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Multimodal Construction Grammar and Big Data Science

with Dr. Mark Turner from Case Western Reserve University

Wed, September 12, 2018 | RLP 1.302E

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Dr. Mark Turner, Institute Professor at the Case Western Reserve University; Founding Director of the Cognitive Science Network; Co-Director of the Red Hen Lab™, will focus on the three related paths for the future of Construction Grammar: The first path is toward multimodality. The study of human communication has historically been focused on text, for the simple reason that these data are available. Speech is a close second.  But there are many forms aside from voice and text—gesture, music, pauses, laughter, silence, gaze, the deployment of material affordances in the environment, features of the ground, and so on—and in actual performance, these forms are involved in form-meaning pairs and participate in communication. While we make distinctions in this ocean of form-meaning pairs, Construction Grammar must propose a mechanism for the participation of these nonvocal, nontextual forms in communication. This talk will explore moving Construction Grammar further toward attending to all form-meaning pairing. The second path is toward Big Data Science. This talk will introduce new big data tools for the study of multimodal communication, and a program of bringing Big Data Science to Construction Grammar. The third path, which will be mentioned only briefly, and mostly for its relation to the other two paths, is the path toward a plausible theory of unification, or combination of constructions. The crucial part of Construction Grammar is not its analysis of individual constructions but instead its theory of combination, and that theory must  be a cognitive theory based on mental operations general to advanced human cognition.

Sponsored by: Linguistics Research Center, Germanic Studies, Texas Language Center, Department of Linguistics

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