Hannele Diehlaffiliated with the university
Thesis project: This study examines the cognitive semantic structuring of quite, rather, pretty and fairly in contemporary British English using a combination of conceptual and functional dimensions in order to describe how these degree modifiers invoke DEGREE and how they pattern in use. Degree modifiers (Paradis 1997) constitute common tools in communication, particularly as expressions of speaker involvement. This is why the present study is grounded in the general theoretical paradigms of Cognitive Linguistics (e.g. Langacker 1987) and Functional Linguistics (e.g. Traugott 1989; Traugott and Dasher 2002), respectively, which both share the assumption that language structure is motivated by the communication of meaning in use. The third main theoretical treatment comes from Paradis (2005, 2008), which is influential in uniting the above two approaches in the LOC-model (Lexical meaning as Ontologies and Construals). This model integrates the conceptual structures against which degree modifiers are profiled and the relevant cognitive processes that are involved in this. Owing to the conceptual-functional orientation of the current study, the data are corpus-based, being retrieved from the BNC. In line with Glynn(2009, 2010, 2012, 2014), the data are manually annotated for usage features and subjected to correspondence analysis in order to identify complex usage patterns that may be difficult to identify on the basis of qualitative research alone.