Event Schemas and Thematic Roles in Ilami Dialect of Kurdish

By Sharifi, Shahla; Karimipour, Amir | International Journal of Linguistics, December 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Event Schemas and Thematic Roles in Ilami Dialect of Kurdish


Sharifi, Shahla, Karimipour, Amir, International Journal of Linguistics


Abstract

Speakers use schemas to organize their knowledge of the world. Without these mental structures, communication would be too difficult, if not impossible. Schemas are of different kinds and event schemas are considered as one of the most important categories of schema. In this paper, we aim to study different kinds of event schemas like, "being schema", "doing schema", "moving schema", etc. in Ilami Kurdish. Our analysis is mainly based on the Dirven & Verspoor classification. In order to analyze these components, we will cite Kurdish examples, and then we try to analyze these instances by determining main thematic roles of each category. We will also discuss how these roles are affected by or affect something, in an event schema. Results show that Ilami more or less uses the categories previously studied in English.

Keywords: Cognitive linguistics, Schema, Event schema, Kurdish

1. Introduction

Cognitive Linguistics (CL) is an approach to the study of language informed by both linguistics and psychology. It describes how language interfaces with cognition, and how it adapts in the course of language usage, phylogenetically in language evolution, ontogenetically in language acquisition, and moment-to-moment in situated, on-line language processing and performance. (Robinson & Eliss, 2008:2)

Over the past 25 years, Cognitive Linguistics has matured into one of the most prominent alternatives to the linguistics paradigm of Chomskyan generative grammar. Cognitive linguistics as such is no single theory but is probably best seen as a family of approaches which share several theoretical and methodological assumptions. (Robinson & Eliss, 2008:408)

A semantic theory, part of cognitive grammar, identifies meaning with conceptualization-the structures and processes which are part of mental experience. A central notion is how a conceptual content is construed: the construal of a lexical item depends on several factors, including the cognitive domains in which it appears (e.g. space, time, color) and variations in perspective and salience. (Crystal, 2003: 80)

Schemata, as an important topic in cognitive linguistics, are said to be higher-level complex (and even conventional or habitual) knowledge structures (van Dijk, 1981: 141), which function as ideational scaffolding (Anderson, 1977) in the organization and interpretation of experience. In the strong view, schemata are considered to be deterministic, to predispose the experiencer to interpret his experience in a fixed way. We can think of racial prejudice, for example, as the manifestation of some fixed way of thinking about newly encountered individuals who are assigned undesirable attributes and motives on the basis of an existing schema for members of the race. (Brown, 1989: 247)

For some obvious differences, we can readily modify the details of a cultural schema. For many other subtle differences, however, we often do not recognize that there may be a misinterpretation based on different schemata. In one reported example, an Australian factory supervisor clearly assumed that other factory workers would know that Easter was close and hence they would all have a holiday. He asked another worker, originally from Vietnam, about her plans; the Vietnamese worker immediately interpreted the utterance in terms of being laid off(rather than having a holiday). Something good in person's schema can sound like something bad in another's. (Yule, 1947:87)

Schema is an important topic discussed and studied by many scholars. Gibbs & Colston (1995) discuss some of the empirical evidence from psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, and developmental psychology that is consistent with the idea that image schemas and their transformations play important roles in human cognition. Their review suggests possible ways of integrating this research with the findings on linguistic structure and meaning in cognitive semantics. Clausner & Croft(1997) examine a fifth theoretical construct, that of "image schemas" (recurring basic conceptual structures), and argue that image schemas are a subtype of domain. …

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