background of each of the linguistic contributions to ASp.

One paper for example Resche covers many different linguistic approaches, as can be seen in the keywords: definition, economics textbook, market, orthodoxy and heterodoxy, paradigmatic and syntagmatic axes. Notwithstanding this complexity, we would suggest that the most frequently -occurring contributions to ASp appear, perhaps unsurprisingly, to adopt a context-oriented approach genre analysis, discourse analysis, descriptive grammar, systemic functional linguistics, etc.

In addition, of the 16 studies in terminology, many of these also happen to be context-oriented, in that many of these studies often involve corpus analysis, or adopt a lexicographic or discourse-analytic approach to the definition of terms see for example, Resche , We began this paper with a critical look at the concept-oriented tradition. It is undeniable that concept-oriented linguistics has shaped the field of ESP fundamentally, not least by emphasising the central role of technical terminology in the conceptualisation of specialist domains and the construal of specialised knowledge.

We would not like to give the impression that we are critical of all concept-oriented studies, although in section 2. We would claim that the context-oriented school has also fundamentally shaped the field of ESP, in that it has brought with it a plethora of new methods and research questions, all of them determined not by theoretical considerations, but by the development of new techniques in the observation of language data and changes in the way that we interact with and perceive the practitioners of ESP.

However, as we suggested above sections 2. Thus a serious in-depth study of a particular ESP might contain a survey of the knowledge structure of the domain, an analysis of ethnographic context, a thorough description of the ecology of genres, a critical discourse analysis of a several key texts in the field, and all of this triangulated by the systematic analysis of one or preferably several comparative corpora not to mention possible diachronic analysis In some ways such studies have existed since the beginning of the corpus revolution , but it is not hard to find more recent and certainly more systematic studies which appear to be moving in this direction to name but one example: Grey And indeed it would be a mistake to assume that all analysts use corpus-informed research in the ways that we have been discussing in sections 3.

Nevertheless, we would claim that for many linguists working in the field of ESP, academic practice has changed immeasurably in recent years: in the pre-corpus era, the expectation was that all of the lexical forms and phrases of a language variety could be analysed out of context, in terms of an abstract grammar; now these forms can be seen in the light of multi-word patterns features of text which can only be systematically appreciated by observing corpus data. Similarly, the world of the language practitioner has also changed.

For example, in the pre-corpus era technical translators relied on translation equivalences set out in static, authoritative dictionaries, now most technical translations are carried out using computer-assisted translation tools which make use of multi-word units, and as a consequence translators almost obligatorily need training in how to manage corpus tools. For example, on-line electronic resources such as the analytical toolbox SketchEngine 11 Kilgarriff et al.

We would argue that such tools, among many hundreds of others, are an indirect benefit of linguistics — mostly because they originated as fundamental research in applied linguistics. The authors of this paper are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions and comments. Anthony, Laurence. AntConc Version 3. Tokyo, Japan: Waseda University. Aston, Guy. Textus 12, — Banks , David. ASp , 17— ASp 55, 5— In Davies, A. Elder Eds. London: Blackwell, — Corpus Use and Translating. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Berber Sardinha Tony. Biber , Douglas.

In Heine, B. Narrog Eds. London: Oxford University Press, — In Kaplan, R. Corder, Stephen Pit. Introducing Applied Linguistics. Hamrondsworth: Penguin. English , Kathryn. ASp , — London: Continuum. Gledhill, Christopher. Collocations in Science Writing. Gledhill , Christopher. In Depraetere, I. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 71— ASp 59, 5— Granger , Sylviane The Learner Corpus: a revolution in applied linguistics.

Grey , Bethany. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Corpora, Grammar and Discourse. In honour of Susan Hunston. Gross , Gaston. Paris: Ophrys. Introduction to Functional Grammar 4th Edition. London: Routledge. Hanks , Patrick. The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis. London: Oxford University Press. Current Issues in Phraseology. Hunston, Susan. Corpora in Applied Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

In Williams, G. Veissier Eds. In Zanettin , F. Stewart Eds. Manchester: St. Jerome, 25— In Frankenberg-Garcia, A. Aston Eds. London: Continuum, 62— In Boulton , A. Rowley-Jolivet Eds. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, — ASp 63,— Lerat , Pierre. ASp ,1— Loock , Rudy. In Bolasco , S. Giuliano Eds. Louw , Bill. In Baker , M. Tognini-Bonelli Eds. Maia, Belinda. We should also hesitate to accustom students to the instrumentalization of truth claims in the service of institutional power struggles.

These concerns have been growing on me over some years, as a result of the undergraduate teaching in semantics and pragmatics for which I am responsible. These are fields of enormous intellectual richness and interest — but I worry about the world-view that, in their traditional form, they can reinforce. The world is not in a good way, either socially or environmentally. As people responsible for educationally preparing the next generation, we cannot think too deeply about what kind of societies we are helping, in our small way, to form.

Neither should be assumed to agree with anything argued here. A more scholarly presentation of some of these ideas is currently in the works. Anyone interested should consult the first and last chapters of my for a general defence of the interpretative and therefore hermeneutic non-objective nature of semantics.

But linguistic diversity is still approached as a hunt for what is universal, and particulars are of interest only to the extent that they enrich more general schemes. The traditional theories of core linguistics allow them to do neither: since the utterances we produce bear only a tenuous resemblance to the normative structures which serve as the basis of linguistic theory, no one can yet deidealize linguistic models to show how they actually relate to observed linguistic behaviour.

See Riemer for discussion relevant to syntax; in semantics, consider the simple fact that theories of meaning always depend at some point or another on a distinction between the literal and the metaphorical, but we have no idea of how such a distinction might properly be drawn. But these typically use empirical and often statistical models remote from the centre of either descriptive or theoretical work in the discipline.

Geoffrey Sampson, for instance, has been a Conservative UK council member. Blackburn, Robin. A brief guide to bourgeois ideology. Cockburn and R. Blackburn eds Student Power. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Fromkin, Victoria, R. Rodman, N. An Introduction to Language. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning. Gasser, Michael. How Language Works. The Cognitive Science of Linguistics. Horkheimer, Max and Adorno, Theodor W. Dialectic of Enlightenment.

Philosophical fragments. Edmund Jephcott, tr. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Hutton, Christopher. Cultural and conceptual relativism, universalism and the politics of linguistics: dilemmas of a would-be progressive linguistics. Language and Ideology: Cognitive Theoretical Approaches. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, Ludlow, Peter. Simplicity and Generative Grammar, in Stainton, R. Philosophy and Linguistics. Boulder: Westview Press.

Riemer, Nick. The Semantics of Polysemy. Reading Meaning in English and Warlpiri. Berlin: Mouton. Grammaticality as evidence and prediction in a Galilean linguistics. Language Sciences — How to justify a crisis. Jacobin Magazine , October 5.


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Semantics — a theory in search of an object. Riemer ed. The Routledge Handbook of Semantics. Abingdon: Routledge, 1— Academics, the humanities and the enclosure of knowledge: the worm in the fruit. Diversity, linguistics and domination: how linguistic theory can feed a kind of politics most linguists would oppose. History and Philosophy of the Language Sciences.

This is horrid, scientistic, self aggrandizing, intellectual elitist language! It is like Chomsky writing in his extremely specialized, technical lingo! But, if Noam Chomsky is trying to make political points or actually writing political ideas, he does, actually speak fairly down to earth language, about his politics! But, I did get a few ideas, to grab onto, for my comments, were burning to get out! But the ideas that just killed me, were some nonsense, at the very opening passages!

The individual centric bias was dominating the very art of language itself! It struck me as extremely odd, that anybody would assume language is purely or primarily an individual centric art! The whole point of language is communicating with social neighbors! But this whole attacking of capitalist social progress, as some static obstacle to real clear social progress, is never set in plain language!

But, all the scientistic smarter than thou, quality of communism, is just plain assumed! The Socialist smart set, are so much more intelligent, than the social mass! That fits well, in this article! It is planning or writing up a preparatory plan for doing radical surgery, on the social culture of middle class human capital owners! That is ,the bourgeois owners of their own minds, inspirations, social fellow feeling animating of their psyches with the golden rule sense of looking in the mirror! So, that golden rule, pays off in golden returns, on that investing in social helping hands of mine, for my neighbors!

But, not a single word of my simple social concepts, is on the agenda of this openly, happy to be proudly asserting himself, as a communist expert! The writer makes use of the term scientistic or scientism! I have been away from communist writers for so long!

I thought only bourgeois, laissez faire individualist social praxeology used that term! Thanks for both your comments. Sorry you found the language elitist. Any social effects that exist get routed through the psychology. Meanings, for instance. His point makes sense to me! I am an incomplete undergrad! I loved historical comparative linguistics! I hope I do not write, like your paper here, when I am trying to write for normal folks! I did not mean to insult you, though! I wish I was able to have a dictionary ready for your article! But thanks for trying!

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Thanks very much for your comment. Linguists often instrumentalize theoretical ideas for the purposes of survival in the field, and presenting them as facts is part of this. You might argue that other explanations are available that avoid the political ones. Linguistics is something that people do, and the way they do it is governed by considerations that are highly political or, at least, social, which I take to be synonymous.

I think you can see that simply from the greater comprehensibility of linguistic theory to novices. The generative enterprise as whole has indeed a very individualistic nature and does not like language variation, language change, and any other kind of imperfections that arise from actual people communicating with each other.

I would appreciate a differentiation between generative approaches and linguistics. Thanks for commenting. And the bits that undergraduates encounter are less technical than cutting edge papers. As to language variation and change, language contact and so on, agreed. But my generalizations concern the core architecture of linguistics, i. In order to realise your communicative intentions, you will have to make do with the other folks around you.

In the last paragraph of your reply, you fall prey to the very current you criticized before: the core architecture of linguistics is the conception of structures. This would make the whole field less solipsist. I had been curious about that. He has been the most prominent leftist academic for decades. I see no reason why the sort of Wittgensteinian approach that Mr.

Riemer take cannot be both used by people in the left and the right too. Rationalism, especially when it blossomed in the Enlightenment, was a fundamentally progressive movement, and replacing it by a more social understanding of cognition, which I agree is well overdue, should by necessity change the approach to progressive politics as well. Thanks very much. The salient thing about Chomsky, of course, is that his politics and his linguistics are only tenuously related, if at all. And I agree: ideas about language are open to different ideological uses at different times.

I just think that in the present social circumstances it can contribute to the wrong kind of politics, and so should be presented to beginning students cautiously and with the appropriate qualifications.



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