Academic journal article SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics

A Cognitive Comparison of Nouns-English V Polish

Academic journal article SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics

A Cognitive Comparison of Nouns-English V Polish

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Nouns within the category of COUNT-ABILITY occur in singular form indicated by (SG) and in morphologically marked plural form (PL), also in dual number (DU). Nouns representing the category of NON-COUNT-ABILITY designate uncountable referents, they are signified by (U) in this text. The non-count nouns can be reformulated as countable in partitive expressions (PART), such as a piece of advice, among which are collective nouns (COL), for example, a school in a school of cod. The focus falls on the following nouns: fish (SG fish; PL fish or fishes, DU fish; COL a school/draught offish), cod (SG and PL cod, DU cod; COL a school/draught of cod), sheep (SG and PL sheep, DU sheep; COL a flock of sheep), aircraft (SG, PL aircraft, DU aircraft; COL a wing of aircraft), cattle (PL, U, COL a drove/herd/spread of cattle), police (PL, COL. an army of police), bread (SG, U, COL a loafslice of bread col.), butter (SG, U, COL. a bar/block/cone/fleck/knob/pack/packet/ parcels/scrap/slab/tub of butter), luggage (SG, U, PART/COL an item of luggage), furniture (SG, U, PART/COL an item/element of furniture), news (SG, U, PART/COL an item/round of news), information (SG, U, PART/COL an item of information), advice (SG, U, PART/COL an item of advice), money (SG, U, COL a hoard of money).

The nouns listed above are presented in contrast to their Polish translational equivalents with a view of two approaches to nouns in cognitive linguistics: by Langacker (1987) and Tamy (2000). The usage of English nouns is often not consistent with the usage in terms of singularity or plurality of their Polish translation equivalents. In case of NUMBER NOTIONS, the transfer of the number of the objects referred to by the Polish translational equivalent nouns fosters errors in English expressions in relation to counting entities which cannot be counted in linguistic realizations. Typical mistakes concern using uncountable English nouns with nominal -s inflection marking plurality, or multiple instantiation of object, with determinatives such as cardinal numbers, subject-pronominal concord, and subject-verb concord. For example, based on observed transference from Polish, students often translate the Polish expression rady sq as '* (1) advices are'. Therefore, this study argues that Polish speakers of English should be introduced to a cognitive interpretation of the category of count-ability contrasted with the category of non-count-ability related to the selected English nouns juxtaposed and contrasted with their Polish translational equivalents. Such exercises would without a doubt bring to light the problem of strong transferability of number from Polish into English. Langacker (1987) and Talmy (2000) offer approaches to grammar within cognitive linguistics, which link nouns, and other grammatical categories, to conceptual interpretations through schematic notions. This study presupposes that a deep cognitive insight into how schematic categories account for nouns grammatically has the potential to foster proper usage of said nouns in utterances created by Polish speakers of English. The insight is to be supported by authentic contextual meaning of a given word, as presented in the British National Corpus (BNC).

Contrasting the selected English nouns in extracts of text with their Polish translational equivalents, concord errors and errors in using proper determinatives in the English expressions created by Polish speakers are likely to occur. The aforementioned errors are known as linguistic interference or language transference. The latter has been studied widely from the perspective of psychology (Jarvis 2012), cognitive linguistic approaches to translation (Tabakowska 2013), applied linguistics (Gass & Selinker 1992; Arabski 2006; Odlin 2009; 2010; Gabrys-Barker 2012), and theoretical linguistics (Bullock & Toribio 2009). Formal and functional perspectives on contrast in number between English and Polish nouns have also been published by Polish linguists (Fisiak et al. …

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