Evaluative Semantics: Language, Cognition, and Ideology
Psychology Press, 1999 - 316 pages
Evaluation, from connotations to complex judgements of value, is probably the most neglected dimension of meaning. Calling for a new understanding of truth and value, this book is a comprehensive study of evaluation in natural language, at lexical, syntactic and discursive levels. Jean Pierre Malrieu explores the cognitive foundations of evaluation and uses connectionist networks to model evaluative processes. He takes into account the social dimension of evaluation, showing that ideological contexts account for evaluative variability. A discussion of compositionality and opacity leads to the argument that a semantics of evaluation has some key advantages over truth-conditional semantics and as an example Malrieu applies his evaluative semantics to a complex Shakespeare text. His connectionist model yields a mathematical estimation of the consistency of text with ideology, and is particularly useful in the identification of subtle rhetorical devices such as irony.
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