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Original scientific paper
Branimir Belaj, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Filozofski fakultet, Osijek
Goran Tanacković Faletar, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Filozofski fakultet, Osijek

 

Summary

This paper starts from the assumption that morphological cases in inflectional languages do not represent semantically »empty« categories, but may each be assigned a common schematic meaning. Using the methodological apparatus of Cognitive Grammar, the authors will propose a general schematic meaning for the Croatian instrumental case and describe one of its interesting grammatical functions, namely, its use as the nominal part of the predicate. Since Cognitive Grammar differentiates between phonological, semantic and symbolic linguistic units, the first and the second type are, at least in approximation, analogous to the notions of form and content, and symbolic units represent their conventionalized combination. In accordance with the distinction this paper attempts to describe the semantic pole of the instrumental case in the above mentioned function. It further describes its link to the semantic poles of other instrumental clusters which is created at a higher level of generalisation in the form of a unifying schematic concept of parallelism. In this sense it follows that suffix morphemes for case marking in Croatian are considered, too, to be symbolic units possessing the phonological and semantic pole. The meaning of symbolic units is created in semantic space (Langacker 1987: 76) in the act of conceptualisation, and conceptualisation itself inherently includes visualisation, which is firmly based on the perception of spatial relationships. In this paper, case coding is thus viewed as grammatical exposing of basic patterns in the spatially motivated concept of extralinguistic reality. While offering a conceptual and semantic analysis of numerous examples of predicate instrumental use, as well as its competition with other cases, a clear analogy is established between grammatical relations and basic rules of human visual perception. The analysis shows that attributing a specific case follows undoubtedly from the ability or inability to conceptualise independently its referent. In the first part of the paper the authors will describe the meaning of the instrumental case, using the Cognitive Grammar notions of the trajector, landmark, schematicity and specificity. First, its meaning in relation to the nominative will be described – the case with an exclusively naming function (nominative being the case marking of the subject/trajector in a simple clause), and then in relation to other, oblique, cases. In the second part of the paper authors will explore the syntactic implications of the semantic model proposed and will give the analysis of predicate instrumental of transitive and intransitive verbs in relation to other two cases – nominative and prepositional accusative. Drawing on the semantic description of the instrumental proposed in the first part of the paper, authors will turn to the question of what makes the instrumental an eligible candidate for coding the nominal part of the predicate in the first place. In the final part of the paper certain regularities are defined, which turned out to be clearly noticeable in the analysis. They are connected to rather unambiguous influence of the conceptual and semantic system on grammatical relations in the examples analysed, i.e. to the fact that unequal abilities of independent conceptualisation of a specific element in the conceptual system, in the sense of its cognitive discreteness in the relationship to other elements of the same system, influence very unequivocally its case coding. In that sense grammatical rules in this paper are studied as a clear reflection of irrefutable regularities which may be observed at a conceptual and semantic level.

 

Keywords

predicate instrumental; case meanings; cognitive distance; grammatical relations; Croatian language
 

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