Chapter published in:Surprise at the Intersection of Phenomenology and Linguistics
Edited by Natalie Depraz and Agnès Celle
[Consciousness & Emotion Book Series 11] 2019
► pp. 140–169
Looking at ‘unexpectedness’
A corpus-based cognitive analysis of surprise & wonder
The nouns surprise and wonder have often been included in the subclass of potentially polysemous psych nouns, which can denote a psychological state and have a derived source reading. Our corpus-based analysis leads us to conclude that these nouns tend to refer to sources of surprise, and as such could rather be termed “source nouns” instead. First, we show that a metonymic link can be established between the primary source sense and the derived state sense of the nouns. We argue that this reversed link can be re-analysed as involving a synecdoche. We then look at the discourse functions of these nouns, notably at their role as “shell nouns”, which confirms our analysis of these nouns as characterizing sources of surprise.
Keywords: prototype semantics, shell nouns, corpus, surprise, psych nouns
Published online: 06 November 2019
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