This beauty should drink well for 10-12 years: A note on recommendations as semantic middles

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Abstract

This paper capitalizes on the types of portrayal of the event in recommendations of prime drinking time using data from wine tasting notes. It argues that the weakly deontic nature of recommendation fosters semantic middles, not only the middle construction proper such as This beauty should drink well for 10–12 years, but recommendation as such is characterized by a mid-degree of transfer of action in the utterances. In spite of the fact that the event expressed in recommendations involves highly transitive structures, i.e., an ACTOR, an UNDERGOER and a dynamic event, the actual staging of the recommendations at the time of use is similar to the staging of the middle construction. The various formal differences between the recommendations are examined in terms of the relative salience of the roles played by the semantic participants and the dynamicity of the event. The upshot of the study is that the middle quality is directly derived from the discourse function of recommendation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-73
Journal Text & Talk: an interdisciplinary journal of language, discourse & communication studies
Volume29
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Languages and Literature

Keywords

  • transitivity
  • advice
  • modality
  • middle voice
  • recommendation
  • wine

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