University of Nottingham Ningbo China
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Corpus linguistics and the meaning of lexical items: how to distinguish grief from mourning

22 October 2013 (17:00-18:30)

The Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics and the School of English is pleased to invite you to the following public lecture presented by Professor Wolfgang Teubert from University of Birmingham, UK.

About the lecture

Tertiary level students must acquire a theoretical understanding of meaning. The meaning of a lexical items is not so much what we find in monolingual or bilingual dictionaries but directly in discourse. There people negotiate what words mean and, for instance, what distinguishes grief from mourning. For while words in isolation can mean almost anything, once they are embedded in a context it becomes clear what they actually mean there. This is because whenever people speak they tend to re-use patterns that have been used recurrently in discourse. Corpus linguistics helps us in this task: it identifies the relevant context words that form a collocation with the node word. In a second step, we have to look for the paraphrases people are using when negotiating the meaning. What we find there often differs from what we find in dictionary entries.

Speaker biography

Professor Wolfgang Teubert began his career by working on the German language. He left the Institut für Deutsche Sprache in Mannheim in the year 2000 to take up the Birmingham chair of corpus linguistics. Over the last years, he has moved on from corpus linguistics to discourse analysis and the philosophy of language.