This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
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...
View Full Document