This paper presents a cultural semantic analysis of the English syntactic construction ‘know your + noun’ made combining the analytical principles and methods of ethnosyntax (Wierzbicka, 1988, 2003, 2006a) with those of corpus-based discourse analysis (Baker, 2006; Partington et al., 2004). Three main points are made in the paper: (i) ‘know your n.’ constitutes an indissoluble lexico-syntactic molecule of English expressing its own specific meaning; (ii) this construction is both genre-specific and subject to intralinguistic variation; (iii) this construction is quintessentially Anglo, because it reflects Anglo cultural assumptions about personal autonomy informing certain speech practices in English discourse (Goddard & Wierzbicka, 2004; Wierzbicka, 2006b) and defies easy translation in other languages. The analysis is based on the findings of a corpus search in GLOWBE across varieties of English complemented by additional data from the web. The results provide a clear picture of the meaning of ‘know your n.’ and of where it situates within the broad range of know-constructions. Ultimately, the paper emphasises the contribution that corpus-based, empirical discourse analysis can make to the semantics and ethnography of syntax as well as to the study of the interface between syntax, semantics and culture.

“Know Your Coffee!” The Cultural Semantics of a Lexico-Syntactic Molecule of English / G.M. Farese. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENGLISH LINGUISTICS. - ISSN 1923-8703. - 12:4(2022), pp. 11-24. [10.5539/ijel.v12n4p11]

“Know Your Coffee!” The Cultural Semantics of a Lexico-Syntactic Molecule of English

G.M. Farese
2022

Abstract

This paper presents a cultural semantic analysis of the English syntactic construction ‘know your + noun’ made combining the analytical principles and methods of ethnosyntax (Wierzbicka, 1988, 2003, 2006a) with those of corpus-based discourse analysis (Baker, 2006; Partington et al., 2004). Three main points are made in the paper: (i) ‘know your n.’ constitutes an indissoluble lexico-syntactic molecule of English expressing its own specific meaning; (ii) this construction is both genre-specific and subject to intralinguistic variation; (iii) this construction is quintessentially Anglo, because it reflects Anglo cultural assumptions about personal autonomy informing certain speech practices in English discourse (Goddard & Wierzbicka, 2004; Wierzbicka, 2006b) and defies easy translation in other languages. The analysis is based on the findings of a corpus search in GLOWBE across varieties of English complemented by additional data from the web. The results provide a clear picture of the meaning of ‘know your n.’ and of where it situates within the broad range of know-constructions. Ultimately, the paper emphasises the contribution that corpus-based, empirical discourse analysis can make to the semantics and ethnography of syntax as well as to the study of the interface between syntax, semantics and culture.
compositionality; corpus-based syntactic analysis; cultural semantics; ethnosyntax; know; world Englishes
Settore L-LIN/12 - Lingua e Traduzione - Lingua Inglese
https://ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/ijel/article/view/0/47316
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/930344
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