Representation Of Control And Responsibility By Means Of English Syntax


The paper studies the way a situation of reality as well as the attitudinal semantics such as control and responsibility attributed to its participants are represented in the English simple sentence. For this purpose, the paper analyses the way President Donald Trump’s 2019 and 2021 impeachments were described by the English-speaking mass media. This topic seems to be a reasonable choice since, on the one hand, the situation itself is quite well-defined and, on the other hand, this particular news story received enormous press coverage and was depicted from all possible angles. The syntactic and semantic structure of the prototype impeachment situation (its argument structure) was defined and described based on the meaning and valency of the verb ‘to impeach’. A selection of utterances describing impeachment was prepared via corpus and manual searches and then considered and classified in terms of various basic sentence patterns. They can be used to conceptualize one and the same situation by means of language, e.g. motion of an object (SPADirLoc), caused motion of an object (SPODirADirLoc), object’s action on another object (SPODir), location of an object (SPLinkALoc). The role of cognitive metaphor and metonymy in syntactic conceptualization was studied and explained. The paper also looks into the motivation and meaning behind the variety of the impeachment formal representations. Each class of utterances revealed a number of semantic peculiarities such as the degree of control and responsibility (or lack thereof) attributed to the actors or the author’s attitude to the event and person described.

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31 March 2022

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1st Edition




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Rakhmankulova, S. E., & Safina, M. R. (2022). Representation Of Control And Responsibility By Means Of English Syntax. In & I. Savchenko (Ed.), Freedom and Responsibility in Pivotal Times, vol 125. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 379-386). European Publisher.