“Swahili Conditional Constructions in Embodied Frames of Reference: Modeling Semantics, Pragmatics, and Context-Sensitivity in UML Mental Spaces”

Academic Events
Trinity Western University
22500 University Dr
Room 208 CanIL Harvest Centre
Langley, BC V2Y1Y1
Canada

THESIS DEFENCE

Roderick Fish, “Swahili Conditional Constructions in Embodied Frames of Reference: Modeling Semantics, Pragmatics, and Context-Sensitivity in UML Mental Spaces”

Examining Committee

Supervisor: Steve Nicolle, PhD (MALT)

Second Reader: Bruce Wiebe, MSc (MA Ling)

Third Reader: Jamin Pelkey, PhD, Ryerson

Exam Chair: Derrick Klaassen, PhD (CPSY)

ABSTRACT

Studies of several languages, including Swahili [swa],1 suggest that realis (actual, realizable) and irrealis (unlikely, counterfactual) meanings vary along a scale (e.g., 0.0–1.0). T-values (True, False) and P-values (probability) account for this pattern. However, logic cannot describe or explain (a) epistemic stances toward beliefs, (b) deontic and dynamic stances toward actions and states-of-being, and (c) context-sensitivity in conditional interpretations. (a)–(b) are deictic properties (positions, distance) of ‘embodied’ Frames of Reference (FoRs)—space-time loci in which agents perceive and from which they contextually act (Rohrer 2007a, b). I argue that the embodied FoR describes and explains (a)–(c) better than T-values and P-values alone. In this cognitive-functional-descriptive study, I represent these embodied FoRs using Unified Modeling LanguageTM (UML) mental spaces in analyzing Swahili conditional constructions to show how necessary, sufficient, and contributing conditions obtain on the embodied FoR networks level.