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Illocutionary constructions in English: Cognitive motivation and linguistic realization

A study of the syntactic realizations of the directive, commissive and expressive speech acts in English

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Nuria Del Campo Martínez

Grounded in the Lexical Constructional Model (LCM), a usage-based meaning construction model of language of recent design, this research argues that illocutionary meaning either results from filling in constructional variables such as X in the Can You XVP? construction or from affording access to abstract situational cognitive models through the metonymic activation of relevant elements of their structure. One such model is the Cost-Benefit Cognitive Model, which is incorporated into the description of pragmatic meaning and presented as lying at the core of the conventionalization process of illocutionary constructions. The inferential path based on the instantiation of the Cost-Benefit Cognitive Model determines the activation of speech act values that may become conventionalized within a linguistic community. The study determines the applicability of the analytical tools developed by the LCM for illocutionary description. The illocutionary acts selected are those proposed by the Cost-Benefit Cognitive Model as exploiting cultural principles of interaction.

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