This paper introduces a case study focused on the cognitive-pragmatic mechanisms underlying a ‘divergent’ use of English phrasal verbs in intercultural communication. More specifically, the paper explores the role played by the economy principle in the decategorialization processes (Heine et al. 1991) observed in the phrasal verbs used by a London bilingual community of first-generation Italian immigrants with very low literacy levels, whose English reveals an incipient cline of categoriality evolved according to specific typological parameters of economy in natural morphology. The ethnographic data show that these economy parameters also apply to the conventionally-called ‘interlanguage fossilization processes’ in language contact (Selinker 1992), where the different typological morphologies of the L1 and L2 come into conflict with each other. As proof of this, the case study demonstrates how the Anglo-Italian subjects selected for the experiment, once ‘primed’ orally with English phrasal verbs to produce spoken sentences (Swinney et al. 1979), showed a tendency to maximize: (a) efficiency via minimal morphonemic differentiation, as evident in cases of particle cliticization (parameter 1 – cf. Zwicky 1985); (b) effectiveness via morphosemantic and morphotactic transparency, as evident in the agglutinative host+suffix constructions (parameter 2 – cf. Dressler 1988); (c) informativeness via weakening of semantic content, as evident in particle bleaching (parameter 3 – cf. Sweetser 1988). The paper also provides a replication of the experiment, discusses the results and correlates them to parallel decategorialization processes in some African creole varieties of English. References Dressler, Wolfagang U. 1988. La Semiotica del Ricevente e i Parametri Universali della Fonologia/Morfologia Naturale. In De Mauro, Tullio / Gensini, Stefano / Piemontese, Maria Emanuela (eds.) Dalla Parte del Ricevente: Percezione, Comprensione, Interpretazione. Rome: Bulzoni, 5-21. Heine, Bern, Ulrike Claudi and Friederike Hunnemeyer. 1991. Grammaticalization: A Conceptual Framework. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Selinker, Larry 1992. Rediscovering Interlanguage. London: Longman. Swinney, David A. / Onifer, William / Prather, Penny / Hirschkowitz, Max 1979. Semantic Facilitation Across Sensory Modalities in the Processing of Individual Words and Sentences. Memory and Cognition 7, 159-165. Sweetser, Eve E. 1988. Grammaticalization and Semantic Bleaching, in Axmaker, S., A. Jaisser and H. Singmaster (eds.) Berkeley Linguistics Society: General Session and Parasession on Grammaticalization. Berkeley Linguistic Society 14. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 389-405. Zwicky, Arnold 1985. Clitics and Particles. Language 61, 283-305.

"The Case of Phrasal Verbs in the Interlanguage of Italian Immigrants in England"

GUIDO, Maria Grazia
2008

Abstract

This paper introduces a case study focused on the cognitive-pragmatic mechanisms underlying a ‘divergent’ use of English phrasal verbs in intercultural communication. More specifically, the paper explores the role played by the economy principle in the decategorialization processes (Heine et al. 1991) observed in the phrasal verbs used by a London bilingual community of first-generation Italian immigrants with very low literacy levels, whose English reveals an incipient cline of categoriality evolved according to specific typological parameters of economy in natural morphology. The ethnographic data show that these economy parameters also apply to the conventionally-called ‘interlanguage fossilization processes’ in language contact (Selinker 1992), where the different typological morphologies of the L1 and L2 come into conflict with each other. As proof of this, the case study demonstrates how the Anglo-Italian subjects selected for the experiment, once ‘primed’ orally with English phrasal verbs to produce spoken sentences (Swinney et al. 1979), showed a tendency to maximize: (a) efficiency via minimal morphonemic differentiation, as evident in cases of particle cliticization (parameter 1 – cf. Zwicky 1985); (b) effectiveness via morphosemantic and morphotactic transparency, as evident in the agglutinative host+suffix constructions (parameter 2 – cf. Dressler 1988); (c) informativeness via weakening of semantic content, as evident in particle bleaching (parameter 3 – cf. Sweetser 1988). The paper also provides a replication of the experiment, discusses the results and correlates them to parallel decategorialization processes in some African creole varieties of English. References Dressler, Wolfagang U. 1988. La Semiotica del Ricevente e i Parametri Universali della Fonologia/Morfologia Naturale. In De Mauro, Tullio / Gensini, Stefano / Piemontese, Maria Emanuela (eds.) Dalla Parte del Ricevente: Percezione, Comprensione, Interpretazione. Rome: Bulzoni, 5-21. Heine, Bern, Ulrike Claudi and Friederike Hunnemeyer. 1991. Grammaticalization: A Conceptual Framework. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Selinker, Larry 1992. Rediscovering Interlanguage. London: Longman. Swinney, David A. / Onifer, William / Prather, Penny / Hirschkowitz, Max 1979. Semantic Facilitation Across Sensory Modalities in the Processing of Individual Words and Sentences. Memory and Cognition 7, 159-165. Sweetser, Eve E. 1988. Grammaticalization and Semantic Bleaching, in Axmaker, S., A. Jaisser and H. Singmaster (eds.) Berkeley Linguistics Society: General Session and Parasession on Grammaticalization. Berkeley Linguistic Society 14. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 389-405. Zwicky, Arnold 1985. Clitics and Particles. Language 61, 283-305.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11587/110324
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