Презентация на тему: " ON THE PROVERBIAL CHARACTER OF NOMINAL TAUTOLOGIES SPYROS HOIDAS University of Athens." — Транскрипт:
ON THE PROVERBIAL CHARACTER OF NOMINAL TAUTOLOGIES SPYROS HOIDAS University of Athens
1. GOAL OF THE PAPER The aim of the paper is to present evidence that nominal tautologies of the form NP IS NP and their variant forms, such as War is war, A woman is a woman, The law is the law, share structural and non-structural features with proverbs. Due to this fact, they should be grouped together, as belonging in the same category. Thus, it is claimed that nominal tautologies are proverbial in character (traditionally they have been treated as separate categories). The study of culture specific character of nominal tautologies and proverbs is not an issue in this paper. Instead, their general features are abstracted from the details and compared.
2. HYPOTHESIS Based on the fact that both categories seem to share structural features, such as repetition and rhythmical patterns (for nominal tautologies cf. Hoidas and Galani 2010), indirectness, generality, the fact that both of them express wisdom (for proverbs cf. Honeck (1997), A proverb in Mind: The Cognitive Science of Proverbial Wit and Wisdom), I assume that nominal tautologies and proverbs share features that bring them very close together, to the extent that they seem to belong in the same category. Looking for affinities with other structures is justified by what Honeck (1997, vii) observes, that proverbs should not be treated in isolation from other language forms and from mental activity in general. Given the structural and non-structural similarities already mentioned, I assume that nominal tautologies and proverbs share cognitive mechanisms that underlie their processing.
3. NOMINAL TAUTOLOGIES From the point of view of their formal properties, according to Kalish and Montague (1964), their meaning can be informally stated as follows: "For every entity that it is true to say that it is an x, it is true to say that it is an x". For Levinson (1983) the meaning of War is war is "terrible things always happen in war, that's its nature and it's no good lamenting that particular disaster. Frazer (1988) provides the following account for nominal tautologies: An English nominal 'tautology' signals that: the speaker intends that the hearer recognize, the speaker holds some view towards all objects referenced by the NP, the speaker believes that the hearer can recognize this particular view, this view is relevant to the conversation.
Wierzbicka (1987) uses the following metalinguistic description for the meaning of War is war: a. Everyone knows that, when people do things of this kind (x), they have to cause some bad things to happen to other people. b. I assume that I don't have to say what things. c. When one perceives that such bad things happen, one should not cause oneself to feel something bad because of that. d. One should understand that it cannot be different [cannot be changed].
In Hoidas ( ) it was suggested that by being definitivized the repeated element of the structure profiles substructures, thus generating implicatures. On the same line, Miki (1996) describes nominal tautologies such as Kids are kids as forms in which objects referenced by a noun phrase are identified by means of evocation, which refers to shared beliefs reaffirmed in the current context of utterance. Bulhof and Gimbel (2001), on the other hand, use the term deep tautologies, in the sense that they acquire meaning not by shedding their tautological status, but by drawing attention to the noun phrase which they consider non-vague. From the above descriptions one can assume that the meaning of nominal tautologies is indirect, general and dense, certainly not empty, like regular tautologies would normally be.
4. EXAMPLES OF NOMINAL TAUTOLOGIES (SINGLE PATTERNED) A rose is a rose War is war A woman is a woman Women are women Magic is magic The law is the law Chomsky is Chomsky A tautology is a tautology (cf. the article by Hoidas ( ) entitled A tautology is a tautology and the Squib by Bulhof and Gimbel (2004) A tautology is a tautology (or is it?). Corfu is Corfu Unacceptable *Wind is wind *A door is a door
5. PROVERBS A proverb is a fixed saying, which expresses a subjective truth based on common sense, knowledge and experience. Some proverbial expressions are metaphorical (e.g., The fish rots from the head first).
6.NOMINAL TAUTOLOGIES AND PROVERBS ARE FIXED FORMS OF SAYINGS (EXCEPT FOR CASES OF PERVERBS OR ANTI-PROVERBS) If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. If at first you don't succeed, quit. A penny saved is a penny earned. A penny saved is a penny taxed. Better late than never. Better late than sorry. A rolling stone gathers no moss. A rolling stone gathers momentum.
All that glitters is not gold. All that glitters is not dull. Don't put the cart before the horse. Don't put the cart before the aardvark.
7.PROVERBS USE SPECIFIC STRUCTURAL SOURCES. EXAMPLES OF STRUCTURES THAT PROVERBS EMPLOY FREQUENTLY, SUCH AS IF CLAUSES, IMPERATIVE FORMS, USE OF SPECIFIC ADVERBS, ETC. (MULTI-PATTERNED): If clauses If the shoe fits, wear it. If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly. If you buy quality, you only cry once. Proverbs with imperative form Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Don't cry over spilt milk. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face. Don't enter your nose in the affairs of others. Proverbs with the adverb never Never let the right hand know what the left hand is doing. Never put off till (until) tomorrow what you can do today. Never say never.
8. EFFECTS OF REPETITION AND RHYTHM IN LANGUAGE IN GENERAL THE FOLLOWING PROPERTIES HAVE BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH REPETITION IN LANGUAGE IN GENERAL: Johnstone (1987) and Johnstone et al. (1994) argue that all discourse is structured by repetition. Derrida (1976) points out, each time a word or phrase is repeated its meaning is altered. Emotion and repetition as Bateson (1984), Friedrich (1986), and Tyler (1978) suggest can be considered to be inseparable, in that the cognitive effect of comprehension is facilitated by the emotional effect that is created. Repeating a word or phrase results in a rhythmic pattern, which produces an emotional effect. Merrit (1994) suggests that repetition facilitates rhythm and provides catch- up time, allowing longer periods of time for information to be processed. Jucker (1994) suggests repetition is an effort saving device. Webb (2007), in the context of foreign language learning, examines word knowledge acquisition at different levels. The results showed that greater gains in knowledge were found for at least one aspect of knowledge each time repetitions increased.
9. EXAMPLES OF REPETITION AND RHYTHMICAL PATTERNS IN NOMINAL TAUTOLOGIES AND PROVERBS A NOMINAL TAUTOLOGY BY DEFINITION INVOLVES REPETITION REPETITION IN PROVERBS Another day, another dollar. All's well that ends well. All publicity is good publicity. NOT ONLY WORDS AND PHRASES BUT ALSO WHOLE PATTERNS (PHONOLOGICAL OF OTHER MAYBE REPEATED) An apple a day keeps the doctor away. If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly. A stitch in time saves nine (similar organization of syllables in the NPs).
10. NOMINAL TAUTOLOGIES AND PROVERBS AS DISMISSIVE OR TOPIC-CLOSING SAYINGS Both nominal tautologies and proverbs have a dismissive or topic-closing quality. Levinson (1983) uses this term for nominal tautologies, I suggest that it can be used for proverbs as well.
11. SOURCES OF CENTRAL THEMES USED BY BOTH NOMINAL TAUTOLOGIES AND PROVERBS Non-structural sources of proverbs, such as life, war, love, women, men, etc. for both nominal tautologies and proverbs: War is a thematic source used by both nominal tautologies (War is war) and proverbs: He that keeps not his arms in time of peace will have none in time of war (Irish). Life is a thematic source used by both nominal tautologies (Life is life) and proverbs: Life does not come with any guarantees Life imitates art Life is a perception of your own reality.
Love is a thematic source used by both nominal tautologies (Love is love) and proverbs: Love is a bridge between two hearts. Love is like war, Easy to start, Hard to end, Impossible to forget. Love is not finding someone to live with; it's finding someone whom you can't live without. Man is a thematic source used by both nominal tautologies (A man is a man) and proverbs: A man is known by the company he keeps. Man is truly himself when he's alone. A man's home is his castle.
Woman is a thematic source used by both nominal tautologies (A woman is a woman) and proverbs: Never let a man do a woman's job. A woman is like a cup of tea; you'll never know how strong she is until she boils A woman's work is never done. The implicational character of the above examples is obvious. This is a feature that proverbs share with nominal tautologies.
12. NOMINAL TAUTOLOGIES INVOLVE MAPPING PROCESSES LIKE PROVERBS A mapping is the set of correspondences that exist between constituent elements of the source and the target domain. Knowledge of a conceptual metaphor is knowledge of the set of mappings that applies to a given source-target pairing. Conceptual metaphors employ an abstract concept as target and a more concrete or physical concept as source. EXAMPLE OF A PROVERB: The fish rots from the head first Only the concrete source is mentioned explicitly here; the target is to be understood pragmatically. EXAMPLE OF A NOMINAL TAUTOLOGY: War is war
I suggest that the mapping here is the set of correspondences that exist between the constituent elements of the source (the second occurrence of war) and the target (the first occurrence of war). This conceptual metaphor involves an abstract concept (the first occurrence of war) and a more concrete concept (the second occurrence of war).
13. THE USE OF NOMINAL TAUTOLOGIES AND PROVERBS BY CHILDREN Proverbs are not used by children not because they have not learned them yet, as has been suggested in the literature, but because they are not wise enough yet to use them. It is exactly the same reason why nominal tautologies are not used by children.
14. NOMINAL TAUTOLOGIES AND PROVERBS AS CASES OF AVAILABILITY HEURISTICS Even though nominal tautologies and proverbs seem unrelated and have been examined as such, there are cognitive features that characterize both of them. In a recent paper, Hoidas and Galani (2010), it was suggested that nominal tautologies are intimately connected with the availability bias (Tversky and Kahneman 1973, 1974). This claim is based on the fact that, when confronted with the processing of general classes and their properties, such as Men, War, Women, Kids, Boys, or even Tautologies, rather than making complex analytical descriptions of those properties, speakers often resort to the cognitively and semantically dense statements of the form that nominal tautologies have, such as Men are men, War is war, Women are women, Kids are kids, Tautologies are tautologies, etc. The same claim can be made about proverbs. Thus, speakers use a heuristic strategy by which they simplify their judgments and reduce their processing effort, based primarily on what is relevant and salient, as well as conventionalized. Speakers resort to nominal tautologies and proverbs due to the fact that these expressions come to mind easily in actual speech situations and have a modular character.
There is a stock of conventionalized nominal tautologies and proverbs, which are known by all speakers. Their generation, retrieval and association seem to be facilitated by the ease with which they are produced, due to the simplified processing they require, which means that they are processed as modular chunks of speech, compared to the more analytical counterpart language that could be used in their place, which has a cost in time and effort.
15. NOMINAL TAUTOLOGIES HIDING IN PROVERBS Finally, in trying to verify the thesis of the paper that nominal tautologies are proverbial in character, I looked for cases of nominal tautologies that could be found as part of proverbs. I came up with examples as the following, the nominal tautological character of which is obvious: A donkey is a donkey, with or without a saddle (Greek proverb) (A donkey is a donkey). A son is a son till he gets himself a wife; a daughter is a daughter all her life (A son is a son and a daughter is a daughter). A friend in need is a friend indeed (A friend is a friend). Finally, cases of nominal tautologies can be found in lists of proverbs: Boys will be boys [Online]. Available: (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/English_proverbs). East is east, and west is west.
16. CONCLUSIONS Concluding, I would suggest that: Generality and indirectness are operative in both nominal tautologies and proverbs. Both nominal tautologies and proverbs involve mappings: in the case of nominal tautologies between two occurrences of the same noun phrase, one abstract the other concrete; in the case of proverbs between concrete and abstract aspects in cases of metaphorical language. Both nominal tautologies and proverbs require elaborate interpretation. Thus, both of them involve non-literal use of language. Both nominal tautologies and proverbs are used in a modular way, learned and used as chunks of speech. We can assume that nominal tautologies constitute a subset of proverbs and I would consider them as a kind of minimal proverbs, which do not have to be learned and are easily generated by speakers, unlike regular proverbs which are based on various syntactic patterns. REASONING IN NOMINAL TAUTOLOGIES IS PROVERBIAL REASONING.
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