A Semantic Analysis of Nominalised Propositional Structures as Secondary Predicative Syntagmas
Chapter III The noun phrase with an adjective as a means to formalise propositional contents
We cannot ignore the fact that surface similarities hide fundamental differences. (Noam Chomsky) III. 1. Scope over which surface propositional contents are manifested III.1.1. The concept of textual undercoding and overcoding The way in which the propositional contents making up the essential semantic material of a verbal message are structured is the outcome of the sender’s selection of units of expression at the level of sense from the correlates available in the given linguistic code, and of the possibilities for the formal and syntactic arrangement of these items, as generated by its surface combinatorial properties. The sender’s exercise of his right to choose on the one hand, and on the other his tendency to adopt certain linguistic habits, or putting it in the words of Charles Peirce – to “behave in a similar manner in similar circumstances” [Eco 1994: 61] – makes the final shape of the linguistic message the resultant of both a creative process and convention, in a proportion that will depend on the degree to which the sender decides to individualise his message structurally. His overall decision will also entail a decision on the scope to which he will verbalise the message; and the criterion determining how differentiated the message will be in this respect (despite the prevalent tendency to economise on words)1 is the option of using undercoded (incompletely coded) and/or overcoded (supercoded) messages [Duszak 1998: 51/52]. However, the expediency of introducing such a division will be determined by the distinction between over- and undercoding as dictated...
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