Guest lecture: Grammatical surprise — on the cognitive affective mechanism of linguistic drama


30.11.2023 at 15.00 - 17.00
Zhuo Jing-Schmidt is Professor of Chinese Linguistics in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Oregon. She received her PhD in General Linguistics from the Institute for Linguistics, University of Cologne, Germany. A recipient of the Lise-Meitner Award, research grants from the Fritz-Thyssen Foundation and the German Research Foundation, as well as the PI of multi-year U.S. federal grants for the Chinese Flagship Program, Dr. Jing-Schmidt engages in research and teaching at the interface of language, culture, emotion, cognition, society, and second language learning. She publishes in three languages – English, Chinese, and German and has placed her work in leading international journals including Cognitive Linguistics, Language and Society, Journal of Pragmatics, Linguistics, and the Modern Language Journal. She is currently Executive Editor of the peer-reviewed international journal Chinese Language and Discourse and a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Chinese Linguistics.

Grammatical surprise
— on the cognitive affective mechanism of linguistic drama

In everyday communication, dramatized language represents striking events and expresses strong emotions. In this talk, I explore the cognitive-affective mechanisms of linguistic drama and dramatization. I propose the concept of “grammatical surprise” in the sense of surprise triggered by creative and often deliberate violation of grammatical conventions. This article treats grammatical surprise as a psychological basis of linguistic drama, complementing cognitive salience and emotive expressiveness, previously established two defining features of linguistic drama. Using examples from Chinese, English, and German, I illustrate the role of grammatical surprise in linguistic dramatization and its crosslinguistic constraints and put forth the argument that linguistic drama is embodied.

Keywords dramatized language, grammatical surprise, rule violation, construal, embodiment

Organized by the School of Languages and Translations Studies (kieli- ja käännöstieteiden laitos)

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