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ANU-CoEDL ZOOM Seminar: Multimodal Dimensional Semantics, Manuel David González Pérez, 24 Apr

Australian National University, Nicholas Evans, Shape

Date: 16 April 2020

Seminar: Multimodal Dimensional Semantics

Speaker: Manuel David González Pérez

When: 24 Apr 2020

Where: via zoom (please email for zoom link invitation)


Phola, a South Eastern Ngwi language of Yunnan, has a dedicated grammaticalised paradigm of Dimensional Extent comprising 6 main dimensional onomata. As a follow-up on my MTR, which dealt with Dimensional Grammar, the present talk will provide a detailed onomasiological analysis of Phola’s 6 main dimensional slots – DISTANCE, THICKNESS, HEIGHT/LENGTH,  SIZE/WIDTH, AMOUNT and DURATION –, drawing on both naturalistic usage in context and rich multimodal data.

After a very brief introduction to the Extentival Paradigm, the talk will be divided into two thematic parts:

Part I will deal with Abstract Dimensionality, including all dimensions that can be essentially defined as geometric in nature. Particular attention will be devoted to the emergence of an Axial Extentive out of the inherited HEIGHT Extentive as a result of the combined forces of syncretism, conceptual overlap and the exploitation of combinatorial possibilities. 

Then, Part II will delve into Embodied Dimensionality, where Dimension is grounded in the physical and perceptual experience of Mass, which in Phola has become a proxy for Magnitude and Extent as such, as will be demonstrated through a detailed analysis of the Phola-unique Mass Extentive and Generic Extentive, dedicated grammaticalisations of, respectively, the SIZE/WIDTH and the AMOUNT Extentives.

Throughout, an emphasis will be placed on the interplay between linguistic coding and gestures showing how their complementary affordances yield a highly structured system of categorical contrasts that is flexible enough to allow underspecified construals and creative recategorisation, while at the same time allowing for semiotic disambiguation when precision is deemed necessary.

  • Australian Government
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