Riassunto esame Lingua e traduzione inglese 3, prof. Iaia, libro consigliato Mediating Cultures, Guido
(1) I hear the playing of a piano (constative verb expressing the Senser's immediate self-
(2) I'm listening to the playing of a piano (performative verb expressing the Senser's deliberate
3.5.5. Online 'Interlanguage' Classroom
Interlanguage deals with erroneous second-language structures that are hard for learners to
eradicate and persist in spite of purposeful positive input. Students focus on:
a. What the interlanguage intention of a sentence is;
b. How one can find this 'intention' out by analysing the sentence-structure in relation to a
parallel structure in the speaker's first language.
Interlanguage ambiguity is a possible result of this process regarding the transfer of potentially
gapped interlanguage categories from L1 to L2. This might represent the case of a universal-grammar
principle that sets the 'infinitive' parameter conditioning both L1-transfer and L2-interlanguage
3.5.6. Perception, Affection, and Cognition in Computer-Mediated Communication
The main limit of online communication is certainly represented by the physical absence of
interacting people. Verbs of perception with affective and cognitive reactions to them, are regularly
used in such virtual environment despite the absence of 'real bodies'. In fact, to achieve an immediacy
of perception, computer-mediated communication makes use of:
a. Onomatopoeias= words reproducing the sound of the processes they denote;
b. Syllabic notations= perception strategy consisting in reading some vowels, consonants and
numbers with their own names, rather than with their own sound, thus forming words and
phrases, such as: 2U2 (to you too); F2F (face to face); B4 (before); CUL8R (see you later); ect.;
c. Acronyms= perception strategy for rapid silent reading, which reproduces only initial
consonants or vowels of certain routine clauses, such as: AFAIK (as far as I know); ASAP (as
soon as possible); BTW (by the way); IMO (in my opinion); LMK (let me know); LOL (loughing
out loud); ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing); etc;
d. Emoticons= (also emotional icons) are graphical representations of thoughts, feelings and
emotions by using ASCII signs (to be viewed by tilting the head to the left) or special icons
provided by the computer program (smiles);
e. Emote commands= standardized commands used in MUDs (Multi-User-Dimensions
technology) to reproduce actions, movements, but also emotional reactions such as: >grin;
>flush; >ALL CAP (which means 'shouting'); >eye warily (delicatamente)[when the speaker is
looking ironically at someone or him/herself); >nod (approving); >wave (greeting someone);
>hug (to embrace), and exclamations such as: >ew (feeling disgust); >oh (understanding);
In the pragmatics of computer-mediated communication, the same mental processes of perception,
affection, and cognition activated by experience are all applied to any virtual environment.
CAP. III- MODULE 9
PAST ENACTING AND ACTIONS-TO-COME
3.6. SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC DIMENSIONS OF VERBS TAKING BOTH '-ING NP' AND 'TO-INFINITIVE
In English there are some verbs that can take two alternative structures:
• One with the –ing form;
• One with the to-Infinitive of the verb that follows them.
The alternative between –ing form and to-Infinitive determines the meaning of the sentence.
3.6.1. Try/Attempt: Conation
To try and to attempt are two synonyms that establish with the secondary verb a semantic relation
of Conation. Conation implies a causative construction that can be described either as
trying/attempting in order to succeed, or as trying/attempting and succeeding. There are two
semantic dimensions of conation, defined as:
(1) Potential dimension: means 'having' (or not having) the ability to succeed;
(2) Actual dimension: means 'trying' (or not trying) and succeeding (or not succeeding).
Either the potential or actual dimensions possible in the semantics of to try and to attempt implies
that, syntactically, both verbs allow the same structures of:
(a) To-Infinitive: try/attempt followed by a to-Infinitive express the potential dimension of
(b) Ing-form of the secondary verb following them: try/attempt followed by the –ing form
express the actual dimension of conation.
The –ing form is here a basic form of Gerundive '-ing' Nominalization of the secondary verb. We can
therefore say that:
a. The structure to try/to attempt (primary verb) + to-Infinitive (secondary verb) doesn't tell
us if the Subject of the Sentence succeeds or not doing the action that s/he intends to perform.
Accordingly, this structure reflects the potential dimension of conation, insofar as the action
denoted by the secondary verb could have been performed, but this fact is not certain.
E.g: I tried/attempted to open the windows (and I succeeded/ but I didn't succeed).
This figure shows how to attempt to perform a potential action, denoted by the primary verb 'to try',
is extended to the representation of an action that is still potential at the moment of speaking, by the
secondary verb 'to open'. In this construction two processes are syntactically represented in terms of
1. The primary actual process of 'trying', constituting the Inflectional Node of the sentence and,
thus, its Finite Operator, and
2. The secondary potential process of 'succeeding', constituting the Non-Finite Operator of the
b. The structure to try/to attempt (primary verb)+ -ing form (secondary verb) implies that the
Subject of the sentence performs the action, expressed by the secondary verb in the –ing form
to see if this action can solve a particular problem. This structure reflects the actual dimension
of conation, insofar as the action denoted by the secondary verb has actually been performed.
e.g: I tried/attempted opening the windows (but there was still smoke in the room [the problem])
The English structure of a Gerundive Nominalization of a Verb by –ing form includes the Specifier
(determiner) the and the preposition of:
e.g: I tried/attempted the opening of windows
This may be considered as the setting of the English-grammar parameter of a Universal-Grammar
principle, fixing a Noun Phrase to express the actual performance of some action. The Noun Phrase is
constituted by a derived nominal (the Noun 'opening' morphologically derived) from the Verb 'open':
the opening of windows.
The Prepositional Phrase "of windows" has been omitted in this figure, in order to focus exclusively
on the principle, try+ -ing Nominalization expressing the actual dimension of conation. In English this
principle is rendered through a parameter which omits both Specifier and Preposition (as in the
This figure illustrates how the attempt to perform a potential action is extended to the representation
of the performed action, denoted by the –ing Nominalization of the secondary verb 'opening'. In this
construction, therefore, two processes are represented:
1. The primary actual process of 'trying' in term of Verb Phrase as it constitutes the Inflectional
Node of the sentence and its Finite Operator, and
2. The secondary actual process of 'succeeding' in terms of Noun Phrase and constituting the
Noun-Finite Operator of the sentence.
The grammar category of Predicator is not exclusively limited to Verb Phrases but can also include
To stop and to Finish are two synonyms and they also share the same double structure of to-
a. The structure to stop/to finish (primary verb)+ -ing form (secondary verb) means that the
Subject of the sentence interrupts the action expressed by the secondary verb in the ing-form.
e.g: I stopped/finished writing (I interrupted the action of writing)
The –ing form of the secondary verb is interpreted as a Gerundive Nominalization of a Verb according
to the same parameter that assigns to a Noun Phrase the expression of the actual performance of an
action. This is a form of Verb-Nominalization that can be validated by the possibility of adding a
Determiner specifying it as a Noun category.
e.g: I stopped the/ my writing (I interrupted the/my written work)
This figure shows how the performance of the action denoted by the secondary verb is 'stopped' by
the primary verb.
b. The structure to stop/ to finish (primary verb)+ to-Infinitive (secondary verb) means that the
Subject of the sentence interrupts what s/he was doing before in order to do the action
expressed by the secondary verb.
e.g: I stopped/finished to write (I interrupted what I was doing at the moment in order to write)
The action denoted by the secondary verb is still potential, not actual, because the Subject hasn't yet
To remember and to forget are two antonyms but they share the same double structure of to-
Infinitive/ -ing form.
a. The structure to remember/to forget (primary verb) + to-Infinitive (secondary verb) means
that the action expressed by the to-Infinitive is a future 'potential' action respect to the Tense
in which remember or forget are put in that particular sentence.
e.g: I remembered to phone you (I had not yet phoned you at that time)
e.g: I forgot to phone you (I did not remember at that time that I had to phone you)
b. The structure to remember/to forget (primary verb) + -ing form (secondary verb) means that
the action expressed by the secondary verb in the –ing form is a past 'actual' action with
respect to the Tense in which remember or forget are put in that particular sentence.
e.g: I remembered phoning you (I remembered the fact that I had phoned you before)
e.g: I forgot phoning you (I forgot the fact that I had phoned you before)
The –ing form following remember and forget represents a case of Gerundive Nominalization of the
3.7. PRAGMATIC IMPLICATIONS: FACTS THAT ARE 'ACTUALIZED' AND 'STILL TO BE ACTUALIZED'
Presupposition is a type of mental process by which a listener can reach a logical conclusion by using
additional knowledge to make sense of what is not explicit in an utterance. A presupposition is a logical
conclusion that speakers judge to be (a) true or false and (b) appropriate or non-appropriate in
reference to the context in which they say it. Presuppositions can be ascribed to a linguistic domain
between Semantics and Pragmatics, insofar as they are both:
• Co-text sensitive: semantically dependent on the textual context in which they occur;
• Context sensitive: pragmatically dependent on the actual context of the utterance.
Presuppositions are preserved in negative sentences.
e.g: Jane saw/didn't see the castle on the hill (there exists a castle on the hill)
The verbs of perception are typical instances of presuppositions triggers, which means that they are
words capable of activating certain presuppositions in the listeners' minds. Thus, for instance:
1. Try/attempt and remember/forget may be classified as Implicative Verbs when they trigger
(innescano) presuppositions implying pre-existing states.
e.g: Jim tried/did not try to open the door (the door was closed; Jim intended/ did not intend
to open it)
2. Try/attempt and remember/forget may be classified as Factive Verbs when they trigger
presuppositions concerning already actualized facts.
e.g: Jim tried/did not try opening the door (the door was closed; Jim opened/did not open the
3. Stop/finish may be classified as Change of State Verbs in that they signal the passing from a
pre-existing state to a new one.
e.g: John stopped smoking (John had been smoking-ending a pre-existing state)
e.g: John stopped to smoke (John stopped [what he was doing at the moment] in order to
smoke-passing a new state)
According to Gazdar a presupposition, to be pragmatically appropriate, needs to be mutually known
by the participants in a communicative exchange interacting within shared cultural contexts.
e.g: The speaker stopped working.
CAP. IV- MODULE 11
4.5. SOCIAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL PROXIMITY AND DISTANCE: MODAL AUXILIARIES SHOULD AND
WOULD AS TONE/STYLE MARKERS
The notion of Conditional in English doesn't regard it as a Mood. The English language, in fact,
conceptualizes the notion of Conditional as part of the Indicative Mood and as a modalization of the
Present Tense in both its Simple and Perfect Aspects by means of the two modal auxiliaries would and
should. Although would and should represent the corresponding Past-Tense versions of the Present-
Tense forms of will and shall, they are not regarded as such in the context of the English
conceptualization of Conditional. The semantic notion of Conditional, in fact implies the setting of
conditions in the present time for the realization of a process in the future time.
• The Ideational Function is concerned with the way in which language enables speakers to
represent their mental image of reality;
• The Interpersonal Function is concerned with the way in which language enables speakers to
interact with other people.
The use of the Past Tense of the modal auxiliary verbs in the so-called conditional clauses needs to be
understood in its figurative sense of psychological and social distance of the Speaker from his/her
Listener. In Halliday's view, a Speaker can conceive a psychological distance from (or a psychological
proximity to) his/her Listener by activating in his/her mind the Ideational Function of language. On
the other hand, the Speaker can conceive a social distance from (or a social proximity to) his/her
Listener by means of the Interpersonal Function.
(1) Will you wait for me?
(2) Would you wait for me?
The only difference between these two sentences is pragmatic, insofar as:
• Sentence (1) indicates that the Speaker considers him/herself to be psychological and socially
closer to the Listener, and this is signalled by the modal auxiliary will that marks an informal
style and a direct tone.
• Sentence (2), the use of would marks a more formal style and a tentative tone, indicating that
the Speaker is psychologically and socially more distant from the Listener.
Halliday's notions of Tone and Style are connected to his view of Register, that is, language used
within specific situational contexts and often related to specialized fields of discourse. Tone and Style
are two aspects of Tenor that is: the Register parameter that signals the relationship of the Sender of
messages (speakers/writers) with his/her supposed Receiver, and the way in which this relationship is
reflected in the form given to the messages.
A tentative tone signals a formal style indicating the social (interpersonal) and psychological
▪ (ideational) distance between Speaker and Listener.
A direct tone, on the other hand, signals an informal style indicating the social and
▪ psychological proximity between Speaker and Listener.
4.6. MODALIZED CONDITIONAL PROCESSES
4.6.1. Present (Simple) Conditional with Modal Auxiliaries: Syntax and Semantics
The Present Simple Conditional is formed by the modal auxiliaries would/should+ the Infinitive of the
main verb. Its structures are parallel to the structures are parallel to the structures of the Future
Simple, except for the use of would and should instead of will and shall:
I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they/ would/should work
I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they/ wouldn't/shouldn't work
Would/Should I/you/he/she/it/you/they work?
Would/Should I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they not work?
Image schema of the I-Node in a Present Simple Conditional sentence.
Semantically, the Present Simple Conditional conveys:
a. The sense of an improbable or uncertain process in the future.
e.g: I would come to see you if you were free next Monday (which is improbable or
b. The same sense conveyed by the Future Simple but set in a past period of time (the so called
Future in the Past).
e.g: I hope that I will/shall pass the exam. (referred to the present moment of speaking)
I hope that I would/should pass the exam (referred to a past moment in time)
4.6.2. Perfect Conditional with Modal Auxiliaries: Syntax and Semantics
For the Perfect Conditional, the focus of the conventional label is on Aspect (Perfect) only, since this
conditional form is indefinite as for its reference to Tense. In fact, it may imply either a present or a
past reflection on a failed condition in the past, depending on the context within which this
conditional form occurs.
Syntactically, the Perfect Conditional is formed with would/should + the Perfect Infinitive of the main
I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they would/should have worked.
I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they wouldn't/shouldn't have worked
Would/Should I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they have worked?
Would/should I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they not have worked?
Semantically, the Perfect Conditional conveys:
a. The sense of an impossible process in the past time, when a condition which was expected
to occur in the future did not occur because the process necessary to realize such a condition
did not happen.
e.g: I would have come to see you if you had been free the following Monday (but
actually you were busy and I did not come).
b. The sense of the realization of a process which was considered to be impossible, due to the
fact that, in a past time, a condition which was not expected to occur in the future did actually
occur and caused the realization of such a process.
e.g: Jim shouldn't have finished his work if Fiona hadn't helped him for the whole
c. The sense of an equivalent of the process expressed in the Future Perfect but set in the past
time (Future in the Past).
e.g: I hope that I will/shall have passed the exam before Christmas (referred to the
present moment of speaking- the Speaker does not know yet if he is going
to succeed or not).
I hope that I would/should have passed the exam before Christmas (referred to a
past moment in time- the Speaker now knows that he did not succeed).
4.7. PRAGMATIC DIMENSIONS OF CONDITIONAL FORMS
4.7.1. Should and Would in Discourse
The modal auxiliaries would and should keep the same semantic implications of will and shall, that
is: volition and intention for will and would, and determination and obligation for shall and should.
Should and would mark instead a more detached tone which makes the style of discourse more formal
and conventional. Such 'detached discourse more formality can be interpreted as an expression of
the Speaker's tentative proposal for a future action, or also as the Speaker's insufficient commitment
in the action that s/he is predicting for the future.
These pragmatic uses of would and should are particularly evident in political discourse. In the Tenor
of political speeches, indeed, the use of the modal auxiliaries should and would to refer to future
processes are often deliberately employed to avoid a too direct first-person involvement and
ideological commitment of the Speaker is saying is not unquestionably acceptable by Listeners. The
Speaker may prefer to use this tentative way of exploring Listeners' reactions advancing them openly.
CAP. VII- MODULE 17
COHERENCE AND INFERENCE IN CONDITIONAL SENTENCES
7.1. SEMANTIC COHERENCE AND SCHEMATIC INFERENCE IN DISCOURSE
7.1.1. Textual/Contextual Coherence
Coherence in the process of making sense of a text it is necessary to realize that in interpreting a
written text as discourse, a reader does not exclusively rely on its syntactic and lexical structure. S/he
also needs to possess the relevant knowledge to contextualize the text in the socio-cultural situation
in which it was produced. Contextualization enable the reader to provide the logical connection to
concepts and ideas expressed in the text. This process of making logical sense of the lexical and
syntactic structure of the text by means of a shared socio-cultural knowledge of situational contexts
is what we mean by Coherence.
De Beaugrande and Dressler explore the cognitive mechanism by which a reader achieves coherence
from a text to make it function as discourse in context. Coherence as one of the seven standards of
textuality representing the constitutive principles which determine the communicative quality of a
text. The other "standards of textuality" are: Cohesion, Intentionality, Acceptability, Informativity,
Situationality, Intertextuality. Moreover, to be communicatively successful within a specific socio-
cultural context, a text needs to meet three additional regulative principles which are: Efficiency,
Effectiveness and Appropriateness.
Coherence is strictly connected with the notion of Textual World which stands for the cognitive
representation of the semantic sense of a text that a reader constructs in his/her mind on the basis
of: (a) His/her prior knowledge of the real world shared with his/her own society or social group;
(b) His/her prior experience of similar text-types and topics. This prior background knowledge
possessed by the reader allows him/her to make sense of the text by obtaining a coherent
semantic meaning from it.
Coherence is defined as the way in which the components of the Textual World (the configuration of
concepts and relations as part of the reader's prior knowledge of the world) are mutually accessible
and relevant to the reader.
De Beaugrande and Dressler define a concept as a configuration of knowledge that a reader activates
in his/her mind in ways that are "coherent" with the whole semantic representation that s/he
constructs in his/her mind as s/he accesses and makes of a text.
Moreover, concepts are viewed as linked together in the human mind principally though causality
a. Causa-Effect: when a sentence entails a logical proposition built on a cause-effect semantic
relation of this kind:
e.g-->Progress in the battle against human disease and suffering is being accelerated
by the availability of genomic information for humans, mice, and other organisms.
b. Enablement: when the logical preposition is based on a semantic relation of enablement.
e.g: The techniques and knowledge emerging from these genome projects have
revolutionized the process of localizing and identifying genes involved in disease.
c. Reason-Consequence: when we have a consequence of a particular reason.
e.g: However, most cases of obesity, cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, cancer
and other chronic diseases are due to complex interactions between several genes
and environmental factors.
d. Plan and Purpose
e.g: Nutritional genomics or "nutrigenomics" seeks to provide a genetic understanding
for how common dietary chemicals affect the balance between health and disease by
altering the expression and/or structure of an individual's genetic makeup.
e. Time e.g: Following the migrations from Africa, humans became geographically isolated,
limiting genetic exchanges. […] These genetic types are represented differently among
populations in different geographic regions.
Coherence is not simply a feature of texts, but rather the outcome of the cognitive interaction
between text-structures and text-users. The textual construction of events and situations in a text is
assumed to activate in the mind of a reader some cognitive operations aimed at obtaining coherence
relations from it.
The actualization of Coherence into textual language occurs by means of Cohesion, which De
Beaugrande and Dressler regard as concerned with connectedness (or continuity of sense) among the
components of the surface text (grammatical dependencies). Coherence is connectedness at the level
of the Semantics, whereas Cohesion is connectedness at the level of the Syntax.
Van Djik and Kintsch examine semantic Coherence in its two fundamental dimensions, that is as:
a. Local Coherence, concerning strategies that establish logical connections among consecutive
sentences in a text, or among sentential constituents;
b. Global Coherence, accounting for strategies that impose a logical unity and sequence in a text.
De Beaugrande and Dressler make these two dimensions of Coherence converge into the notion of
Continuity, which is the logical-semantic representation of the content of the text that the reader
achieves by relaying on his/her cognitive processes based on common-sense (or background)
knowledge. This knowledge is derived from the reader's conventional, stereotypic "expectations and
experience regarding the organization of events and situations" in the real world, as s/he knows it by
his/her own socio-cultural experience. Activation is the process regarding the reader's resorting to
his/her own common-sense knowledge in order to make sense of a text. This process necessarily
involves the reader's schemata, a cognitive-experiential pattern of event-representations, mentally
organized into logical sequences interconnected by time proximity and causality. The activation of the
reader's schemata aimed at the achievement of the semantic representation of the text, or Textual
World, which is both analogical (or language-independent) and propositional (or language-
dependent). Propositional and analogical procedures of sense construction (are part of the Ideational
Function of language, In Halliday's model) involve, in turn, the activation of two different cognitive
processes in the reader's mind, which are:
• bottom-up process--> in activating bottom-up processes, the reader achieves the
propositional meanings of the text and constructs in his/her mind a coherent meaning for
each of its sentences.
• top-down process--> in activating top-down processes, the reader predicts, on the basis of:
a. The analogic context;
b. His/her background (common-sense) knowledge;
c. The co-textual meaning of prior sentences, what the next sentence is most likely to
The reader's activation of his/her own background knowledge to make sense of a textual
world on the basis of textual evidence is defined as inferencing.
7.1.2. Inference and Cognition
Inferencing is the mental operation by which the reader supplies concepts and relations to bridge gaps
or discontinuities in a Textual World. The reader integrates the information derived from the text (by
activating in his mind a bottom-up process) with his own common-sense knowledge of the world (by
activating a top-down process). In this way, s/he achieves a coherent Textual World. This inferential
process involves the recovering of the implicit parts of the text which Brown and Yule define as missing
semantic links, and de Beaugrande and Dressler as default elements.
Homogeneity in inferencing occurs when the reader shares with the writer a socio-culturally
homogeneous world knowledge. This homogeneity in inferencing may not work in cross-cultural
interpretations of the same text. Three basic types of interferences are:
1. Text-based, bottom-up inferencing may be related to the notion of automatic connections
advanced by Sanford and Garrod, insofar as they are necessary inferences automatically
achieved from the logical-semantic information provided by the language of the text which,
in fact enables the reader's inference. These inferences can be made with a high degree of
certainty, since they entail conditions which are either certain or plausible.
2. Bridging, top-down inferencing may be related to the notion of non-automatic connections
advanced by Sanford and Garrod, insofar as the reader needs to establish the coherence of
the text at the conceptual level. Inferences are to be achieved on the cognitive basis of the
reader's world knowledge too.
+1 anno fa
Riassunto per l'esame di Lingua e traduzione inglese, basato su appunti personali e studio autonomo del testo consigliato dal docente Pietro Luigi Iaia, libro consigliato Mediating Cultures: A Cognitive Approach to English Discourse for the Social Sciences, Guido Maria Grazia. Gli argomenti trattati sono i seguenti: Module 6 (Word-forms and pro-forms-modifying, defining, and inquiring), 8 (mental processes), 9 (past enacting and actions-to-come), 11 (social/psychological proximity and distance: modal auxiliaries should and
Would as tone/style markers), 17 (coherence and inference in conditional sentences), 18 (clause relationships in social argumentation).
I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher francescacaropreso di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Lingua e traduzione inglese e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Salento - Unisalento o del prof Iaia Pietro Luigi.
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