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On the multifaceted nature of English of-NPs. A theoretical, corpus, cotextual and cognitive approach

Schönthal, David 2016. On the multifaceted nature of English of-NPs. A theoretical, corpus, cotextual and cognitive approach. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This study examines the nature of different types of English noun phrases with the relator of in their structural middle such as the father of the bride, a map of the world, or that plonker of a plumber (of-NPs). In response to a strong focus in previous literature on the internal structure of these expressions and the notion of headedness, this study investigates of-NPs from a different angle, taking a multi-method approach. In a theoretical framework embedded in Construction Grammar and Conceptual Blending Theory, of-NPs are viewed as constructions consisting of ‘conceptual entities’, one to either side of the relator of. These two conceptual entities are put into a meaning relationship with one another, which creates the meaning of the overall expression. This theoretical approach facilitates the inclusion of all types of of-NPs (including idiosyncratic ones) within the same framework. In a corpus approach, this study examines the diversity of English of-NPs in written language. It analyses a representative sample of expressions from the British National Corpus and identifies 31 different types of of-NP constructions and their frequency within the corpus. In a cotextual approach, the expressions are studied within their immediate textual environment. Based on a cohesion analysis, this study introduces the concepts of ‘cohesive footprint’ and ‘cohesive landscape’ by the means of which it identifies five textual functions of English of-NPs: elaboration, linking, transition, introduction, and mention. In a cognitive sorting experiment, the of-NP constructions found in the corpus dataset are tested against the intuition of other experts and non-experts. This approach discusses the influence of previous knowledge in linguistics on the interpretation of grammatical phenomena, and confirms the relevance of constructional meaning within English of-NPs. This study concludes that grammatical phenomena, such as English of-NPs, need to be examined from multiple angles, which inform one another. From such a multi-method approach arises a more profound understanding of the multifaceted nature of a grammatical phenomenon.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 November 2016
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2017 02:30

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