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Lexical features of political discourse: a corpus-based analysis of speeches about the European Union

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4 convention. Even if the basic methods of analysis were well known in linguistics, there was a certain discontinuity in the development of this discipline. In particular in the 1950s, corpora as sources of data underwent a period of almost total unpopularity and neglect. This was mainly due to the influence of Noam Chomsky, who strongly criticised the corpora as a source of information. 1.1.1 The debate between rationalists and empiricists Around the 1960s a debate developed between rationalists and empiricists. The most important supporter of the rationalistic theories was the linguist Noam Chomsky who was also very influential in the development of grammar descriptions in the following years. Rationalist theories were based on a so-called “theory of mind”. They started from a theory based on artificial behavioural data and conscious introspective judgements, which means, a native speaker of a language reflects on that language and makes theoretical claims based on those reflections. Rationalists aimed at developing a theory of language that only could emulate the external effects of human language processing, but that also represented how the processing is actually undertaken. The empiricists’ approach to language, instead, was dominated by the observation of naturally occurring data, typically through the medium of the corpus. This meant that empiricists were concerned not so much with cognitive representation of language, but rather whether some linguistic constraints actually occurred in a language. Looking at corpora of texts, empiricists observed whether particular forms were actually produced in the language in question. As mentioned above, Chomsky criticised the empiricist approach deeply. What Chomsky did was to change the object of linguistic enquiry from descriptions of language to theories upon cognitive plausible models of language. He said that it is impossible to determine from any given language patterns what are the relevant performance phenomena in a language. According to his perspective linguists musk seek to model language competence rather than language performance. Chomsky, in fact, believed that it is language competence, namely our tacit, internalised knowledge of a language, which both explains and characterises a speaker’s knowledge of a language. On the contrary, performance, is the external evidence of language

Anteprima della Tesi di Monica Cascone

Anteprima della tesi: Lexical features of political discourse: a corpus-based analysis of speeches about the European Union, Pagina 5

Tesi di Laurea

Facoltà: Lettere e Filosofia

Autore: Monica Cascone Contatta »

Composta da 168 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 2438 click dal 20/03/2004.


Consultata integralmente 5 volte.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.