Another valuable application of corpora allows one to

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Unformatted text preview: zed in their uses of language, and no corpus can fairly represent every one of them (Stubbs 2002: 29). When it comes to the representativeness of corpus data, Stubbs admits that for technological reasons of data gathering even the most balanced corpora are biased towards written language, and within this type towards the newspaper genre. If we realize this fact, it should not hinder our research as at the same time corpora built of a number of texts by various authors are still more representative than one speaker’s intuition. In addition, newspaper texts are the most widely read texts, and thus the most influential. Hence language corpora based on, or consisting in a significant part of newspaper articles, can shed light on the problem of discourse prosody. Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk (1997), an experienced lexicographer and semanticist, discusses a range of possible analyses of lexical meanings carried out with the help of a language corpus. What might be useful for the present study is her observation that corpus material facilitates the uncovering of the properties of verbal senses, such as participants of an action, relations, and circumstantial properties. Another valuable application of corpora allows one to identify the semantic prosody of lexical meanings in utterances. Semantic prosody is related to Sinclair’s (1994) aura of meaning, and should be understood as the specific semantic expectations created by lexical items manifested in their semantico-syntactic context. Moon (1998) offers a most comprehensive corpus-driven study of fixed expressions and idioms in English (=FEIs). When discussing the theoretical background of her investigations she emphasizes Sinclair’s (1987) principles underlying language, i.e. the open choice principle and 58 Chapter II the idiom principle. They both reverberate of the Hallidayan focus on the choice of pre-set constructions. Moon, among many types of fixed expressions, discusses metaphors and says Metaphors, initially transparent, come in from sporting, technical, and other spet domains: for example, baseball metaphors such as (way) out in left field, (not) get to first base, or touch base, computing metaphors such as garbage in garbage out, and business metaphors such as there’s no such thing as a free lunch. As neologisms become institutionalized and divorced from their original contexts of use, the explanation or motivation for the metaphor may become lost or obscure. They accordingly undergo processes of semantic depletion or semantic shift (Moon 1998: 40). As indicated in this passage, Moon does not share Lakoff – Johnson’s insistence on calling dead metaphors – metaphor. She seems to adhere to the view that metaphoric expressions with time lose their figurative power, wear off and as a result of historical processes cease to be metaphors. This belief may have resulted from the terminological confusion discussed in Chapter One, Section 2.6. concerning the distinction between conceptual metaphor and linguistic metaphor. It may also be motivated by the ahistoricism of Lakoffian approach criticised by Taylor (2002, see Chapter One, Section 2.3.). Apart from her disputing the metaphoricity of dead metaphors, Moon also stresses one important...
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This essay was uploaded on 02/24/2014 for the course LING 1100 taught by Professor Friedman during the Fall '09 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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