The investigation of internal state words translation: the sociolinguistic approach

Tetyana Serhiivna Oliynyk

Ternopil National Pedagogical University, Ukraine

Poster

This paper outlines the sociolinguistic approach to the investigation of internal state words and their use in conversation. First, the limits of this class and its four component subclasses β€” Cognitive, Affective, Perceptual, and Intentions and Desires β€” are defined. Theoretical problems in classifying words into these categories are discussed; one major problem is determining which component(s) of a complex word-meaning are to be uesd as the basis of classification.

Second, two major categories for describing the use of internal state words are proposed. The Semantic-Pragmatic distinction relates to how the lexical meaning of an internal state word contributes to the intended meaning of the utterance in which it occurs β€” whether directly, indirectly, or not at all. Semantic usues of internal state words are literal; that is, the lexical meaning of the internal state word contributes directly to the intended meaning of the utterance, as in John knows the answer. Some pragmatic uses of internal state words are almost empty or meaningless; for example, conversational devices and mannerism like you know. In other pragmatic uses, the lexical meaning of the internal state word contributes indirectly to the meaning of the utterance via some conversational implicature or convention. In this category are indirect requests and suggestions, such as Do you want to take out the garbage, please? and hedges such as He’s in his office, I think.

Reflections are uses of internal state words to express awareness on the part of the speaker of his/her own current internal state, or to explicitly call for such awareness on the part of the addressee. Criteria for identifying reflections in natural conversation are given.

Semantic uses of internal state words are those of internal state words which communicate about, and hence constitute, metacognition. Reflections are expressions of, or explicit attempts to elicit, metacognitive experiences. These two categories of use, and also the category of internal state words and its four subclasses, constitute valuable tools for studying cognitive and conceptual skills that are clearly of significance to student development and education.

The motivation for investigating words of internal state is based on the following hypotheses: 1) that the vocabulary in the internal state domain reflects to a large extent the repertory of concepts in this area; 2) that certain types of internal state word usage will correlate with skill in metacognitive processes; 3) that therefore the frequency of certain types of internal state word usage and the size of the internal state word vocabulary will correlate with the degree of readiness for, and success in, schools; and 4) that situational variation esists in the function and use of internal state words.

Such hypotheses give a two-fold motivation for the study of internal state word use: First, to test these hypotheses in some empirical way, it is necessary to have accurate and insightful methods of designating internal state word usage. Second, to the extent that the hypotheses are true, the study of internal state word use will be of significance to both education and psychology.

Session: POSTERS: Focus on interaction, discourse, media, professional settings
Friday, April 4, 2008, 12:45-15:45
room: foyer