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Chaucer’s Choices

Through the looking-glass of medieval imagery


Katarzyna Stadnik

The monograph discusses the relation between language and visual culture, focusing on two Chaucerian narratives, «Knight’s Tale» and «Troilus and Criseyde». The study highlights the significance of the continuity of imagery in language and material culture for cultural transmission, providing insights into the relation between Chaucer’s linguistic usage and the late medieval symbolic tradition. Undertaken within the Cognitive Linguistic framework, the research indicates the usefulness of adopting a panchronic perspective on the development of language and culture.
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3. Panchrony: Towards extended humanity


3. Panchrony: Towards extended humanity

Since the monograph centres around the continuity of language as a means of cultural transmission, we first address Saussure’s conception of the relation between language and time. The reason for this is twofold. One problem concerns the legacy of Saussure’s dichotomy between synchrony and diachrony in CL. For instance, Evans and Green (2006) situate Traugott and Dasher’s (2001) usage-based Invited Inferencing Theory of Semantic Change (henceforth IITSC) among cognitive approaches to grammaticalisation. The theory, which addresses the issue of regularities in semantic change that lead to grammaticalisation, holds that

the form-meaning reanalysis that characterises grammaticalisation arises as a result of situated language use. In other words, this approach assumes that semantic change is usage-based in nature. Traugott argues that pragmatic meaning or inferences that arise in specific contexts come to be reanalysed as part of the conventional meaning associated with a given construction. Inferences of this kind are invited, in the sense that they are suggested by the context. (Evans and Green 2006, p. 118; bold omitted)

As a usage-based theory, Traugott and Dasher’s (2001) IITSC appears relevant for our study in that it provides a theoretical background, which we relate to the investigation of conceptualisation patterns that arise in human sociocultural experience.

The other problem pertains more directly to Saussure’s (1983) conception of language and time rendered in terms of the dichotomy of synchrony and diachrony, and the rejection of panchrony. We take this assumption as...

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