Download On Our Mind: Salience, Context, and Figurative Language, by Rachel Giora PDF

By Rachel Giora

During this quantity, Rachel Giora explores how the salient meanings of words--the meanings that stand out as so much favorite and available in our minds--shape how we predict and the way we converse. For Giora, salient meanings show fascinating results in either figurative and literal language. In either domain names, audio system and writers creatively take advantage of the probabilities inherent within the proven fact that, whereas phrases have a number of meanings, a few meanings are extra available than others. Of a few of the meanings we encode in our psychological lexicon for a given be aware or expression, we ascribe higher cognitive precedence to a few over others. curiously, the main salient which means isn't really regularly the literal which means. Giora argues that it's cognitively widespread salient meanings, instead of literal meanings, that play crucial position within the comprehension and creation of language. She exhibits that even supposing context starts to impact comprehension instantly, it does so with out obstructing the early having access to of salient meanings. therefore, the that means we first attend to is the salient note that means, despite contextual bias. wisdom of salient meanings seems to play a massive function, possibly crucial position, within the strategy of utilizing and knowing of language. Going past the accepted results of literal that means and context, the Graded Salience speculation provides the main finished reason for how we use language for that means. during this quantity, Giora offers her new version for the 1st time in a book-length remedy, with unique and illuminating views that may be of curiosity to linguists, philosophers, psychologists, and all who need to know extra approximately simply how we comprehend what we suggest.

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Extra resources for On Our Mind: Salience, Context, and Figurative Language, 2003

Example text

The foot race is the more popular event. Similarly, in McGlone et al. (1994), familiar idioms such as didn’t spill the beans were read faster than their less conventional variants such as didn’t spill a single bean. In addition, familiar idioms (spill the beans) were read faster than their literal paraphrases (told him all) compared to their variants (didn’t spill a single bean), which took equally long to read as their literal counterparts (didn’t say a single word). Given that the meanings of these idioms and their variants converge in affordances but diverge in degree of salience, it is salience rather than grounding that can account for the difference in the reading times found here.

All these are possible contextual effects. Some of these individual contextual effects are achieved at a small cost, which makes them more relevant than those that are more costly. Thus, the greater the number of contextual effects an utter- 28 ON OUR MIND ance has in a given context, the more relevant it is in that context relative to a similarly effortful alternative that is poorer in contextual effects. Similarly, the less effortful the interpretation of an utterance in a given context, the more relevant it is in that context relative to a similarly productive alternative.

Similarly, familiar ironic utterances (Tell me about it) were shown to be accessed initially both literally and ironically in the ironically as well as in the literally biasing contexts (Giora & Fein, 1999a), suggesting that their phrasal salient meanings were activated regardless of contextual information. In addition, familiar proverbs (The grass is greener on the other side of the fence) were shown to take equally long to read as their literal equivalents and to be processed literally and figuratively, regardless of contextual bias (Turner & Katz, 1997; see also Katz & Ferretti, 2000, 2001).

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