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Edited by
Bogusaw Bierwiaczonek and Anna Turula

Wydawnictwo Wyszej Szkoy Lingwistycznej

Czstochowa 2010

Copyright by Wysza Szkoa Lingwistyczna, Czstochowa 2010

ISBN 978-83-61425-13-7

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INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Bogusaw Bierwiaczonek
ACTIVE ZONES REVISITED AND REVISED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Alexey Chernyshev
OF THE PREPOSITION TO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Marceli Olma
Laura Suchostawska
Anna Turula


Grzegorz Drod
Agnieszka Kaleta
Mirosaw Michalik
IN THE DISTURBED DISCOURSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117

Iwona Nowakowska-Kempna
THE CASE OF POLISH SUFFIX -ARZ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Micha Szawerna
WITH OF, BY, AND POSSESSIVES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141


From the cognitive point of view, language is a lexicon-syntax continuum

in which every unit is a form-meaning pairing. Inseparable as they are, each
of the two poles can be considered in terms of a different code. The formal
structure belongs to a system which is finite and, as such, can be referred to
as a hard code. Semantics, in turn, is softer, more flexible, adaptable to shifting, extension, blending as well as trespassing on foreign (non-linguistic)
territories such as the sensorimotor experience. Understood in such a way,
meaning is infinite and very unlikely to be confined to any closed space,
delineated by clear-cut rules.
The view of meaning as a soft code underlies the composition of the present
volume entitled STUDIES IN COGNITIVE SEMANTICS. The ten contributors whose articles can be found in the present publication cross the boundaries
of lexical semantics (Part 1) and the semantics of grammar (Part 2) in many different ways, heading towards a number of research directions.
Part 1 Lexical semantics contains five articles addressing a number
of relevant issues. In the first paper Bogusaw Bierwiaczonek revisits and
revises Langackers all-inclusive concept of active zones arguing for a more
constrained construal with the exclusion of metonymy and certain syntactic
phenomena. In the former case, as he notes, the distinguishing characteristics are boundedness and conceptual autonomy as opposed to indeterminacy of active zones; the syntactic phenomena in turn, as Bierwiaczonek
claims, are better explained in terms of the independently motivated formal
metonymy based on grammatical constructions. The second author, Alexey
Chernyshev, looks at metaphor and cognitive models in the semantics of
the preposition to. In his article, Chernyshev examines temporal, spatial
and functional meanings of the preposition in question arguing that they all
should be regarded as figurative, held together by a metaphor or a cognitive
model. Marceli Olma analyses the semantics of selected honorifics in the
letters of Zofia Kraszewska to Ignacy Jzef Kraszewski. Olma reflects on
the possibility to use the pragmatics of such expressions as the key to de-

termining the true nature of the marital relationship at issue. Laura Suchostawska addresses the concept of embodiment of meaning and thought based
on image schemas. In doing so, she proposes a number of solutions for the
future of this research area, such as the emergence of new image schemas,
creating a hierarchy of schemas, and devoting more attention to the cultural
dimension of cognition. Part 1 is closed by Anna Turulas article addressing
the metaphoric/metonymic underpinnings of the interpretation of clichic
expressions such as Vodka killed him (Wdka go zabia). In her consideration of the problem, Turula looks at the importance of context as well as the
phenomenon of semantic bleaching in formulaic language.
Part 2 The semantics of grammar goes beyond lexis into the realm
of phrases and structures. It opens with a cognitive analysis of the English present continuous tense offered by Grzegorz Drod. In his analysis,
Drod uses two tools developed within Cognitive Grammar: the network
model and construal operations. Agnieszka Kaleta takes the reader from corpora to cognition, looking at the behavioural profiles of two infinitival and
gerundive complementizers in cease to do and cease doing. Based on data
extracted from the British National Corpus, Kaleta argues that the distribution of the two constructions is not random but motivated by the underlying semantics. Another author, Mirosaw Michalik looks at the acquisition
of syntactic structures in the disturbed discourse, examining the emergence
of syntactic competence in children with dysarthria and mildly intellectually disabled children (oligophasiacs) acquire syntactic competence. Iwona
Nowakowska-Kempna examines the case of Polish suffix arz as an example of conceptual blending in morphological derivations, showing how the
theory of conceptual integration can account for motivated but unpredictable choice of their bases and non-compositional aspects of their meanings.
Finally, Micha Szawerna presents a cognitive grammar account of nominal periphrasis: the prototype and the schema of periphrastic expressions
with of and by as well as possessives. Based on his corpus-assisted research
into nominal periphrasis accompanying English de-verbal nouns, Szawerna
critically addresses Langackers account of such expressions arguing for an
alternative, corpus-motivated model.
We would like to thank all the ten authors for their contributions; we hope
the reader will enjoy the cross-domain walk around the realm of semantics
offered in the present volume. At the same time as we are not insensitive
to formal properties of language we want to express our gratitude to Christine Frank-Szarecka and Carl Humphries for proofreading the publication.
Czstochowa, 2010

Bogusaw Bierwiaczonek
Anna Turula


Bogusaw Bierwiaczonek
Wysza Szkoa Lingwistyczna, Czstochowa


Langackers recent modifications and extensions of the notion of active zone have considerably blurred the difference between the concepts of active zone and metonymy. I argue
for a more constrained construal of active zones. They should be reserved for the cases of
Whole-for-Part transfer of meaning, whereby their target cannot be precisely conceptualized and lexicalized and thus distinguished from the Whole-for-Part metonymies, where the
target parts are conceptualized and lexicalized. I also show that Langackers extension of
active zones to syntactic phenomena is unwarranted as these phenomena are better explained
in terms of the independently motivated formal metonymy based on grammatical constructions.
KEYWORDS: metonymy, active zone, grammatical construction, underspecification, raising, ellipsis.

The concept of active zone was first introduced by Langacker in his first
volume of Foundations of Cognitive Grammar in 1987. It seems that since
that time it has undergone substantial modifications and extensions. The
modifications and extensions have considerably blurred the difference between the concepts of active zone and metonymy. Since vagueness of terms
is undesirable, it seems desirable to examine these two terms and redefine
them in such a way that they both can be again theoretically useful.
Langacker (1990:190) defined active zones as those portions of a trajectory or landmark that participate directly in a given relation. Thus, to take
one of Langackers standard examples, in sentence (1) below it is not the
whole of the trajector dog and the whole of the landmark cat, which partici1
A more detailed and thoroughgoing presentation of the points made in this paper can be
found in my book Metonymy in language, thought and brain, which is now in preparation.


Bogusaw Bierwiaczonek

pate in the relation designated by the verb bite, but their focal areas, which
e.g. in the case of the dog involve its teeth and jaws.
1) Your dog bit my cat

It is important to bear in mind that the active zone does not have to be
a salient, discrete part or sharply bounded region. Moreover, as Langacker
insightfully observes, the participation of certain regions is obviously more
direct and more central to the relational conception than that of others.
Other examples are (Langacker 1990:191):
2a) Roger ate an apple
2b) Roger heard a noise
2c) Roger walked faster
2d) Roger is digesting etc.

In the above examples the different selected facets of the same trajector
Roger are active as the primary participants in the relation designated by the
verb (cf. Kalisz 1998 for a similar set of examples and discussion).
In addition, Langacker (1999:63) points out that active zones are not limited to subparts of the profiled entity. More generally, they need only be associated with that entity. This is illustrated by sentences 3-5 below:
3) Im in the phone book
4) Kettle is boiling
5) That car doesnt know where hes going

The target concepts, i.e. the active zones, in the above sentences are respectively: the speakers name and phone number, the water in the kettle and
the cars driver. However, most researchers would agree that the relevant expressions in sentences (2)-(4) are par excellence metonymic and Langacker
is aware of it. Consequently, he argues that active zone phenomena display
a kind of metonymy, wherein a pivotal entity (here a part) is referenced only
indirectly, via the term for another, associated entity (the whole). (Langacker 1999: 62). Langackers view, without any modifications, is endorsed
by Taylor (2002, Ch.6.3) and Radden & Dirven (2007).
The question I wish to consider is this: If active-zone phenomena are indeed a kind of metonymy, what kind of metonymy are they?
One obvious property of most Langackers examples of active zones is
that they are all transfers from wholes to parts or from parts to parts. Langacker (1999:63) shows this in two diagrams reproduced below, in which tr
and lm represent vehicles (sources) of metonymies and az (active zone) their
targets (Figure 1):

Active zones revisited and revised


Another property at least some of Langackers examples exhibit, e.g. sentences (1) and (2), is that active zones are largely indeterminate and vague.
In other words, speakers resort to active zone phenomena when they cannot precisely or adequately designate the target concept. A typical example
would be the nominal expression my finger in sentence (6):
6) I cut my finger

It is impossible to cut the whole finger (unless one talks about cutting it
OFF), so the expression my finger designating the landmark of cutting does
not as a whole participate in that relationship. However, it is impossible to
locate the cut with absolute precision. To some important extent the same is
true of examples like (1). Notice that even in such seemingly clear cases, it
is not just the teeth that are the target of the nominal your dog. If they were,
sentences like (7) would be perfectly normal:
7) ??Your dogs teeth bit my cat

Instead, what happens is that the active zone is construed as the instrument, i.e. a different participant in the action schema, as in (8) below, which
means that the Agent is still the major participant.
8) Your dog bit my cat with its sharp teeth


Bogusaw Bierwiaczonek

Taylor (2002:110f) provides what might be taken as prototypical active

zone phenomena in the examples below:
9) John kicked the table
10) My car got scratched in an accident

In (9) the active zones are the vague region of Johns foot involved in
kicking and the equally vague region of the table directly affected by the
kick. In (10) the nominal my car activates even more elusive portions of the
vehicle, which may even be spatially discontinuous.
All this is, of course, very different from what we have seen in examples
(3) (5), where the targets are not only independent, autonomous entities,
but they are also easily conceptualized and lexicalized.
Those two general observations indicate that active zone phenomena, as
defined and presented by Langacker, are rather heterogeneous and their relation to metonymy is by no means clear. It seems that there are two ways of
solving the problem of defining active zones and establishing the relationship between active zone phenomena and metonymy.
One solution is that in fact all Whole-for-Part and Part-for-Part transfers of
meaning should be regarded as special cases of active zone phenomena. This
would leave us with two broad kinds of non-metaphoric transfer, namely
Part-for-Whole metonymy2 and active zone phenomena. The other solution
is that the cases like those illustrated by (3) (5) are not regarded as active zone
phenomena at all and that Part-for-Part metonymy is retained as a separate
subcategory of metonymy (based on association). Besides, Whole-for-Part
metonymy is also retained as a separate subcategory, with the prototypical
members having both the whole and the part clearly conceptualized and
lexicalized. Finally, the term active-zone phenomenon should be restricted
to the Whole-for-Part transfer, where the part is indeed a conceptually vague
zone rather than a clearly identifiable, bounded and lexicalized region3.
There are two arguments in favor of the latter alternative, which are also
the reasons why this latter alternative will be adopted in this study.
Some researchers regard Part-for- Whole transfers as instances of synecdoche, e.g. Lakoff and Johnson (1980), Koch (1999), but see Seto (1999) and Nerlich & Clarke (1999) for
a very different approach to synecdoche. See Ziomek (2000) for a general discussion and
historical background of this controversy.
The observation that active zones are typically non-lexicalized suggests that they may be
phylogenetically and ontogenetically earlier and more basic than metonymies. This means
that the early humans and young speakers often use holophrases as vehicles for lexically
unknown targets. This may suggest that we should perhaps distinguish two kinds of active
zones: those that are both unconceptualized and unlexicalized and those which are simply
lexical gaps, either in the lexical system or in the lexical competence of particular speakers.

Active zones revisited and revised


First of all, good metonymies allow for straightforward, grammatical

paraphrases, which is much harder for typical active zones. Thus (3) (5)
can be easily paraphrased, as in (3) (5) below, while those in (2) cannot.
Consider the sentences below:
3) My name and phone number are in the phone book.
4) The water in the kettle in boiling
5) That cars driver doesnt know where he is going
2a) ??Rogers mouth (and teeth) ate an apple
2b) ??Rogers ears heard a noise
2c) ?? Rogers legs walked faster
2d) ?? Rogers digestive system is digesting

As Langacker (1990:65) pointed out, a discrepancy between profile and

active zone represents the NORMAL situation, much in the way indeterminacy resulting from various levels of specificity and schematization, which
should also be excluded from the scope of metonymy (cf. Panther & Thornburg 2003), represents a normal situation. Both active zone phenomena and
schematization characteristic of linguistic expressions stem from the grossly
asymmetric relation between the finite resources of language and the infinity of conceptualizations which can only be designated with a considerable
degree of underspecification. In that sense, both schematization and activezone phenomena are inevitable and necessary for the human language to
work as it does (cf. Radden & Dirven 2007)4.
In contrast, although metonymy may be said to be natural and extremely
communicatively useful, probably it cannot be said to be normal or inevitable or necessary.
The second argument showing the difference between Whole-for-Part metonymies from active zone phenomena is that, unlike active zones, metonymies often violate ordinary selectional restrictions of the predicates with
which they co-occur.
Both the predicates have the flu and wait for check in sentences (11) and
(12) below require human, or at least animate subjects, thus it is only through
metonymic transfer that this selectional requirement can be satisfied.
For some reason, Radden et al. (2007:7ff) treat active zones as a kind of incompatibility,
which requires the interlocutors to construct meanings in order to reconcile the conflict
between expressions and illustrate it with Langackers example The cigarette in her mouth
was unlit. This suggests that there is a conceptual conflict between the part of the cigarette
that actually touched the mouth and the whole cigarette on the one hand and the part of the
mouth that touched the cigarette and the whole mouth. I must admit I do not see any conflict
here. On the contrary, the target is absolutely dependent on the whole. In my view, what applies to the active-zone kind of underspecification is what Radden et al. call indeterminacy:
the situations in which a linguistic unit is underspecified due to its vagueness in meaning.


Bogusaw Bierwiaczonek
11) The sax has the flu
12) The pork chop is waiting for his check

In contrast, none of the instances of Roger in the examples in (2) above

violate the selectional restrictions of the verbs with which they co-occur.
The third, somewhat related, argument why I think active zone phenomena should be distinguished from metonymy is that they do not allow for
identity transfer typical of true metonymies. The transfer makes it possible to refer anaphorically to the target, ignoring the semantic properties
of the vehicle, as sentences (13) and (14) below, borrowed from Nunberg
13) Yeats is still widely read even though most if it is out of print.
14) *I punched Bill and it started to bleed.

The pronoun it in (13) is possible through metonymic transfer from Yeats

(human) to Yeats poetry (inanimate). In (14), where Bill is the source for
the active zone, say, Bills nose, the anaphoric reference to the active zone
is impossible.
The final argument for distinguishing active zones from metonymy, which
was also adduced by Croft (1993), is that there are important differences
between typical metonymies and active zones in terms of the place of the
vehicle and the target on the scale of extrinsic versus intrinsic relations. In
particular, metonymies tend to rely on extrinsic relations, while active zones
are usually rather intrinsic. Of course the terms extrinsic and intrinsic are
probably as hard to define as association and contiguity, but we may define
them as prototypically structured notions, with the highly contingent relation between the container and its content as a prototypical extrinsic relation
and the scratched area of the car and the body of the car as the prototypical
intrinsic relation. Of course there will be borderline cases, as e.g. the countable noun glass based on the relation between the material and the object
made of this material, but in general the tendency is rather clear.
Notice that the above proposal does not preclude the cases of metonymyactive-zone chains. For instance, the nominal car in Im having my car fixed
may metonymically stand for its part, say engine, while the specific parts
in the engine (if the speaker has any idea what they are) which are being
fixed may only be accessed as active zones. In order to realize how vague
that target is, it is enough to point out that fixing an engine often involves
replacing some of its parts, so the active zone before and after fixing may be
referentially different.

Active zones revisited and revised


Langacker (1990, Ch.7) proposes an analysis of sentences reproduced
here as (15)-(17), which suggests that active zones may also involve transfer from parts to wholes. If it were so, Langackers analysis would constitute
a serious challenge to the claim made above that active zone phenomena are
restricted to the transfer from wholes to parts.
15 a) He began eating dinner
b) He began dinner
16 a) The orchestra started playing the next song
b) The orchestra started the next song
17 a) The author finished writing a new book
b) The author finished the new book

Langacker argues that while in the (a) sentences above the main clause
verbs profile relations with nominal trajectories and processual landmarks
represented by the their gerundive complements, in the (b) sentences it is
the landmark of the embedded process that functions as the landmark of
the main clause relation and the whole process is the active zone. For reasons that I find difficult to understand (cf. Croft 1993, who also finds this
approach untenable), Langacker suggests that the contrast has to do with
the systematic ambiguity of the main verbs in (13) - (15) and presents the
contrast between the first pair of sentences as follows (Figure 2):


Bogusaw Bierwiaczonek

It follows from Fig.2b that the landmark of the complement in the relation depicted in Fig. 2b metonymically provides access to the whole of that
relation construed as an active zone (AZ). In general, I find Langackers
analysis convincing; however, if we adopt the terminology proposed above,
there is no reason why the whole of the relation should be considered as an
active zone. On the contrary, the relational predication activated by the nominal landmark consists of three sharply bounded conceptual parts (trajector,
relation, and landmark) and two equally sharply bounded formal parts (the
gerund and the object nominal), thus the whole transfer has all the crucial
distinctive characteristics of the Part-for-Whole metonymy, both on the conceptual and formal level. This argument is further reinforced by the fact that
the same participant-relation structure (or, alternatively, predicate-argument
structure, or, even more generally, the event schema) is often employed as
the basis (i.e. an integrated whole) for conversions, where e.g. the landmark
of the relation may be used to stand for the relation itself, as in converted
verbs (the so-called object verbs, cf. Dirven 1999) like to fish, to crew, to
skin, etc., or where the relation itself may stand for the trajector of the relation, as in converted nouns like a cheat, a bore, a flirt, a tease, etc.
Incidentally, it should also be pointed out that Langackers representations
are in fact contradictory as the active zone (or, according to my suggestion,
the target of the Part-for-Whole metonymy) is profiled, although by definition, as an active zone, it should be unprofiled.
What I want to suggest is that the begin and the raised sentences discussed
by Langacker in terms of active zones, can be analyzed in terms of different,
though related, constructions. If this alternative analysis is successful, it will
enable us to preserve the original notion of actives zones and distinguish it
from metonymy, which operates on all levels of linguistic form, including
syntactic forms (cf. Bierwiaczonek 2007).
As I already pointed out above, Langackers active zone analysis of the begin
sentences illustrated by (15) is at odds with the very concept of active zone,
which normally accounts for the cases of underspecification, not alternate construals, which are clearly the domain of grammar. The crucial difference between
Langackers and my accounts lies in the fact that in my analysis both sentences
in (15) involve metonymy and neither of them involves active zones5.
In terms of constructional representations, the whole semantic content of
(15a) and (15b) may be represented as [AGENT - INCEPTIVE VERB EVENT],
whereby the Event itself consists of [Agent Activity Patient] with the
Agent of the Event being co-referential with the Agent of the main clause.
Now the difference between (15a ) and (15b) lies in the complexity of the
To the extent that the metonymy in question involves syntactic forms, it falls within the
scope of formal metonymy as defined by Bierwiaczonek (2007).


Active zones revisited and revised

syntactic vehicle selected to access the semantic structure of the embedded Event; in (15a) it is the gerundive form of the verb designating the
activity of the Event along with the NP designating the Patient, while in
(15b) it is only the object NP designating the Patient. Accordingly, the two
structures can be represented as in Figures (3a) and (3b) below. The boldfaced constituents of the Event represent the vehicle of the metonymy6:
Figure 3a. Representation of the construction of (15a):
i.e. He began eating dinner.





Figure 3b Representation of the construction of (15b), i.e. He began dinner.






As the diagrams show, in both cases the whole of the propositional structure of the complement clause is accessed. What is different is the vehicles
of this PART-FOR-WHOLE metonymy: in (15a) it is the substructure consisting
of the verb and direct object NP (functioning jointly as the direct object of
begin and the vehicle standing for the whole EVENT), while in (15b) it is the
direct object NP that alone stands for the whole EVENT.
Langacker (1990) believes that mutatis mutandis active zones are also involved in various raising constructions illustrated by the (b) sentences below:
18 a) To paint landscapes is tough
b) Landscapes are tough to paint (Object-to-Subject)
19 a) For the dog to escape is likely
b) The dog likely to escape (Subject-to-Subject)
20 a) I would expect for the Clippers to lose again
b) I would expect the Clippers to lose again (Subject-to-Object)
I am well aware of the fact that usually constructions that are found in the literature (e.g.
Goldberg, Croft, etc.) have a slightly different form and follow the logical tradition of placing
the predicate in front of its arguments. I have chosen the present format for the simple reason
that I prefer the syntactic structure which resembles as closely as possible the ordering of
constituents in actual expressions. Otherwise, the form of the constructions has no bearing
on the content of my argument.


Bogusaw Bierwiaczonek

Langacker claims that in (a) sentences in (18) (19) it is the whole process
which functions as the trajector, while in (b) sentences the role of the trajector is taken over by the profiled participant and the remaining infinitival part
of the process becomes the trajectors active zone with respect to the scale
of difficulty (or pleasure [or likelihood BB], etc.). In sentence (20a) the
infinitival complement functions as the landmark of expect, while in (20b)
this role is taken over by the nominal the Clippers, which presumably metonymically stands for the whole complement clause. Now here Langackers analysis is even more problematic because the putative active zones
are actually explicitly specified and thus become indistinguishable from the
regions or parts designated directly.
As in the case of begin, whose different complement structures were
shown in Fig.1, Langacker suggests that in order to account for the difference between (18a) and (18b) it is necessary to propose two different senses
of tough. Consequently, the two sentences have the following conceptual
representations (cf. Langacker 1990:200):

Langackers analysis is here again more problematic than in the begin

sentences because the putative active zones are again explicitly specified,

Active zones revisited and revised


i.e. profiled, and thus become indistinguishable from the regions or parts
designated directly. Since the process is specified, it is odd to claim that
the nominal referent stands metonymically for its processual active zone.
It is also odd to call zones two fully specified constituents of a relation,
namely the relation itself (the verb) and its landmark (the object NP). What
we have already said about the suggestion that there two different senses
of the verb begin in (15a) and (15b) applies also to the proposal that there
are two different senses of tough in (18a) and (18b). Langacker is right that
basically tough designates an e-site on the scale of DIFFICULTY which is
usually elaborated by another relation. However, the fact that this elaborating relation may be construed in different ways does not affect the meaning
of tough. As Langacker himself convincingly shows (cf. Langacker 2000,
Ch.11), the possibility of the multiple construals is constrained by the structural and semantic properties of the subordinate clauses, e.g. their analyzability, as in the case of idiom chunks, and not the polysemy of the main
clause predicate.
The representation of raised and non-raised constructions I propose
below does not make use of the notion of active zone and semantic
polysemy of raising predicates. Instead, a number of constructions are
suggested which differ in some respects and have certain characteristics
in common. The formal metonymy is evoked in two cases: when the
trajector of the subordinate relation is unspecified and when the infinitival complement is ellipsed, as in Landscapes are tough. For the sake
of simplicity, I have ignored the exact specification of the semantic roles
in the Sem part of the representations, reducing them to the two basis conceptual roles of the TRAJECTOR and LANDMARK. Likewise, the semantics of verbs was reduced to the elementary distinction between STATE and
PROCESS. The same subscripts indicate co-reference, i.e. a single entity
in Langackers diagrams. The semantic role of Attribute with the subscript
AA stands for Attribute of Activity for Agent, represented by the Raising
adjectives easy, hard, difficult, etc7.
For want of space, I shall confine myself to the Object-to-Subject Raising.
The non-raised construction with the sentential subject, illustrated by e.g.
For a good mechanic to fix Hondas is easy, For a beginner landscapes are
tough to paint, has the following general form:
An attempt to combine Langacker-style representations of conceptual structures with
syntactic representations in the Fillmore-style Construction Grammar was made by Leino
(2004). Whether we combine them or not, some sort of interface mechanism relating conceptual structures to their syntactic representations is necessary anyway (cf. Jackendoff (2002)
for general discussion). I believe what I propose below is a step, albeit a very tentative one,
in this direction.


Bogusaw Bierwiaczonek

Figure 5. The Non-raised Infinitival Subject construction





In sentences like To fix Hondas is easy, the Whole of the subject clause is
accessed by means of its verb + object NP part. There is no active zone, the
TRAJECTOR (=Agent), easily conceptualized and potentially lexicalized,
e.g. by for anybody, is construed as generic:
Figure 6. The non-raised sentential subject construction with the metonymically accessed generic subject of the subject clause








I suggest that in the Object-to-Subjects Raising construction, illustrated

by e.g. Hondas are easy to fix, Landscapes are tough to paint, etc., the whole
Event structure is metonymically accessed through the infinitive (or the subject + infinitive), while the trajector of the main clause is conceptually coreferential with the landmark of the infinitive:
Figure 7. The general structure of the Object-to-Subject Raising construction




to Verbinf



With this rough representation of the Object-to-Subjects Raising construction, we may now consider the cases of metonymies, whereby parts of the
constructions are used to activate the whole construction. Here are the relevant examples discussed by Langacker :
21) Landscapes are tough
22) Another war is likely
23) Q: Who is coming to your party
A: I expect Tom and Sally.

Langacker argues that As a general point, the complement clause in raising constructions functions as the periphrastic device allowing the raised

Active zones revisited and revised


NPs active zone to be spelled out explicitly when required (1999:341). As

I already pointed out Langackers claim amounts to extending the definition of active zone phenomena beyond its ordinary and explanatorily useful
scope; namely, the active zone would involve Part-for-Whole transfers from
well conceptualized and lexicalized parts to the equally well conceptualized
and lexicalized wholes.
According to my proposal, no such extension is necessary, since the way
sentences (21) (23) become meaningful can be accounted for in terms of a
formal metonymy whereby a part of a construction is used to access the whole
construction, with the details of the resulting meaning being determined either
anaphorically (if the event is specified in the preceding linguistic context, as in
(23), or pragmatically, by the canonical activity (=process) associated with the
particular trajector or landmark, e.g. we usually paint or design landscapes, create or solve crosswords, drive or fix cars, read or write books, etc.
Langacker (1999: 340) suggested that sentences like those in (21)-(23)
result from the same conceptual structures as those in (18) - (20), except
that in sentences (21) (23) the process remains unelaborated because its
nature is evident by other means.
I propose that the other means involve also the whole raising construction represented by e.g. by Fig. (7). In other words, the NP BE ADJ structure of (21) is metonymically used to access the whole Object-to-Subject
Raising construction. As I have already pointed out, the metonymy is pragmatic to the extent that the particular semantic properties of the verb are
determined by the culturally determined nature of the typically human interaction with the entities denoted by Patient-Subject NP.
Finally, it should be mentioned that a roughly similar account can be suggested for two other phenomena of English syntax and semantics, both of
which seem to involve formal metonymy. The first case has to do with the
constructions illustrated by sentences 24-25 below, which, as Quirk et al
(1972:828) argue, have adverbial transforms, given underneath:
24) He was quick to react
= He reacted quickly
25) He was slow to react
= He reacted slowly

If the paraphrases are indeed adequate, then, on the conceptual level, the
metonymy is Attribute for Manner. However, the type of sentences like (24)


Bogusaw Bierwiaczonek

and (25) above also occur in sentences without the infinitive, as in (26) and
(27) below:
26) He was quick
27) He was slow

I suggest that in such cases, the infinitival complement, with its behavioral
meaning determined pragmatically, is accessed metonymically through the
part of the construction, which consists of the subject noun, the copula, an
adjective and the infinitive. Thus it is up to the hearer to infer what the subjects of (26) and (27) are involved in doing.
The other example has to do with Manner for Linguistic Action kind of
metonymy, analyzed in English, Croatian and Hungarian by Brdar & BrdarShab (2003), illustrated by (28) and (29) below:
28 a) Our boss was vague about when the pay-rise was due
b) Our boss was vague.
29 a) Arthur was brief about the other teachers in his recollections
b) Dear friends. Ill be brief.

I believe that sentences (28b) and (29b) are possible only because the
speaker and his interlocutor have mental access to larger portions of the
content in the form of the target construction represented by (28a) and (29a).
Or rather, should we say, used to have mental access, because, as Brdar
& Brdar-Shab have demonstrated, a number of such manner of speaking
adverbs have extended their meanings and incorporated this new linguistic
action sense in their semantic structure, which has obviated the need for
pragmatic inferencing altogether. The English adjectives which have developed this extended polysemous structure are articulate, blunt and brief.
I have suggested that what Langacker (1987, 1990, 1999) considers as
active zones should be divided into two separate phenomena: a) regular
Whole-for-Part metonymies, where the target parts are conceptualized and
lexicalized and b) non-metonymic active zone phenomena, where the potential target is not conceptualized and lexicalized, or if it is conceptualized, it
is not lexicalized.
Thus, e.g. if I say Im going to wash my car, the target of expression my
car is not conceptualized because it may involve not only the body of the car
but also its windshield, windows, number plate, and presumably the wheels.

Active zones revisited and revised


Similarly, if I say Tom hit me on the head, me may stand for some unidentified spot on the speakers head that the speaker can have great difficulty
identifying conceptually and denoting lexically. If however, the speaker refers to the US as America, she is using a true and regular Whole-for-Part
metonymy, since the US is both easily conceptualized and lexicalized.
I have also argued against extending the notion of active zones to syntactic
phenomena on the grounds that such extension would mean that active zone
phenomena can also involve Part-for-Whole transfers, which would make
active zones practically indistinguishable from metonymy. In addition, since
the units of syntax are conceptually discreet and usually readily recoverable and, hence, lexicalized, there is no reason why they should be regarded
as active zones. Instead, Langackers examples of putative syntactic active
zones can be straightforwardly accounted for in terms of an independently
motivated mechanism of formal metonymy, whereby part of a syntactic construction is used to access the whole construction, the construction being
represented as a symbolic linguistic unit combining a linguistic form with
a corresponding conceptual structure.
Bierwiaczonek, B. (2007a). On Formal Metonymy. In: Kosecki, Krzysztof (ed.)
Perspectives on Metonymy. Proceedings of the International Conference
Perspectives on Metonymy, held in d, Poland, May 6-7, 2005. Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang, 43-67.
Brdar, M. & R. Brdar-Shab (2003). Metonymic coding of linguistic action. In:
Panther, Klaus-Uwe & Linda Thornburg (eds.), 241-266.
Dirven, R. (1999). Conversion as a Conceptual Metonymy of Event Schemata. In:
Panther, Klaus-Uwe & Gnter Radden (eds.), 275-288.
Jackendoff, R. (2002). Foundations of Language. Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution. Oxford University Press.
Kalisz, R. (1998). Profilowanie, perspektywa i strefy aktywne. In: Bartmiski
Jerzy & Ryszard Tokarski (eds.) Profilowanie w jzyku i w tekcie. Lublin:
Wydawnictwo UMCS, 53-61.
Koch, P. (1999). Frame and Contiguity: On the Cognitive Bases of Metonymy and
Certain Types of Word Formation. In: Panther, Klaus-Uwe & G. Radden
(eds.), 139-168.
Lakoff, G. & M. Johnson. (1980). Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press.
Langacker, R. (1987). Foundations of Cognitive Grammar: Vol.1. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Langacker, R. (1990). Concept, Image, and Symbol. The Cognitive Basis of Grammar. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.


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Langacker, R. (1999) Grammar and Conceptualization. Berlin, New York: Mouton

de Gruyter.
Leino, J. (2004). Frames, profiles and constructions: Two collaborating Cgs meet
the Finnish permissive construction. In: stman, Jan-Ola and Mirjam Fried.
(eds.) Construction Grammars. Cognitive grounding and theoretical extensions. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 89120.
Nerlich, B. & D. D. Clarke. (1999). Synecdoche as a cognitive and communicative
strategy. In: Blank, Andreas & Peter Koch (eds.) Historical Semantics and
Cognition. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 197-213.
Nunberg, G. (1995). Transfers of Meaning. Journal of Semantics 12, 109-132.
Quirk, R., S. Greenbaum, G. Leech & J.Svartvik. (1972). A Grammar of Contemporary English. Longman.
Panther, K.-U. & G. Radden (eds.) (1999). Metonymy in Language and Thought.
Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Panther, K.-U. & L. Thornburg (eds.) (2003). Metonymy in Pragmatic Inferencing.
Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Radden, G & R. Dirven. (2007). Cognitive English Grammar. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Seto, K. (1999). Distinguishing Metonymy from Synecdoche. In: Panther, KlausUwe & Gnter Radden (eds.), 91-120.
Taylor, J. (2002). Cognitive Grammar. Oxford University Press.
Ziomek, J. (1990). Retoryka opisowa. Wrocaw, Warszawa, Krakw: Ossolineum.

Yaroslavl State Teacher Training University (Russia)



The article deals with the problem of the polysemy of prepositions, the English preposition to being a good example of this complex phenomenon. Temporal, spatial and functional
meanings intrinsic to the preposition to are regarded as figurative meanings held together
by a metaphor exposing the general basic meaning, or a cognitive model of the preposition
to. The analysis of the material brought to the conclusion that the linguistic phenomena of a
metaphor and a cognitive model can be equally applied in the investigation of grammatical
units, particularly in the study of prepositions. The metaphorical meanings of the preposition to help to postulate its cognitive model, namely a functional unity of subject or events,
convergence of subjects in one point as a result of the purposeful approach of one subject to
another as to the goal.
Keywords: cognitive model, functional unity, preposition


The study of prepositions has lately become a subject of special emphasis in linguistics. There are different opinions concerning the semantics of
prepositions. Some linguists regard prepositions only as grammatical units
of the language, other linguists acknowledge the lexical independence of
The dual nature of prepositions, where the grammatical and lexical aspects are combined, presents the semantic peculiarity and complexity of
prepositions. This duality is justified by the opinion of O. N. Seliviorstova,
who wrote that some general concepts such as space, time, cause etc. are intrinsic to the lexical aspect of prepositions. The grammatical aspect presents
the relations between the distributed semantic roles, where the preposition
is regarded as a key part in the frame presenting the relation between the
figure and background. The ability to connect the elements of a sentence
and thus to establish relations between their denotata, stems from this kind
of meaning (Seliviorstova 1999: 28).


Alexey Chernyshev

New possibilities in the study of prepositions were found by a cognitive

approach to linguistic phenomena. The meanings of prepositions are referred to as the coordination of objects and events; they show their place in
time and space, correlate their reference and representation in the human
consciousness (Kubryakova 1978: 11). Therefore, a great role in the cognitive process belongs to the viewer, who in the nomination process of the
object relation, is based on the definite visual pattern in accordance with
anthropocentric stereotypes and with a nave pattern of the world.
The cognitive approach takes into account that this pattern can represent
any important features grouped from the point of view of the viewer based
on world ontology. This fact allows for the supposition that the semantics of
prepositions presents a complex scheme of relations between objects.
The cognitive approach to the semantic of prepositions is, therefore,
based on the theory of reference. The reference is defined not at the level
of a word, but at the level of a proposition. In this sense a proposition is
distinguished from a sentence intrinsic to the language itself. A proposition
unlike a sentence is a result of abstract operations controlling the combination of forms which define a reference meaning of the proposition. From this
point of view a reference meaning of the proposition is a form-factor, as an
intermediate level, i.e. a reference meaning of the proposition, is established
between the language (words) and the world (a referent). This referential
meaning can be compared with a scene, which represents a combination of
forms making a proposition. Referential meanings are rather stable, as they
are repeated, when the proposition is reproduced. The specific meaning of
each word can be defined only within the potential meanings of all the words
forming the sentence. According to this theory a preposition is regarded as
a relator (Paillard 2000: 162) having a schematic form, which presumes
a division of the basic and figurative meanings, or a formula: XRY, where R
is a preposition and X and Y are the objects standing for the relations specified by the preposition.
Basic and figurative meanings have been termed differently in linguistic
theory. For example, A. Potebnia distinguished the nearest and the farther
meanings of the word (Potebnya 1977: 189). In the opinion of S. Pesina, the
basic meaning is associated with a nominative primitive meaning that occurs the first in the human consciousness when finding the sense of a wordform. Figurative meanings are associated with abstract components (Pesina
2006: 56).
The semantics of relation can be described in terms of a cognitive model
of the preposition. Cognitive structures have been described in the frame
semantics of Ch. Fillmore (Fillmore 1985), linguistic models of J. Lakoff
(Lakoff 1977), and cognitive prototypes of E. Rosch (Rosch 1975) that form

Metaphor and cognitive model...


the basis of language categorization and world conceptualization. These

cognitive models can be regarded as the basic mechanism providing the
processing of information in the human consciousness.
The notion of a cognitive model is connected with the representation of
a two-level structure in semantics of a polysemantic word. The external,
or surface level covers the meanings (or lexical semantic variants) of the
lexeme. The internal or subsurface level contains a cognitive structure, an
internal form presenting a schematic mental image. The cognitive model is
general for all word meanings; it is intrinsic to all lexical semantic variants
and provides the identity of a word in all its contextual realizations (Beliaevskaya 2005: 5).
This cognitive approach is based on the principles which involve the
participation of the Viewer, or Conceptualizer in the cognitive process.
In this case a visual pattern seen, supposedly, by the viewer is taken
into account. The cognitive approach takes into account that any features
important and salient from the point of view of the Viewer can be
represented in the pattern.
According to that, all figurative meanings occurring in a sentence (in
a word combination) are the effects of speech functioning of the system
meanings of these words in the context, i.e. with the meanings of other
words. An ordinary language mind cannot ignore what the words present in
their figurative meanings. It helps to regard these important phenomena as
a language metaphor. A cognitive model holds together all the meanings of
the preposition due to a metaphor.
The polysemantic preposition to referred to the conceptual semantic domain direction can serve as a good illustration of the theoretical thesis
given above.
As it is known, the general idea represented by the preposition to is direction, which can exist in forms of space and time. A moving object (X)
changes its position in space only in relation to another object (Y). The
latter can be regarded as a reference point and thus induces the direction
of X (Rock 1980: 228).
The connection of direction not only to the category of space but also to
the category of time has been analyzed in detail in contemporary linguistics
and philosophic works. As P. D. Uspensky states, any direction in space
is accompanied with what can be called a time. The idea of direction,
whatever form it has, and the idea of lack of direction is closely connected
with the idea of time. Any direction occurs within a time and cannot occur
beyond it (Uspensky, 1998:62). Time is determined by P. D. Uspensky as
a distance (applicable to space), separating events in the order of their logical sequence and connecting them in different integers.


Alexey Chernyshev

The metaphorical understanding of time as direction within space and

perception of one of the objects forming space as a reference point, certainly, turns to the beginning end dichotomy, which, in its turn, puts the
problem of correlation of temporal and spatial categories in the conceptualization process.
The beginning end opposition had as a referent one point which was
included in different denotative spaces. So, the temporal context itself is
insufficient for the differentiation of end as the whole notion. In order
to be a pair and to be ascribed to a referent, the ends should be divided
by a certain space imagined as a line. A line is the simplest and one-dimensional geometrical notion which marks the changeover from the world of
Nature to its geometrized model.
The condition for the differentiation of ends is a functionally valuable orientation of a line separating the ends. If the line is marked with an arrow indicating the direction of movement or any other natural process that occurs
within time, the ends are subdivided, i. e. the beginning becomes the starting point. Even if movement occurs along a closed line (for example, along
a circle) and its beginning and end converge at one point, i.e. the beginning
end opposition, or start finish opposition is neutralized. Thus, the
coordination of the notion of end and beginning with the concept path
which supposes movement along a circle (or orbit) or any other closed line
horizontal or slanting allows to conclude that these notions are derived
in one-, two- or three-dimensional space.
However, as N. D. Arutyunova argues, the most favorable conditions for
dividing the notion of ends are created by the one-dimensional and unidirectional movement of time. It is on the temporal background where a
clear separation of a single notion of end (limit, or boundary) occurs and the
beginning becomes the partner of the end (Arutyunova 2002: 9).
All that occurs within time has a beginning and end but not all that exists in a space
is compatible with these notions. This situation has a characteristic feature. Borrowing the notion of a one-dimensional line and its limiting points (ends or limits) from
the geometrized model of space, time divided the notion of ends (limits). Thus, beginning end opposition based on the irreversibility of its direction was introduced.
Then time turned this opposition to space where notions of beginning and end received narrow use. A spatial metaphor of time a line creates a temporal metaphor
of space a path (Arutyunova 2002: 9 10).

Three general meanings intrinsic to the preposition to can be divided into

temporal, spatial, and functional.

Metaphor and cognitive model...



The temporal meaning of the preposition to is defined by the relation of X
(zero time) towards Y (end time point). Thus, integrity, or continuity is created.
By this kind of relation time is understood as an indivisible interval, e.g.:
(1) Those five years 1918 to 1923 had been ... somehow very important

In sentence (1) the beginning (1918) and end (1923) points imply the time
interval of 5 years.
(2) As he sat smiling, the quarter struck the quarter to twelve (Woolf).

In sentence (2) a quarter is a part of an hour. That stipulates the unity of

(quarter) and Y (twelve).
The analogical meaning of to is fixed if it is used as a prefix, i.e. to-morrow, to-day, to-night, e. g.:
(3) To-morrow, he said, you come down here and buy yourself a skirt (Dreiser).
(4) To-day she hardly noticed that it was in the wrong place, so absorbed was she
in her own thoughts (Dreiser).
(5) To-night he was in his element (Dreiser).

Thus, the relation between two dates or two moments can be interpreted
as tending of X to Y (to the time limit) or as an indivisible distance that is
associated with their unity.
As for a spatial meaning, it is well known that the general spatial category
expressed by this preposition is the category where to. A spatial meaning is
defined as the direction to an object as to the point of destination. The spatial
meanings can be classified taking into account the mental perception of Y
(a terminal point of direction, or a reference) and (an object defining the
direction and included in the sphere of the terminal point).
As for the terminal point itself (Y), it can be apparently represented as
a definite topographic point of destination, an event point of destination associated with the realization of some goal of action, or a metaphorical point
of destination.


Alexey Chernyshev

3.1. Topographic point of destination

A topographic point of destination can be associated with the definite point
implying the idea of a space and distance overcoming, e. g.:
(6) She could go to Waukesha right away if she wanted to (Dreiser).
(7) You must come to the park to-morrow morning and tell me all about it

Certainly, the way to Waukesha or that to the park is not regarded as a rectilinear direction. It is connected with some difficulties of reaching the destination. However, the events connected with the arrival to the terminal point
are included in some sequential actions representing unity as the achievement of the result of direction. So, the terminal point can be considered as
the result or the goal of direction.

3.2. Event point of destination

An event point of destination is also associated with the terminal point of
direction. It stipulates the use of the preposition to, but the terminal point is
perceived based on the context.
(8) Ive got to get up early in the morning, so Ill go to bed <...> (Dreiser).
(9) Carrie wants us to go to the theatre, she said, looking in upon her husband
(10) On Monday she arose early and prepared to go to work (Dreiser).
(11) It was with weak knees and a slight catch in her breathing that she came up to the
great shoe company at Adams and Fifth Avenue and entered the elevator (Dreiser).

Surely, a bed, a theatre, work or a shoe company are not regarded as definite places where the objects are situated. These lexemes refer to the realization of some events connected with definite places, for example, the place
for sleeping, the place for rest, the place for work, the place for purchases,
or choice of shoes.
All these examples reveal the general idea of the functional unity of two
objects. X, a figure, tends to Y, a background, as to its limit, to its goal, and
to its destination.
3.3. Metaphorical point of destination
This type of Y can be connected with the place to which the mental and
directional efforts of a person are directed, e.g.:

Metaphor and cognitive model...


(12) She did not credit her willingness to go to any fascination Hurstwood held
for her (Dreiser).
(13) Carrie had thought to lead up to her decision in some intelligent way, but
swept the whole fore-schemed situation by the board (Dreiser).
(14) They did not talk enough to come together to come to the argument of any one
point (Dreiser).
(15) The supposition so well reconciled his conduct to the general opinion (Fielding).

Thus, in sentences (1115) fascination, decision, argument and opinion

act as Y.
(16) Bobby set his teeth and went bravely to the heart of the matter (Christie).

In sentence (16) Y is the heart as the crux of some question or problem

that needs to be solved.
(17) They were people of a sort very common in America to-day, who live respectably from hand to mouth (Dreiser).

In sentence (17) the substancepreposition construction from ... to ... is

used. This construction is regarded as a possible mean of realization of metaphorical point of destination. The preposition from refers to the starting
point. The whole situation can be described as a metaphorical space.
The perception of unity emphasizing the respectability of a person is
achieved by using the preposition to that joins functionally dissimilar and
anthropologically opposite objects (regions of body) a hand and a mouth.
In this example one can regard the objects as the convergence of two
points (the term proposed by Herskovits 1986). In this connection a notion
of integrity can be introduced. This integrity implies the unity of beginning
and end or the unity of an integer and its part.
The functional meanings of the preposition to are based on spatial and temporal
meanings which give the opportunity to build so-called simulated semantics of
the preposition. The analysis shows that the cognitive model functional unity of
objects is realized in the simulated meanings of the preposition to and presents
simulated semantics of this unit of language. These meanings can be described
as the following senses: limit, dialectical unity, instantaneous vector, Dative,
connection, attitude (with comparative), transformative etc. This classification
is partly taken from A. Tyler and V. Evans, the authors of an integrated study of
English preposition (Tyler, Evans 2003: 149 153).


Alexey Chernyshev

4.1. Limit sense

It is obvious that the sense which is the closest one from the point of view
of semantics to temporal meanings of the preposition to is limit (or intensity). In this case and Y are the opposite points of intensity, where Y
is the point of realization or the point of destination for . The semantics of
the preposition to is defined as relation of the integer and its part, e.g.:
(18) Bob was game to the marrow, but he was found hit to pieces on the lawn inside
the gate where the summer-house stands (Conan Doyle).

In the given example the preposition to is twice used in the meaning of

limit (intensity). A preposition + noun combination to the marrow implies that a marrow is a limit and the action extent (the extent of the game)
at the same time. In the second word combination (hit to pieces) a piece is
both a limit and a part of the unity existing before.
(19) Hurstwoods shoes were of soft, black calf, polished only to a dull shine
(Dreiser 1958: 107).

The extent of the action denoted by the verb to polish is defined by the
intensity of shining. As this example shows, the relation between lexemes
shoes, polished and shine is realized by using the preposition to.

4.2. Dialectical unity sense

The sense identical to spatial meanings of the preposition to is dialectical unity. The event connected with the idea of dialectical unity creates, in
the opinion of Y. Dobrushina and D. Paillard, the unity from the processed
element. The role of the verb is to describe the means of creation of unity
and, therefore, to define the essence of the unity (Dobrushina, Paillard 2001:
45), e.g.:
Certainly, the unity of objects can stand for the mental activity of a person
due to a metaphorical transformation, e.g.:
(20) They were the serious reflections of a mind which invariably adjusted itself,
without much complaining, to such surroundings as its industry could make for it
(21) People in general attach too much attention to words (Dreiser).
(22) True to his nature, Drouet clung to this idea as an easy way out (Dreiser).
(23) You see this handle, he said, reaching up to an electric cut-off, which was
fastened to the roof (Dreiser).

Metaphor and cognitive model...


The preposition to is also used with such verbs as to marry (24) engage
(25), as it implies a social unity of two people a husband and a wife.
(24) In the third place, she wished to exhibit Jessica, who was gaining in maturity
and beauty, and whom she hoped to marry to a man of means (Dreiser).
(25) We heard you were engaged to a girl out West (Fitsgerald).

The words expressing the idea of addition (to add, to contribute, appendage) are followed by the preposition to as the semantic characteristic of
a dialectical unity implies obtaining a new substance, new properties of
the objects that are caused by quantitative modifications, e.g.:
(26) The place smelled of the oil of the machines and the new leather a combination which, added to the stale odours of the building, was not pleasant even in cold
weather (Dreiser).
(27) That is, since he imagined he saw her satisfied, he felt called upon to give only
that which contributed to such satisfaction (Dreiser).

4.3. Instantaneous vector sense

The sense of instantaneous vector presents the type of use of the preposition to, when the result of the action made by is instantaneously converged in Y, in a concrete place, or in a point. The action expressed is instantaneous, as a rule, and predetermines the unity of objects, i.e.:
(28) Those who have never experienced such a beneficent influence will not understand wherefore the tear springs glistening to the eyelids at some strange breath in
my lovely music (Dreiser).
(29) He almost jerked the old subtle light to his eyes (Dreiser).

Glistening and jerking happen so quickly that the object (eyelids or

eyes) scoped within the events is the only point capable of perceiving and
catching these events. Glistering and jerking are considered to be linear actions from the point of view of their instantaneity and directed towards their
scope of application, to the objects.
4.4. Dative sense
As it is known, the preposition to is widely used in Dative constructions.
Dative regarded in modern linguistics as a universal conceptual category
for different types of languages involves in its structure the following semantic characteristics: purposiveness, experiencer, and identity.


Alexey Chernyshev

It seems that purposiveness presumes some Y as a remote object perceived

as an aim. Achievement of the object requires physical, psychological and
mental efforts of X, e.g.:
(30) It gave an imposing appearance to the most of the wholesale houses (Dreiser).

The idea of contact is obviously intrinsic to Dative sentences, particularly, to those with the characteristic purposeiveness.
A contact can be apparently interpreted as the transmission of object (X)
to the potential possessor, or recipient (Y), e.g.:
(31) He would not have given the same amount to a poor young man.

A young man is the recipient and the point of contact, or unity for X and
Y in the metaphorical proto-scene.
Sense purposiveness is, certainly, metaphorically connected with the idea
of direction included in the semantic form of the preposition to, e.g.:
(32) From Patridge s they went to a shoe store, where Carrie was fitted for shoes

As for experiencer words, they are used in an internal sphere of a human,

i.e. a sphere of feelings, perception, knowledge, and different reactions of a
person to outward things, e.g.:
(33) They were a burden to their families and useless to the community (Maugham).

As for the idea of identity, it presumes correspondence of the compared

objects. In this case the Dative and the preposition to are followed by nouns
referring to such words as correspond, equal, according etc.:
(34) They had made all arrangements to share according to their interests (Dreiser).

4.5. Connection sense

Connection as a semantic characteristic is, beyond all doubts, a broad
concept. On the one hand, it is applied to some direct relation between the
objects. On the other hand, this type of relation implies transmission of any
information from one person to another.
In the first case, as the studied material shows, the concept connection is
actualized by using the preposition to followed by the verbs with appropriate meanings, particularly, by the verb to connect, e.g.:

Metaphor and cognitive model...


(35) Aurelia made no secret <...> on a long-barren rice plantation on Wappoo

Creek, that connected the Stono River to Charleston Harbor <...> (Siddons).

In the second case the preposition to expressing the meaning of relation is

used with such verbs as to speak, to talk, to say, to listen, to explain etc. In
this case X and Y are communication partners, with Y being the recipient of
the speech, or an agent who accepts the information directed to him. Therefore, X and Y are psychologically integrated. A functional unity of objects
takes place again. Here are some examples:
(36) Ah yes so she breathed in the earthy garden sweet smell as she stood talking
to Miss Pym <...> (Woolf).
(37) As Carrie listened to this and much more of similar familiar badinage among
the men and girls, she instinctively withdrew into herself (Dreiser).
(38) She could barely bring herself to speak to him, although he seemed very
pleasant <...> (Steel).

4.6. Indication sense

The idea of functional unity connected with the idea of direction and
transmission is represented by the preposition to in the meaning of indication, e.g.:
(39) This is the house I travel for, he went on pointing to a picture on it <...>
(40) So you didnt get in? said Minnie, referring to Carries story of the Boston
Store (Dreiser).

In these examples (39 40), the functional unity of objects is associated

with the idea of indication implying a position in space or a reference to any

4.7. Attitude sense

Another sense included in the cognitive model of the preposition to is that
of attitude. This concept represents the direction of feelings or directions
of X to Y, e.g.:
(41) Such a purse had never been carried by any one attentive to her (Dreiser).
(42) She realised that she was of interest to him from the one standpoint which a
woman both delights in and fears (Dreiser).
(43) Because it sheltered them the house grew dear to them (Steinbeck).


Alexey Chernyshev

It is obvious that a particular case of attitude can be the idea of comparison

of two objects. This situation is characterized by the existence of two objects
in a definite range of a space relative to each other. In this case the preposition to takes the function of a comparative. Here are some examples:
(44) To his left and right he was flanked by four secretaries from his own personal
secretariat, men loyal to him personally above all else (Forsyth).
(45) Owing to the fact that the street was not yet built up solidly, it was possible to
see east to the green tops of the trees in Central park and west to the broad waters of
the Hudson <..> (Dreiser).

In these sentences (44 45), the location of is provided by the place

occupied by Y. It means that is correspondingly situated to the left, to the
right, from the west or from the east relative to Y.
Use of the preposition to is typical when it follows the word next. This
type of relations is also based on comparison of and Y, e.g.:
(46) Next to love, it is the one thing which solaces and delights (Dreiser).

In some cases the preposition to (instead of the preposition with) can be

used after the verb to compare, e.g.:
(47) And, if compared to Romeo, Tom Jones is a rather prosaic and pedestrian
hero, compared to Dobbin the only nice character in Thackerays novel without
a hero <...> (Fielding 1936: xxiii).

4.8. Transformative sense

The expression of the idea of functional unity as a result of changes or
transformations occurred also requires the use of the preposition to. The
verbs followed by the preposition to in this meaning have a semantic indicator of a transformative as a case (the term transformative was used by Plungian 2003: 170). Here are some examples:
(48) She <...> decided upon the severe, winding up with a Very truly, which she
subsequently changed to Sincerely (Dreiser).
(49) This shifting of the burden to her appealed to Carrie (Dreiser).
(50) He turned to his eating again, the thought that it was a burden to have her here
dwelling in his mind (Dreiser).

It seems that the general meaning of verbs to change, to shift and to turn
occur from the idea of sudden change of events forming the unity in their
sequence. This meaning, as Yespersen notes, goes back to the stage of lan-

Metaphor and cognitive model...


guage development, where the preposition to was used as a predicate denoting only changes (Yespersen 2002: 336).
The analysis of the material brings us to the conclusion that the linguistic
phenomena of metaphor holding together the semantic structure of the word
and a cognitive model can be equally applied to the investigation of grammatical units of different levels, including the study of prepositions. The
metaphorical meanings of the preposition to help to postulate its cognitive
model which can be set forth as a functional unity of objects or events,
convergence of objects in one point as a result of the purposeful approach of
one object to another as to the goal.

Arutyunova, N. D. (2002) In general about whole. Time and space in conceptualization of reality. In N. D. Arutyunova (ed.), Logical analysis of language.
Semantics of beginning and end. Moscow: Indrik, 3 18.
Beliaevskaya, . G. (2005) Towards a uniform procedure of conceptual analysis.
Issues of Cognitive Linguistics, 1 (pp. 5 14). Tambov, 5 14.
Dobrushina, E., Mellina, E. & Paillard, D. (2001) Russian prefixes: polysemy and
semantic unity. Moscow: Russkie slovari.
Fillmore, C. J. (1985) Frames and the semantics of understanding. In QS, vol. 6,
222 255.
Herskovits, A. (1986) Language and spatial cognition: An interdisciplinary study of
the prepositions in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jespersen, O. (2002) The philosophy of grammar. Moscow: Editorial URSS.
Kubriakova, . S. (1978). Parts of speech in onomasiological interpretation. Moscow: Science.
Lakoff, G. (1977) Linguistic gestalts. In CLS, v. 13, 236 287.
Paillard, D. (2000). Towards the semantics of the preposition sur in French. In Research on semantics of prepositions. Moscow: Russkie slovari, 152 188.
Pesina, S. A. (2006). Polysemy from the viewpoint of cognitive linguistics. Issues
of Cognitive Linguistics, 2. Tambov, 53 61.
Plungian, V. A. (2003). General morphology: Introduction to the problem. Moscow:
Editorial URSS.
Potiebnia, A. A. (1977). Thought and language. In F. M. Berezin (ed.). In Manual on
Russian linguistics history. Moscow: Higher School, 179 185.
Rock, I. (1980) An Introduction to Perception. Moscow: Pedagogika.
Rosch, E. (1975) Cognitive Representation of Semantic Categories. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 104, 192 233.
Seliviorstova, . N. (1999). Does a preposition have only a grammatical meaning?
Philology problems, 3. Moscow, 26 33.


Alexey Chernyshev

Tyler A. & Evans, V. (2003). The Semantics of English Prepositions: Spatial Scenes,
Embodied Meaning, and Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Uspensky, P. D. (1998) The Fourth dimension. Minsk: Harvest.

Marceli Olma
Pedagogical University of Cracow



The paper is based on a collection of manuscript letters written between 1847 and 1887 by
Zofia Kraszewska to her husband Jzef, who for a quarter of a century was separated from
his family. The author of the paper concentrates his research on initial and final portions of
selected letters, analyses the highly conventionalised honorifics and presents the evolution
of the employed expressions of address, salutations and closing lines. The latter involve
language equivalents of gestures rooted in the cultural traditions of past centuries as well as
directives realised by means of imperatives functioning as requests or even entreaties. The
language of salutations and closing lines is elaborate yet unvaried. Kraszewska employs
a variety of lexical and morphological means to invariably express high esteem and obedience towards the addressee.
According to biographical studies, the signification of the above-mentioned expressions
fails to reflect the true nature of the relationship between the parties to the marital correspondence. It is, in fact, the epistolary convention and the rules of Polish politeness which
prompt the author of the letters to employ the measures guaranteeing the accomplishment of
the letters pragmatic functions.
KEYWORDS: epistolography, pragmalinguistics, language etiquette, language convention

Correspondence, being a substitute for conversation, serves the purpose

of exchanging opinions and answering questions, it also enables the author
to achieve the pre-established practical purposes. With the absent addressee
in mind, the author adopts a suitable conversation strategy, consciously addressing him or her with a coherent sequence of illocutionary acts in order
to accomplish a commonly accepted communication goal (Awdiejew 2007:
69). The comprehensive generic structure of a letter may involve numerous
locutions fulfilling the pragmatic functions of promises, requests, recommendations, proposals, commands, orders, etc. The choice of methods and
means to perform these functions is determined by a number of factors,
including social status of the interlocutors, the nature of their relation, the
repute or prestige of their professional and social stance, manners, age or
even gender. The same factors influence the choice and form of the honorific
language shell, which, yielding to situational ritualisation, reflects the char-


Marceli Olma

acter of ties between the interlocutors and promotes the shaping of interpersonal relations (Kita 2005).
This paper is based on a selection of 841 manuscript letters written between 1847 and 1887 by Zofia Kraszewska to her husband Jzef Ignacy1.
In the initial phase of their marital life, Jzef Ignacy parted with his family
only briefly, travelling to European health resorts. He abandoned his wife
and children permanently with the breakout of the January Uprising (1863),
when he was compelled to leave Warsaw and settle in Dresden. The vast
majority (722) of Zofia Kraszewskas letters date from the 24-year period of
Jzef Ignacys emigration, which lasted until his death.
It should be strongly emphasised that the copiousness of the exchanged
correspondence, striking to a modern reader, results from the fact that during
the entire period of separation the couple had not met even once. The regular
exchange of letters was, therefore, the only means to nurture the weakening
bond between the ever more widely popular and recognised author of Stara
Ba (An Ancient Tale) and Zofia, ailing and mired in Warsaw with her
children and, later, grandchildren.
It may be worthwhile to list selected honorifics employed by Kraszewska
in her correspondence with Jzef Ignacy. One should also establish whether
they were consistent with the customary practices of the 19th century epistolography and whether they evolved with time due to, for instance, the
improving social status of the addressee. Finally, one should attempt to reconstruct the epoch-specific denotation of the adopted honorifics defined as
a combination of the denotation of particular elements and language conventions which remain embedded in the dominant socio-cultural conventions (Sawicka 2006: 68).
The greatest incidence of honorifics in the generic structure of a letter,
which is strongly fossilised, yet gives itself to certain modifications determined by the customs of a given period or the nature of ties between the
author and the addressee, can be found within the texts delimitation framework. A letter is delineated by the salutation, i.e. the initial acknowledgement of the addressee, and the final closing line preceded by the valediction,
compliments and expression of sentiment, gratitude, respect, etc.2. The author of a letter, wishing to establish contact with the addressee, achieve the
particular goals that motivate his writing efforts and finally discontinue his
contact with the receiver, is invariably faced with the necessity to select the
Further detailed information concerning the epistolary legacy of J.I. Kraszewski can be
found in: Olma 2008: 259-272. Cf. the included references.
The formalisation of the genre and its fixed elements is not susceptible to linguistic or
stylistic innovations as it conserves certain archaic sociolinguistic rituals. For this reason,
formalisation partly conceals the authors true attitude towards the addressee, as different
from the declared one (cf. Budrewicz 2000: 196).

Husband and wife...


appropriate letter format and the means for its linguistic execution. Depending on the accuracy of the employed honorifics, the pre-established pragmatic goals are achieved or fail and thus, the epistolary dialogue is either
definitively terminated or further developed.
In the case of long-term private, and in particular marital, correspondence
based on colloquial Polish, referred to as the language of intimacy (Kita
2001: 170-175), one may expect a far reaching freedom in terms of honorific
etiquette. Experience shows, that with time, the locutions filling a letters
generic framework become more relaxed; parting with formality they move
towards a far reaching freedom and individualism. However, the presented
correspondence, does not substantiate this hypothesis. In fact, it demonstrates a contrary tendency.
In the first two decades of her married life, Zofia Kraszewska used a wide
variety of salutations to address the husband in the initial parts of her letters. All such expressions invariably involved the possessive pronoun
mj (my), which, in the case of a sacramental union of two individuals,
refers us to the original signification of reciprocal belonging. Apart from
the possessive pronoun which often, yet not without exceptions, occupied the pronominal position, Kraszewska obligatorily employed a noun
of address in the vocative. This function was fulfilled by the informal diminutive of the husbands second name (the future writer was christened
Ignacy Jzef) Jziu, Jzieczku or/and other emotive noun or even a numeral: Aniele (Angel), Anioku (Little Angel), duszko (soul), kwiatku (flower), ycie (life), czarowniku (enchanter), wszystko (all).
In this period, the author used Panie (Sir), Dobrodzieju (My Lord)
honorifics typical of the past centuries rather infrequently. When referring to the above-mentioned nouns in the salutations, the author also
used attributive expressions - most frequently superlative adjectives.
The following are examples of such expressions: jedyny (only), drogi
(dear), wity (holy), najdroszy (dearest), najukochaszy (most
beloved), najaskawszy (most merciful), najwaniejszy (very own),
najdoskonalszy (most perfect), najwitszy (most holy). The adjectives served to positively valuate, almost hyperbolise the addressee, and
the combination of all elements constituting the expressions of address
ensured their considerable variantivity. The quotations below may serve
as an illustration of the above observations 3:
Majuscules have for some time been employed in honorifics to emphasise the writers
respect for the addressee. In the 19th century, rules concerning the use of majuscules and minuscules were still rather inconsistent, mostly due to the ambiguity of definitions concerning
the proper name concept (Bajerowa 1986: 45-47). For this reason, the author of this paper
quotes Kraszewskas word directly, merely supplying the missing diacritics and punctuation


Marceli Olma

Mj Anioku, mj Jziu drogi

(My Angel, My dear Joe); September 6th 1852
Najdroszy, Najwaniejszy Mj Aniele
( Dearest, My very own, My Angel); August16th 1858
Mj drogi, Mj Aniele wity, Mj Jedyny Dobrodzieju
(My Dear, My Holy Angel, My Only Lord); April 7th 1862

It is worthwhile to compare analogous expressions extracted from Kraszewskas letters to her husband written during his 24-year sojourn abroad.
With time, both their form and expressive charge change significantly. The
salutations no longer contain diminutives or hypocorisms, what is more, the
author ceases to address her husband by his given name and substitutes the
nouns of address with strongly metaphorised expressions rooted in Christian
or classical tradition. These measures deprive the salutations of their informal (familiar) qualities and imply a growing distance between the parties to
the correspondence:

Mj Najpierwszy i Najdroszy Mistrzu

(My Very First and Dearest Master); November 9th 1865
Filarze nasz najdroszy
(Our dearest Pillar); July 8th 1883
Nasze Soce
(Our Sun); May 29th 1884
Boe mj na tej ziemi
(My God on this earth); January 15th 1886
Ty Otarzu mj na tej Ziemi
(My Altar on this Earth); May 16th 1886

The stylistics of the salutations is closely linked with the letters closing
lines. The parallelity is expressed in the frequent use of the possessive pronoun twj (yours), or such adjectival or participial expressions as wierna
(faithful), wdziczna (grateful), przywizana (affectionate), oddana
(devoted), najszczliwsza (happiest), najwierniejsza (most faithful),
and other, which, in this case, refer mainly to the author of the letters herself.
In the initial period of their separation, which both parties of the epistolary
dialogue expected to terminate presently, the author used to enrich the conventional closing lines with novel elements in order to express her affection,
yearning and longing for intimacy. In her anxious inquiries for her husbands
health, Kraszewska used abundant diminiutive-hypocorist derivatives such
as: boczek (dearest side), rczki (dearest arms), nki (dearest legs),
lipita (beloved eyes), wosita (beloved hair) and other. All these expressions were to convey the authors genuine emotions (cf. Nagrko 2003:
217-233) and evoke even greater benevolence and forbearance in the addressee. The linguistic form of the closing lines employed by Kraszewska

Husband and wife...


evolves significantly with her husbands improving social status as a famous

writer. In the later letters, she invariably refers to herself as wierna (faithful), niezmienna (constant) in her feelings for him, przywizana i oddana
(affectionate and devoted) to her husband, yet, fully aware of natures implacable course, she also calls herself najobrzydliwsza (the most hideuos),
stara (old), wta (fragile) and nudna baba (boring old woman), or
even proch (dust), potwr (monster), ndzota (wretch), niedoga (decrepit), robak ndzny (despicable worm), szpetota obrzydliwa (hideous
eyesore), stary grat (relic), niedomieciony mie (unswept piece of rubbish). These expressions remain in striking stylistic discord with the lofty
lexis used with reference to the addressee and reveal the authors attitude of
submission and self-criticism, which, perhaps, aims at evoking compassion
or even pity in the receiver, e.g.:


Najwierniejsza, Najwdziczniejsza do grobu i Najszczliwsza od wszystkich

na wiecie, zawsze Twoja a Twoja Zofia
(The Most Faithfull, The Most Grateful until the end of our days and the
Happiest of all people in the world, forever Yours, Your Zofia); August 20th
Zawsze i wszdzie do ostatniego tchu caa w Tobie, dla Ciebie nudna Zofia
(Forever and everywhere, till the last breath all in You, for You, boring Zofia); July 19th 1858
Do grobowej deski Twoja dusz, ciaem najobrzydliwsza Zofia
(Till death do us part Yours with my body and soul, the most hideous Zofia);
July 13th 1864
Ta sama stara i wta Zofia
(The same old and fragile Zofia); January 11th 1882

The final paragraphs also included linguistic equivalents of honorific gestures 4. Employing verbs such as upada (fall), cieli si (prostrate) and
kania si (bow), these expressions define the author as subordinate to
the addressee and intensify the illocutionary power of the valedictions. The
actions these expressions refer to were typical of the unequal relations characteristic of the Polish reality of centuries past (Cybulski 2003). The expressions were conserved in the form of linguistic clichs and today convey the
ideas of humility, respect, gratitude and devotion. They serve the very same
purpose in Zofia Kraszewskas correspondence with her husband, e.g.:

Za kade sowo, za Kad literk rce i Nogi Twoje cauj

(For each word, for Eeach letter I kiss your hands and Your Feet); May
28th 1849

This question is investigated in a separate paper based on data excerpted from a collection
of 19th century marital correspondence of Mieczysaw and Helena Pawlikowscy (M. Olma,
in print).


Marceli Olma

Cauj Twoje najdrosze apki mj Jziu Najdroszy, Najaskawszy

(I Kiss your dearest hands my Dearest, Kindest Joe); May 19th 1858
A wic ciel si u ng Twych Najrodzeszych. Jedna zawsze i ta sama Zofia
(And so I fall to your Most Beloved feet. Forever unchanged Zofia); June
Do Ng Twych Aniele Mj upadam jak duga, jak jest wielk wdziczno
moja dla Ciebie
(I fall to Your Feet My Angel with my entire self, my gratitude for You is
great); February 19th 1873

Irrespective of generic conventions governing letter writing, the family

model dominant in Kraszewskas epoch or the social status of the author
of Stara ba, (An Ancient Tale), certain stylistic means applied in the
presented correspondence undoubtedly astound the contemporary reader. It
is particularly conspicuous that Kraszewska repeatedly refers to the linguistic stereotype of a faithful, obedient dog, suffering when separated from the
master (Mosioek 1992: 301-304). The vocabulary employed by Kraszewska explicitly focuses on this motif, e.g.: verbs: wy (howl), poliza (lick),
posili si (eat), tskni (long), the adjective wierny (faithfull) in the
comparative and the noun derivative psica (she dog). One also notices the
innovative expression: funkcja Cerberowa (Cerberus function), referring
to the mythical dog whose name is synonymous with a fearsome, watchful
and relentless guard.


eby cho czasem ta stara psica Zofia przysza Ci na myl

( I do hope you think sometime of Zofia, your ancient she dog); July 16th
Jak by to dobrze Tobie byo eby we mnie nie mia tego wyjcego psa ktry
by wszystko odda by cho poliza rk - by cho Kruszyn posili si Czy
nie prawda Aniele mj? Znam, wiem doskonale jak i co jest a mimo to,
wyjc, tskni pacz
(How good it would be for You not to have me, the howling dog willing
to give up everything in return for a chance to lick your hand to eat but
a Morsel Is it not the truth, my Angel? I do know it full well, still, howling,
I long, I cry); September 10th 1875
Wysaam wszystkie Twe ksiki i moja funkcja Cerberowa ustaa i na ni
koniec przyszed
(I have sent all Your books and so my Cerberus function has terminated it
has also ceased to be); 17 VI 1880

Apart from the above-mentioned linguistic measures employed with a

view to creating the aura of politeness, the closing lines also include directive expressions which remain in natural contradiction with the rules of
linguistic etiquette, as they allow the author to enter the addressees private
sphere, attempt to influence his behaviour or shape his attitudes (Laskowski

Husband and wife...


1998: 529). Assuming a demanding attitude and directing at the addressee

a series of speech acts characterised by voluntal modalities (in the understanding proposed by A. Wierzbicka 1983: 125137), the author aims at
accomplishing the practical goals of the proceeding conversation. At the
same time, in order to save the interlocutors face (Goffman 1967), or,
possibly, anticipate potential resistance, the author selects suitable, in his or
her opinion, linguistic means.
In Zofia Kraszewskas letters, the function of persuasion seems to be principally fulfilled by numerous entreaties addressed at the authors husband
and based upon a performative verb e.g.: prosz (ask), bagam (pray),
ebrz (beg), zaklinam (beseech), and/or the imperative. Being the most
common way to express a request in the Polish language (Labocha 1985:
119146; 1986: 203217), the imperative also presupposes the authors
dominance over the subordinated addressee. For this reason, its explicitness
is occasionally weakened by the accompanying verbs or other lexical
exponents such as: tylko (only), cho troch (but a little), czasem
(sometimes), etc., employed to minimise the effort on the part of the
addressee, e.g.:


O komreczk Maluczk w Sercu Twoim prosz bagam

(I ask - I beg for nothing but a Tiny cell in Your heart); July 12th 1848
Zno cho troch Star a wdziczn - wiern do mierci Zofi
(Do endure but a little the Old but grateful faithful till the grave Zofia);
July 12th 1861
Wracaj mi wracaj i kochaj cho troch Nudn, przenudn, wiern
Najwierniejsz, Najwdziczniejsz Zofi
(Return, oh return and love but a little the Boring, the most boring, the faithful the most Faithful, the most Grateful Zofia); February 27th 1859
Mj drogi - Wejrzesz (!) ze Szczotki Kapk Wositw Twoich - a przyszlij mi
je w licie - Niech je powcham cho - ucauj
Dear Do Collect (!) a Tuft of Your Beloved Hair from the Brush send it to
me in a letter Let me but smell it kiss it); December 29th 1865
ebrz u Ciebie, miej cho troch Serca dla dzieci i Siebie
(I pray You have some heart for the children and for Yourself); 1869

Zofia, expecting a prompt reunion with Jzef, repeatedly asked her husbands consent for a trip to Dresden. Direct request are however infrequent;
what is more, the author never fails to extenuate her imperatives with reassurance and promises and substitutes the anticipated second person synthetic imperative with analytical third person imperative:

Pomnij jeszcze o mnie - We mnie na Kuchark - na praczk, a zarczam Ci,

upewniam e wymaga nie bd zarobi sama na Siebie osobno - We no
tylko, we do Siebie, zmiuj si


Marceli Olma


(Do remember me Take me as your Cook a whasherwoman, and I promise to be undemanding I will earn My living Do take me, have mercy);
May 23rd 1880
Niech e wic duszka moja siedzi spokojnie, bdzie zdrowiutka a jeli bro
Boe przecignie si ta bieda, pozwoli cho na chwilk do siebie przyjecha
stara si bd jak najmnij Ci zawadza, pzelki pomyj, zgotuj obiad,
moe lepszy jak ta objecana Kucharka, wrc kiedy rozkaesz
(I hope my soul is safe and sound and if, God forbid, our misery continues,
I hope you will allow me a short visit - I will attempt to disturb you as little as
possible, I will wash the brushes, prepare dinners, perhaps even tastier than
the promised Cook, and leave when you order me to); February 30th 1879

Much more frequently however, Zofias requests were intermediate speech

acts (Awdiejew 1987: 49-57), which, admittedly, offer the addressee a wide
range of interpretation possibilities and facilitate the authors acceptance of
a potential refusal. Zofias admonitions with reference to the unanswered
questions concerning their common future should be understood conformably (widziski 1973: 221-249). Their deep structure conceals an attempt
to encourage the husbands efforts to fulfill the implied wishes or at least
revive the fading hopes for their realisation, e.g.:

Powiedz mi, powiedz drogi mj - czy ja Stara Zofja zobacz Ci kiedy jeszcze? Czy tak na tym wyczekiwaniu zamkn Oczy przyjdzie?
(Tell me, tell me my dear will I, the Old Zofia, ever see you again? Will
I have to close my Eyes waiting?); November 11th1872

Analogous function is performed by utterances employing the conditional:




Prawda mj Aniele chyba tam do Ziemlanki bym si przeniosa, na poddasze, byle raz ju si na nowo przy Tobie umieci, choby w wychodku
(It is true my Angel, I could move to a dugout there, an attic, just to place
myself next to You again, even in Kronenbergs outhouse); April 29th 1862
W danj chwili jeeli by zada a moebno bya ku temu i piechot
trafiabym do Ciebie
(If at any given moment you were to require and the circumstances were
favourable, I would walk all the way to You); July 1st 1875
Ach ja ju wszystko bym spokojnie, cicho przyjmowaa - znosia - ebym
moga mie tylko t pewno, rkojmi e doyj - e do czekam chwili zobaczenia Ciebie, upadnicia Ci do ng
(I would tolerate - bear -everything peacefully, quietly, if I only had the
certainty, the warranty that I will last I will live to see You, to fall to your
feet); December 17th 1869

In her letters, Kraszewska also attempted to persuade Ignacy Jzef to refrain from particular actions. Utterances to this effect involve the use of
imperative verb forms preceded by the negative particle nie (no) and con-

Husband and wife...


stitute pseudo-prohibitions, the violation of which not only implicates no

consequences, but is, in fact, favourable to the author. From the semantic
perspective, these utterances are, therefore, tantamount to polite requests
where the speaker, wishing not to impose herself on the addressee, employs
an indirect speech act:


Pozwl cho czasem powiedzie Swko o tsknocie dla ulgi a ty nie

czytaj tego
(Allow me sometime to say but a Word about my longing for relief and
you refrain from reading it); May 17th 1854
Rzu to i nie czytaj tego, bo doprawdy szkoda ocztw Twoich
(Cast it aside, do not read it, do not waste your beloved eyes); August 31st
Zlituj si, nami nie kopocz si. Kochaj tylko jeli moesz Swoje Zosisko
(Have mercy, do not trouble yourself. Just Love, if you can, Your old Zofia); April 2nd 1861

The presented selection of salutations and closing lines appears to conjure

a linguistic image of a 19th century matrimony (if one were to modify the
meaning of a certain collocation, it could be referred to as a paper marriage). The union seems to be free of all conflicts; the head of the family
the beloved and loving husband - enjoys the due respect of his near and
dear ones, secures their existence and cares for their health, attempting, with
his letters, to minimise the physical distance between Dresden and Warsaw.
Zofia Kraszewska, on the other hand, has the features of a household goddess, a caring mother and a grandmother. She is a docile, faithful, empathic
wife with a tendency for bigotry; a wife who uses her husbands generosity efficiently, yet not without certain reservations (are these truly genuine?). The aforementioned positive valuation of the addressee is achieved
by means of nouns carrying positive connotations, their diminutive variants
as well as adjectives and adverbs appearing most frequently in the superlative. Kraszewskas image is based on the depreciation of the authors own
merits and function in the relationship. The author creates it by employing
depreciating adjectival epithets, suitable phraseology, noun derivatives and
verbal gestures. These lexical choices are more than a mere manifestation of
a language convention, which used to oblige, and still obliges, the author of
a letter (or even the participant of a face to face conversation), irrespective
of age and gender, to demonstrate humility and helpfulness towards the interlocutor (Marcjanik 1997; Kita 2005) - all of which remains in agreement
with the 19th century morals and customs. The position of a woman in the
societies of centuries past was entirely dependent upon her father and, later,
husband. This state of affairs found its reflection in the Polish language and
its vocabulary of kinship derived from masculine names, or the still prac-


Marceli Olma

ticed tradition of women (and children) adopting the husbands (fathers)

The analysed salutations and closing lines contain mutually redundant
acts of honorific etiquette. Since they do not come under the criterion of
truth, they can be classified as performative expressions, representing the
class of behavitives, whose function is to create favourable, friendly atmosphere. They do not fully reflect the nature of interdependence between the
corresponding parties because linguistic etiquette, being a type of a socially
accepted game, presupposes symmetry of honorific behaviour. Cultural convention, constituted partially by linguistic politeness, obliges all participants
of a speech act to demonstrate solidarity with the interlocutor and assume
the position of a subordinate, independently of the factual social status.5.
A thorough review of the presented letters, allows to explicitly assert that
Kraszewska avoided all issues, which may have become a source of conflict
and, as a consequence, lead to the termination of the epistolary exchange.
The duration of the long-standing correspondence proves that the author
applied honorifics efficiently and appropriately, demonstrating a good grasp
of epistolary culture and pragmatic conventions (Morgan 1978; Grochowski
However, the previously mentioned question of sincerity behind these
speech acts must not be overlooked. Certain facts of the couples troubled
marital life6 bring this aspect of the analysis into focus. The marriage was
plagued by Kraszewskis numerous love affairs, what is more, the writer
not only rejected the possibility of living with his wife in Dresden, but also
refused to meet her during the entire period of their separation, which lasted
a quarter of a century. Kraszewska was well aware of her husbands conduct
and initially made unsuccessful attempts at discrediting her rivals. Nevertheless, during Jzefs lifetime she never reproached him. It was only after
his death that, overwhelmed with grief and helplessness and faced with permanent disintegration of her unfortunate marriage, the widow destroyed all
the letters received from her husband (Kochanowska 1989: 44-57).
These facts challenge the manifestations of epistolary etiquette and their
the veracity as well as Kraszewskas readiness to broach delicate subjects
openly. The salutations and closing lines employed in the correspondence
exchanged during the earlier phase of the married life, seem to exemplify the
effective loosening of the yoke of epistolary convention (Ksiek 2008: 43).
The rule of subordination branches into four detailed rules: the rule of understating ones
worth, the rule of belittling ones merits, the rule of aggrandising ones faults and the rule of
minimising the partners offences (cf. Marcjanik 1997: 151275).
Further information can be found in the works of W. Danek (1976), an accomplished editor who devoted his research to the life and art of Bolesawita.

Husband and wife...


The spontaneity of the utterances and their saturation with emotional elements manifest the intensity of feeling, which Kraszewska attempts to curb
by adequate linguistic means. The author also expresses her conviction that
all words are inadequate in the face of her boundless devotion and passionate love for the husband. A. Wierzbickas opinion on the inexpressibility of
feelings as states devoid of structure which could be reproduced by words
(Wierzbicka 1971: 30) is fully corroborated in Kraszewskas letters:

S czasem uczucia, na ktre wyrae niema, znajduj si wanie w takim

pooeniu. Serce bije, gowa paa, a Sowa wszystkie zimne, czcze przeciwko
tego ognia, co w duszy gore. Ty Sam wszechwiedz Swoj pojmiesz, przeczytasz, odgadniesz i przyjmiesz takim Sercem, jakim ja te uczucia moje u Ng
Twoich skadam
(At times there are feelings words cannot describe, this is exactly what I am
feeling now. My heart is pounding, my head is feverish and the Words remain
cold, futile against the fire scorching my soul. You, in your omniscience, will
apprehend, read, guess and accept my Heart and my Feelings as I lay them at
your Feet); March 12th 1860

The passing years and the fading hopes for domestic stability prompted
the increasing use of balanced and restrained expressions of address. With
time, they lose some of their former sophistication and authenticity, yet one
cannot altogether deny their genuineness or, at least, emotional charge communicated via numerous adjectival and adverbial intensifiers (Nowakowska-Kempna 1986: 222-223). It is thanks to the intensifiers that the honorifics
retain their emotional charge despite a high degree of formalisation (Marcjanik 1982: 70). The demonstrated peculiarities prove beyond doubt that,
with time, the author of the epistolary collection under analysis, presented
herself ever more frequently as subordinated to her distant husband. The
characterisitic metaphorics of salutations and closing lines reflects the so
called vertical axiology (Budrewicz 2000: 193-209) and employs various
lexical (elevated lexis, official titulature), morphological (degree category,
diminiutive-hypocorist formations) and phraseological means. Despite their
conventionality, the above-mentioned expressions invariably convey high
esteem for the addressee, indirectly performing the function of persuasion.
With their assistance, Kraszewska, in fact flattered her husband and by discreetly appealing to his sense of responsibility towards the abandoned family she was able to accomplish her practical goals of receiving financial support which allowed her to satisfy lifes basic needs. The analysed letters also
corroborate the hypothesis formulated by A. Awdiejew, who claimed that
a convention generally accepted by speakers (writers) and reflected in the
indicated linguistic formulas, serves the purpose of communication, at the
same time supporting the achievement of the pre established goal (2007).


Marceli Olma

The image of a matrimony, reconstructed on the basis of the selected honorifics, appears however to be one-sided and mystify the imperfections of a
union between a typical 19th century Polish woman and her husband; a man
of distinction, yet far from the unattainable ideal. The conditionings of the
surrounding milieu, the morals and customs of the epoch and, finally, the generic determinants of a letter a genre naturally oriented at communication
and achievement of a practical goal obliged the corresponding parties to
use the riches of language etiquette prudently and curtail the negative feelings, lest their expression breaks the fragile thread of epistolary dialogue.
Awdiejew, A. (1987). Pragmatyczne podstawy interpretacji wypowiedze, Krakw.
Awdiejew, A. (2007). Gramatyka interakcji werbalnej, Krakw.
Bajerowa, I. (1986). Polski jzyk oglny. Stan i ewolucja, Vol. 1: Ortografia, fonetyka z fonologi, Katowice.
Budrewicz, T. (2000). Intytulacje i submisje w listach pisanych do Jzefa Ignacego Kraszewskiego. In E. Sztachelska & J. Dbrowicz (eds), Sztuka pisania.
O licie polskim w wieku XIX, Biaystok, 193209.
Cybulski, M. (2003). Obyczaje jzykowe dawnych Polakw. Formuy werbalne
w dobie redniopolskiej, d.
Danek, W. (1976). Jzef Ignacy Kraszewski. Zarys biograficzny, Warszawa.
Goffman, E. (1967). Interactional Ritual: Essays on Face to Face Behaviour, Garden City-New York.
Grochowski, M. (1993). Konwencje semantyczne a definiowanie wyrae jzykowych, Warszawa.
Kita M. (2001). Jzyk potoczny jako jzyk bliskoci. In G. Habrajska (eds) Jzyk
w komunikacji, d, Vol. 1, 170175.
Kita, M. (2005). Jzykowe rytuay grzecznociowe, Katowice.
Kochanowska, E. (1989). ony sawnych mw, Gdask.
Ksiek, E. (2008). Tekst epistolarny w wietle etykiety jzykowej, Krakw.
Labocha, J. (1985). Sposoby wyraania dania we wspczesnej polszczynie mwionej. Part I, Polonica XI, Krakw, 119146.
Labocha, J. (1986). Sposoby wyraania dania we wspczesnej polszczynie mwionej. Part II, Polonica XII, Krakw, 203217.
Laskowski, R. (1998). Semantyka trybu rozkazujcego, Polonica, Krakw, 529.
Marcjanik, M. (1982). O uyciu performatywnym czasownika. In Jzyk. Teoria
dydaktyka, Kielce, 6471.
Marcjanik, M. (1997). Polska grzeczno jzykowa, Kielce.
Marcjanik, M. (2007). Grzeczno w komunikacji jzykowej, Warszawa.
Morgan, J.L. (1978). Two Types of Convention in Indirect Speech Acts. In P. Cole
(ed.), Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 9: Pragmatics, New York, 261280.

Husband and wife...


Nagrko, A. (2003). Rnicowanie i unifikacja rodkw sowotwrczych w subie

pragmatyki. In I. Ohnheiser (ed.), Komparacja systemw i funkcjonowania
wspczesnych jzykw sowiaskich, Vol. 1: Sowotwrstwo. Nominacja,
Opole, 217233.
Nowakowska-Kempna, I. (1986). Konstrukcje zdaniowe z leksykalnymi wykadnikami predykatw uczu, Katowice.
Nowakowska-Kempna, I. (ed.). (1992). Jzyk a kultura, Vol. 8: Podstawy metodologiczne semantyki wspczesnej, Wrocaw.
Olma, M. (2008). Listy Zofii Kraszewskiej (ony) do Jzefa Ignacego Kraszewskiego. Perspektywy badawcze. In T. Szymaski, E. Stachurski i S. Koziara
(eds), Annales Academiae Paedagogicae Cracoviensis, Studia Linguistica
III, Krakw, 259272.
Olma, M. (in print). Jzykowe ekwiwalenty gestw w korespondencji maeskiej
Heleny Pawlikowskiej.
Sawicka, G. (2006). Jzyk a konwencja, Bydgoszcz.
widziski, M. (1973). Analiza semiotyczna wypowiedze pytajnych we wspczesnym jzyku polskim, Studia Semiotyczne, IV, 221249.
Wierzbicka, A. (1971). Kocha, lubi, szanuje. Medytacje semantyczne, Warszawa.
Wierzbicka, A. (1983). Genry mowy. In T. Dobrzyska, E. Janus (eds), Tekst i zdanie. Zbir studiw, Wrocaw, 125137.

Laura Suchostawska
Wrocaw University


In cognitive semantics, inspired by Lakoff and Johnsons writings, the embodiment of
meaning and thought is considered to be based on image schemas. Although image schemas
play a crucial role in cognitive semantics, there is quite a lot of disagreement about what
constitutes an image schema as well as about their nature and characteristics. The role of
image schemas in conceptual metaphors is problematic as well. After a brief presentation of
the theoretical assumptions of cognitive semantics, the foundation of embodiment, i.e. image
schemas, and then a crucial link between embodiment and abstract meaning, i.e. conceptual
metaphors, are discussed. Some possibilities of future development are also suggested, such
as postulating new image schemas, creating a hierarchy of schemas, and devoting more attention to the cultural dimension of cognition.
KEYWORDS: cognitive semantics, embodiment, image schema, conceptual metaphor

Cognition is embodied in an obvious way: cognitive processes are dependent on the human body, especially the brain and the senses. People are
able to gather information about the external, physical world because they
can move in space, see and touch objects, hear sounds, etc. Even the use of
language and the more abstract learning processes that language enables
are dependent on the body and the senses: hearing or vision. And all kinds
of data gathered in these ways are processed in the brain. However, some
scholars argue that embodiment of cognition and language is much more
than that. Not only does the body enable humans to think and learn, but it
also shapes their ways of thinking, their conceptual systems, and their language in a significant and fundamental way. It is this second, more radical
understanding of embodiment that we will focus on here.
Embodiment is a very broad notion understood in different ways by different
scholars and researchers (cf. Ziemke, Zlatev and Frank 2007). Studies of embodiment range from philosophical investigations, linguistic analyses and psy-


Laura Suchostawska

chological experiments to neurological research and neurocomputational modeling. Moreover, approaches to embodiment are evolving over time. The idea
was first emphasized and developed in the middle of the previous century within
phenomenology, especially by Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1945). Much later, in
the 1980s, a new version of embodiment was adopted as a basis of emerging
cognitive linguistics (cf. Lakoff and Johnson 1980, Lakoff 1987, Johnson 1987).
Lakoff and Johnson (1999) provide a more recent discussion of embodiment
and its significance for cognitive linguistics and cognitive science in general.
A comprehensive review of such a broad topic as embodiment of meaning in
cognitive semantics is beyond the scope of a single paper and the discussion will
concentrate mainly on the ideas developed by these two scholars. While they are
representative of cognitive semantics, it should be remembered that cognitive
semantics, and especially cognitive linguistics in general, is not homogeneous
and other scholars may adopt different views on the issues discussed here. Consequently, it should be borne in mind that the remarks presented in the paper do
not necessarily apply to all cognitive linguists.
After a brief presentation of the theoretical assumptions of cognitive semantics developed by Lakoff and Johnson, two main constituents of their
theory of embodied meaning will be discussed: image schemas, which form
the foundation of embodiment of meaning, and conceptual metaphors, which
constitute a crucial link between embodied experience (represented by image schemas) and abstract meaning. Obviously, the paper cannot provide
a complete overview of these issues and concentrates only on some aspects
of image schemas and their role in conceptual metaphors.
Lakoff and Johnson emphasize the importance of the bodily and experiential basis of the human mind, concepts, ways of reasoning, and, consequently,
language, as well as their imaginative character (cf. Lakoff and Johnson 1980,
Lakoff 1987, Johnson 1987, Lakoff and Johnson 1999). In other words, what
determines the nature of the human conceptual system to a large extent is the
way people experience themselves as beings with the kind of bodies they have,
as well as their everyday experience of the world around them and of their interactions with the physical, social, and cultural environment. Lakoff and Johnson (1980, 1999) argue that physical experience is imaginatively elaborated and
metaphorically extended to structure other, more abstract kinds of experience
and concepts connected with them.
The embodied sensorimotor experience provides humans with certain
constant, recurring patterns, general and flexible schemas structuring their

Embodiment of meaning...


subsequent perception and interaction with the physical environment. These

patterns, called image schemas, are then imaginatively extended by means
of conceptual metaphors and applied to other, sometimes equally basic but
more abstract and less clearly defined domains of experience, e.g. emotional, social, political, economic, cultural, etc. Such metaphorical ways of understanding one domain in terms of another, more concrete and tangible one,
provide the target domain with basic structure borrowed from the source
domain and enable people both to reason and to talk about the more abstract
domain. Conceptual metaphor, then, can be seen as a bridge between bodily
experience and abstract thought. According to Lakoff and Johnson (1980,
1999), no abstract concepts or abstract thoughts are possible without bodily
experience, which shapes them to a large extent.
Studying human language, which is shaped by and thus reflects the nature
and structure of the cognitive system, can provide an insight into human
cognitive mechanisms and processes. Linguistic studies and linguistic evidence constitute a large and important part of the data supporting the theory
of experientialism / embodied realism. Especially in their earlier study, Lakoff and Johnson (1980) appear to treat linguistic data as a primary source
of evidence in their research into the nature of human understanding and
believe that by studying linguistic expressions they can arrive at general
cognitive principles: We are concerned primarily with how people understand their experiences. We view language as providing data that can lead
to general principles of understanding (Lakoff and Johnson 1980: 116).
Apart from the study of language, then, the role of cognitive semantics is
increasing the knowledge and understanding of what it is to be human: the
ways people experience, understand, and conceptualize the world. In other
words, cognitive semantics investigates the ways people think about their
experience through the ways they talk (or write) about it. As only the latter
of these activities is directly accessible to us, the research starts with the
analysis of language to discover the hidden layers of human thought and
cognitive processes forming its basis. By investigating language, cognitive
semanticists do not discover linguistic facts only, but these linguistic results
can also give them insight into human cognitive mechanisms and into the
ways humans understand, conceptualize, and reason about their experience
in various areas of life.
Image schemas arising from human embodied experience play an important
role in cognitive semantics. As Dodge and Lakoff (2005) observe, [i]mage


Laura Suchostawska

schemas play a vital role in fitting language to experience (60-61). Johnson

(1987) defines an image schema as a recurring, dynamic pattern of our perceptual interactions and motor programs that gives coherence and structure
to our experience (xiv). An image schema unites the multitude of various
experiences (bodily movement, manipulation of objects, perceptual interactions) which share the same basic structure (Johnson 1987: 2). Even though
the notion of an image schema was first introduced over twenty years ago
and although image schemas play a crucial role in cognitive semantics, there
is still quite a lot of disagreement about what constitutes an image schema as
well as about their nature and characteristics (cf. Hampe 2005).
Johnson (1987: 126) presents the following list of image schemas (in
PROCESS, COLLECTION. The provisional list of image schemas provided
by Johnson (1987) is the most extensive collection, but it is neither exhaustive, as some additional image schemas have been proposed by other scholars, nor coherent, as it contains items of varying complexity and concreteness. Moreover, while some of Johnsons schemas, such as CONTAINER,
PATH, PART-WHOLE, CENTER-PERIPHERY, are well described and widely
applied in research, the nature of some other schemas from Johnsons list
seems unclear and they are not discussed by him, e.g. ITERATION, MERGING, MATCHING, SUPERIMPOSITION.
Some schemas are closely connected with embodied experience of functioning in the world. They include the BALANCE schema, the various schemas connected with FORCE (COUNTERFORCE, COMPULSION, ATTRACTION, BLOCKAGE, ENABLEMENT, RESTRAINT REMOVAL), as well
as many other schemas: CONTAINER, FULL-EMPTY, PATH, NEAR-FAR,
proposed by Johnson, such as CYCLE, SCALE, OBJECT, PROCESS, are very
general, abstract and sometimes quite complex notions, difficult to observe
in direct bodily experience and interaction with things, and certainly connected with more abstract conceptual processes.
We can also observe that some schemas are very specific, referring only to
particular types of entities and relationships between them, e.g. CONTAINER, while others are common elements of many different entities and relations, e.g. SURFACE, CONTACT. Some schemas from Johnsons list are actually simple parts of other, more complex schemas. For instance, FULL and
EMPTY are two possible conditions of the CONTAINER schema (presence

Embodiment of meaning...


or lack of content inside it), and LINK is the relationship between PARTS of
Kreitzer (1997: 293) divides schemas into three types: (1) component
level schemas are nondecomposable and constitute the simplest schematization of individual objects; (2) relational level schemas are decomposable into a trajector and a landmark and represent the conceptualization of
spatial relations expressed by prepositions; (3) integrative level schemas
are complex schemas in which relational level schemas are integrated at the
phrasal level with other schemas. Cienki (1997: 7-9) also points out that image schemas are not isolated but often co-occur in our experience as experiential gestalts in which one schema is superimposed on another. A similar
division can be applied to image schemas proposed and discussed by Johnson (1987). We can observe that image schemas are not all of the same type:
some are components and some are relations between those components.
Moreover, several distinct image schemas can be combined together and
still form coherent gestalt schemas.
For instance, CONTAINER and CONTENT can be considered component
level schemas, while the relation between them, CONTAINMENT, is a relational schema. Similarly, PARTS and WHOLE are component schemas and
LINK is the relation between them. The PATH schema is a relation between
three components: a SOURCE, a GOAL, and a MOVER moving simultaneously away from the source and to the goal.
Integrative level schemas result from a combination of two (or more) relational level schemas into a coherent, experientially based gestalt. Thus,
the complex schemas of MOVEMENT INTO and OUT OF A CONTAINER
are integrative schemas combining the CONTAINMENT and PATH relational schemas, where the CONTENT is simultaneously the MOVER and the
CONTAINER is either the SOURCE, for OUT OF, or the GOAL, for INTO
(cf. a similar interpretation by Dodge and Lakoff 2005: 62). SPLITTING is
a complex schema which results from the integration of the LINK schema
with the PATH schema, where a PART becomes the MOVER that becomes
separated (NO LINK) and moves away from a WHOLE (construed as the
SOURCE). Such integrative level schemas consist of a combination of two
relational level schemas which naturally co-occur in our experience: interacting with containers involves movement into and out of them along a path,
and separating a part from a whole results in the parts movement away from
the whole along a path.
Let us finally consider some possible gaps in the image schema inventory,
which can be discovered when we examine our everyday experience with
our bodies and the world around us. It is surprising that the list of schemas
in a theory based on the idea of embodiment does not include the body sche-


Laura Suchostawska

ma. The body schema was already introduced by Merleau-Ponty (1945) and
more recently employed by Gallagher (cf. e.g. Gallagher 2007). He defines
it in the following way: Body schema is a system of processes that constantly regulate posture and movement: sensory-motor processes that function without reflective awareness or the necessity of perceptual monitoring
(Gallagher 2007: 273 [emphasis original]). Moreover, our own body is also
crucial for understanding other human beings with the same kind of bodies:
For Husserl, understanding another person is not a matter of intellectual
inference but a matter of sensory activations that are unified in or by the animate organism or lived body that is perceiving another animate organism
(Gallagher 2007: 286). Thus, the body schema is responsible not only for
our own bodily functioning in the world but it also enables us to understand
other people through their bodily actions and behavior, and to some extent
also animals.
Therefore, the BODY schema should definitely be introduced into the inventory of image schemas. But the human body is just one type of organism
and, on the basis of our experience and natural categorization processes, we
could postulate the existence of a general schema ORGANISM, which would
comprise three more specific schemas: the more specific BODY schema for
humans, the more flexible ANIMAL schema for all other moving organisms,
which typically have at least such basic parts as the head, the trunk, and in
most cases some limbs, and the PLANT schema for immovable organisms,
which usually have such basic parts as the root and leaves, and often a stem
or a trunk. All types of organisms are clearly distinguished by humans from
inanimate matter, usually substances without clear-cut boundaries, such as
air, water, earth, and rock, which could be represented by the SUBSTANCE
schema, further subdivided into GAS, LIQUID and SOLID SUBSTANCE
Image schemas themselves, although they are the basic elements of the
theory of embodied meaning, would not be very useful, as they are directly
involved only in concrete, physical concepts and meaning. Equally important for the model of embodied meaning are conceptual metaphors, which
import elements of embodied experience to abstract domains of knowledge.
In their first book, Lakoff and Johnson (1980) introduce a new notion of
conceptual metaphors, involving two different domains of experience and
establishing a number of correspondences or mappings between them, and

Embodiment of meaning...


argue for prior metaphorical ways of thinking, which underlie the emergence of metaphorical language. Unlike many other metaphor researchers
and theorists, then, Lakoff and Johnson (1980) distinguish between conceptual metaphors in the mind and metaphorical expressions, which are linguistic realizations of conceptual metaphors.
Lakoff (1990) argues that many abstract concepts arise from metaphorical
mappings of spatial concepts and that abstract reason arises via metaphorical mapping when the cognitive topology of image-schemas is preserved by
the mapping, which in turn preserves the inferential structure of those spatial concepts (73). The so-called Invariance Hypothesis is an attempt to determine and formulate constraints on the transfer of image-schematic structure from the source to the target domain. Different, stronger and weaker,
versions of the hypothesis have been proposed. Lakoff (1990) provides the
following formulation of the Invariance Hypothesis: Metaphorical mappings preserve the cognitive topology (this is, the image-schema structure)
of the source domain so that all source domain inferences due to cognitive
topology (image-schema structure) will be preserved in the mapping (54),
but adding later: All metaphorical mappings are partial. What is mapped
preserves image-schematic structure, though not all image-schematic structure need be mapped (Lakoff 1990: 72).
Turner (1990), on the other hand, emphasizes that we are constrained
not to violate the image-schematic structure of the target (252) and proposes the following statement of the hypothesis: In metaphoric mapping,
for those components of the source and target domains determined to be involved in the mapping, preserve the image-schematic structure of the target,
and import as much image-schematic structure from the source as is consistent with that preservation (Turner 1990: 254). Later, Lakoff (1993) admits
too: Metaphorical mappings preserve the cognitive topology (that is, the
image-schema structure) of the source domain, in a way consistent with the
inherent structure of the target domain (215).
However, if abstract target domains are assumed to be structured metaphorically in terms of physical source domains, where does their prior, inherent structure, which cannot be violated by metaphorical mappings, come
from? Discussing the hypothesis, Turner (1993) himself admits: I have
nothing approaching a definition or taxonomy of image schemas, a theory
of how they arise and work, or an explanation of their role in structuring
concepts (298). Thus, the Invariance Hypothesis gives rise to more questions than answers and has met with reservations from the very beginning
(e.g. Brugman 1990).
Haser (2005: 148-150, 165-166) and also Pawelec (2006a: 49-50) question the view that conceptual metaphors enable the transfer of structure from


Laura Suchostawska

a more clearly delineated, more concrete source domain to a more abstract

target domain in order to help people understand the abstract domain. Both
critics argue that people usually have some prior and independent knowledge and understanding of the target domain and its inherent structure,
which enables them to notice a sufficient analogy between the two domains,
as a prerequisite for creating a metaphor: Why not claim that the structure
of ARGUMENT is present prior to metaphorical transfer (ARGUMENT
IS WAR)? Argument and war share a common structure independently of
metaphorical transfer (Haser 2005: 148-149 [emphasis original]). It may
even be necessary to possess some independent knowledge of the target
domain prior to the metaphorical transfer in order to be able to understand a
metaphorical expression:
It is rather our antecedent conception of love which determines how concepts relating
to the source domain JOURNEY are to be interpreted if they are used in the domain of
LOVE. We can understand expressions such as Our relationship has reached a dead-end
street precisely because our knowledge about love allows us to translate ideas relating to
the domain of LOVE into concepts relating to JOURNEYS. (Haser 2005: 165-166).

It is plausible that more abstract domains of experience possess some

inherent structure of their own, prior to and independent of metaphorical
transfer from more concrete domains. The structure of abstract domains is
not physical structure but is probably based on social and cultural experiences of those domains (such as argument or love), for instance, on interactions between people involved in particular situations and on the sequence
of activities or events. It appears that abstract concepts and abstract thought
do not have to be exclusively based on and metaphorically derived from
bodily experience and image schemas.
Moreover, even if we agree that more abstract domains are metaphorically
structured in terms of more concrete source domains, not all of those source
domains are purely physical and image-schematic. In fact, as will be demonstrated, many of them involve significant cultural components.
Conceptual metaphors form a heterogeneous group. Lakoff and Johnson
(1980) divide them into three groups with different characteristics and functions: ontological metaphors (in which abstract entities are conceptualized
as physical objects and substances), structural metaphors (in which a more
abstract concept is structured in terms of another, more clearly delineated
one), and orientational metaphors (which organize a whole system of concepts in a coherent way in terms of orientation in space).
Orientational metaphors (e.g. MORE IS UP, LESS IS DOWN; GOOD IS UP,
BAD IS DOWN) are most explicitly based on typical and common image
schemas (such as UP-DOWN), and can be regarded as a case of embodi-

Embodiment of meaning...


ment of abstract meaning. Ontological metaphors, on the other hand, may be

based on image schemas (e.g. CONTAINER metaphors such as THE MIND IS
A CONTAINER) or they may involve more specific source entities, such as
machines (e.g. THE MIND IS A MACHINE, or a more recent metaphor THE
MIND IS A COMPUTER). The knowledge necessary for understanding such
metaphors goes beyond basic embodied experience and image schemas and
requires at least general knowledge of machines (or computers), their structure, their ways of working, and their functions. This knowledge is part of
human culture and civilization and is not derived only by means of sensorimotor experience of the physical environment.
If we look at some structural metaphors discussed by Lakoff and Johnson (1980), we will notice that their source domains are based not only on
bodily experience of the physical world and on image schemas, but they
may refer to other areas of human experience as well, especially cultural
and social experience. Consider these three metaphors, widely discussed by
Lakoff and Johnson (1980): LOVE IS A JOURNEY, ARGUMENT IS WAR,
TIME IS MONEY. Granted, the source domains (journey, war, money) refer to more concrete experiences than the target domains (love, argument,
time) and they involve physical objects and physical interaction. But they
are more than that, they are specifically human, cultural activities, involving man-made objects serving definite functions (various vehicles, different
weapons, coins and banknotes) and certain cultural conventions of using
them and conducting these activities together with other people.
Such examples suggest that the human conceptual system is based not
only on purely bodily experience of the natural world giving rise to image
schemas, which are then extended to other domains, but also on embodied
experience of the cultural and social world and human civilization. Rich
human experience would be incomprehensible if it were based only on the
experience of our bodies and their physical surroundings.
Moreover, Gibbs (1999) argues that even image schemas themselves are
not simply given by the body but constructed out of culturally governed
interactions and, as a result, might very well have a strong cultural component to them (154). Consequently, [t]he bodily experiences that form
the source domains for conceptual metaphors are themselves complex social
and cultural constructions (Gibbs 1999: 155). According to him, a conceptual metaphor arises not from within the body alone but emerges from
bodily interactions that are to a large extent defined by the cultural world
and is shaped by specific social/cultural knowledge as well as, if not more
so than, bodily experiences per se (Gibbs 1999: 155).
Apart from that, as Eubanks (1999) demonstrates, conceptual metaphors
are not always unconsciously and automatically accepted and employed, as


Laura Suchostawska

Lakoff and Johnson (1999) argue. Individual people, on the basis of their
personal views and experiences, can consciously accept or reject such metaphors. Their attitude to them influences their understanding and use (or
avoidance) of such metaphors. Eubanks (1999) points out that conceptual
metaphors are inflected by politics, philosophy, social attitudes, and individual construals of the world (420) and inseparable from the circumstances in which they are uttered, and thus they are always inflected by
discursive conventions and ideological commitments (422).
Summing up our discussion of embodiment of meaning, we can observe
that the approach faces some difficulties. On the one hand, the concept of image schemas, the foundational notion of the theory of embodied meaning, is
open to many interpretations. There is clearly a need for more consistency and
agreement on the definition, characteristics, and methodology, together with a
comprehensive inventory of image schemas. On the other hand, the theory of
conceptual metaphor, a crucial link between embodied experience and abstract
thought in Lakoff and Johnsons model, also encounters some difficulties, especially with respect to the Invariance Hypothesis. Moreover, as we have seen, not
all metaphors are based on purely bodily experience and image schemas.
Pawelec (2006b) observes that Lakoffs view is scientific: he looks for
a mechanism, a system behind a range of phenomena. Lakoffs approach
is certainly at odds with the social, historical nature of his object. Conventional metaphors are not generated in the Cognitive Unconscious but in the
life of a community (121). What is perhaps most important is to recognize
the limitations of emphasizing the importance of embodiment in the study
of meaning and cognition in general. Lakoff and Johnson first called their
approach experientialism and later replaced the term with embodied realism. However, it seems that the former name should be retained, as it is
more general, possibly comprising various aspects of human experience,
including social and cultural one, while the latter term stresses only bodily experience. Such a wider view of cognition is by no means absent from
cognitive science. According to Gibbs (1999), for instance, [r]ecognizing
that what is cognitive (and embodied) is inherently cultural should be a fundamental part of how we do our work as cognitive psychologists, linguists,
and anthropologists (156), since the body creates the cultural world as
much as culture defines embodied experience (162).
As Czarnocka (2003) points out, a human being is multi-dimensional and
cannot be reduced to a single sphere, as frequently happens in scientific ap-

Embodiment of meaning...


proaches, which often concentrate in their theories and investigations on one

selected aspect of being a human. In her view, human existence comprises
various interconnected, coexisting, inseparable spheres, and all of them
should be taken into account. They include not only human physiology, but
also personality, consciousness and unconsciousness, reason and emotions,
practical considerations, ones past and views. Moreover, a person is not
isolated but shaped by his or her environment, and not only by the physical
surroundings but also by the influence of society, its culture and history,
common beliefs and views, shared moral, religious, and aesthetic values
(Czarnocka 2003). Embodiment is just one aspect of human existence, admittedly, a basic and important one, but not the only one, and we should take
into account all kinds of human experience.
Brugman, C. (1990). What is the Invariance Hypothesis? Cognitive Linguistics 1
(2), 257-266.
Cienki, A. (1997). Some properties and groupings of image schemas. In M. Verspoor, K. D. Lee & E. Sweetser (eds). Lexical and syntactical constructions
and the construction of meaning. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 3 15.
Czarnocka, M. (2003). Podmiot poznania a nauka. Wrocaw: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocawskiego.
Dodge, E., & G. Lakoff. (2005). Image schemas: From linguistic analysis to neural
grounding. In B. Hampe (ed.). From perception to meaning: Image schemas
in Cognitive Linguistics. Berlin / New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 57 91.
Eubanks, P. (1999). The story of conceptual metaphor: What motivates metaphoric
mappings? Poetics Today 20 (3), 419-442.
Gallagher, S. (2007). Phenomenological and experimental contributions to understanding embodied experience. In T. Ziemke, J. Zlatev & R. M. Frank (eds).
Body, language and mind, Vol. 1: Embodiment. Berlin Mouton de Gruyter,
271 293.
Gibbs, R. W. (1999). Taking metaphor out of our heads and putting it into the cultural world. In R. W. Gibbs & G. J. Steen (eds). Metaphor in Cognitive Linguistics: Selected papers from the Fifth International Cognitive Linguistics
Conference, Amsterdam, July 1997. Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 145 166.
Hampe, B. (ed.). (2005). From perception to meaning: Image schemas in Cognitive
Linguistics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Haser, V. (2005). Metaphor, metonymy, and experientialist philosophy: Challenging
Cognitive Semantics. Berlin / New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Johnson, M. (1987). The body in the mind: The bodily basis of meaning, imagination, and reason. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Laura Suchostawska

Kreitzer, A. (1997). Multiple levels of schematization: A study in the conceptualization of space. Cognitive Linguistics 8 (4), 291-325.
Lakoff, G. (1987). Women, fire, and dangerous things: What categories reveal about
the mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lakoff, G. (1990). The Invariance Hypothesis: Is abstract reason based on imageschemas? Cognitive Linguistics 1 (1), 39-74.
Lakoff, G. (1993). The contemporary theory of metaphor. In A. Ortony (ed.). Metaphor and thought (pp. 202-251). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lakoff, G. & M. Johnson. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press.
Lakoff, G. & M. Johnson. (1999). Philosophy in the flesh: The embodied mind and
its challenge to western thought. New York: Basic Books.
Merleau-Ponty, M. (1945). Phnomnologie de la perception. Paris: Gallimard;
Polish translation: M. Kowalska & J. Migasiski. Fenomenologia percepcji.
Warszawa: Aletheia, 2001.
Pawelec, A. (2006a). Metafora pojciowa a tradycja. Krakw: Universitas.
Pawelec, A. (2006b). The death of metaphor. Studia Linguistica Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis 123, 117-121.
Turner, M. (1990). Aspects of the Invariance Hypothesis. Cognitive Linguistics 1
(2), 247-255.
Turner, M. (1993). An image-schematic constraint on metaphor. In R. A. Geiger &
B. Rudzka-Ostyn (eds). Conceptualizations and mental processing in language (pp. 291-305). Berlin / New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Ziemke, T., J. Zlatev & R. M. Frank (eds). (2007). Body, language and mind, Vol. 1:
Embodiment. BerlIn Mouton de Gruyter.

Anna Turula
Wysza Szkoa Lingwistyczna, Czstochowa


Metaphor and metonymy, which for some time now have been seen as more than purely
linguistic devices, are conceptual mechanisms (cf. Lakoff and Johnson 1980; among many
others) found in everyday speech and fundamental to human organisation of thought. In the
light of this acknowledgement, it has to be admitted that the study described in the present
article though undertaken as a thought experiment1 rather than a rigorous scientific investigation was carried out in the hope that by analysing metaphoric/metonymic underpinnings
of expressions, it is possible to follow at least some of the tracks of human thought.
The analysis presented in this article stemmed from an interest in a clichic expression
Vodka killed him (Wdka go zabia) and a related curiosity of whether, by saying so, we
rather tend to metonymise vodka or metaphorise/personify it. The issue was considered in the
light of the Conceptual Integration Theory, particularly by the examination of the mechanism
of mapping, which is one of the main CIT concepts. That is why the present paper starts by
describing this mechanism with particular regard to the concept of middle spaces, generic and
blended, interspace projections and conceptual blending on the text level (Fauconnier and
Turner 1994; Sweetser 1999). Additionally, attention will be paid to such factors influencing the projection and its outcomes as: lexical meaning (broadly understood, encyclopaedic;
Langacker 1987); instruments for the interpretation of events including the generic metaphor
of events are actions (Lakoff and Turner 1989); types of metonymic mappings, especially in
the type of metonymy Koch (1999) calls non-referential; and semantic bleaching, as a result
of which input is processed without recourse to the currently lowest level of composition
(Wray 2002) and, consequently, events are actions turned events again.
In order to find out the answer to the metonymy/metaphor question in question, as well
as to check to what extent our conceptual mechanisms are affected by the above mentioned
factors, a series of four tests have been designed and carried out in four different groups of
English philology students and graduates. The groups, the tests, the process of their implementation and the results of the study are also described in the present article.
KEYWORDS: metaphor, metonymy, conceptual projection, middle space, conceptual integration, blending
1. Conceptual projection and middle spaces (Fauconnier and Turner 1994)

I would like to thank professor Bogusaw Bierwiaczonek for an inspiring talk which
motivated the study described in this paper.


Anna Turula

The projection of conceptual structure implies the existence of at least two

entities which need to be conceptually related. Bierwiaczonek (2005) distinguishes three types of such relations: intrinsic inclusion (in the case categorization, among others); contiguity (e.g. metonymy); and non-contiguity or
separation (e.g. metaphor). Consequently, there are three different types of
projection on the conceptual level manifested by different co-activation patterns on the neural level. Using the example of vodka for a better explication
of the idea, we can say that categorization vodka=a kind of alcoholic drink
will involve the activation of neural and conceptual structures the two
predications have in common (Bierwiaczonek 2005: 12), the concept of alcohol being intrinsically included in that of vodka. Metonymy, in turn, will
incur synaptic activation (Bierwiaczonek, ibidem), resulting from the contiguity of the two concepts. In the case of vodka, this contiguity will either be
based on temporary and/or spatial togetherness vodka for a bottle of vodka
or experiential togetherness taking place on the event/schema level (Koch
1999; Waltereit 1999). In the latter vodka, belonging to a larger drinking
frame, will co-activate the whole frame or any part of it in a non-referential
part/whole or part/part conceptual projection. Finally, in the case of metaphor, the co activated neural areas will be remote and their simultaneous
inducement will be the result of the generic space (Bierwiaczonek, ibidem)
or generic/blended space (Fauconnier and Turner 1994) they share on the
conceptual level. In consequence, there will be conceptual projection and
neural co-activation between the concepts of vodka and, let us say, nectar,
based on the [divine]-drink-with special-powers generic space, where the
projection is based on the lexical meaning of the involved source and target
domains, and the middle space contains an abstract schematization common
to both domains; or between vodka and football, through the blended space
containing concepts like a kick of vodka, the influence being non-direct,
and exerted on the text level, with the middle space combining certain not
easily extracted specifics from source and target, yielding the impression
of richer and often counterfactual or impossible structure (Fauconnier and
Turner 1994: 5).
What is important to point out here, though, is that the projection into the
middle space be it generic, blended or both at the same time is not restricted to metaphoric mappings. As Fauconnier an Turner (1994: 1) state:
projection to a middle space is a general cognitive process, operating uniformly at
different levels of abstraction and under superficially divergent contextual circumstances ... The process of blending is in particular a fundamental and general cognitive process, running over many (conceivably all) cognitive phenomena, including
categorization, the making of hypotheses, inference, the origin and combining of
grammatical constructions, analogy, metaphor, and narrative.

On the semantic intricacies...


In the light of the above and taking into consideration Bierwiaczoneks

tripartite division of conceptual projection as well as Fauconnier and Turners (1994: 4) four-space model for the projection of conceptual structure
(Figure 1) we can propose the following model of mappings in the case
of vodka analysed on the level of lexical broad, encyclopaedic meaning
(Figure 2) as well as the conceptualisation of it when primed by an expression such as Vodka killed him (Figure 3).
Figure 1: Fauconnier and Turners (1994) four space model

As it can be seen from the above model, for the conceptual projection
to occur, two spaces need to be set up: source and target. It is important o
know that (cf. Fauconnier and Turner 1994) their structure may be partial,
dependent on the point of view and supplemented by additional structure
assumed by default from co-text and context (cultural, situational, etc.). As
mentioned before and now visually reinforced in Figure 2 (see net page)
the mapping takes place via two middle spaces, generic and blended, in
two different ways, respectively: general, direct and one-way as well as specific, indirect, even counterfactual and multidirectional.
These two kinds of spaces, as well as different types of their influence diagrammed in Figure 2 show that, if unprimed co(n)textually, the lexical item
vodka will activate three different source domains, which, via three different
generic spaces, may motivate three different interpretations of this word.
However, the problem of which of the three spaces is currently activated
cannot be resolved as they seem to enjoy equal status. The answer then will
most probably be found in the blended space, with regard to the strength of
all specific cues which are available from the context in which the analysis


Anna Turula

is carried out. The clich Vodka killed him can be such a cue and has the potential of priming the conceptual projections diagrammed below. The mappings include metonymy and metaphor which are of interest to the present
At this stage it is still difficult to decide which mapping and, consequently, interpretational process will be more easily activated: the one for metaphor or for metonymy. What we can hypothesise, though, is that the question of metaphor/metonymy will potentially be answered by the prevalence
of one of the following interpretations: events are actions (methaphor) or
actions are events (metonymy). This, in turn will be decided by: the inherent propensity of vodka to be personified; this personification being either
lively or semantically bleached by frequent use of the clich in question; the
inherent propensity of death to be personified; this personification being,
in the case of vodka killed lively or bleached by frequent use; background
knowledge; etc.

On the semantic intricacies...



All the above will happen in the course of individual conceptualisations
by the speakers/hearers dealing with the clichic expression Vodka killed
him and those conceptualisations are where the answer should actually be


Anna Turula

sought. It is important to point out once again that the particular organisation
of thought may be observed at a number of levels: lexical, if vodka itself is
likely to be metaphorically or metonymically conceptualised; at the level
of the sentence schema and the semantic role ascribed (vodka as agent); at
the sentence level with particular regard either to the lexical meaning and
metaphoric potential of the verb to kill or to the semantic bleaching of the
lowest level of composition.
To examine all the levels, a four-partite study was devised and carried out in
the years 2006-2007 by means of four different tests. All of them were comparative in the sense that they looked at vodka in relation to two other concepts
which happen to be metaphorised/metonymised: bureaucracy and Europe2. The
comparison seemed necessary to differentiate between lexical and extra lexical
factors influencing conceptualisation. Another important fact is that all four tests
were carried out in Polish, based on the belief that thought is most easily organised if the input is in the most familiar medium.
Test 1 required the respondents henceforth referred to as Group 1 (N=100)
to give three unprimed associations for Europe, bureaucracy and vodka, while
Test 2 Group 2 (N=100) elicited the first association for all the three above
primed by the following sentences: Europe doesnt understand us (Europa nas
nie rozumie); Bureaucracy put a spanner in their works (Biurokracja wsadzia
im kij w szprychy); and the clichic expression of interest to the present article
Vodka killed him (Wdka go zabia). All three sentences comply with the sentence schema: action or event, in which Europe, bureaucracy and vodka are
assigned the semantic role of an intentional agent or experiencer. Tests 3 and 4
can be called supplementary as they were carried out much later in the course
of the study, to verify some interim conclusions springing from the results of
tests 1 and 2. They were meant to check the influence of the relative transparency of the agent/experiencer on the conceptualisation process Test 3, Group
3 (N=50); priming sentences Europe will give herself to anybody for a few cents
and Vodka follows me anywhere I go and to specifically examine the personification-evoking potential of the verb to kill Test 4, Group 4 (N=50); priming
sentences: Bureaucracy killed him and Vodka follows me anywhere I go (the
latter used as a distracter; results not calculated).
Prior to the quantitative analysis of the obtained data, which are presented
in the next section, the associations given by the respondents of all four tests
were ascribed to one of the three semantic-relation categories proposed, following Bierwiaczonek (2005), in section 1: categorisation, metonymy and
metaphor; personification was singled out as a separate category to check
whether Europe, bureaucracy and vodka were actually perceived as human2
The metaphoric potential of all three was tested in a google search run on 14 Dec 2006;
the quantitative results of the search will be presented later in the article


On the semantic intricacies...

like agents; the category of other was introduced for the unresolved cases.
The classification was done by two judges working independently of each
other, then the results have been compared and cases in which there was
a disagreement about the most suitable category were negotiated. Figure 4
presents examples from each category.
Figure 4. Examples from all categories




a continent; a
place; a region; a
part of the world


(a kind of) thing

which ... (does/is


(a kind of)
alcohol; a drink;
alcohol drunk at
wedding parties;
(a kind of) liquid;
(a kind of) thing

values of Europe;
people living in
Europe; (some)
countries in
Europe; personal
Europe (travel;
work; people)
caused by
feelings evoked
by b; people
working for
b; papers/
paperwork; taxes;
problems caused
by excessive
drinking; bottles
and glasses;
countries where
vodka is popular;
the act of
drinking vodka;
people drinking


home; a

a tyrant




a beast



enemy; a
friend; a


For reasons mentioned earlier in the present paper, prior to the implementation of the testing procedure, the metaphoric potential of all three Eu-


Anna Turula

rope, bureaucracy and vodka was tested in a Google search. The examination of the first 100 hits for each tested item revealed 3 metaphoric uses for
the word Europe, 18 for bureaucracy and 15 for vodka. Some examples are
quoted below:
EUROPE: Europe is at your door; Europe marches forward
BUREAUCRACY: bureaucracy eats the fruit of our work; bureaucracy knows
that ; bureaucracy kills everything; bureaucracy makes it clear to everybody
how useful (s)he is; here enters bureaucracy;
VODKA: vodka stood between them; vodka is such a swine; vodka follows me;
Chuck Norris is like vodka you never know when hes gonna kick you

As for the four tests, the results are as follows:

1) Tests 1 and 2 (Figure 5):

EUROPE; unprimed associations: first association: categorizations 73%; metonymies 27%;

all associations: categorizations 48%; metonymies 42%; metaphors 3%;
other 2%
Europe doesnt understand us: categorizations 45%; metonymies 53%; metaphors 2%; other 2%
BUREACRACY; unprimed associations: first association: metonymies 87 %;
metaphors 13%; all associations: metonymies 90%; metaphors 10%;
Bureaucracy put a spanner in their works: categorizations 3%; metonymies
64%; metaphors 16%; personifications 2%; other 15%
VODKA; unprimed associations: first association: categorizations 76%; metonymies 18%; metaphors 6%;
all associations: categorizations 40%; metonymies 52%; metaphors 8%;
Vodka killed him: categorizations 27%; metonymies 13%; metaphors 39%;
personifications 21%

At this point, the following observations can be made and interim conclusions reached:
Europe and vodka are more easily categorised than bureaucracy. This comes
as no surprise since bureaucracy is a kind of opaque, all-inclusive term with no
clear hyperonym or coordinates;
bureaucracy is the most readily metonymised; Europe and vodka get metonymised in 2nd and 3rd associations. This, in turn, is a natural consequence of
the first observation: if a concept is difficult or impossible to categorise, human
mind looks for other ways of conceptualisation. In the case of Europe and
vodka, the tendency to metonymise in the later associations was the result of
categorisation having already been used as a conceptualisation option in the
first association;
Europe is never metaphorised. This, to a certain extent confirms the findings of
the Google search described earlier in this section. There were a few mythologybased associations Europe was Zeus lover but they obviously concerned a
totally different Europe and were not classified as personifications;

On the semantic intricacies...


Metaphorising is motivated by agent-schema priming in the case of bureaucracy

and vodka but, definitely, vodka is the metaphoric leader. It is also vodka that is
most readily personified if the association is primed.

The difference between vodka and bureaucracy reported in the last observation can be indicative of the personification potential of vodka but, unfortunately, leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Especially the one whether
this propensity for evoking metaphoric associations is the result of: the type
of agent vodka over bureaucracy over Europe the very act of killing as
opposed to understanding or putting a spanner in somebodys works or the
relative easiness with which the doer/experiencer can be labelled: while it is
easy to name the one who kills, it may be much more difficult to tag those
who put spanners in works or do not understand others. Consequently, it has
to be admitted that the results of studies 1 and 2 show do not offer a satisfactory answer to the question of whether we metaphorise/personify or rather
metonymise when saying Vodka killed him.
What remained unresolved in the course of studies 1 and 2 was the object
of two subsequent supplementary studies 3 and 4. They were carried out in
two groups of 50 and used, respectively,


Anna Turula

Europe will give herself to anybody for a few cents and Vodka follows me anywhere I go.
Bureaucracy killed him and Vodka follows me anywhere I go.

as priming sentences. The results of the two studies are numerically presented below as well as diagrammed in figures 6 and 7, which, in addition
to depicting the result, show how these date compare with relevant results
of studies 1 and 2:

Europe will give herself to anybody for a few cents: categorisation 25%; metonymies 17%; metaphors 14%; personifications 33%; other 11 %
Vodka follows me anywhere I go: categorisation 44%; metonymies 11%; metaphors 14%; personifications 14%; other 17%
Bureaucracy killed him: categorisation 4%; metonymies 23%; metaphors
27%; personifications 56%

Based on the above data are the following observations:

action-schema priming with a salient doer evokes much more metaphors and,
particularly, personifications. As it can be seen in both the numbers above and
pictures below, Europe that gives herself for money is easier to conceptualise as a
human agent a prostitute in most cases than Europe that does not understand.
The same applies to bureaucracy the killer as opposed to bureaucracy putting a
spanner in works.
to kill evokes a great number of personifications (most of them murderer), as seen
in the associations for bureaucracy
vodka seems quite stable in the proportion of personifications it primes, regardless
of the verb used. To kill evidently has a greater personification-priming potential
if used with bureaucracy than with vodka. Vodka, on the other hand, evokes a
similar proportion of personifications in both Vodka killed him and Vodka follows
me anywhere I go.

On the semantic intricacies...


The results of all four studies lead to two main conclusions:
First of all, action schema priming has the personification-evoking potential but this potential is, to a large extent, motivated by two factors:
1) the agents inherent propensity for being metaphorised observed on the
lexical level (cf. bureaucracy and vodka but not necessarily Europe); a similar potential lies in the verb to kill
2) the saliency of the action in question and the easiness with which the
agent can be conceptualised and labelled
Secondly and more importantly for the present argument the personification-evoking priming effect described above evidently depends on the
formulaicity of the language used (cf. Vodka killed him and Bureaucracy
killed him). It seems that the verb to kill, when used in a clich like Vodka
killed him loses its personification-priming power because formulaic words
and word strings appear to be processed without recourse to their lowest level of composition (Wray 2002: 4). For the same reason, vodka will not be
personified in other popular sayings such as Vodka is your enemy (=Wdka
twj wrg); Vodka is a divorcee (=Wdka to rozwdka); etc. What bleaches
vodka-the-killer and other potentially human vodkas of their personlike qualities is the frequency of use of these phrases as a result of which
they do not actually mean anything. This, as demonstrated by the research
results, does not apply to Bureaucracy killed him because of the novelty of
this combination. As a result, on hearing such a phrase, we tend to evoke the
action schema and conceptualise the agent as a human-like doer, whereas,
in the case of death caused by vodka, we are more inclined to rely on our
experience concerning all kinds of death inflicted by alcohol. While doing
so, we most probably retrieve the whole vodka frame trying to decide which
component of this frame could have contributed to the tragic event, as, obvi-


Anna Turula

ously, in Vodka killed him event-is-action becomes event again and the killer
booze to answer the question which motivated the article is most probably used metonymically to represent the potentially very dangerous act of
drinking as well as its various effects.
Bierwiaczonek, B. (2005). On the neural and conceptual basis of semantic relations.
In Grska, E. and G. Radden. (eds), 1137
Fauconnier, G. and M. Turner. (1994). Conceptual Projection and Middle Spaces.
Report 9401. Department of Cognitive Science, University of California,
San Diego. http://www.cogsci.ucsd.edu/research/files/technical/9401.pdf
Grska, E. and G. Radden (eds). (2005). Metaphor-Metonymy Collage. Warsaw:
Warsaw University Press.
Koch, P. (1999). Frame and contiguity. In Uwe-Panther, K. and G. Radden (eds),
Lakoff, G. and M Johnson.(1980). Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: Chicago University Press
Lakoff, G and M.Turner .(1989). More Than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic
Metaphor. Chicago: Chicago University Press
Langacker, R.W. (1987). Foundations of Cognitive Grammar, vol. I. Stanford: Stanford University Press
Sweetser, E. (1999). Compositionality and blending: semantic composition in
a cognitively realistic framework. In T. Janssen, I G. Redeker, Cognitive linguistics: Foundations, Scope and Methodology. Berlin, New York: Mounton
de Gruyter, 129162
Uwe-Panther, K. and G. Radden (eds) (1999). Metonymy in Language and Thought.
Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins
Waltereit, R. (1999). Grammar constraints on metonymy. On the role of the direct
object. In Uwe-Panther, K. and G. Radden (eds), 233253
Wray, A. (2002). Formulaic Language and the Lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press


Grzegorz Drod
Wysza Szkoa Zarzdzania Marketingowego i Jzykw Obcych, Katowice


One of the challenges that Cognitive Linguistics is facing today is the task to apply its assumptions to the analysis of specific issues encountered in particular languages. The present
article aims to undertake such a task describe the uses of the Present Continuous Tense by
means of two tools developed within Cognitive Grammar: the network model and construal
operations. Such an approach enables the author to address the following issues: enumerate
and define the construal aspects pertaining to all the uses of PC, characterise the parameters
which these aspects adopt in each use, point to the elements constituting the schemas linking
the uses, and provide a schematic network of all the uses.
KEYWORDS: cognitive linguistics, cognitive grammar, tense analysis, network models,
construal operations

One of the significant trends in Cognitive Linguistics these days is an
application of its general and theoretical assumptions to the analysis of specific issues encountered in particular languages (e.g. Heine 1997, Ptz et
al. 2001, Achard, Niemeier 2004, Kristiansen et al. 2006, Radden, Dirven
2007, Robinson, Ellis 2008, etc.). This article is intended to follow this trend
and present a corpus-based analysis of the uses of the Present Continuous
Tense (henceforth PC), which is approached as a schematic network. By
doing so, I follow Taylors (1989:142) observation that polysemy is not
a property of words alone. Other categories of language structure (...) morphosyntactic categories of tense and aspect (...) may also exhibit a cluster
of related meanings, and must thus count as instances of polysemy (cf. Bybee 2003). A similar conclusion seems to flow from Langackers (1987:377)
postulate that the network model is applicable to any category of linguistic
relevance. Summing up these introductory remarks, the major goals in the
article are:


Grzegorz Drod

enumerate and define the aspects of construal pertaining to all the uses
of PC,
characterise the parameters which these aspects adopt in each use,
point to the elements constituting the schemas linking the uses,
provide a schematic network of all the uses.
I wish to begin with the key notion for the below considerations: construal.
Langacker (2007:435) defines it as our multifaceted capacity to conceive
and portray the same situation in alternate ways. In the paper PC is analysed from the following perspectives: several construal aspects introduced
by Langacker (1987, 2000, 2007): vantage point, scope, dynamicity, acuity,
viewing distance, subjectification, one propounded aspect of construal: trajector engagement, and two prominent dimensions of the process: ordering
and directionality.
Another issue I would like to address concerns the notion schema linking the usages or, more specifically, the schemas contents. Langacker
(2007:439) points to its function as a template exploited in the formation
of novel expressions. This emphasises the fact that the schema consists
of the information common both to the schema and its instantiation. Thus,
discussing the content of the schema, I characterize it as including specific
construal aspects at certain values common to the source and the target use.
Describing the uses of a tense, one more subject needs to be mentioned
the issue arising from Wittgensteins model of family resemblance the
centrality of use. This matter has received considerable attention from cognitive linguists working in the area of lexical semantics, e.g. Fillmore (1982),
Langacker (1987), Lakoff (1987), Taylor (1989), etc. These approaches and
their application in the analysis are discussed in the conclusions.
Concluding, I wish to add a few comments concerning the corpus. The
research was based on 600 sentences randomly selected from the Daily Telegraph from 1993. These reflect the specific character of the corpus, i.e. the
fact a substantial part of the examples refer to a broadly understood notion
of the present time. Despite that, the range of both formal and informal
styles found in the corpus was representative enough to detect even some
nuances of use.
Now I would like characterise the specific values which the above construal aspects adopt in the present analysis. The fist of them is vantage point
the point where the viewer is situated. When applied to the description of
processes, it is equated with the time of speaking (Langacker 2000:207).

The structure of a tense...


However, in a detailed analysis it requires some elaboration as its salience

turns out to be subject to gradation, as shown in Fig. 1:
Figure 1

In the analysis three degrees of its salience are assumed: high, when the
processing and conceived time basically coincide (1a), which can be overtly
marked by the use of such adverbs as e.g. now; medium, when the conceived
time exceeds the processing time, and thus the vantage point loses some of
its salience (1b), which is marked by adverbs like e.g. these days; and low,
when the conceived time exceeds the processing time by far (1c).
Dynamicity pertains to how a conceptualization unfolds and develops
through processing time (Langacker 2007:437). Since, according to Langacker, dynamicity is mainly manifested through the word order, it needs a
brief consideration in reference to PC. This tense is a combination of two
elements: the auxiliary be and the present participle form of the verb. The
sequence: the grounded verb and the content verb seems to possess a special
significance as, on the one hand, the -ing added to the verb atemporalises the
base process by suspending the sequential scanning and thus depriving the
verb of its temporal profile (2a).
Figure 2 (after Langacker 1990:92)

On the other hand, the semantic contribution of the grounding predicate

be is to impose the processual character on the expression (2b). Since be


Grzegorz Drod

appears first, the composite expression: be + Ving is ascribed the processual character (Langacker 1990:92). Because this type of dynamicity exerts
a constant influence on PC, it will be excluded from the analysis.
The next aspect is scope an expressions scope is the extent of the conceptual content it evokes as the basis for its meaning (Langacker 2007:437)
(Fig. 3).
Figure 3

Within scope two substructures are distinguished: the maximal scope,

which comprises the full content of a given conceptualisation (Langacker
2000:205), and the immediate scope, which comprises only the central notions that we are specifically attending to (ibid.). The profile, the maximally
salient element of the ground evoked by the predicate, is included in the
immediate scope.
When applied to an analysis of tenses, the maximal scope embraces the
whole of time, whereas the immediate scope delimits it and focuses on the
whole of the designated process. Since the maximal scope is constant, for
the sake of clarity it will be excluded from the analysis. Consequently, I will
be concerned with the changes within the immediate scope, which can adopt
three values: narrow, medium, and broad (shown in Fig. 1a-c).
Another aspect of construal I wish to refer to is acuity. Langacker
(2000:206) compares it to the visual sensation we experience approaching
a distant object: the closer we get, the better we see it (the smaller features
we are able to detect and resolve). However, such a description does not
exhaust the notions potential. A valuable observation concerning a comparable construct comes from Talmy (2000:178), who claims that the notion
fine structural level can be applied to an analysis of any conceptual material encoded in nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions, etc. I would also like
to refer to the characteristic noticed by Croft and Cruse (2004:52) that
the phenomenon they call granularity accommodates in fact several distinct
levels of specificity.


The structure of a tense...

Applying these to the present analysis two types of profile acuity need to
be distinguished: process acuity (PA) and time acuity (TA). The former one,
encoded by verbs, refers to the aspectual distinction between dynamic and
static type of processes and designates the degree of specificity at which
the profile can be described. Three levels of process acuity are assumed:
high, medium, and low. The high one can be characterised as taking an internal perspective on the event, describing it as a lasting process, unfolding
through time, ideally with the trajector being placed within the very event.
The medium one is less specific it places the trajector either between repeated events or within the process but with a relatively broad perspective
imposed on it. The low process acuity is a result of depicting the process
holistically, as a unitary entity.
The other type of profile acuity is concerned with the adverbials of time
applied with the tense, hence the name time acuity (TA). The notion refers
to the degree of precision taken to place the profile in time. Just like in process acuity, three values of time acuity are distinguished: high, medium, and
low. The high one refers to events which are precisely placed in time, which
is signalled either by a lack of adverbial (the time of the speech event and
the process are parallel) or by an adverbial positioning the process at a
very precise point in time, e.g. at seven. Medium acuity is marked by an
adverbial which places the process in a rather vaguely specified time,
e.g. these days, this month, now, etc. Low acuity is imposed by adverbials which adopt a very broad perspective on the process, e.g. always, all
the time, never, etc.
That these two types of acuity constitute two distinct, albeit partly correlated, aspects can be seen in the following examples:
(1) Im reading a book now.
(2) Im reading Shakespeare these days.
(3) Im reading it next Saturday.
(4) Shes always reading books.

high PA
medium PA
low PA
high PA

high TA
medium TA
high TA
low TA

Related to acuity is viewing distance. Both Langacker (2000:206) and

Lakoff (1987:428) notice the negative correlation between the two aspects the greater the distance the lower its acuity. In the analysis viewing distance denotes the degree of remoteness between the conceptualizer positioned at the moment of speaking and the profiled action. Again,
two types of distance are postulated: external and internal. Discussing
the distance introduced by different temporal constructions the former
is applied. This seems equivalent to the dimension postulated by Langacker (1991:245-281) for the characterization of tenses proximity to
the speech event.


Grzegorz Drod

However, within one temporal construction it is also possible to distinguish several values of the viewing distance though they are so specific can
be subsumed under just one type of the external distance. Consequently,
the uses of PC can be classified under one type of external distance: short1.
Because it is constant, it will be excluded from the analysis and any remarks
concerning the distance will be directed at the internal one, which is assumed to adopt three values: short, middle, and long (which are illustrated,
respectively, in Fig. 1a-c).
The next construal aspect, subjectification, requires an introduction
though it appeared as a fully developed analytical tool in the Foundations
of Cognitive Grammar (1987), twelve years later it received a substantial
revision. And while the first version one was characterised as replacement of
an objective situation with a subjective one (Langacker 1999:151), the latter
version assumed an immanent presence of the subjective component in the
objective conception which simply remains behind when the latter fades
away (ibid.). In the analysis the second version is adopted, and two values
are ascribed to it: present or absent.
However, the present analysis requires one more tool. To explicate its
introduction I need to come back to the origins of the term subjectification used by Langacker (1987:128-132). There, after establishing the
conditions for the optimal viewing arrangement with the maximized
asymmetry in the roles of S (viewer/self) and O (object/other), he concentrated on one of them the viewer/self. The notion which I wish to
introduce can be found within the same scene it is what might be called,
after Benveniste (1971), the syntactic subject. It largely corresponds to
the notion used by Langacker trajector, though in this specific sense
it is much narrower, for it refers to the intentional subject that can exert influence on the denoted process, that is, basically people. Thus the
degree of its engagement into the designated process will be called the
trajector engagement.
Although the trajector belongs to the internal structure of the relational
predication (Langacker 1987:232), it turns out that the level of the trajector engagement can exert a significant influence on the conceptualization of a scene depending on the degree of this influence we may need
to change the tense to talk about it. In the below diagrams, which are
extensions of Langackers (1987:131) figures, there are three distinct
elements: (C) the conceptualizer/viewer, (T) the trajector, and (O)
the object of the action.
Details of the other types of external distance in other temporal constructions are discussed in Drod (in press).

The structure of a tense...


In (6a) the trajector is not engaged in the described process, like in the
sentence Pat goes to London next Saturday. The use of Present Simple in
approximates the process to some immutable events or fixtures, whether
or not these are determined by human planning (Quirk et al. 1985:216). In
this specific example the use of Present Simple might imply that the subject
is not directly engaged in the preparations but only is sent on e.g. a business trip which has been arranged by someone else. On the other hand,
in (6b) the situation is different it can illustrate the sentence Pat is
going to London next Saturday where the trajector, Pat, was involved in
the planning and arranging the action. Thus, at the level of the linguistic
structure two possibilities can be observed: either the subject is engaged
in the process or it is not. Consequently, two such values of trajector
engagement are assumed.
A comprehensive analysis of the tense requires two more tools, which
Langacker (1987:173) calls ordering and directionality. Although Langacker (1987:173-177) does not consider them aspects of construal, this is how
they are approached by Talmy (2000:71-72) in his discussion of perspective,
where he subsumes them under a more general term sequentializing. In
the present analysis these terms are used in their typical values derived from
the process of sequential scanning, which Langacker (1987:174) illustrates
with the example of a road running from Reno to Las Vegas and from Las
Vegas to Reno. He observes that the path constituting the road can be identified with the ordered set of points constituting the road (or their spatial
location), and the semantic contrast hinges on whether the origin () is
equated with Reno or with Las Vegas (ibid.).
Let us now see how the uses of PC can be described from the perspective
of the above parameters.


Grzegorz Drod

The first use:

I wish to begin with the use which embraces processes developing
trough time at the moment of speaking. Such a use can be described
by means of four construal aspects: vantage point, distance, acuity, and
scope (Fig. 5).

As for the values which they adopt, the vantage point is parallel to the
time of the speech event achieving high salience. However, the specificity
of the use results from a coordination of the other three construal aspects,
which might be called the key ones in tense description: distance, scope,
and acuity. Through assuming a short distance between the conceptualizer and the process the latter attains a high degree of homogeneity of its
component states high process acuity. Because the profile is parallel
to the time of the speech event (it is precisely delineated), it is ascribed
high time acuity. Finally, since the immediate scope basically coincides
with the time of the speech event, it adopts the value narrow, which is
illustrated by (5) (7).

They are now being offered a guided tour of the building.

What we are talking about is only a possibility.
Its not difficult to see why share prices are pushing ahead.

The aspects of subjectification, trajector engagement as well as ordering

and directionality are virtually irrelevant in this use.
The second use:
The second use is not commonly recognized in grammar books though
at the same time the type of process it designates is not immediately
associated with PC atemporal. In terms of construal aspects it means
a suspension of the vantage point which, in turn, entails suspending a
further parameter time acuity. In other words, such a process cannot
be positioned in time it can only be positioned against another process
(Fig. 6).

The structure of a tense...


This may seem unusual because retemporalizing the expression seems

one of the fundamental effects of combining be with the present participle
(Langacker 1991:210). A good illustration of the peculiarity of the use is the
example (8) where a reversal of the typical roles of PC and Present Simple
can be observed: the former provides the background against which the verb
grounded by Present Simple profiles a process:
(8) Local authorities are refusing planning permission when a farmer says he wants
to convert a barn or dwellings into a new small business unit for light industry.
(9) I am not allowed in the telephone room when calls are coming in there is an
adjacent room with two armchairs where personal callers are received.
(10) A false step in the Alps and Himalayas is inviting death.

This use is specific for two more reasons: first, it can be characterised by
means of just three construal aspects, which is the smallest number among
the uses discussed here. Second, none of these aspects adopts a value different from the prototype. The use, then, can be characterised by: high process
acuity, short distance between the conceptualizer and the profile, and narrow scope, which also constitute its schema.
The third use:
The third use is the last of the uses directly derived from the first one.
However, it departs from it in several respects. The most significant difference seems the fact that the conceptualizer adopts a specific perspective on
the process it is construed as taking place in a relatively broad present,
exceeding the time of the speech event. This broadening of the scope is
reflected in the values adopted by the construal aspects: only the constant
ones (dynamicity, external distance, and maximal scope) retained the same
value as in the prototype, and it is them that constitute the schema. The other


Grzegorz Drod

aspects are modified and, what is also specific, they all adopt the same value
medium: medium vantage point, medium scope, middle distance, as well
as medium process and time acuity (see Fig. 7).

Two features of this use seem especially salient. The first is the undetermined length of the denoted process it is often not overtly specified
and it is thanks to our knowledge that we are aware that it has an end. The
other distinct feature is the implicit presence of the process boundaries. In
these respects the third use contrasts with Present Simple, which typically
grounds processes revealing neither of them. The examples from the corpus
illustrate this:

I work full time and I am divorcing my husband.

Shop shelves are full, but millions of people are having a tough time.
He is enjoying his football and hes getting better and fitter.

This use reveals one more intriguing characteristics: enriched with trajector engagement, ordering, and directionality, which adopt the value present,
it profiles a changing situation (Fig. 8).

It seems that by establishing a goal and announcing an intention to perform an action the trajector imposes some ordering on the composite states
of the process and its directionality into the future. In other words, the ele-

The structure of a tense...


ments characteristic for the future use of PC can already be found in this
one. The below examples depict it:
(14) Thanks to the way the break fell this year many people are taking one or even
two weeks holiday.
(15) She is appearing in panto this year in Cardiff, but rehearsing in London.
(16) Sales of mobile telephones are heading for a record this month, helped by lower
prices and Christmas appeal.

The fourth use:

The fourth use departs considerably from the type of process and the parameters characteristic for the first use it describes a future process, not a
present one. What is more, for the first time the third use replaces the first
one in its function of the prototype for extension. Also, it is the only use
where all the construal aspects are activated (the last aspect, subjectification, the ability to proceed along the mental path to the future goal, seems
to complement trajector engagement in imposing the future reading of the
use). Moreover, it seems plausible to postulate two immediate scopes: one
for present actions with a future result (17) (18), and the other for future
actions with the present moment as the point of reference (19) (20).
(17) The club are hoping to begin building work in January.
(18) More peace talks are being arranged for Geneva, starting on Jan 15.
(19) Bristol & West is launching a 24-hour savings management service on Friday.
(20) A man rang her to say: I know your address. I am coming round to rape you..

The former scope (IS1) stretches from the point prior to the speech event to
the point in the future delimited by the adverbial of time. The other one (IS2)
is narrower it is included in the first one and covers only the time-span
delineated solely by the time adverbial (see Fig. 9).


Grzegorz Drod

Several construal aspects reveal the same values in both scopes: vantage point
with its medium salience, distance with its middle value, as well as trajector
engagement, ordering and directionality, and subjectification with the value
present. However, three aspects differ in this respect: the scope in IS1 adopts the
value medium, just like the two types of acuity process and time. The scope in
IS2 adopts the value narrow, the process acuity low, and time acuity high.
The fifth use:
The fifth use is one of the extreme extensions of PC, close in certain respects to Present Simple, accommodating processes contradicting the typical perceptual sensation: a long distance to an object correlated with its low
acuity (cf. Langacker 2000:206, Lakoff 1987:428, etc.). In other words, this
use describes processes at two contrasting values: as being distant but at
high acuity. Such processes differ from the ones grounded by the prototype,
which is reflected in the fact that the schema consists of only the constant
construal aspects. Most of the other aspects adopt the values more typical of
Present Simple than PC: a broad scope of attention and, as a consequence,
low time acuity, low salience of the vantage point, and a long distance. The
process acuity is the odd one responsible for the specificity of this use as it
adopts the value high (see Fig. 10).

What kind of processes are these, then? I believe they can be compared to
a situation of changing suddenly the social distance (cf. Evans 2003): when
someone normally positioned in the public zone, far away from us, invades
our intimate space. This normally causes a negative, often a violent reaction,
e.g. fear, anger, criticism, etc., which can be seen in the descriptions of the
use. The examples below illustrate this specificity:
(21) This is happening everywhere all the time.
(22) I am always looking in the wrong direction.
(23) I am always cracking jokes about how Im a better builder than anyone else.

The structure of a tense...


The sixth use:

The last use of PC I wish to discuss is a questionable one for, taking into
consideration purely grammatical guidelines, it encroaches on the territory
typically reserved for Present Perfect, as illustrated by the examples from
the corpus:
(24) The country is becoming more and more lazy since the Second World War.
(25) Something I did when I was 17, and I am still getting punished for it now.
(26) We finished next-to-bottom of the Southern Division last season and are meeting
with no more success this year.

The reason for discussing this use as an extension of the third one is that
there is almost a perfect transfer of the values of the construal aspects from
the prototype to the present use. The only difference is that in this use the aspects subjectification and trajector engagement are suspended, which confirms their vital role in modifying the uses of tenses. Schematically this use
is presented in Fig. 11.

The values which the construal aspects adopt in this use, and which constitute the schema, are as follows: medium salience of the vantage point,
medium distance, scope, as well as time and process acuity. Ordering and
directionality adopt the value present.
I wish to start with some observations concerning the analytical tool in the
paper the construal aspects. In the light of the above analysis it needs to be


Grzegorz Drod

observed that they turned out to be a valid linguistic tool. At the same time,
this also proves one of the general cognitive postulates the plausibility of
the reference to cognitive abilities in linguistic analyses (e.g. Croft, Cruse
2004:2). Of course, that does not entail all linguistic constructions will be as
susceptible to such tools as tenses but the very fact that it is possible to apply
successfully construal aspects in this kind of research is a fact of considerable significance.
Passing on to their role in the uses of the tense I would like to point out
that it takes just a subtle modification, either in the set of the aspects or their
values, to form a new use (the second use was a result of suspending one of
the construal aspects of the first use), or even a different tense (the Present
Perfect reading of the third use resulted from suspending two construal
aspects). The latter case also shows that such different tenses as Present
Perfect and PC can possess very similar values of construal aspects, which
might suggest a higher degree of convergence between the Continuous and
Perfect aspects than it is usually assumed.
Another issue I wish to take up is the regularities detected in the discussed
a) Reducing the correlation between the conceived time and the processing time. What can actually be seen in the extensions is a gradual divergence
of the two from their close co-occurrence in the first use (What we are talking about is only a possibility.), through a gradual broadening of the conceptual time in the third use (I work full time and I am divorcing my husband.),
to maximizing its scope in the fifth use (I am always looking in the wrong
direction.). It can be even argued that the shift observable in the fourth use
where the profile is moved to the future, that is, towards the scope boundary (Bristol & West is launching a 24-hour savings management service on
Friday.), is an instance of the same regularity.
b) Passing through the whole scale of the aspect values within one tense:
an increase in the length of the conceived time (now these days always), as well as the designated process (we are talking I am divorcing
a step is inviting death), and an increase of the frequency of the process
recurrence (from a single punctual action, e.g. talking, to more frequent instances of it, she [] is rehearsing in London, to constant repetitions of it,
I am always cracking jokes).
Actually, these regularities can be subsumed under a more general tendency: a gradual shift of the values adopted by construal aspects in the successive uses. In other words, these values rose or fell little by little rather than in
leaps, e.g. process acuity in the first use adopted the value high, in the third
use it changed into medium, to come back to low in the fourth use and rise to
high in the fifth use. At this point it can only be hypothesised that the fourth,

The structure of a tense...


fifth, and sixth extensions were only possible thanks to the third use, where
all the aspects adopt the value middle and so the construal aspects in further
extensions could adopt actually any value.
I also want to sum up the relationships between the discussed uses of PC
(Fig. 12). Despite the diagrams schematicity, it seems to fulfil its main task:
assembling all the uses within one coherent model. It also points to the major directions of extensions: from the use I to the uses II and III, as well as
from III to the uses IV, V, and VI.

Moreover, it helps to see the fuzziness of the boundaries of each use as well
as the fact that one use can encroach on another, both from the same and another tense. The last thing I intended to include in the diagram was the uncertain
status of what might be termed as the sixth use. On the one hand, it emerged
as a result of a corpus analysis so it ought to be considered a fully-fledged use
of PC. On the other hand, the low number of example sentences and the fuzziness of its boundaries leave the problem unsettled. A comparative analysis with
a more recent corpus might help decide whether it was only a temporary trend
or, conversely, PC is continuing its expansion into the area of Present Perfect. At
the moment both scenarios seem equally probable.
It becomes possible now to address the question of the centrality of use.
Two uses, as Fig. 12 shows, can be postulated for this: the first and the third.
As for the first one, three arguments support it:
history (Fillmore 1982:32): the first consistent, though not permanently
fixed uses of PC date back to Middle English, when the uses of PC are interchangeable with Present Simple to denote the process going on at the time
of speaking (cf. Baugh and Cable 1978:245);
frequency (Taylor 1989:117-118): the dominance as the first use in
grammar books of the English language (e.g. Quirk et al. 1985:197, Leech


Grzegorz Drod

1989:388, Alexander 1988:164-165, Thomson and Martinet 1986:154,

maximal distinctness of the use (Taylor 1989:117): in the light of the
previous paragraphs the first use can be viewed as positioned at one extreme of the Present Continuous Present Simple continuum (canonically
the former grounds perfective verbs and the latter imperfective ones (Langacker 1991:250)), with the third use adopting the middle values and the
fifth use being closest to Present Simple due to the frequently used always
characteristic for Present Simple.
Two arguments support the third use as the central one:
most uses converge there, which approaches Langackers (1987:371)
and Lakoffs (1987:104) postulate (its most common use (Lakoff ibid.)),
necessity without this use the extensions to the uses four, five, and six
would not have been possible (cf. Bybee et al. 1994:137).
Another observation refers to one of Langackers (2001:12) claims concerning PC, namely, that it excludes the endpoints of the perfective processes it applies to. Unquestionably, this observation is valid for most of
the uses of PC. However, the fourth use constitutes an exception to this
postulate as the endpoints of the processes in (19) and (20) are included in
the immediate scope. I believe this shift of attention to the future might be
a manifestation of the natural human tendency to attend to the beginnings
and ends of paths (Mandler 2004:301). A confirmation of this tendency
comes also from studies on grammaticalization that the agent on a path
moving toward a goal is one of the typical language constructions evolving
into future (Bybee et al. 1994:268-269). This tendency might also account
for the Present Perfect use of PC where the beginning of the path is highlighted. If these observations are confirmed in analyses of further tenses, the
aspect-driven shifts from one tense to another might lead to a more insightful formulation of the relationship between tense and aspect than we have
Among so many changeable processes, features, and values I would like to
indicate one property which, due to its relative stability throughout the uses,
can be propounded for the defining characteristic of the PC. It is a characteristic implied by Langacker (2001:12), which is also found in most of the
analysed uses: the inclusion of the speech event within the immediate scope.
However, despite the fact that it is most stable, even this feature is occasionally overridden (in the second and fourth use).
At the same time it must be acknowledged that it is difficult to establish
any definite cornerstones or boundaries in language for, as Taylor (1989:120)
notices, a category will extend in order to fill semantic gaps in the language,
i.e. to express meanings not already conventionally lexicalized. Basing on

The structure of a tense...


Bybee et al. (1994) this claim can be even more elaborated: if speakers of
a language decide that one form seems more suitable than another, they replace the old one with a new one, as was noticed in several languages with
two present constructions in the research by Bybee et al. (1994:144): in our
data the newer gram has gone beyond its earlier more restricted meaning
(presumably of progressive) and now functions in most present contexts
without, however, having completely replaced the older present. From this
standpoint Present Simple, Present Perfect, and be going to can be seen as
the structures limiting further temporal expansion of PC, though not necessarily blocking the formation of more elaborate contrasts with them. Ultimately, only time will tell if they remain such limiting constructs.
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Agnieszka Kaleta
Jan Kochanowski University, Piotrkw Trybunalski



Although the semantic nature of the distinction between different types of English sentential complementizers has been taken for granted (e.g. Bolinger 1968; Dirven 1989 Dixon
1991, 1995; Duffly 1999, 2000, 2006; Freed 1979, Wierzbicka 1988), the exact meanings of
these constructions have not been conclusively established.
This paper is a small part of a larger project aimed at remedying this unfortunate
situation. More specifically, the project is concerned with the semantic properties of the
infinitival and gerundive complementizer, as revealed by the same matrix verbs constructions. They are constructions where a single matrix verb can co-occur with two different complementizers without any obvious (that is immediately identifiable) semantic
consequences, e.g. cease to do/ cease doing, begin to do/ begin doing, intend to
do/ intend doing. Minimal pairs like these are considered to be particularly well-suited
for studying the semantics of gerundive and infinitival complementizers in that they
minimize the role of the matrix verb in selecting one or the other complement category,
and thereby expose the true nature of the semantic contrast between the two syntactic
constructions in question.
The paper takes a closer look at the aspectual verb cease and its two non-finite complementizers. It is organized as follows. Section 2 contains a brief overview of the previous literature on the two cease constructions. Section 3 provides the details of the
methodological procedure adopted in the present study and is followed by an outline
of the distributional patterns of the two constructions as extracted from the British National Corpus In section 5, which constitutes the main part of the paper, I analyze the
distributional data as presented in section 4 with a view to determining the semantic
potential of the gerundive and infinitival complementizer. The main aim of this section is
to demonstrate that the distribution of the two constructions is not random but motivated
by the underlying semantics of the gerund and to-infinitive. The paper concludes with
some general observations concerning the schematic semantics of syntactic categories
and some prospects for further research.
KEY WORDS: sentential complementizers; corpus linguistics; semantics of syntactic categories


Agnieszka Kaleta

1. Cease and its non-finite complements in previous research1

1.1 Alice Freed (1979)
According to the author of The Semantics of English Aspectual Complementation cease+to-infinitive is associated with general or serial
reading and cease+gerund with durative reading. In Freeds terminology, the former term refers to events occurring on and off forageneral and
undetermined period of time (1979: 123). The notion of durative reading,
on the other hand, is used by the author with reference to events occurring
at the time, or up until the time of the cessation of the event (ibid.). Freed
illustrates the distinction with the following examples (ibid.):
Lacey ceased crying when she heard her parents come in the door.
Lacey ceased to cry whenever she heard her parent come in the door.

1.2 Wierzbicka (1988)

A strikingly similar point of view can be found in Wierzbickas 1988 seminal
publication. The author identifies the meaning of cease+to-infinitive with recurrent
events taking place at different time periods and the meaning of cease+ing with a
stretch of time, which denotes continuous events taking place at one time period.
To substantiate this point Wierzbicka quotes some native informants who suggest
that I have ceased worrying refers to a continuous stretch of worrying while I
ceased to worry implies that the speaker used to worry off and on (Wierzbicka
1988: 88). There is yet another observation to be found in Wierzbickas brief account
of cease. Namely, the author subscribes to the view expressed in Wood (1956:14)
that () the construction with the infinitive denotes the present position and that
with the gerund denotes the end of the past (ibid). To quote Wierzbickas example,
I have ceased to worry about it means I do not worry now, and I have ceased worrying about it means I used to worry but I do so no longer (ibid.). On this account
thus different complement forms affect the manner in which the event is understood
both before and at the cessation. Duffley (1999, 2006)

Duffley, in his corpus-based study, demonstrates that the distinction made by

the previous authors between the durative and serial reading is irrelevant to
1 The discussion to follow is limited to studies which take a semantic approach to complementation. That is to say, they treat gerundive and infinitival complementizers as semantic
categories in their own right. This is an approach that is consistent with the functional and
cognitive linguistic view of language, according to which all units of language (also the elements of syntax as traditionally conceived) are form-meaning pairings. The only study which
we mention that is not associated with these two strands in linguistics is Alice Freeds treatment of English aspectual verbs framed in terms of the theory of presuppositions and consequences. Yet, many of the observations made by Freed are relevant to the present discussion
and have found their continuation in functionally and cognitively-oriented research.

Cease to do or cease doing?...


the discussion of English non-finite complementation. As shown in the study,

not only gerundive but also infinitival complementizers can refer to single events
occurring at a particular time, and, vice versa, the gerundive complements can
encode serial events. However, not unlike Wierzbicka, Duffley suggests that
the gerundive construction denotes the termination of an existing event, and the
infinitival construction denotes a transition into a new state of affairs in which
the infinitives event no longer exists (2006: 326) (cf. Wierzbickas present
position vs. the end of the past). The main difference between these two
authors is that while Wierzbickas comment refers only to cease, Duffleys
proposal constitutes a general theory of English non-finite complementation.
It is worth noting here that Duffley derives this transitional meaning of the
infinitival construction from the semantics of the preposition to, which prototypically encodes motion (moving from a given source to a target destination).
In his brief mention of the cease constructions, Duffley argues that cease itself is conceived as involving the notion of movement, with the infinitive being
represented as the term of that movement. Hence, on this account, the infinitival complement shifts the focus of attention from the situation that has been
terminated (which is coded by the gerundive construction) to the state of affairs
ensuing upon the cessation.
1.3 Egan (2008)
Egans study, which is also based on corpus evidence, brings out the opposition - agentivity/ non-agentivity - as the main factor determining the distribution
of the two non-finite cease constructions. More specifically, the author proposes
that cease+gerund typically co-occurs with agentive subjects while cease+toinfinitive attracts non-agentive subjects. In other words, the former construction
tends to be associated with subjects capable of willed action (typically humans),
and the latter one with non-animate entities. This is an observation that has led
Egan to formulate the following generalizations for the gerundive and infinitival
construction respectively: somebody was doing something at point x: at point
y (y>x) they were no longer doing it / a certain situation had been occurring at
intervals or had pertained for some time at point x; at point y (y>x) this was no
longer the case. (2008:292 )
1.4 Comment
Although the above studies provide some useful insights into the semantic
contrast between the two cease constructions, they also display some short-


Agnieszka Kaleta

comings that cannot remain unnoticed. First of all, as has been demonstrated
by Egan and Duffley, some of the hypotheses formulated on the basis of the
intuitive judgments of the researcher can be easily refuted by examining the
relevant corpus-data. Secondly, Wierzbicka in her account of the two cease
constructions, fails to establish any links to the general theory she developed
for the two non-finite complementizers. In other words, it is as if the general
semantics of the gerundive and infinitival complementizer (as discussed by
the author in some detail in the other parts of the same chapter) had no bearing on the distribution of the cease constructions. This in turn might bring
into question the idea of the semantic invariant of the two complementizers
as postulated by Wierzbicka.
Duffleys account is much more consistent in that the observations concerning the cease constructions remain in keeping with the general theory
of English non-finite complementation as developed by the author. Importantly, while Duffley is very correct in his conclusions regarding the semantic links between the to-infinitive and the PATH image-schema, he fails to
capture the underlying semantics of the gerundive construction. Also, his
treatment of the cease construction is very brief and it does not provide
sufficient evidence for the links holding between the infinitival construction
and the PATH image schema.
Finally, Egans account does not go much beyond listing some distributional facts and as such it does not contribute much to our understanding of
the underlying semantic mechanisms motivating particular patterns of use
of these two constructions.
In the remainder of this paper I attempt to provide a fuller and a more consistent picture of the semantic motivation behind the distribution of the two
cease constructions than has been made available so far.
2. The Case study: theoretical background and methodological prerequisites
The case study to be presented in the following section remains in keeping
with the main principles of the cognitive linguistic approach to sentential
complementation, the most important of which are the following:
sentential complementizers such as gerunds, infinitives, that clauses
represent conceptual categories, and like other linguistic units can be
defined as form-meaning pairings
different types of complementizers reflect different ways of construing the scene denoted by the complement clause
The methodology adopted for the study can be labeled as a distributional
approach. The idea behind this approach goes back to the Firthian well

Cease to do or cease doing?...


known maxim - You shall know a word by a company it keeps(Firth 1957)

and Bolingers thesis that a difference in syntactic form always spells
a difference in meaning (Bolinger 1968). It has also a lot in common with
Patrick Hanks lexicographical work on English verbs which rests on the assumption that the semantics of each verb in the language are determined by
the totality of its complementation patterns (Hanks 1997). This totality of
complementation patterns is referred to by Hanks as a behavioral profile of
a verb. Most recently, the idea of behavioral profiles has been popularized in
the field of cognitive semantics by Gries and Divjak, who state that the distributional characteristics of the use of an item reveal many of its semantic
and functional properties and purposes (Gries and Divjak 2009).
In the present paper the distributional approach in question is extended to
investigate the schematic meanings represented by the syntactic categories
of gerunds and to-infinitives. Yet the idea remains the same as with lexical
items and can be formulated as follows: the schematic semantics of a syntactic construction is determined by the semantics of the items it co-occurs
with or is filled with. As observed by Stefanowitsch and Gries a word may
occur in a construction if it is semantically compatible with the meaning
of the construction (Stefanowitsch and Gries 2003). Consequently, the retrieval of the lexical items that are most likely to fill in the gerundive and
infinitival slots seems instrumental in determining the semantic potential of
these two categories.
3. Cease to do and cease doing: some distributional facts
3.1 Preliminary remarks
The distributional patterns of the two cease constructions have been retrieved from the British National Corpus (BNC). It should be observed here
that there is a marked quantitative difference between cease+to-infinitive
and cease+ ing, the latter being rather marginal in comparison with the
former. The raw numbers in the whole BNC corpus are as follows:
Cease + ing: 185 occurrences
Cease + to-inf : 1629

The analysis of the infinitival construction is based on the sample of

500 random occurrences, which has been considered stable enough for
this type of study. The low number of the gerundive construction, on
the other hand, has made it possible to retrieve and analyze the whole
concordance. I begin with an outline of the distributional patterns of the
two constructions.


Agnieszka Kaleta

3.2 cease + to infinitive.

The first observation to be made is that both the infinitival and the gerundive cease construction show a strong tendency to co-occur with particular lexical items or with sets of semantically related items. The items
most strongly attracted by the infinitival slot are the following: be, exist,
have, which account for circ. 37%, 12%, 5 % of the sample respectively.
Here are some corpus examples:
1. YESTERDAY Berlin ceased to be a divided city
2. As a result , membership slumped and in many parts of the country the Party
ceased to exist as a mass organization.
3. Time, in fact, had ceased to have meaning

The remaining instances of the infinitival construction do not contain any specific lexemes which are as frequent as the three ones listed above. Yet, there are
some items that form a semantically coherent class they denote cognitive/emotional states e.g. admire, amaze, regard, think, believe, feel, love, regret, to mention some of them. Altogether, there are 64 such instances, which
accounts for circ.13% of the sample. Here are some examples:
4. If our admiration be true, genuine , and progressive we will in the end come to
admire the good and cease to admire the bad
5. For we have long since ceased to regard the raising of houses in such an offhand
fashion , even when they are to the glory only of the home-owning democracy
6. Believers very often cease to believe because such suffering makes them no longer able to accept the goodness of God
7. This is the same as saying that reality can be altered by perception , and that the
problem will go away if we cease to think of Germany as a country

An interesting subclass of this category is represented by the uses where

cease is preceded by never. These are constructions in their own right.
For instance:
8. Your subtlety never ceases to amaze me
9. His daughter s beauty had never ceased to surprise the chief inspector
10.However , he never ceased to admire a poem like ` The Widow s Lament in

In the analyzed sample, 38 instances of never cease to construction have

been identified, which makes up circ. 8% of the whole sample. The most
significant co-lexeme filling the infinitival slot is amaze, which recurs in
this construction 16 times (circ. 25% of the total occurrences of the construction). It should be also noted that many other co-lexemes are semantically

Cease to do or cease doing?...


related to amaze and include surprise, astonish, astound, admire,

fascinate, enchant, marvel, delight. Hence, the general pattern is that
the verbs filling the infinitival slot are characterized by a clearly positive
semantic prosody, denoting the feeling of admiration or fascination typically combined with that of amazement. However, the specific semantics of
the construction seems to be a result of the unique semantic contribution of
never, which does not serve here its regular function of negative adverb
but performs an emphatic function reinforcing the meaning of the whole
predicate. Given these facts, the construction can be characterized as having emphatic function, the emphasis being on the strength of the emotion
evoked by a given stimulus and/or filling a human experiencer.
As follows from the present discussion, the cease+to-infinitive construction shows a strong inclination towards lexemes denoting stative situations.
All these instances altogether make up circ. 70% of the sample. In the remaining 30%, the infinitival gap is filled with verbs representing a variety of
semantic domains e.g.:
11. For Robinson , it was necessary to cease to talk in terms of moral absolutes and ,
consequently , he argued , ` nothing can of itself always be labelled as wrong
12. It is high time we ceased to allow people to talk about rugby union as a minority
sport -- even a post-World Cup modest club match on Rugby Special rated two
million viewers
13. The school ceased to function as such many years ago , and now serves as a village hall
14. Many diesel depots ceased to carry out maintenance for the Railfreight sector,
with some facing the axe such as Gateshead and others concentrating on work for
other sectors such as Bristol Bath Road
15. This helps to explain why so many English liberals ceased to support France when
they heard that Paris had been taken over by the ` mob in 1793 .

They might refer to agentive actions (examples 11, 12) but the agentive
factor can also be effectively suppressed in favor of a more generic construal as in example (13, 14, 15 ). In the latter case the event denoted by the
infinitival complementizer is construed more holistically, that is at the level
of generality or abstractness that goes beyond specific actions. For instance,
in example ( 13) the functioning of a school embraces different agentive
actions (e.g. the staff doing their work, students learning etc.), yet no such
specifications are included in the predication in question.
3.3 Cease + gerund
The most significant co-lexeme of the gerundive construction is trading,
which accounts for circ. 25% of the complete concordance of the gerundive
construction e.g.


Agnieszka Kaleta
16. SFV Holidays ceased trading after hitting financial difficulties
17. Several major galleries now claim that they have ceased trading with Saatchi

Second in order, albeit much less frequent than trading, is being. The
concordance contains 12 instances (over 6%) of this construction e.g.
18. They had just ceased being lovers with no explanation or recriminations from
either side being voiced
19. If annulled it will simply cease being law

All the remaining occurrences of the construction under consideration

contain verbs belonging to different semantic domains, none of them being
particularly frequent. Significantly prominent among them are the uses that
denote routines or habitual actions e.g.
20. () but the new options were taken out between then and 23 February this year,
when the council decided to cease making payments on the transactions
21. () it made eating and doing a little more exciting to know that someone else had
just ceased doing these basic human things for ever
22. () He held the Chair of Botany at Cambridge for thirty years , although he
ceased lecturing in 1735 and that University s Botanic Garden was not established until 1762
23. The last major wooden ( actually composite ) passenger sailing ship seems to have
been Torrenns which ceased carrying passengers to Adelaide in 1903
24. The end came even earlier than planned and in May 1968 the OCU ceased flying
from Bassingbourn saying farewell to this historic station on the 19th and flying
to their new home at Cottesmore

In sections 4.1 and 4.2, I have outlined the distribution of the two cease
However, the distributional facts are interesting only in as much as they
contribute to our understanding of the underlying semantic motivation.
Hence, the next section of the present paper is concerned with the semantic
properties of the two non-finite complementizers of cease.
4. Cease to do or cease doing? A corpus-cognitive analysis
This section is aimed at providing the evidence for the thesis that the distribution of the two cease constructions is not a matter of chance but results
from the schematic semantics of the gerundive and infinitival complementizer. Hence, I begin with specifying the meanings of the two constructions.
(1) The semantic function of the gerundive complementizer is that of conceptual reification and hence imposing bounded construal on the conceived

Cease to do or cease doing?...


scene. On the account proposed here actions coded by the gerund have the
ontological status of things (like deverbal nouns)
(2) The semantic potential of the infinitival complementizer derives from
the PATH image schema. The schema consists of three parts: a source point
(designated by A), a terminal point B, and a vector connecting A and B which
constitutes the path traversed by a moving entity (Trajector) and it can be
schematically presented as follows:

The Path schema constitutes a common conceptual base for different uses
of to, most notably the spatial to meaning towards (e.g. Mary went to
the library), and the purposive to (e.g. Mary went to the library to read
a book) which draws on the conceptual analogy between moving to a destination, on the one hand, and acting towards a goal on the other.
The schematic meanings of the two complement constructions are instrumental in explaining a number of distributional facts. First of all, cease+toinfinitive is much more frequent than cease+gerund. What makes it more
frequent is the compatibility of the imageries associated with the lexical semantics of the matrix verb cease, on the one hand, and the schematic meaning of the infinitival complementizer (the PATH schema), on the other. More
specifically, cease in itself denotes a transition into a new state of affairs,
and the PATH schema is clearly consistent with this transitional meaning. As
a matter of fact the specific semantics of the matrix verb and the schematic
semantics of to-infinitive are almost overlapping, which explains why these
two tend to co-occur with such high frequencies. It should be quite clear that
the reifying function of the gerundive complementizer does not correlate in
any obvious way with the transitional meaning of cease and this explains
the low frequency of co-occurrence of these two elements. Hence, on the
account proposed in this paper, cease+to-infinitive represents unmarked
construal whereas cease+the gerund represents marked construal.
In the context of the present discussion it should not come as a surprise
that the infinitival construction prototypically denotes the cessation of stative situations. It should be quite clear that states (or state-like situations) are
compatible with the transitional aspect of the PATH image schema and incompatible with the bounded construal evoked by the gerund. The gerundive
complementizer, on the other hand, is predominantly used to code dynamic
events, typically agentive actions. Given that agentive actions are construed


Agnieszka Kaleta

as being delimited in time and space (they cannot go on indefinitely), they

are much more susceptible to bounded construal than states (which can go
on indefinitely). However, it is not merely their status of agentive actions
that encourages the occurrence of the gerund. As noted earlier the gerundive
complementizer shows a strong tendency to code routine or habitual actions,
which evokes iterative construal. That is to say, the gerundive events tend to
be conceptualized as a series of discrete, self-contained events (cf. examples
19-24). This, in turn, provides further evidence for the view that the main
function of the gerundive complementizer is that of imposing bounded construal on the conceived scene.2 A mention should also be made here of the
most significant co-lexeme of the gerundive construction, that is trading
(cf. examples 15, 16). The event denoted by the verb trade (typically used
in business context), is construed as a series of buying and selling transactions. Consequently, the iterative construal is quite prominent here.
Importantly, the schematic meanings of the gerundive and infinitival complementizer as postulated in this section can also account for some unexpected or non-prototypical uses of the two complementizers such as the gerundive form being e.g.
5. They had just ceased being lovers with no explanation or recriminations from
either side being voiced
6. If you remarry before the age of 60, you cease absolutely being dependent on your
former husband and instead , your pension will be based on your new husband s
contribution record

It seems that in both (24) and (25), the infinitival complementizer can be
substituted for the gerundive one (they had just ceased to be lovers, you
cease to be dependent). The difference between these two constructions is
a very subtle one and can be specified as follows:
a. They ceased being lovers = they used to be lovers
b. They ceased to be lovers = they are no longer lovers

Hence, while (a) highlights the state of affairs from before the cessation,
(b) brings into focus the state of affairs after cessation. The fact that the gerund is more likely to refer to prior or past events is compatible with bounded
construal. That is to say, prior/ past events are delimited in time and space
(they have the starting point and the end point) and as such are susceptible
to bounded construal. The fact that the infinitive is more likely to refer to
present states which can extend to the future is much more compatible with
It should be quite clear that only bounded entities such as concrete things (as opposed to
the unbounded ones e.g. substances) can trigger iterative construal.

Cease to do or cease doing?...


the transitional meaning of the PATH image schema which does not impose
any boundaries on the conceived scene.
There is some further evidence for this in the distribution of the two constructions under consideration. Consider the following sentences:
a. She forgot locking the door/ She didnt forget to lock the door
b. She remembered locking the door/ She didnt remember to lock the door.

The gerundive constructions present locking the door as a past event

existing as an abstract concept in the mind of the speaker, and as such it
is construed as a conceptually reified entity. The infinitival construction,
on the other hand, presents the event of locking the door as a purposeful
(willed) action performed (or not performed) by an agent, in which case the
bounded construal is effectively suppressed and what comes to foreground
is the PATH image-schema with its transitional meaning. Specifically, what
is foregrounded in the latter case is the end result, that is the new state of affairs arising as the result of the action undertaken (or intended) by an agent
(i.e. the fact that the door is /is not locked now). The difference between the
two constructions in question can be schematically presented as follows:

Hence, the gerundive construction is more likely when it refers to events

that are prior to the event described by the matrix verb. The infinitival construction, on the other hand, shifts the focus of attention towards the state of
affairs obtaining after the matrix event.
What cases like this make clear is that the borderline between the two constructions under consideration is not fixed or clear-cut but a matter of construal, which entails that language users can switch from one type of construal to the other one quite effortlessly. Hence, as has been discussed above,
stative situations typically coded by the infinitival complementizer can occasionally be construed as bounded entities, which justifies their co-occurrence with the gerundive construction. Switching between the two types of
construal can also be observed in the case of more dynamic and heterogeneous situations, that is events and/or actions. As has been pointed out earlier
agentive actions coded by the gerund tend to be routine or habitual in nature,
and as such they evoke iterative construal. That is, the gerundive event is


Agnieszka Kaleta

construed as a series of discrete events. In the case of the agentive actions

coded by the infinitival complementizer the iterative aspect is no so strongly
delineated. That is to say, although clearly recurrent in nature, the events
can hardly be broken up into a series of discrete units. This should become
clearer if we again compare examples (20)-(24) and (11)-(15). The distinction in question can be presented as follows (t symbolizes time axis):

e.g. cease lecturing/ commuting/ making payments /doing basic human


e.g. cease to support someone / carry out maintenance / to function

Fig. (3) presents the gerundive event as a sequence of separate events.
In fig.(4 ), on the other hand, the bounded construal is suppressed if favor
of a more generic construal, which entails that the boundaries separating
particular events are not so obvious or clear. For instance, while lecturing
can be easily construed as a series of lectures, supporting someone is more
likely to be conceptualized as a durative process rather that a series of discrete events.
It should be emphasized, however, here, that the borderline between these
two construals is not fixed, but fuzzy around the edges and language users
can switch between these two types of construal. Yet, the general tendency
(as reflected in the recurrence of the relevant patterns) is like this the more
prominent the bounded construal, the more likely it is the occurrence of the
gerundive complementizer. The less prominent the bounded construal, the
more likelihood that the (more neutral) infinitival complementizer will be
Hence, the notion of boundedness is most usefully described in terms of
a continuum rather than as an all or nothing phenomenon.
Yet another fact associated with the distribution of the infinitival construction that deserves a mention here is its co-occurrence with time adverbials
long, long after, long since e.g.

Cease to do or cease doing?...


7. ( ) by the same token we would not seek to preserve a Thirties estate pub which
had long since ceased to address the needs of the community it was built to serve
8. John George had long ceased to play the father to John
9. There were things he consciously noticed about people which he brought to mind
long after he had ceased to watch them , but now he noted for the first time that
she had very small feet

In all these cases, the point of reference established by the matrix verb
event is temporally detached from the time of speaking, that is, it is situated in the distant past. This distribution is consistent with the PATH imageschema, which does not impose any temporal restrictions on the length of
the path covered by a moving object. It should be clear that the construction
in question would be quite unnatural with the gerundive complementizer,
which triggers bounded construal and as such does not allow so much freedom within the temporal domain.
The schematic imagery associated with the infinitival complementizer is
also instructive in rationalizing the distribution of never cease+to-infinitive construction (cf. examples 8-10). The point is that the semantic contribution of never is much more compatible with unbounded construal than
with bounded construal, and therefore it should not come as a surprise that it
is the infinitival complementizer that is much more likely here.
While the infinitival complementizer may signal temporal detachment or
temporal extension, the gerundive complementizer is much more likely to
express the idea of temporal coincidence of two events or their immediate
succession in time e.g.
10. The group ceased meeting when Faulkner left the Criminal Department to become
Principal Establishment Officer at the Home Office in 1990
11. It was only at this point that CNN complied with the restraining order and ceased
broadcasting excerpts from the tapes pending an appeal to the Supreme Court
12. The editor of the left-wing magazine Towards 2000 went into hiding on April
12 following a police raid in his absence on his office and residence , and the
magazine s publishers , Hrriyet , announced they would cease publishing the
magazine for fear of violating the new rules on censorship

In the above examples the gerundive event either coincides in time with
another event or immediately follows it. This, in turn, triggers bounded construal in that the former event is delimited in time and space by the latter
one. Consequently, it is the gerundive complementizer that is much more
likely here than the infinitival one.
So far we have been concerned with the cases where the complement
event is recurrent in nature that is it occurs at different times. However, it
should be pointed out here that both the gerundive and the infinitival complementizers are used to code single, durative events. A closer look at the


Agnieszka Kaleta

relevant data reveals some tendencies that are consistent with what has been
established so far. Firstly, the gerundive construction is used when there is
a suggestion of immediate succession of one event upon another (one of
these events is typically expressed by a coordinate clause introduced with
the conjunction and) e.g.
13. The two archers ceased shooting and walked across the greet the Friar
14. Hrun ceased stuffing silverware into his saddlebags and grinned encouragingly at
15. Delaney s opponent ceased struggling , looked wildly , unbelievingly , at him as
they drew apart

Secondly, the observation that the gerundive complementizer reinforces

iterative construal is also of some relevance here. Consider the following
16. Defries was silent , in thought , for a moment , but her eyes did nt cease scanning the rocks , and her hands were making automatic checks of her suit s status
controls and of the weapons hanging at her waist
17. True , it had taken her several minutes to decide whether the keys should be
bunched or splayed but she had ceased fidgeting with them and settled into an
abnormal quietude
18. Swayne s fingers ceased sorting his stamps and he gave Wycliffe his full attention
19. Isabel knew her heart had ceased beating because now it shuddered into action
again, racing so fast that she began to feel faint np.

In the sentences above the single durative event is construed as a dynamic

succession of quick actions e.g. scanning the rocks involves a series of
quick eye movements. By the same token, sorting something or fidgeting
with something involve a series of quick movements of the fingers. Finally,
heart beating entails several heart beats. Of course, it would be difficult (if
not impossible) to draw any specific borderlines between these events due
to their fast pace and short duration, yet it seems reasonable to assume their
presence in the conceptualization of the actions in question. This can be
presented as follows (the dots symbolize immediate succession of particular
instances of the action):

As for the corresponding uses of the infinitival construction, it tends to

occur in more neutral contexts, that is when the notions of immediacy and
iteration are not so apparent in the context of the utterance e.g.

Cease to do or cease doing?...


20. It was also noticed that he ceased to whistle unconsciously as he walked up the
aisle from the vestry
21. The wires of the fence were eventually replaced with mesh, and Halima having
tried once, and finding that her leg did not go through, ceased to paw at the fence
for oats
22. They kept their heads down in their books though they had long ceased to study ,
unwilling to catch his eye or even to breathe loudly

It should also be noted that the infinitival events are all conceived as single
durative events. Hence, the iterative construal is effectively suppressed here.
Furthermore, the events in (40) and (41) are construed as leisurely actions
and as such they lack the dynamicity and immediacy characteristic of the
gerundive construal.
5. Summary
Here are the main points made in the paper:
The distribution of the two cease constructions is not random but semantically motivated.
The basic semantic function of the gerundive complementizer is that of
reification and/or imposing bounded construal on the conceived scene. The
infinitival complementizer, on the other hand, evokes PATH image schema.
Out of the two constructions, the infinitival one is more basic (unmarked)
than the gerundive one, which is marked. This is reflected in the frequency
of occurrence of the two constructions, the former being much more frequent than the latter. The unmarkedness of the infinitival construction resides in the compatibility of the imagery evoked by the matrix verb cease
and the schematic semantics of the infinitival complementizer (PATH image-schema) .
The gerund is more likely to profile the situation from before the cessation (by analogy to remember+gerund or forget+gerund constructions).
This results from the fact that past events, being delimited in time and space
trigger bounded construal. The infinitival complementizer, on the other hand,
brings into focus the state-of-affairs after the cessation. This is consistent
with the PATH imagery which does not impose any temporal boundaries on
the duration of the event.
Related to the notion of boundedness is that of iteration. Iterative construal
is prototypically coded by the gerundive complementizer. The events that are
conceptualized as stative, and homogenous (and hence not easily broken up into
discrete events) are prototypically coded by the infinitival complementizers.


Agnieszka Kaleta

Related to bounded construal are also notions of temporal coincidence and

immediacy prototypically coded by the gerund. Temporal distance or temporal
extension as derivatives of unbounded construal tend to be expressed by the
infinitival complementizer (cf. long and never constructions.)
The borderline between the schematic meanings of the two complementizers under consideration is not fixed or clear-cut but a matter of construal, which
entails that language users can switch from one type of construal to another one.
6. Conclusion
The meanings of syntactic constructions are not easy to capture and describe
with the full precision and accuracy. The reasons for this unfortunate situation
are two-fold. One is the high degree of schematicity, which makes the syntactic
meanings not easily accessible or recognizable to the human analyst. The situation is clearly more complicated than with lexical items which convey meanings
that are much more specific and therefore easier to pin down. The other reason
is the fluid and flexible nature of the syntactic meanings, which allows for one
schematic meaning to turn into another schematic meaning without any obvious or immediately discernible semantic consequences. This situation has some
methodological implications. First of all, it seems that purely intuitive methods
of analysis cannot be expected to yield the relevant or conclusive results, as
the process of complement selection is largely a subconscious one. One of the
goals of the present paper has been to show that corpus data provide a much
more useful starting point for analyzing subtle nuances of meanings such as
the one between the two cease constructions. More specifically, a fine-grained
analysis of the distributional patterns of the non-finite cease constructions has
revealed important dimensions of conceptualization, otherwise unavailable to
the human analyst. Importantly, corpora have a clear advantage of providing
access to frequency data which are an enormous help in distinguishing more
prominent patterns from the more marginal ones. This is of particular importance for the research at hand. Given the fact that schematic meanings are not
fixed but subject to construal, the frequency data allow to identify the most salient conceptualizations, which, as has been assumed in this paper, constitute the
prototypical meanings of syntactic constructions.
It remains to be established whether the results of the research presented in this paper can be extrapolated to other cases of gerundive and infinitival complementation.3
Due to space considerations, I leave this discussion to future studies.
The previous research of the author concerned with the distribution of the non-finite
complementation of begin has yielded results that are striking similar to what has been
presented in this paper (cf. Kaleta 2009)

Cease to do or cease doing?...


Bolinger, D. (1968). Glossa Vol. 2:2
Dirven, R. (1989). A cognitive perspective on complementation. In D. Jaspers et
al. (eds), Sentential Complementation and the Lexicon: Studies in Honour of
Wim de Geest, Dordrecht: Foris Publication, 113139
Dixon, R.M.W. (1991). A New Approach to English Grammar, on Semantic Principles. Oxford: Clarendon Press
Dixon, R.M.W. (1995). Complement clauses and complementation strategies. In
F. R. Palmer (ed.), Grammar and Meaning. Essays in Honour of Sir John
Lyons, Cambridge. Cambridge University Press, 175220.
Duffley, P.J. (1999). The use of the infinitive and the -ing after verbs denoting the
beginning, middle, and end of an event. Folia Linguistica, 33, 295331.
Duffley, P.J. (2000). Gerund versus infinitive as complement of transitive verbs in English:
the problems of tense and control. Journal of English Linguistics 28, 221248.
Duffley, P.J. (2006). The English Gerund-Participle: A comparison with the Infinitive. Berkeley: Peter Lang Publishing.
Egan, T. (2003). Distance and Direction: A Usage-Based Study of Infinitive and
ing Complement Clauses in English. Oslo. Unipub AS.
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1968. Selected Papers of J. R. Firth. Longman, Harlow.
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Hanks, P. (1997). Lexical sets: Relevance and Probability. In B. LewandowskaTomaszczyk and M. Thelen (eds) Translation and Meaning, Part 4. School
of Translation and Interpreting, Maastricht.
Kaleta, A. (2009). English aspectual verbs and their complements the case of
begin. In Cognitive Corpus Linguistics Studies, (eds), B. LewandowskaTomaszczyk, K. Dziwirek. Frankfurt/MaIn Peter Lang.
Langacker, R. W. (1987). Foundations of Cognitive Grammar, volume I. Theoretical Prerequisites. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Langacker, R. W. (1991). Foundations of Cognitive Grammar, volume II, Descriptive
Applications. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Langacker, R. W. (2002). Concept, Image, and Symbol. The Cognitive Basis of
Grammar. 2nd edition. Berlin/New York. Mouton de Gruyter.
Stefanowitsch, Anatol & Stefan Th. Gries. (2003). Collostructions: investigating
the interaction between words and constructions. International Journal of
corpus Linguistics. 8(2), 43209.
Wierzbicka, A. (1988). The Semantics of Grammar. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John

Mirosaw Michalik
Pedagogical University, Cracow



The aim of the article is to answer the question how children with dysarthria as a result of
cerebral palsy and mildly intellectually disabled children (with oligophasia) acquire syntactic
The arguments were supported with the results of the psycholinguistic study. It was designed to examine the potential of generating structures of language using the abstract linguistic patterns. The method of the experiment consisted in presenting children with new
linguistic items, tracer elements. The use of newly coined verbs allowed to evaluate the
capacity of children to incorporate them into the syntactic system. Thus, it was possible to
observe whether children with dysarthria and oligophasia have syntactic competence similar
to children unaffected by any of these disorders.
The acquisition of syntax in the disturbed discourse is determined by the deficiency of their perceptive skills and the insufficient development of their psychophysical abilities conditioning the
acquisition of language. When the two groups of children with speech disorders were combined,
the percentage of incorrect results was 51.8%. It clearly shows that the syntactic competence in
the disturbed discourse is lower than the syntactic competence in the unaffected discourse.
KEYWORDS: syntactic competence, dysarthria, oligophasia

Syntactic issues, which constitute the core of this article, undoubtedly pose a
linguistic dilemma. Chronologically what is currently considered as syntactic
has been evolving along with philosophy, especially logic, but also ontology and
epistemology1. Contemporary linguists treat syntax as an autonomous branch of
Before syntax became a grammatical issue, which was largely due to Dionysius Thrax in
II B.C., both sophists with Protagoras as well as Plato and Aristotle perceived it as a philosophical, and logical in particular, matter. It was only Stoics along with Chrisippus of Soli between III and I B.C. who started to place syntax between philosophy and grammar. However,
a clear transition point can only be observed due to the so-called Alexandrian school (Zenodotus, Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchus of Samothrace among others), whose
members started to study linguistics with a philological edge. Dionysius Thrax and Apollonius Dyscolus treated syntactic issues evidently as grammar problems.


Mirosaw Michalik

the descriptive grammar of language. In the words of Jodowski (1976: 7), syntax is a science teaching about all of the processes connected with combining
words to form phrases. Karolak, on the other hand, claims that the object of
syntax is the description of the relevant features of complex phrases in natural
languages, i.e. features relevant from the point of view of constructing them
from simple elements and their functioning in the acts of communication (Grochowski, Karolak, Topoliska 1984: 11).
The classification offered by Saloni and widziski assumes that there are
three levels of text segmentation diacritics, i.e. distinctive elements such
as phonemes or letters, signs, i.e. meaningful elements, and utterances, i.e.
sentences. Within such a system, the primary focus of syntax will consist in
how the units of the third level (utterances) are composed of the units of the
second level (signs) (conf. Saloni, widziski 1997: 17-18). If that is the
goal of the linguistic inquiry, then syntax is located in the area of E-grammar
(externalized grammar), which is the set of rules, usually in the form of a
grammar handbook, compiled on the basis of the analysis of selected texts
from the natural language (Mecner 2005: 33). Syntax, as part of such externalized grammar, analyzes parts of sentences, investigates and classifies
them as well as describes the relations among sentences.
Issues related to syntax also lay the foundations for various coexisting models
of the acquisition of language. The long-lasting debate concerning the sources
of linguistic competence of a child follows two main schools of thinking:
1) Nativism, such as the theory of Noam Chomskys Universal Grammar,
which has it that newborn children are already equipped with a preprogrammed brain, which allows the creation of structures of human language.
The less radical version of this approach argues that children are biologically
equipped with all universal features of linguistic structure. They must, however, enrich their linguistic competence of their native language using the
stimuli they receive. Theories of nativism use the concept of LAD (language
acquisition device), which is the internal mechanism allowing children to
acquire language, and imply the modularity of brain, which suggests that
human abilities are independent from each other, and linguistic competence
is autonomous from other, more general cognitive abilities, which encompass phonological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic modules.
2) Constructivism, a more modern approach which assumes that there are
only certain inborn language-learning predispositions. The types of explanations used in this approach comprise the following:

The acquisition of syntactic structures...


a. cognitive explanations, which maintain that that the development of

language is the result of general cognitive mechanisms, which have been determined biologically. To reach an advanced level of linguistic competence
means the need to acquire a specific body of knowledge and is not connected
with innate structures or innate language acquisition device;
b. interactionist ones, which promote the socio-cultural factors are crucial
for the language acquisition. Learning process and the general development
of a child can be found at the core of this phenomenon. LAD, language
acquisition device, has been replaced by LASS, language acquisition socialization system.
Constructivism gives up on the modular interpretation of the process of acquiring abilities by humans, especially the linguistic ones, favoring the connectionist approach, which sees all human abilities as subcomponents of complex
networks, hierarchically structured and similar to neural networks.
Apart from the two most frequently discussed and employed approaches to
language acquisition, it is worth mentioning that there are other theories of
learning, including as radical ones as behaviorism. Behaviorism postulates
that children are born with a clean slate, not having any innate abilities nor
skills, and have to build their knowledge, including the knowledge of language, by making more and more complex stimulus-response associations.
There is also an emergent concept of language acquisition (syntax among
other components), which is based on the claim that children are capable of
constructing the grammatical system through their use of general abilities
that they utilize in a variety of activities. Language acquisition, according to
this theory, is the process in which children discover all the determinants of
grammatical form on their own (after Bokus, Schugar 2007: 18-20); Hickmann 2007: 426-427; Langacker 2003: 30-32).
One cannot fail to notice that apart from the interpretation of syntactic
problems as having linguistic orientation or being related to the acquisition
of language, there are also tendencies to conceive of linguistic competence,
including syntactic competence, as a psycholinguistic, neuropsychological
or neurolinguistic phenomenon. At present, centers located in the cerebral
cortex are said to have a dominant role in the formation of humans linguistic competence. The most important structures located in the left cerebral
hemisphere and serving linguistic functions are:
1. Posterior part of inferior and medial frontal gyrus (area corresponding
to Brocas area responsible for speech, comprises Brodmann areas 44 and


Mirosaw Michalik

45). This area is necessary to combine sounds into words, and words into
2. Part of the frontal cortex to the front of Brocas area (Brodmann area
47), which takes part in the organization of more complex linguistic objects;
its functions are also connected with the meaning of the utterance and with
the inner speech.
3. Anterior frontal area, which plays a major role in receiving and sending
meaningful messages.
4. Additional motor area, which is part of the frontal cortex, situated just
anterior to the primary motor cortex (Brodmann area 6), provides the dynamic dimension to the act of speaking.
5. Anterior temporal gyrus, associative auditory cortex (Wernickes area,
part of Brodmann area 22), which is responsible for phonemic hearing, identifies distinctive parts of speech: sounds, words and sentences.
6. Auditory-mnestic area, parts of the temporal lobe encircling Wernickes
area (Brodmann area 22), which carry memory information crucial for the
identification of speech and constructing utterances.
7. Frontoparietal operculum (Brodmann areas 35 and 43), which is crucial
for the formation of sounds because it allows the detection of the position
of speech organs.
8. The parietal-temporal-occipital association area, which determines the
ability to use complex logical-grammatical systems.
Brodmann areas 44, 45 and 47 are the most important for the humans syntactic activity. It is also worth noting that the anterior parts of the brains left
hemisphere should not be closely associated with the syntactic phenomena,
whereas the posterior ones with semantics.
It is no longer assumed that the left hemisphere of the brain analyzes linguistic stimuli, whereas the right hemisphere caters for the non-linguistic
ones. The latest research has shown that the right hemisphere recognizes
nouns in Nominative, identifies vowels and controls prosody of speech. It
also understands the meaning of a given referent. Moreover, this hemisphere
may understand relatively simple sentences as well as differentiate between
grammatical and ungrammatical sentences, and between nouns and verbs.
To recapitulate, the left hemisphere does not control all of the linguistic phenomena but only plays a relatively dominant role in this area. However, in
some of the processes mentioned above it is the right hemisphere that plays
the key role (after Kaczmarek 1995: 51-53; Mecner 2005: 61; Szelg 2005:
505; Walsh 1998: 390-393).

The acquisition of syntactic structures...



Syntactic competence in the disturbed discourse may be characterized
from the linguistic, acquisitional or neuropsychological standpoint. However, it may be best if it results from the interaction between these three
types of explanations.
1. A users way of communication unquestionably belongs to the domain
of linguistics, regardless of the extent to which perceptive and productive
biological abilities determining the acquisition and use of language2 have
been developed. The same claim can be made about syntax. However, syntax should be perceived not only through the prism of externalized grammar, E-grammar, which describes texts of natural language from a narrowly
prescribed point of view, but as part of internalized grammar, I-grammar,
which constitutes a natural body of knowledge of every language user and
allows them to construct grammatical sentences (Mecner 2005: 33). The
goal of internalized grammar is to describe the immanent competence of an
ideal language user (Chomsky 1982: 17). The notion of I-grammar should
also be referred to the result of subconscious mental mechanism responsible
for combining linguistic objects. Syntax, which in these terms is equivalent
to grammar, allows to penetrate the structure of a human mind through
the study of natural languages (Mecner 2005: 35). Such conceived syntax,
being at the core of mental grammar and constituting a branch of mentalist
linguistics, may become helpful in the research of complex processes laying the foundations for the mechanism of forming (combining) linguistic
objects (Mecner 2005: 20). The mechanism, then, has not only its specific
mental form, but also a precise location in the brain.
2. The acquisition of linguistic (and syntax) competence in people with
speech defects is a complex, heterogeneous phenomenon, which is still being investigated. Reaching any conclusion has to be preceded by the choice
of one of the acquisition models. But that should not be done based solely
on the a priori assumptions. It would be more desirable first to carry out psycholinguistic empirical research, and support it with observations and analyses of the disturbed yet developing despite limitations competence.
Naturally the shape and the direction of syntax acquisition in the disturbed
discourse is determined by the language disorders of the patient. According
to Grabias (2002: 39-40), who is the author of the typology of speech deAmong the perceptive and productive biological abilities, which are essential in the process of linguistic communication, Grabias (2002: 38) includes physical hearing, phonemic
hearing, musical hearing, mobile brain and effective memory, well-functioning peripheral
nervous system and speech organs.


Mirosaw Michalik

fects commonly used in speech therapy in Poland, the three majors groups
may be distinguished:
1) speech disorders related to non-shaped perceptive skills (deafness, impaired hearing, alalia, oligophasia);
2) speech disorders related to the lack or inability of productive skills
(dysglosia, speech after laryngectomy, stuttering, dysarthria);
3) speech disorders related to the disintegration of the communicative system (aphasia, schizophasia)3
Speech defects caused by non-shaped perceptive skills form the most
interesting group from the point of view of syntax acquisition as a subconscious mechanism of combining elements. In the case of disorders
characterized by the lack of productive skills we assume that syntactic
competence should be present, and only its actual production, or uttering
using articulatory organs, could cause potential problems. The syntactic
competence in the group of people with the disintegration of communicative skills is determined by the level and location of the brain damage
on the one hand, and, on the other hand, how advanced the process of
personality disintegration for mental patients is. The focus of the present
article is to compare the syntactic competence of the first group members
with the syntactic skills of people with dysarthria (the second group in
Grabiass typology).
3. The analysis of the acquisition of syntactic competence among the participants of the disturbed discourse also points to the neuropsychological,
psycho- and neurolinguistic basis of the problems.
The first group of subjects consisted of mildly intellectually disabled teenagers. Doroszewska, keeping up with the modern approach to mental disability, says that it is not a specific disease entity, but rather is a collection of
symptoms, varying in their etiology, of the damage in the peripheral nervous
system (Doroszewska 1989: 16). The clinical picture of mental disability
presents it as a biological defect, which irrevocably damages structures and
functions of the nervous system, hence it is possible to study the linguistic
competence of mentally disabled patients with psycho- and neurolinguistic
At this juncture the explanation is provided only to these notions that are not in common
use. And so, alalia is the lack or insufficient development of speech due to the incomplete
development of certain brain structures; oligophasia is the speech of intellectually disabled
people; dysglosia is erroneous pronunciation as a result of anatomical changes in the shape
of speech organs; speech after laryngectomy is the way of communicating among people who
had their larynx removed; dysarthria is the impairment of the linguistic communication due
to the damage to the centers/tracts enervating the speech organs; aphasia is the disintegration
of the linguistic system after some damage to the cerebral cortex; schizophasia is the disintegration of the linguistic system following a mental disease, most commonly schizophrenia,
referred to as the speech of mental patients (after Surowaniec 1999)

The acquisition of syntactic structures...


tools. Mildly intellectually disabled children4 are characterized by their disturbed ability to think in abstract terms and their inability to perceive information as a whole and form cause-effect relations. Depending on their IQ
they may have problems constructing concepts; this stems directly from their
thinking process, which is concrete, and their sensory-motor interests. Following Muszyski, who claims that the world is structured into categories
by the subject that is equipped in these categories developed in the course
of biological, social and cultural development (1996: 30), and Bowerman,
who holds the view that ways in which children conceptualize and classify
elements of their experience () are precisely determined by the properties
of a human perceptive and cognitive system (2003: 255), one cannot fail
to notice the proportion between the level of mental disability, which is a
deficit in the biological, social, cultural and cognitive development, and the
ability to categorize the reality (conf. Michalik 2006: 123-129). To recapitulate, what is being dealt with here is non-shaped perceptive abilities, i.e. the
malfunctioning of the central nervous system.
For comparative reasons the linguistic material obtained from mildly intellectually disabled students will be studied against the results of the experiment carried out among subjects with dysarthria as a result of cerebral
palsy. Cerebral palsy may be defined as a group of chronic, non-progressive disorders of the central nervous system, mostly of the motor control
systems. It is worth noticing that cerebral palsy is not a disease entity, but
a set of conditions, or disorders very heterogeneous in its causes (Zabocki
1998: 9)5. In the area of linguistic communication disorders, it is usually
manifested by dysarthria and anarthria. In the definition and classification of
these disorders, Grabias postulates that they are related to the damage of the
centers and tracts innervating the articulatory organs; they are manifested
through the lack of productive potential, or in the incorrect production of
phonemes and disturbed production of almost all prosodic components of
the speech sequence (2002: 1143). Hence, it is the deficits in the productive
capacity that characterize this group.

Mildly intellectually disabled people have the IQ between 55-69 in the Wechsler Adult
Intelligence Scale. For comparison, average results in the same test are between 85115.
Cerebral palsy, apart from the motor impairment, is often accompanied by other symptoms of the damage to the peripheral nervous system, mostly because of the damage to the
sensory apparatus. The most common symptoms include epilepsy, hydrocephalus, mental
disability, behavioral disorders, hearing disorders, visual disorders, squint, nystagmus and
optic nerve atrophy. On top of these symptoms, attention should be paid to certain microdeficits, such as difficulty in visual-motor coordination, inability to recognize self-body parts,
difficulty in the lateralization process, difficulty in the audio-visual analysis and synthesis,
lack of spatial orientation and difficulty in concentrating (after Michalik 2006: 143146).


Mirosaw Michalik

The experiment that was carried out had traits of both psycholinguistic
and neurolinguistic study. In its narrow version, psycholinguistics, through
the analysis of the linguistic behavior of a person, examines the syntactic
mechanism determining language processing (Mazurkiewicz-Sokoowski
2006: 15). On the other hand, linguistic models and methods used in the
study of speech disorders caused by the damage to the cerebral cortex argue
for the classification of the experiment as part of the neurolinguistic research
(Karczmarek 1995: 7).
Mental disability as well as dysarthria as a result of cerebral palsy may be
characterized by the damage to the cerebral cortex. Moreover, after Mazurkiewicz-Sokoowska, it may be assumed that the subject of the neurolinguistic study is (...) speech disorders caused by the damage to the cerebral cortex
and those developed as a consequence of other organic dysfunctions of the
central nervous system, including the subcortical structures, both in adults
and in children (2006: 17). Under this approach the study of language of
the people with intellectual disability and those affected by cerebral palsy
may be grouped within the neurolinguistic scope of research.
Experimental study was employed to answer the question whether people
with heavy communicative impairments use innate grammatical categories,
or whether, despite the perceptive limitations, they learn the structures as
they grow and develop. Meaningless predicative forms were used to ensure
that childrens production will be based on their ability to utilize abstract
paradigms rather than the ones they might have previously heard (Spitzer
2007: 62, 67; Tomasello 2003: 155-156; 2002: 194-195)6. This finds support
from Clark, who maintains that syntax appears in the language of a child
as an inseparable part of the lexicon (2007: 169), that is it is based on the
The diagnostic method used in the Group of Special Schools no. 2 in
Jastrzbie Zdrj consisted of two steps. First, subjects were familiarized
with linguistic units coined for the purpose of the experiment. Then, they
were evaluated on the basis of how they could use them in the construction
of syntactic structures. These structures were headed by these newly coined,
meaningless words, functioning as tracer elements. The method shows how
subjects use non-standard syntactic constructions and, eventually, what the
shape, or possibly source, of their syntactic competence is.
Of course, the practice of presenting meaningless structures is problematical. When a picture is shown with a boy performing a certain action, only a narrow, restricted meaning is
implied. The meaning that appears in a joint attentional scene, co-produced by the examiner
and the examinee. Thus, after Tomasello, it can be stated that joint attentional scenes occupy
a kind of middle ground an essential middle ground of socially shared reality between the
larger perceptual world and smaller linguistic world (2002: 133).

The acquisition of syntactic structures...


There were 7 subjects with mental disability, at the average age of 13

years 10 months, and 8 subjects with dysarthria following a cerebral palsy,
at the average age of 14 years 4 months. During the experiment every subject was presented with 5 pictures showing uncommon everyday situations.
The performer of the actions (and the subject of the syntactic structures) was
a boy named Tomek7. The elements undergoing the action (the objects) were
as neutral and unmarked as possible: limak (snail), st (table), niadanie
(breakfast), odyga (stem), trawa (grass). All verbs were coined predicative
units, which do not exist in standard communication. The forms that were
formed were following: donowa and wokowa (they are meaningless but
their structure corresponds to the paradigm of verbal conjugation with 1st
and 2nd person singular inflectional endings -, -esz), kobuszy and poni
(endings -, -isz // -ysz), urga (endings -m, -sz)8. During the presentation of
the pictures gerund forms of these verbs were used, e.g. to jest donowanie/
wokowanie etc. (this is donowanie/wokowanie etc.). Additionally, it was
emphasized that the name of the boy is Tomek and that he is the performer
of the actions (sentences were made with Tomek as the subject, the inflected
form of the coined verb and one of the objects, e.g. Tomek donuje limaka,
Tomek wokuje st etc.). In the case of the verbal conjugation with inflectional endings -m, -sz (urga) a prompt was offered as to the correct form of
the 1st person singular inflection, as the form of the verb could be misleading
and lead to a wrong analogy. After finishing the present tense conjugational
paradigm, an introduction to the past forms was made (If it was yesterday,
you would say that I (what did I do?) the snail/the table/breakfast etc.).
A similar structure introduced the future paradigm. In the final stage of the
experiment active voice was changed into passive, with one and only one
sample sentence to illustrate the process. Then, only active voice sentences
were read out and subjects were asked to passivize them9. In the process of
None of the children was named Tomek.
Taking frequency of use into consideration, only one form, not two, was given for -m, -sz
type of conjugation. The previous articles of the author discuss the results of the experiment
where the second verb form was coined for this conjugation (Michalik 2008a; 2008b).
The use of a 3rd person singular verb form opened the possibility of creating the inflectional SVO paradigm. SVO word order, which is the formal linguistic universal (Chomsky
1982: 48-52), is a basic Polish word order. The grammatical category of person, which as
Rittel emphasizes is connoted by the verb and represented by the personal pronoun and
the noun (1985: 17), is 1st person singular (the speaker), 2nd person singular (the addressee)
and 3rd person singular (the topic). During the experiment subjects were expected to use the
standard word order with appropriate persons with the tracer elements coined verbs in
three grammatical tenses. Karolak says that grammatical tenses in natural languages provide
the temporal aspect to the states and actions denoted by the sentence against the time of their
utterance; they express the relation between the time of event and the time of speech, i.e. the
moment of speaking (2001: 63). The last stage of the experiment was the active to passive


Mirosaw Michalik

the experiment each person should construct 100 syntactic structures headed
by predicative units coined for the purpose of the experiment. Thus, all subjects produced 1500 structures.
The use of tracer elements without any systematic meaning was a good
diagnostic to study the level of syntactic competence in people with mental
disability and those with dysarthria as a result of cerebral palsy.
1) Syntactic competence of subjects with mental disability.
a. Out of 700 structures obtained during the experiment from the members of this group 241 were correct, observing the rules of inflection, tense,
gender and word order. Incorrect structures, violating the accepted norms,
amounted to 459.
b. The analysis of the percentage of correct verb forms in selected types of
conjugation showed that the greatest number of correct uses were given for ,-esz type (51.6%), correct constructions with -, -ysz // -isz type accounted
for 24% and 27.6% were correct structures for the -m, -sz type.
c. As far as the correct structures in a given tense were concerned, 52%
of them were used in the present tense, 25.7% in the past tense and 21.3%
in the future tense. Also, 29.9% of the correct structures were given for the
active to passive transformation.
2) Syntactic competence of dysarthric subjects
a. Out of 800 structures that subjects with disarthria produced 459 were
correct, obeying the standard rules of inflection, tense, gender and word
order. Incorrect structures were a total of 304.
b. In terms of the percentage of correct structures for the types of conjugations, 76.9% of the well-formed sentences belonged to -, -esz type, 54.5%
accounted for , -ysz // -isz type and 53.8% were constituted by -m, -sz
verbal conjugation.
c. The percentage of correct answers within grammatical tenses produced
82.9% for the well-formed structures in the present tense, 63.4% for the past

transformation using the newly coined verbs. Karolak mentions that inflectional and morphological criteria characterize the difference between active and passive voice (Polaski
(ed) 1999: 562). Inflectionally, passive verbs are characterized by a passive syntactic marker,
whereas syntactically, the object is promoted to the subject position following the subject
demotion (ibid.). The inclusion of the passive transformation was to verify the grammaticality hypothesis against the answers. Agrammaticality, understood here as the incorrect use of
grammar (Mazurkiewicz-Sokoowska 2006: 129) is manifested by the difficulty in understanding passive (ibid. 148).

The acquisition of syntactic structures...


tense and 41.8% in the future tense. The percentage of the correct active to
passive transformation was 51.2%.
3) Contrastive analysis
The obtained results point to a higher level of syntactic competence
among children with dysarthria, who produced 62% of correct structures.
Only 34.4% of structures produced by children with oligophasia were wellformed. Figure 1 shows the relevant data.

The contrasted results of the verbal structures generated for respective

types of conjugation are shown in Figure 2.

Finally, the percentage of correct structures within the area of tense and
voice are presented in Figure 3.


Mirosaw Michalik

Syntactic problems of the research group result from the disturbed linguistic
programming and processing. When the two groups of subjects are taken together, it turns out that the percentage of incorrect, or traditionally regarded as
ungrammatical in Polish, structures is 51.8%. This result, especially in the light
of the statement formulated by Tomasello that after reaching the age of 3.5 to
4 years old most children easily acquire new verbs adjusting them to syntactic
categories and paradigms (2003: 156), may be surprising, as the average age of
the subjects was 14.1. According to Tomasello, if a coined word is not used creatively, conforming to the structures of a given language, then either the abstract
system incorporating such a word is missing, or this system is not capable of the
incorporation of a new element (Tomasello 2003: 148).
The use of meaningless words paved the way to forming the claim that the
abstract syntactic (grammatical) system is present in the research group (to a
varying degree depending on the kind of language communication disorders),
but in the form insufficient to fully incorporate new elements. This amounts to
saying that subjects do not have a well-developed syntactic competence. Obviously, there are clear differences in the levels of syntactic competence displayed
by members of the two groups under discussion. On the syntactic level, children with dysarthria were performing considerably better. These people, given
their psychophysical limitations, including the dysfunction of basic processes
of cognition (Tomassello 2003: 212), find it more difficult to engage in social
interactions, which according to the constructivist-interactionist model condition the acquisition of language. People with mild intellectual disability find it
substantially easier to socialize. Nevertheless, it is dysarthric people, i.e. people
with disturbed social-pragmatic-intersubjective (Tomasello 2007: 218) skills,
whose syntactic structures are better developed. Thus, maybe there is more to
the innate ability to construct paradigms (Bokus, Shugar 2007: 11) than it is
presently assumed, even more so given that the presence of innate structures
seems to be more systematic than in dysarthric people rather than in those mentally disabled.
Assuming the constructivist model of acquisition (both for the standard
case and the disturbed one) entails far-reaching practical consequences. If
the syntactic competence is the end product of the interaction between the
cognitive mechanisms of a child and its social and cultural exposure (interactionist model), then its evolution may be stimulated in the process of creating appropriate conditions for the development of psychophysical skills
determining language acquisition10. Such an approach gives credibility to
Conf. Cieszyska, J. 2001. Nauka czytania krok po kroku. Jak przeciwdziaa dysleksji.
Krakw. Pp. 28-60.

The acquisition of syntactic structures...


the connectionist model, according to which human abilities are components of complex networks, and their elements are governed by the laws of
implication and form hierarchies.
If, however, syntactic competence follows models developed in the spirit
of nativism (as supported by the results of experiment), which is largely dependant on the innate structures, then the stimulation of selected areas of the
brain may also offset the deficits produced by its inadequate development or
damage. This opens up a whole spectrum of therapeutic strategies for speech
therapists, who can focus on the stimulation and development of the left,
linguistic hemisphere of the brain, e.g. through sequential exercises11.
Leaving aside the issue of which particular model best describes the disturbed language acquisition, there are certain ways to overcome the adverse
effects originating from the inadequate development of certain perceptive
and productive skills. Failure to undertake such measures will prevent the
child from developing the linguistic (and syntactic) competence.
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nowe dane, nowe hipotezy. In B. Bokus & G. W. Shugar (eds), Psychologia
jzyka dziecka. Gdask, 9 32.
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Grabias, S. (2002). Perspektywy opisu zaburze mowy. In S. Grabias (Ed.), Zaburzenia mowy. Lublin, 11 43.
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jzyka polskiego. Skadnia. Warszawa.
Herzyk, A. (2005). Wprowadzenie do neuropsychologii klinicznej. Warszawa.
Conf. Cieszyska, J., Korendo, M. 2007. Wczesna interwencja terapeutyczna. Krakw;
Fabisiak-Majcher, A., Korendo, M., Szmuc, E. 2008. Stymulacja i terapia. Przygotowanie do
nauki czytania. Cz 1: Szeregi i sekwencje. Krakw.


Mirosaw Michalik

Hickmann, M. (2007). Rozwj jzykowy a rozwj poznawczy: stare pytania, nowe

kierunki bada. In B. Bokus & G.W. Shugar (eds), Psychologia jzyka dziecka. Osignicia, nowe perspektywy. Gdask, 211 225.
Jodowski S. (1976). Podstawy skadni polskiej. Warszawa.
Kaczmarek, B. L. J. (1995). Mzg, jzyk, zachowanie. Lublin.
Karolak, S. (2001). Czasy gramatyczne a model Reichenbacha . In S. Karolak, Od
semantyki do gramatyki. Warszawa, 63 87.
Langacker, R.W. (2003). Model dynamiczny oparty na uzusie jzykowym . In E.
Dbrowska & W. Kubiski (eds), Akwizycja jzyka w wietle jzykoznawstwa kognitywnego. Krakw, 30 117.
MazurkiewiczSokoowska, J. (2006). Transformacje i strategie wizania w lingwistycznych badaniach eksperymentalnych. Krakw.
Mener, P. (2005). Elementy gramatyki umysu. Krakw.
Michalik, M. (2006). Diagnozowanie kompetencji lingwistycznej ucznia szkoy specjalnej. Krakw.
Michalik, M. (2008a). Kompetencja skadniowa w dyskursie zaburzonym. In print.
Michalik, M. (2008b). Skadniowa kompetencja dzieci z poraeniem mzgowym.
In print.
Muszyski, Z. (1996). wiat za sowami. Ich natura i porzdek (pp. 2745). In
R. Grzegorczykowa & A. Pajdziska (eds), Jzykowa kategoryzacja wiata.
Lublin, 27 45.
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Rittel, T. (1985). Kategoria osoby w polskim zdaniu. Warszawa-Krakw.
Saloni, Z. & widziski, M. (2007). Skadnia wspczesnego jzyka polskiego.
Spitzer, M. (2007). Jak uczy si mzg. Warszawa.
Surowaniec, J. (1999). Logopedyczny sownik terminologii diagnostycznej. Krakw.
Szelg, E. (2005). Mzgowe mechanizmy mowy. In T. Grska, A. Grabowska & J.
Zagrodzka (eds), Mzg a zachowanie. Warszawa, 489 524.
Tomasello, M. (2002). Kulturowe rda ludzkiego poznania. Warszawa.
Tomasello, M. (2003). Czy mae dzieci posiadaj skadniow kompetencj osb dorosych? In E. Dbrowska & W. Kubaski (eds), Akwizycja jzyka w wietle
jzykoznawstwa kognitywnego. Krakw, 144 222.
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Zabocki, K. J. (1998) Mzgowe poraenie dziecice. Warszawa.

Iwona Nowakowska-Kempna
Wysza Szkoa Ekonomiczno-Humanistyczna, Bielsko-Biaa



In the article I will investigate synchronic morphological derivations (motivated ones).
I treat them as new concepts with various levels of semantic complexity and an emergent
sense, that is one in which the meaning is something more than a sum of the meanings of
the base and the affix. Following Grzegorczykowa and Puzynina (1984: 308), I assume that
the semantic origin of the derivation and the complexity related to it are among important
derivational indicators.
I believe that many interesting observations on the subject of morphology can be made
basing on the theory of the blends, which reveals the complex and complicated nature of the
derivation. In my analysis I will confine myself to so-called mutated derivations, i.e. those
in which semantic and formal relations are the most multiaspectual, and within those formations I will focus on Polish derivations with the suffix arz.
KEY WORDS: cognitive grammar; morphological derivation; conceptual blending

The emergent nature of the meanings of morphological derivations has been

shown in grammars using analytical approach by presenting particular components which it is composed of. Those are the characteristics of: the base and the
derivation, types of morphological bases and affixes as well as their functions,
semantic origin of the derivation, morphological paraphrase compared to the
categorial value, morphological type and the regularity of the formation.
In canonical way, in other words in prototypical way (Langacker 1995: 99),
a paraphrase seems to be in place here as a certain type of definition (morphological one) and it is usually considered as the meaning of the derivation. As
a result, the semantic structure of those derivations is impoverished because, for
example, a writer (pisarz), is not only the one who writes but also the one who
works in a creative profession, is inclined to it, possesses necessary knowledge
and receives remuneration for the effects of his/her work etc.
I find creating blends (Fauconnier, Turner 2001, 1996) which do justice
to the complicated nature of the natural languages grammar, vital and productive in the search of the grammatical structure of the natural language.


Iwona Nowakowska-Kempna

A blend is the result of the configuration, superimposition and unification of

the structures of two input spaces into a new, separate one. G. Fauconnier
and M. Turner (2001: 173) underline, that a blend partly inherits the structure of the input spaces, but also creates its own temporary structure.
Creating blends happens by combining the equivalents in input spaces,
which may, but do not have to, undergo the integration in the blend.
Input spaces are similar to mental spaces, by which I mean a certain conceptual area including particular information, which is arranged in hierarchy
and order and also serves as the source of the blend.
The generic space which creates an interactive net with them contains information shared by two or more input spaces. The latter are abstract enough
to relate to it. The generic space forms joint framework structure, generalized and schematic, which represents a configuration imitated in both input
spaces (G. Fauconnier M. Turner 2001: 174).
In case of morphology, the framework structure consists of either Agents
activity, which is its profession, or of Subjects permanent feature etc. Linguistic strategies leading to the analysis of the morphological derivation are
grammatical and thus they reveal the semantic structure of the derived lexeme.
For the purposes of the present study I assume the following:
1) The rule of metonymy as a relationship combining the derivation with
the morphological base
2) Creating a blend by means of establishing correspondences and selective projection
3) Prototypical configuration of the morphological derivation within the
hedges ( Lakoffa 1972, 1987)
I also presume that both input spaces take the form of a conceptual integration network (Fauconnier, Turner 2001: 180) for typical, so PROTOTYPICAL cases. They consist of semantic roles: Agent the performer of
the activity, and the object the Patient, and the activity itself. X-Agent
does something, which causes y-Patient to start functioning, and also roles:
Instrument, Auxiliary and Transformed matter, etc. The cause and effect relation (rce) is thus included in the semantic model of the predicate .
In Polish the framework structure is connected to the basic sequence:
NPNom + V + NP.ACC + NP.Ins + NP.`Ins +
The input space 2 comprises of components such as: Agent a which performs a certain activity, the ability to perform the activity fitter , constancy
of performing the activity in time fLong/Dur with simultaneous repeatability of
the activities and the professional character of Agent as activities.

Morphological derivations...


It is obvious that the blend of both spaces requires a partial projection of

the related elements (Fauconnier, Turner 2001: 181).
The role of the blend is to integrate the Agent with the activity undertaken
by it, therefore Agent a and a in action. This activity could be perceived as
repetitive over a long period of time: TDur, repeating themselves Titter, which
allows us to define precisely the semantic role of the Agent as a person who
is equipped with knowledge and skills of a certain type, i.e. a sufficient
degree of professionalism. The Agent performs particular duties characteristic for its occupation, i.e. the Agent does something, which causes a new
object to be created (Patient), in concordance with knowledge (education)
and skills and repeatedly over a long period of time, in return for which it
receives a financial equivalent: professionEkwiw


Iwona Nowakowska-Kempna
This writer publishes a new novel every year.
This well-known writer for many years has not written anything.
A writer I know has been writing a novel all his life.

The role of operating in an integrated space could be projected in different

ways in a nonintegrated space: in the Agents activity, in the creation of the
Patient, through the contribution of the Auxiliary and Transformed matter,
and Instruments, as well as in relations among activities.
In this case the role of the blend is to integrate the Agent and the activity
with the constancy of the Agents actions, established in professionalism.
What is highlighted here is the Agents activity which acquires the status of
profession or permanent occupation associated with a relatively long period
of time, with professional potential, knowledge and skills.
The blend consists of roles: a rce itter and the characteristics of a complemented by professionalism: knowledge, skills and financial equivalent
set in both: Titter and TDur.
Just like in other cases (Fauconnier, Turner 2001: 183), here, the input
space 2 content complements the Agents role and activities.
What is written may be reflected in the characteristics of the Patient, and
then we obtain derivation: pismo (Eng. writing) or, as an Instrument in pisak
(Eng. felt-tip pen ).
Grammatical structures of the derivation could be used for differentiation
of the blend, which would enable an integration of events previously nonintegrated. Even if, as Israel (1996) argues, the spaces that form blends are
changing in time, they still are included in the language structure. G. Fauconnier and M. Turner (2001: 186) write: On the most schematic level
the blends are conventional and the conceptual actions may be predicted.
Summarizing the experiences of other researchers, for example of: Talmy
Matsumoto, Deane and Croft, A. Goldberg (1995) I assume that if Zk is
a type of event designated by the construction, and Zo is a type designated
by the verb, then their interrelation (Zk with Zo ) is in accordance with one
of the following methods, where Zo could be a subtype of Zk or designate
the means leading to Zk , the result, initial condition, the method of accomplishment, effect or means enabling identification of Zk , related to
its multiple repetition over a long period of time and to the conditions of
S. Kemmer and L. Verhagen (1994) are of the opinion that what functions
here are: cognitive models of an event /activity/ of doing something based
on force dynamics and interactions between the participants of the event,
and moreover, that those models are connected with the basic patterns, including one or two objects (Fauconnier, Turner 2001: 192) because creating blends is also a cognitive operation.

Morphological derivations...


These observations are relevant to deverbal agentive arz derivations in

Polish: tanner (garbarz), thresher (mocarz), dyer (farbiarz), farmer (gospodarz), sculptor (rzebiarz), embroiderer (hafciarz), nurse (pielgniarz),
baker (piekarz), doctor (lekarz), bricklayer (murarz), writer (pisarz),
plasterer (tynkarz), printer (drukarz), painter (malarz), glazier (szklarz),
barber (golarz), draftsman (krelarz), haymaker (kosiarz), fortune-teller
(wrbiarz), presser (tocarz), spinner (przdzarz),
turner (tokarz),
trader (handlarz), sailor (eglarz), oarsman (wiolarz). At the same time,
while we have to realize that there is a double motivation of certain names,
for example: farmer a farm, to farm, printer a print, to print etc.
To this category belong obsolete derivations, such as: tavern-keeper (arendarz), estate governor (wodarz), and those whose motivation has been lost,
e.g. gravedigger (grabarz) the one who buries the dead (grzebie), hist. to
rake (grabi).
They are typical nomina agentis the names of the performers of the
activities (see Grzegorczykowa, Puzynina 1984: 343-345) and in categories
of typicality, so called hedges (proposed by Lakoff 1972, 1980), they take
the position of prototypical formations PAR EXCELLENCE.
However, nowadays, there are more constructions based on the characteristics of the Agent accessed through the Patients position or Transformed
or Auxiliary matter, or through the Instrument with the unexpressed activity
status; compare: bookseller (ksigarz) the one who sells books, chiropractor (krgarz) the one who presses on bones in your spine, piper (dudarz) the
one who plays bagpipes, tinker (druciarz) the one who repairs metal objects
such as pans (transformed matter).
While derivations, based on the exposure of the Patient, come within
G. Lakoffs hedges (1972, 1980) STRICTLY SPEAKING, then all the others LOOSELY SPEAKING.
Morphological constructions organized in such a hierarchy show the usefulness of the PROTOTYPE category (Rosch 1977, 1978, 1981) as an entity
which puts in order a set of morphological derivations and allows to arrange
particular classes of derived nouns.
The analyses then will require derivations of the type: bookseller, chiropractor, based on the semantic role of the Patient, the object of the activity
on which the Agents activity is performed.
While the framework structure of the INPUT SPACE 1 remains unchanged, the structure of the INPUT SPACE 2 changes in accordance with
the rules of projecting, and in the effect creating the blend.


Iwona Nowakowska-Kempna

In this type of blends we speak of the Agent performing an activity as

a person from the point of view of an object affected by his/her activity,
whereas the basic pattern of the Agents activities in the process of conceptual integration is enriched by information about professionalism. This
comes with multiple repetitions of the event fitter over a relatively long period of time Tdur, the necessary knowledge and skills set in the potential time
x can do it fTLong, and the financial equivalent, which is a natural consequence of working in a profession.
This model is realized, inter alia, in such morphological derivations as
garncarz (Eng. potter), dacharz (Eng. roofer), tandeciarz (Eng. trumpery),
bukieciarz (Eng. person making bouquets), reklamiarz (Eng. booster),

Morphological derivations...


wdliniarz (Eng. cold cuts clerk), zbrojarz (Eng. armour-maker), kronikarz

(Eng. annalist/chronicler), pamitnikarz (Eng. diarist), sownikarz (Eng.
lexicographer), koronkarz (Eng. lacemaker), etc.
A different type of derivation is represented by a model which is not based
on the verb denoting a (cause and effect) activity on the object related to
its creation, but on another activity connected with the object, for example:
ksigarz (Eng. bookseller) is not the one who makes/produces books, but
the one who sells them. Therefore we replace rce with f activity:
ksigarz (Eng. bookseller)
krgarz (Eng. chiropractor)

the one who professionally sells books,

the one who professionally presses on
bones in your spine ,
gobiarz (Eng. pigeon-breeder)
the one who breeds pigeons,
szambiarz (Eng. septic tank cleaner) the one who cleans septic tanks,
drobiarz (Eng. poultry farmer)
the one who breeds poultry,
kwiaciarz (Eng. florist)
the one who raises flowers,
szmaciarz (Eng. rag collector)
the one who collects or/and sells rags,
parkieciarz (Eng. parquet layer)
the one who lays parquets,
mieciarz (Eng. dustman)
the one who collects garbage,
asfalciarz (Eng. asphalter)
the one who lays asphalt,
cemenciarz (Eng. cementer)
the one who cements.

In some examples the cause and effect relation is located on a different

level, for example cemenciarz (Eng. cementer) is not a person, who makes
cement//produces cement, but who cements the surface and with his/her actions causes the surface to become covered with cement.
Yet another series is formations with arz is represented by kajakarz (Eng.
kayaker), harfarz (Eng. harpist), piciarz (Eng. boxer), taryfiarz (Eng. taxi
driver), mociarz (Eng. hammer thrower), narciarz (Eng. skier), based on
the semantic role of Instrument, e.g. dudarz (Eng. piper) plays the bagpipes,
baloniarz (Eng. balloonist) flies a balloon, wdkarz (Eng. angler) catches
fish with a fishing rod (wdka), or Transformed matter, e.g. blacharz1,2 (Eng.
tinsmith) the one who fixes objects made of metal or covers roofs with
tinplates, druciarz (Eng. tinker) the one who makes objects out of wire,
wkniarz (Eng. weaver) the one who makes objects out of textile, wikliniarz (Eng. wicker weaver) the one who weaves wicker to make baskets
or furniture , karz (Eng. pasture caretaker) the one who takes care of
a pasture/meadow.
The next series is designated by the names of the performers of the activities which suggest the place where the profession-specific activities are carried out, for example poczciarz (Eng. postman) the one who works in a post
office, kucharz (Eng. cook) the one who works in a kitchen but kche
(German), kucha (old Czech) is in fact an old borrowing, which has a new


Iwona Nowakowska-Kempna

motivation, alongside the historical one, straganiarz (Eng. stallholder) the

one who sells things at a stall or, colloquially, lives by or behind the stall; or
suggests the place of stay, for example: meliniarz (Eng. fencer) the one who
stays in a den; or suggests the place of performing the activity, for example:
doliniarz (Eng. pickpocket) the one who steals from the pocket.
Moving even further away from the center of the categories of the Agents
name with the suffix arz, we come to the formation in which the Agent
does not necessarily perform the activity professionally, but rather for pleasure, e.g.: karciarz (Eng. cardplayer) the one who plays cards for pleasure. The emotional component indicates the location of the Agent which
performs the activity, bordering on the Experiencer, since the Agent which
plays cards is at the same time the Experiencer, for whom this activity is
pleasurable. This blend shows the superimposition of the semantic role of
Agent and Experiencer.
Gregorczykowa and Puzynina (1984: 324) describe this kind of Experiencer as the subject of liking or amateur (SUB Amat), for example:
kpiarz (Eng. mocker)
karciarz (Eng. cardplayer)
herbaciarz (Eng. tea-lover)
garz (Eng. liar)
babiarz (Eng. womanizer)
efekciarz (Eng. show-off)
grzybiarz (Eng. mushroom picker)
szmaciarz (Eng. hobo)
kobieciarz (Eng. ladiesman)
anegdociarz (Eng. storyteller)
kociarz (Eng. cat lover)
flirciarz (Eng. philanderer)
bikiniarz (Eng. playboy)

the one who likes to mock

the one who likes to play cards
the one whole likes to drink and relish tea
the one who likes to lie
the one who likes to flirt with women
the one who tries to get attention and
praise from other people by showing off
the one who likes to pick mushrooms
the one who likes to wear rugs
the one who likes to flirt with women
the one who likes telling stories
the one who likes cats
the one who likes to flirt with women
the one who likes the bikini fashion

Another type of Subject, referred to as SUB Stat, is the subject of the state,
namely the bearer of the functional feature transformed into a state, for example stolarz (Eng. carpenter)the one who does carpentry.
Within SUB Stat, the authors (Gregorczykowa, Puzynina, 1984: 323) distinguish also the subject of possession, that is Possessor (SUB Poss) in such
derivations as sklepikarz (Eng. shopkeeper) the one who owns a shop or,
in a more abstract meaning: prywaciarz (Eng. private trader) the one who
has private business.
The Agent (with respect to its rce) and the argument about the role of
the Patient in compounds: bajkopisarz (Eng. fabulist), dramatopisarz (Eng.
playwright), powieciopisarz (Eng. novelist), tragediopisarz (Eng. tragedian), komediopisarz (Eng. comedist), dziejopisarz (Eng. dziejopisarz),

Morphological derivations...


romansopisarz (Eng. romancer), farsopisarz (Eng. burlesque-writer), latopisarz (Eng. Russian chronicler), is expressed by a blend much more complex with the activity predicate and object at the same time, and the blend
itself is combined with the role of the Possessor the owner of something.
Compare: mocarz (Eng. powerful man) the one who has power, szczciarz
(Eng. lucky chap) the one who has luck/is lucky, kiniarz (Eng. cinematography-worker) the one who owns a cinema or works in cinematography.
The blend of roles:
1. The performer of the activity Agent
a) from the object / Patient
b) from the activity / predicate
2. The Experiencer (Subject) of the (activity)/state leads to the formation
of names containing the semantic element LUBI (Eng. like)
Beside this group, there are non-prototypical names, which are either borrowings adjusted to the phonological form of the suffix arz, for example mincarz (Eng. minter) German Mnzer the one who makes money
in a mint, arendarz (Eng. tavern-keeper) the one who leases, tragarz
(Eng. porter) German Trger the one who carries; or obsolete and
adapted szafarz (Eng. dispenser), from German Schaffaere the one who
dispenses/gives something out, pacharz (Eng. tenant usually of Jewish origin); and also names of the objects, for example: herbarz (Eng.
heraldry book) a collection of coat of arms, Latin herba grass herbarium, ewangeliarz (Eng. evangeliary), homiliarz (Eng. homiliary);
and places: cmentarz (Eng. cemetery), wirydarz (Eng. interior garden)
Latin: viridarium quadrilateral grove/park situated in the courtyard of
a monastery, etc.
1. The nature of arz derivations in Polish is more complex than expected,
because the full explication is longer than the compositional definition
2. Experiencer and Possessor (Grzegorczykowa and Puzyninas Subject) occur in some types of derivations as often as Agent.
3. The prototypical structure reveals diversification in the status of derivations, which may denote the role of Agent, Experiencer or Possessor, thus
morphological formations may refer here not only to strictly deverbal agentive derivations. The Experencer in those derivations is usually characterized as an amateur of certain activities.
4. There is a metonymic relation between the derivation and its base, whereby
Agent stands for Patient, Instrument, Auxiliary or Transformed matter.


Iwona Nowakowska-Kempna

5. Blends allow to understand better the complex nature of morphological

derivation, in which, for example, the activity, Patient, Instrument, Auxiliary or Transformed matter merge with the Agent into one concept, in one
conceptual structure, they take the form of morphological derivation.
Translated by Diana Kawecka

Fauconnier G., Turner M. (2001). Tworzenie amalgamatw jako jeden z gwnych procesw w gramatyce, In W. Kubiski, D. Stanulewicz (eds) Jzykoznawstwo kognitywne II, Wyd.UG, Gdask, 173212.
Goldberg A. (1995). Constructions: a Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago-London.
Goldberg A. (1996). Conceptual Structure, Discourse and Language, CSLI, Stanford.
Grzegorczykowa R., Puzynina J. (1984). Sowotwrstwo: Problemy oglne sowotwrstwa, Sowotwrstwo rzeczownika, In Gramatyka wspczesnego jzyka polskiego. Cz II Morfologia, red. R. Grzegorczykowa, R. Laskowski,
H. Wrbel, PWN, Warszawa, 307407.
Israel M. (1996). The Way Constructions Grow, In A. Goldberg (ed.) Conceptual
Structure, Discourse and Language, CSLI, Stanford, 217230.
Kemmer S., Verhagen A., (1994): The grammar of causatives and the conceptual
structure of events, Cognitive Linguistics 5(2), 115156.
Lakoff G. (1972/73). Hedges: A Study in Meaning Criteria and the Logic of Fuzzy
Concepts, In Papers from the Eighth Regional meeting, Chicago, 183228.
Lakoff G. (1987): Women, Fire and Dangerous Things, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lakoff G., Johnson M. (1980). Metaphors We Live by, The University of Chicago
Press, Chicago, Polish transl. by T. Krzeszowski Metafory w naszym yciu,
PWN, Warszawa.
Langacker R. (1995). Wykady z gramatyki kognitywnej, UMCS, Lublin.
Rosch E. (1977). Human Categorization, In E. Rosch, B.B. Lloyd (eds) Studies in
Cross-Cultural Psychology. N. Warren, London, 149.
Rosch E. (1978): Principles of Categorization, In Cognition and Categorization,
red. New Jersey, 2786.
Rosch E. (1981). Prototype Classification and Logical Classification: The two systems, In E. Scholnick (ed.) New trends in Cognitive Representation: Challenges to Piagets Theory. Hillsdale, 7386.

Micha Szawerna
Institute of English Studies, University of Wrocaw


This paper revisits the cognitive grammar account of nominal periphrasis with of, by, and
possessives, propounded by Langacker (1991a:139-140; 1991b:37-42) and supplemented by
Taylor (1991, 1994, 1996). Specifically, the results of our corpus-assisted research into nominal periphrasis accompanying English de-verbal nouns ending in -tion indicate that Langackers (1991b:37) semantic account of periphrastic expressions with of, by, and possessives
cannot be considered a viable characterization of the schema of the category comprising such
expressions, inasmuch as it is too specific to be applicable to the full range of our corpus data.
Furthermore, in this paper we (1) argue that Langackers (1991b:37) account should be treated instead as a characterization of the prototype of the category of periphrastic expressions
with of, by, and possessives and (2) propose an alternative semantic account of the schema of
this category, one that is compatible with the full range of observable corpus data.
KEYWORDS: cognitive grammar, nominalization, nominal periphrasis, possessives

This paper revisits the cognitive grammar (CG) account of nominal periphrasis with of, by, and possessives (including possessive pronouns and
expressions ending in s), propounded by Langacker (1982; 1991a:139140;
1991b:3742; 1992; 1993; 1999:7390, 8889, 171202) and supplemented
by Taylor (1991, 1994, 1996). Specifically, the results of our corpus-based
research into nominal periphrasis accompanying English de-verbal nouns
ending in tion1 indicate that Langackers (1991b:37) characterization of the
Our research into nominal periphrasis constitutes an extension of Szawerna (2007),
which offers a schematic network account of the internal structure of the category comprising English de-verbal nouns ending in -tion, an account based on the analysis of a considerable sample of data retrieved from BNC. In Szawerna (2007), however, the issue of nominal
periphrasis, so closely bound up with the phenomenon of de-verbal nominalization, is not
touched upon directly. This paper, conceived as a complement to Szawerna (2007) focusing
on the semantic integration of periphrastic of, by, and possessives with English de-verbal
nouns ending in -tion, utilizes the same data sample explored by Szawerna (2007): 75,000
concordances featuring nearly 1,100 English de-verbal nouns in -tion retrieved from the academic prose component of the BNC.


Micha Szawerna

semantic structure of periphrastic expressions with of, by, and possessives

cannot be taken as referring to the category schema on account of its excessive specificity. In this paper we (1) argue that Langackers (1991b:37) account should be treated instead as a characterization of the prototype of the
category comprising periphrastic expressions with of, by, and possessives
and (2) propose an alternative description of the schema in this category
one that is compatible with the full range of observable corpus data.
In order to show how the CG account of nominal periphrasis with of, by,
and possessives ties in with the more general treatment of nominal structure
in Langackers theory, we begin our discussion with a general outline of
(1) the CG characterization of lexico-grammatical categories, (2) the CG
approach to the phenomenon of nominalization, and (3) the CG account
of nominal periphrasis. This expository part, which aims to demonstrate
the complexity and coherence of the CG account of nominal periphrasis, is
followed by a brief survey of nominalization kinds predicated by English
de-verbal nouns in -tion and their accompanying periphrastic expressions
featuring the prepositions of and by, possessive pronouns, and the possessive s. In turn, the survey provides a background for a critical discussion of
Langackers (1991b:37) characterization of the semantic structure of nominal periphrastic expression, which is not inclusive enough to be considered
a description of the schema of the category comprising periphrastic expressions with of, by, and possessives, followed by our proposal for a revised
characterization of the schema, congruent with the data presented in the
CG defines traditional lexico-grammatical categories, such as noun, verb,
adjective, adverb or preposition, semantically (cf. e.g. Langacker 1987b,
1991a:59-100). These categories are said to differ, not so much in terms
of the conceptual content they invoke, but rather in terms of the way this
content is profiled. As for nouns and verbs, categories that are of particular
interest here, a noun is said to profile a region, defined as a set of interconnected entities viewed holistically, whereas a verb is said to profile a process, defined as a set of constitutive relations viewed sequentially, as occurring one after another.
The CG approach to lexico-grammatical categories provides a basis for a
semantic treatment of de-verbal nominalization (Langacker 1991b:22-50;
also 1987a, 1987b, 1991a, 1992, and 1999). In CG, the mechanism of deverbal nominalization consists in a conceptual reification resulting in a shift
of profile: from processual, in the case of the basic verb (e.g. create), to
nominal, in the case of its nominalized counterpart (e.g. creation). One consequence of this approach to nominalization is that pairs like create-creation
are treated as semantically distinct, even though the conceptual content they

The cognitive grammar account...


invoke is largely the same. What makes them different is the character of
their profile: it is processual for create, but nominal for creation. What is
more, even though the shift of profile pertains to all de-verbal nominalizations, they still differ in terms of which facet of the basic process undergoes
reification and profiling as a region. Szawerna (2007) discusses a range of
nominalization kinds predicated by English de-verbal nouns in -tion. Within
this range, two groups of nominalization kinds can be discerned: (1) those
whose profile encompasses an unaltered structure of the entire underlying process and (2) those whose profile constitutes a modified structure of
the underlying process. Importantly, cognitive grammar treats all kinds of
de-verbal nominalization in a unified fashion: all of them are a product of
a conceptual reification which results in a shift of profile: from processual
to nominal (Figure 1).

CG characterizes the periphrastic variants of the prepositions of and by as

well as the periphrastic variants of possessive pronouns and the possessive
adpositions as profiling simple atemporal relations which allow an indirect specification of the processual participants which cannot be specified
directly once the process in which they are engaged has undergone nominalization. Despite their similarity of function, the periphrastic variants of
the preposition of, the preposition by, and possessives are said to remain
semantically distinct. The periphrastic variant of the preposition of, which
in schematic terms designates the conception of an intrinsic relationship between its trajector (TR) and landmark (LM), is characterized as profiling
a relation in which TR represents the schematic conception of a nominalized process and LM represents a participant of this process. In other words,
the periphrastic of profiles an intrinsic relationship between a nominalized
process and one of its central participants, either TR or LM (Figure 2 and
example 1a). In contrast, the periphrastic by, which resembles the variant
used in passives as well as the one used to identify the creator of an artistic
work, is considered to be more contentful than the periphrastic of, inasmuch
as by, unlike of, specifically identifies its object as TR of the nominalized
process and suggests that its role is active to some degree (Figure 2 and


Micha Szawerna

example 1b). In turn, the periphrastic variants of possessives are said to

share with their remaining variants the schematic conception of a reference-point relation. The relation consists in the construal of the morphemes LM (the possessor) as a reference point with respect to which
another entity, TR (the possessee), is identified. Being specially adapted
for nominal periphrasis, the periphrastic variant of a possessive takes
a nominalized process as its TR and one of the processual participants as
its LM (Figure 2 and example 1c).
(1) a.

the destruction of the bone marrow

production of matchbox grips by small businesses
Gandhis assassination

Importantly, the CG characterization of a nominal periphrastic expression

identifies TR of such an expression as the conception of a process, understood as the profile of a nominalized verb (Notice that in Figure 2 TR in each
case encircles the entire process.). In the words of Langacker (1991b:37),
what distinguishes the periphrastic variants [of expressions with possessives, of,
and by from their non-periphrastic variants, M.S.] is their application to a particular cognitive domain, namely the conception of a process. When this process corresponds to the profile of the nominalized verb, the conceptual import of the modifying
relationship is to specify one of the verbal participants.

The CG account of nominal periphrasis with of, by, and possessives,

propounded by Langacker (1982; 1991a:139-140; 1991b:37-42; 1992;
1993; 1999:73-90, 88-89, 171-202) and supplemented by Taylor (1991,
1994, 1996), has led to a semantic explanation of a number of restrictions on the distribution of periphrastic expressions accompanying deverbal nominalizations, such as the ergative patterning of of-periphra-

The cognitive grammar account...


sis2, the so-called affectedness constraint and the so-called experiencer

Langacker (1999:73-90) points out that of-periphrasis follows an ergative pattern: it is used
to specify trajectors of intransitive processes underlying de-verbal nominalizations as well as
landmarks of transitive processes underlying such nominalizations. Examples (1a-c) indicate that
if only one processual participant is specified periphrastically, of can introduce it regardless of
whether it corresponds to the trajector or the landmark of the process underlying a nominalization.
In example (1a), the semantic pole of the nominal the demonstrators corresponds to the trajector of the intransitive variant of the process [CHANT], which underlies the semantic pole of the
de-verbal noun chanting, whereas in example (1b), the semantic pole of the nominal the slogans
corresponds to the landmark of the transitive variant of the same process. In contrast, when both
the processual trajector and landmark are specified periphrastically, of can only introduce the
participant corresponding to the landmark, as in example (1c).
(1) a. the chanting {of/by} the demonstrators
b. the chanting of the slogans
c. the chanting of the slogans by the demonstrators
(examples 11a-c in Langacker 1999:84)
To a cognitive grammarian, the ergative pattern of of-periphrasis reflects an aspect of the
structure of event conceptions whereby the landmark of a transitive process and the trajector
of an intransitive process have a greater degree of intrinsicness than do other processual participants. This is because landmarks of transitive processes and trajectors of intransitive processes encode the theme, a processual participant functioning as the conceptually autonomous
core of an event conception. In the case of intransitive processes, the thematic participant
is said to be construed in an absolute fashion, i.e. independently of the initiative force that
brings about the change undergone by this participant. In contrast, in the case of transitive
processes, the thematic participant is said to be construed energetically, i.e. as the endpoint
of an action chain whose starting point (a causation trigger of some sort) brings about the
change undergone by this participant. The thematic participants function of the conceptually
autonomous core of an event conception has linguistic ramifications: it has been pointed out
that only a thematic participant, or a higher-order autonomous structure formed by augmenting a thematic participant with one or more layers of energy input, is in general codable by a
well-formed sentence. Most importantly, the theme can be regarded as the conceptually autonomous core and therefore the most intrinsic component of an event conception, which
is why the preposition profiling an intrinsic relationship, i.e. of, is conventionally utilized to
specify themes periphrastically.

The CG analysis of the periphrastic variants of possessives provides a basis for the exposition of the semantic motivation for the well-known constraints pertaining to the interpretation of the nominal elaborating the landmark of the possessive s, i.e. the possessor nominal: the affectedness constraint (Anderson 1978) and the experiencer constraint (Rappaport
1983). In essence, the affectedness constraint specifies that only a nominal which designates
an entity in some way affected in the course of the process underlying a given de-verbal
noun can function as the prenominal possessor; a nominal designating an unaffected entity
is banned from the prenominal position (the examples in 2a, b). In turn, the experiencer constraint specifies that only a nominal which designates an entity approximating the conception
of the archetypal experiencer engaged in the mental process underlying a given cognitive
de-verbal noun can function as the prenominal possessor, regardless of whether this entity
corresponds to the trajector or to the (primary) landmark of the underlying mental process
(the examples in 2c, d).


Micha Szawerna

Szawerna (2007) discusses a broad array of nominalization kinds predicated by English de-verbal nouns in -tion. As we have pointed out, these
nominalization kinds can be divided into two groups: (1) those whose profile encompasses an unaltered structure of the entire underlying process and
(2) those whose profile constitutes a modified structure of the underlying
process. The first group comprises two nominalization kinds: the so-called
episodic nominalizations (Langackers 1991b:24 term) and imperfective
process nominalizations (Szawerna 2007b:234-238). An episodic nominalization profiles a region composed of the component states of a perfective
process (Figure 3), whereas an imperfective process nominalization profiles
a region composed of the component states of an imperfective process (Figure 4). In both cases, the profile of the nominalization encompasses the entire underlying process with all of its participants and the semantic structure
of the process remains unaltered.
(2) a. Shortly before his execution, John Hutt admitted the murder of Ann Pearman.
b. Syria has increased its troops in Lebanon since Mr. Hrawis election.
c. His rejection of preformation was on philosophical and experimental
d. UNESCOs celebration of the double helixs fortieth anniversary in Paris
e. Further south still is Tristan da Cunha, notorious for its eruption in 1962.
f. The princes intervention prompted the BMA into action.
(2) a. the citys destruction, Kennedys assassination, the ambassadors dismissal
(Anderson 1978:15)
b. *the facts knowledge, *the cliffs avoidance, *the birds scrutiny
(Anderson 1978:19)
c. Amys fear of the scarecrow, Amys fright at the scarecrow
d. *the scarecrows fear by Amy (example 56b in Rappaport 1983:132),
*the scarecrows fright of Amy (example 57a in Rappaport 1983:132)
Taylor (1991, 1994, 1996) argues that a possessor nominal needs to name an entity that is
cognitively accessible because the possessive construction grammaticalizes a special strategy for
anchoring the possessee. He further suggests that the factors likely to render this entity cognitively
accessible are its discourse-conditioned topicality (Taylor 1996:212) and its inherent topicality
(Taylor 1991). Granted the reference-point analysis of the periphrastic possessives, the experiencer constraint finds its motivation in the fact that a participant approximating the conception of the archetypal experiencer is more topical than any other participant of a mental process.
Similarly, the affectedness constraint finds its motivation in the fact that an affected participant
is more topical than an unaffected participant. Furthermore, Taylor (1994, 1996:245-255) argues
that in addition to a high degree of topicality, the possessor must exhibit a high degree of the
so-called cue validity with respect to the possessee; in other words, the entity designated by the
possessor must be such that it can provide reliable cues for a successful identification of the process underlying the nominalization profiled by the possessee. Given the reference-point analysis
of periphrastic possessives, the affectedness constraint falls out as a natural consequence of the
fact that a process can be more reliably cued by a participant affected in the course of this process
than by a participant unaffected in its course. Similarly, the experiencer constraint falls out as a
natural consequence of the fact that a mental process can be more reliably cued by a participant
approximating the conception of the archetypal experiencer than by a participant approximating
any other role archetype.

The cognitive grammar account...


g. A third injection of short-acting insulin can be added at midday if required.

h. The crater was formed by the eruption of Mt. Pelee.
i. There have been some interesting recantations by Keynesian economists.

(3) a.The woman showed her appreciation by baking Annabelle a cake.

b. This child prodigy won Mozarts admiration.
c. It is a small jump from this to the veneration of the Sun as an important god.
d. adhesion of CD4 T cells and CD8 T cells to VCAM-1 (b) and FN (c)

The analysis of numerous expressions retrieved from the British National

Corpus (BNC) their representative selection is presented in (2) and (3) has
shown that the use of periphrastic expressions co-occurring with episodic nominalizations and imperfective process nominalizations predicated by English de-


Micha Szawerna

verbal nouns ending in -tion fully conforms not only to Langackers (1991b:37)
general definition of a nominal periphrastic expression, but also to the more
specific cognitive grammar characterizations of the periphrastic variants of
possessive pronouns, the possessive s, and the prepositions of and by. For example, in the expressions his execution (2a) and Mr. Hrawis election (2b) the
possessives his and Mr. Hrawis periphrastically specify LMs of the processes
([EXECUTE]4 and [ELECT]) which are included in their entirety in the profiles of
their corresponding nominalizations ([EXECUTION] and [ELECTION]). Similarly, in
the expressions rejection of preformation (2c), celebration of the double helixs
fortieth anniversary (2d), injection of short-acting insulin (2g), the eruption of
Mt. Pelee (2h), the veneration of the Sun (3c), and adhesion of CD4 T cells and
CD8 T cells (3d) the phrases of preformation, of the double helixs fortieth anniversary, of short-acting insulin, of Mt. Pelee (2h), of the Sun (3c), and of CD4
T cells and CD8 T cells periphrastically specify LMs of the processes ([REJECT],
[CELEBRATE], [INJECT], [ERUPT], [VENERATE], and [ADHERE]) which are entirely included in the profiles of their nominalized counterparts ([REJECTION], [CELEBRATION], [INJECTION], [ERUPTION], [VENERATION], and [ADHESION]). In turn, in the expressions his rejection (2c), UNESCOs celebration (2d), its eruption (2e), the
princes intervention (2f), her appreciation (3a), and Mozarts admiration (3b)
the possessives his, UNESCOs, its, the princes, her, and Mozarts periphrastically specify TRs of the processes ([REJECT], [CELEBRATE], [ERUPT], [INTERVENE],
[APPRECIATE], and [ADMIRE]) which are profiled as a whole by their nominalized
counterparts ([REJECTION], [CELEBRATION], [ERUPTION], [INTERVENTION], [APPRECIATION], and [ADMIRATION]). Similarly, in the expression recantations by Keynesian
economists (2i) the phrase by Keynesian economists periphrastically specifies
TR of the process ([RECANT]) profiled as a whole by its nominalized counterpart
The second group of nominalization kinds discussed by Szawerna (2007),
which, as we have already said, comprises the kinds whose profile constitutes a modified structure of the underlying process, is naturally much more
varied in terms of the character of their profile. Figure 5 illustrates the constructional schema of the so-called substance nominalization (Szawernas
2007:158 term), whose profile is characterized as a region comprising an
internal series of homogenized component states of a perfective underlying process, which means (1) that the endpoints of the underlying process
are left outside the profile of the nominalization and (2) that the component
states of the underlying process included in the profile of the nominalization
are construed as effectively identical, making up a kind of homogeneous
processual substance (cf. Langacker 1991b:25-26).

In CG the semantic structures of linguistic expressions, predicates and predications, are

written in bracketed small capitals.

The cognitive grammar account...


(4) a. the process of constituting historical facts and of their selection.

b. Piagets The Childs Construction of Reality (1955)
c. the solar orb and its motion across the sky
d. The rotors operation added consistently more than 15 per cent to the
ships speed.
e. the operational investigators accumulation of recorded facts
f. problems posed in seeking to control the emission of such odours
g. migration of Generals and Admirals in and out of the civilian sector
h. the absorption and emission of X-rays by crystals

In the case of substance nominalizations, the modification of the semantic

structure of the underlying process may be significant, but it does not affect the processual participants: they are still included in the profile of the
nominalization. It is not surprising, then, that our analysis of the BNC data,
whose representative sample is presented in (4a-h), has demonstrated that
the use of the periphrastic expressions co-occurring with substance nominalizations predicated by English de-verbal nouns ending in -tion conforms
both to Langackers (1991b:37) general definition of a nominal periphrastic
expression and the cognitive grammar characterizations of the periphrastic variants of possessive pronouns, the possessive s, and the prepositions
of and by. In the expressions their selection (4a), Construction of Reality
(4b), accumulation of recorded facts (4e), emission of such odours (4f), and
the absorption and emission of X-rays (4h) the periphrastic possessive and
the periphrastic of-phrases specify LMs of the processes included in their
entirety in the profiles of their corresponding nominalizations. In turn, in
the expressions The Childs Construction (4b), its motion (4c), the rotors


Micha Szawerna

operation (4d), the operational investigators accumulation (4e), migration

of Generals and Admirals (4g), and the absorption and emission [] by
crystals the periphrastic possessives, of-phrases, and by-phrase specify TRs
of the processes included as a whole in the profiles of their nominalized
The second group of nominalization kinds discussed by Szawerna (2007)
also includes three kinds whose profile is limited to a single participant of
the underlying process: its TR, its primary LM, or its secondary LM (Figures 6-8). The profiles of these participant nominalizations differ markedly
from the semantic structures of their underlying processes, inasmuch as
they exclude the remaining participants of these processes and the relations
obtaining among them. Our analysis of the BNC data, a sample of which
is presented in (5a-c, 6a-c, 7a-c), has shown, however, that the underlying
process participants which are left outside the profile of TR, LM, and secondary LM nominalizations are regularly specified by periphrastic expressions accompanying these nominalizations. In the examples its population
(5a), Murdochs motivation (5b), a representation of changing gene activity
(5c), and an extension of the body (7c), the periphrastic possessives and ofphrases indirectly specify LMs of the processes underlying their nominalized counterparts, even though these LMs are situated outside the profiles of
these nominalizations. Analogically, in the examples their inventions (6a),
Hoffert and Coveys conclusion (6b), the suggestion of Trotter (6c), its attraction (7a), and William Holes illustrations (7b), the periphrastic possessives and an of-phrase indirectly specify TRs of the processes underlying
their nominalized counterparts despite the fact that these TRs are situated
outside the profiles of these nominalizations.

The cognitive grammar account...


(5) a. Designated to receive most of its population from London, the city could now
adopt one of its medical schools as well.
b. Murdochs motivation was simply profit.
c. The epigenetic landscape is a representation of changing gene activity.

(6) a. their inventions

b. Hoffert and Coveys conclusion is only plausible for a one-dimensional Earth.
c. The suggestion of Trotter (1949) was scornfully rejected by O. T. Jones.

(7) a. Its attraction would seem to lie in the fact that it gives a formalized account
of some of the popularly held impressions concerning the character
of science.
b. one of William Holes illustrations for Stevensons Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
c. the use of some external object as an extension of the body

It seems that the results of our analysis of the BNC data featuring de-verbal nouns ending in -tion predicating participant nominalizations and their


Micha Szawerna

accompanying periphrastic expressions are not fully compatible with

Langackers (1991b:37) general definition of a nominal periphrastic
expression and the CG characterizations of the periphrastic variants of
possessive pronouns, the possessive s, and the prepositions of and by.
This is because the implication of Langackers (1991b:35-43) account
of nominal periphrasis is that a periphrastic expression can be used to
indirectly specify one of the participants of a process underlying a nominalization if the profile of this nominalization encompasses the entire
underlying process, inclusive of all of its participants and their interrelations. Putting it differently, Langackers (1991b:35-43) account of nominal periphrasis, taken to its logical conclusion, does not seem to permit a
periphrastic specification of a processual participant situated outside the
profile of a nominalization. This prediction, however, runs counter to the
findings of our corpus-based research.
Further analysis of BNC data has shown that the distribution of periphrastic expressions accompanying de-verbal nouns ending in -tion
predicating participant nominalizations is similar to the distribution of
such expressions accompanying nouns predicating other nominalization
kinds included in the second group the kinds whose profiles deviate
even further from the conception of their underlying processes. The
so-called change nominalizations (Szawernas 2007:194 term) profile
a region identified as the change, either physical or non-physical, undergone by one of the participants of a perfective underlying process
(Figure 9). In turn, the so-called magnitude nominalizations (Szawernas
2007:224 term) profile a region characterized as the extent of the change
undergone by one of the participants of a perfective underlying process
(Figure 10). Lastly, the so-called qualitative nominalizations (Langacker
1991b:30-31) designate the style or manner of carrying out the underlying process by profiling a subregion of quality space comprised of
specific values the underlying process assumes along various qualitative
parameters whenever it is carried out in a particular fashion (Figure 11).
In the case of qualitative nominalizations, the domain of instantiation
changes from the spatio-temporal domain for the underlying process to
quality space for the profile of its nominalized counterpart.

The cognitive grammar account...


(8) a. The main kinds of setae and their modifications are listed below.
b. Dense concentrations of alpha tracks reflect the manganese oxides distribution.
c. Warples (1980) adaptation of the Lopatin (1971) method of calculating
source rock maturity
d. The Ferrari-Ibaez (1986, 1987a) solution can be seen to be a modification
of the Khan-Penrose solution.
e. Either the surface was too soft to preserve these craters, as indicated by the
degradation of the oldest craters, or the surface was somehow decratered.
f. The deviation of a real gas behaviour from ideal gas behaviour is more pronounced at high pressures.
g. areas such as public parks where there is contamination of the ground by dog

(9) a. Could your consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables be increased?

b. The mineralization of nitrogen is higher in secondary forest there than in
most forests so far measured elsewhere.


Micha Szawerna

(10) a. the stretching motion of a homonuclear diatomic molecule

b. Gibbs and di Marzio (1958) apply a lattice model of a polymer to
a statistical calculation of the configurational entropy.

Despite the significant modifications of the semantic structure of the underlying process observable in the profile of change, magnitude, and qualitative nominalizations, the underlying process participants, all of which are
left outside the profile of these nominalizations, are regularly specified by
the periphrastic expressions accompanying these nominalizations. In the
examples their modifications (8a), the manganese oxides distribution (8b),
adaptation of the Lopatin (1971) method of calculating source rock maturity
(8c), a modification of the Khan-Penrose solution (8d), contamination of the
ground (8g), consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables (9a), and a statistical
calculation of the configurational entropy (10b), the periphrastic possessives and of phrases indirectly specify LMs of the processes underlying their
nominalized counterparts even though no processual participants are situated inside the profiles of these nominalizations. Analogically, in the examples Warples (1980) adaptation (8c), the degradation of the oldest craters
(8e), The deviation of a real gas behaviour (8f), contamination [] by dog
faeces (8g), the mineralization of nitrogen (9b), and the stretching motion
of a homonuclear diatomic molecule (10a), the periphrastic possessives, of
phrases, and a by phrase indirectly specify TRs of the processes underlying
their corresponding nominalizations, despite the fact that no participants are
situated inside the profiles of these nominalizations. These findings seem
to support our earlier contention that nominal periphrastic expressions with
possessive pronouns, the possessive s, and the prepositions of and by can
be used to indirectly specify the participants of a nominalizations underly-

The cognitive grammar account...


ing process even if these participants are not included in the profile of the
Our BNC-assisted survey of periphrastic expressions featuring possessive
pronouns, the possessive s, and the prepositions of and by accompanying
English de-verbal nouns ending in -tion indicates that such expressions can
be used to indirectly specify the participants of a nominalizations underlying process regardless of whether or not the profile of the nominalization
encompasses the entire process, together with all of its participants and their
interrelations, or, in other words, regardless of whether or not the participant
indirectly specified by a periphrastic expression is situated inside the portion
of the underlying process which constitutes the region profiled by the nominalization predicated by the expressions accompanying de-verbal noun. It
is for this reason that Langackers (1991b:37) definition of a nominal periphrastic expression does not seem to be inclusive enough to be regarded as
a characterization of the schema of the entire category of periphrastic expressions with possessive pronouns, the possessive s, and the prepositions
of and by. This definition, however, can be reasonably considered a viable
characterization of the prototype of this category, inasmuch as nominal periphrasis with possessives, of and by occurs frequently in the context of English de-verbal nouns ending in -tion designating nominalizations whose profile encompasses an unaltered structure of the entire underlying process, and
these nominalizations are in turn frequently predicated by English de-verbal
nouns ending in -tion (cf. Szawerna 2007:264-265). In view of what we
have said so far, we propose to rephrase Langackers (1991b:37) definition
in order to make it applicable to the schema of the category of periphrastic
expressions with possessive pronouns, the possessive s, and the prepositions of and by. Specifically, we propose that the trajector of a nominal periphrastic expression be identified, not as the profile of a nominalization, but
as the region made up of the entire underlying process situated in the base of
the nominalization. It is our contention that this amendment will make the
CG characterization of nominal periphrastic expressions inclusive enough
to account for the full range of observable corpus data by enabling such expressions to indirectly specify all participants of a nominalized process5.
We are well aware that our rather general conclusion is based on the semantic analysis
of a single morphological pattern deriving English de-verbal nouns. The V + -tion pattern,
however, is arguably the most prominent of all English patterns deriving de-verbal nouns,
both in terms of its typicality and numerical strength. First of all, as in English the vast majority of nominalizations are formed by means of suffixes, and relatively few by conversion,
the former are decidedly more typical than the latter. Secondly, as in English de-verbal nouns
predominate over de-adjectival nouns, both in terms of the number of suffixes deriving the
respective classes and the number of their attested derivatives, a pattern deriving de-verbal
nouns is more typical than one deriving de-adjectival nouns. Thirdly, amongst the morpho-


Micha Szawerna

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logical patterns of English sanctioning suffixed de-verbal nouns, the V + -ing pattern proves
rather atypical, inasmuch as it is the only morphological pattern of English which sanctions nouns predicating the so-called instance nominalizations (cf. Langacker 1991b:31-35).
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V + -al, etc.) suffices to contend that the distribution of periphrastic expressions with of, by,
and possessives in the context of nouns derived by these suffixes does not differ markedly
from that of the nouns derived by -tion.

The cognitive grammar account...


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