Interpreting particles in dead and living languages: A construction grammar approach to the semantics of Dutch <i>ergens</i> and Ancient Greek <i>pou</i>

Author: Elizabeth Koier
LOT Number: 321
ISBN: 978-94-6093-104-8
Pages: 447
Year: 2013
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Words may have multiple interpretations . For instance , the word table can refer to a piece of furniture or to a page listing the chapters of a book as in table of contents . Generally , native speakers do not perceive this as a problem , because the context provides enough clues as to what is meant . For non - native speakers and students of dead languages , however , the existence of multiple interpretations sometimes does raise problems . This suggests that the context is not the only clue native speakers use to interpret words . In this dissertation , it is studied what types of context Dutch speakers need to interpret the poly - interpretable word ergens ‘ somewhere / anywhere ’ , modal particle . The results of this investigation were used to find out more about the Ancient Greek form που ‘ somewhere , anywhere ’ , modal particle . This thesis shows that the study of contextual cues that allow native speakers to interpret their language provides insights that may be used in the study of dead languages . The modal interpretations of ergens and που turned out to be quite different , but the context of both words clearly showed recurring ( albeit different ) patterns . Knowledge of the common interpretation of words in specific contexts seems crucial for their interpretation , suggesting that it is not words themselves that carry meaning , but words - in - context .

Words may have multiple interpretations . For instance , the word table can refer to a piece of furniture or to a page listing the chapters of a book as in table of contents . Generally , native speakers do not perceive this as a problem , because the context provides enough clues as to what is meant . For non - native speakers and students of dead languages , however , the existence of multiple interpretations sometimes does raise problems . This suggests that the context is not the only clue native speakers use to interpret words . In this dissertation , it is studied what types of context Dutch speakers need to interpret the poly - interpretable word ergens ‘ somewhere / anywhere ’ , modal particle . The results of this investigation were used to find out more about the Ancient Greek form που ‘ somewhere , anywhere ’ , modal particle . This thesis shows that the study of contextual cues that allow native speakers to interpret their language provides insights that may be used in the study of dead languages . The modal interpretations of ergens and που turned out to be quite different , but the context of both words clearly showed recurring ( albeit different ) patterns . Knowledge of the common interpretation of words in specific contexts seems crucial for their interpretation , suggesting that it is not words themselves that carry meaning , but words - in - context .

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