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Empirical Methods in Language Studies

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Edited By Krzysztof Kosecki and Janusz Badio

«Empirical Methods in Language Studies» presents 22 papers employing a broad range of empirical methods in the analysis of various aspects of language and communication. The individual texts offer contributions to the description of conceptual strategies, syntax, semantics, non-verbal communication, language learning, discourse, and literature.
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Specific universals: a comparative analysis of subject of evaluation construal

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Financial support for this article has been provided by Erasmus Mundus Action II Marco XXI Project, grant No 20112572.

Abstract: This study is aimed at discovering similarity and specificity in evaluation construal, with a special emphasis on the subject of evaluation. As viewed by Wolf (2002), the subject can voice individual appraisal or refer to common ground. To differentiate between the types of subject construal and to allow for the comparative quantitative analysis in English and Russian, the notions of individual, mutual, and social evaluation are introduced. Considering the explicitness and implicitness of the units analysed, the method of random sampling from fiction texts was preferred over the other methods, as it allows for a deeper conceptual analysis of implicative structures, and, as is demonstrated in the selected examples, hidden components of meaning are often characteristic of utterances of appraisal.

Keywords: subject of evaluation, explicit/implicit evaluation, individual/mutual/social evaluation, English/Russian.

1. Linguistic universalism

In publications on universalism in language, we find different opinions on this particular issue. First, generativists consider the grammatical diversity of languages as “largely superficial,” whereas the analysis of the abstract language levels demonstrates a similarity, to a great degree (Langacker, 1987, p. 46). As Palmer (1996) summarises it, there is plenty of evidence both for and against universalism in language; both cognitive linguists and anthropologists, studying the mental processes of conceptualising, categorising, and schematising have found enough examples of how languages can function in similar ways (p....

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