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Original scientific paper

Mario Brdar



The goal of the present paper is to show how functional and cognitive linguistic approaches can complement each other in providing external motivation for linguistic facts. Specifically, I claim that cognitive linguistics, if it does not want to doom itself to the status of a partial model, should in this search for motivation take clue from functional linguistics and go beyond its traditional pet topics, human embodiment and socio–cultural environment, and also consider the role of the existing linguistic system. I examine the interplay of metonymic processes and topicalization as a case in point. Much recent research indicates that referential metonymies are relatively unconstrained. However, a corpus–based study on the exploitation of metonymically–used names of capitals in the language of media shows that this type of metonymy is ubiquitous in English and German, but not in Hungarian and Croatian. A detailed analysis reveals that the contrasts can in part be attributed to the fact that English and German metonymically–used locative NPs that function as subjects often find their counterparts in Croatian and Hungarian in locative adverbials (realized as prepositional phrases and noun phrases with locative adpositions, respectively). It is claimed that these locatives, which are also shown to be full–blown referential metonymies, are optimal structural solutions in such pro–drop languages with a rich system of impersonal constructions as far as the complex task of maintaining nominal metonymic topic–continuity while switching between multiple metonymic targets.



metonymy; metaphor; topicalisation; locative adverbial; functionalism; cognitive linguistics


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