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Social, intersubjective norms have no objec- tive existence apart from their instantiations through individual practices in the material world. The two others are the activity of discourse, on the one hand, and the products of this activity, on the other Coseriu, , Leibniz, I.

Kant and others, viz. Anschauung and Intuition, are commonly rendered in English by the same word intuition G. Anschauung itself being a translation of Lat. However, in the work of Kant and Husserl, among others, G. Anschauung and G. Intuition designate different things, given that the former term also applies to the observation and perception of spatio-temporal objects, whereas the latter term is strictly confined to objects of the mind. Because one grain of sand does not make a heap, it would seem to follow that two do not, thus three do not, and so on. In the end it would appear that no number of grains of sand make a heap and that a heap remains a heap even if grains of sand are removed.

A language is obviously not complete in any one speaker, but this argument holds omnibus with each speaker taken separately , not cunctis with all speakers taken together. In other words, while it is correct to say that no single individual linguistic intuition makes up a language, it is also correct to say that all individual lin- guistic intuitions make the language Coseriu, , pp. A language cannot be independent from the minds of the indi- vidual speakers. It is the result of a point of view that is clearly required if linguistics is to develop a deeper understanding of language on the basis of necessary conceptual distinctions, but as such, it has no independent ontological status.

Hence, they are not, and cannot be, a priori. Linguistic rules or norms only exist as potentially variable realisations of language, i. Again, to argue that the rules of language are known context-independently and with absolute certainty may be a useful abstraction in the description of certain linguistic phenomena for specific scholarly or didactic purposes, but this concerns language qua object of linguistic inquiry, not language as it is known and realised by speakers. To conclude this section, I return to the issue with which I began, viz.

The preceding discussion of the differences between intu- ition and introspection shows that this claim is unwarranted because NSM does not distinguish between introspection and intuition. What the proponents of the theory of NSM consider to be a paraphrase of the meaning of, e.

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Instead, the paraphrase conveys a possible way of circumlocuting the activity of someone eating something, which is primarily arrived at on the basis of introspection. Of course, although the paraphrase is informed by a potentially infinite number of subjective associations, it may — like psychological facts in general — meet with considerable agreement among a large number of informants.


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One case study drawn from CG is presented in the following section. The next question to be raised is whether corpus-linguistic observations based on large data sets are able and suf- ficient to overcome the shortcomings of the introspectionist approach.

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The meaning of morphological cases: invariants, variation and interpretation 3. Putting intuition and introspection to the test I now turn to a case study of grammatical meanings, viz. The purpose of this section is twofold. I will discuss the drawbacks of the cognitive account offered by Langacker , and Smith , , , which was subsequently adopted by a number of authors e.

I will identify the sources of some of the problems with this account in the basic assumptions of CG, in particular the encyclopaedic conception of linguistic semantics and the decision not to distinguish between intuition and introspection. Moreover, I will focus on the empirical status of a number of semantic descriptions and address the question of whether a strictly observational focus on corpus data can provide a solution to the theoretical and empirical problems that arise from the CG account.

This case study proves to be particularly illuminating for the purposes of this article. However, even if this finding is a strong argument in favour of the empir- icist tendencies in current linguistics, it will become clear that the role of intuition remains important. On the other hand, the case illustrates the importance of the distinction between introspection and intuition. Such an explanation indicates the limits of the holistic approach of morphological cases. Instead, the coherent synthesis of an intu- ition-based and a corpus-based approach is necessary.

Moreover, it is argued that all instantiations of, e. In this sec- tion, I elaborate on the seemingly straightforward case marking with so-called two-way prepositions in German expressing locative relationships, i. It is generally accepted that not all instances of ACC and DAT can be explained this way, but to a con- siderable degree, CG builds on the same line of reasoning. The question that I wish to address is not whether the cognitive account fares better than accounts presented by previous scholars see Willems c for further discussion.

Instead, I will examine the relationship between the cognitive assump- tions concerning case meanings and the distinctions between intuition, introspection and observation introduced in Section 2. Note that Langacker focuses on simple examples in which prepositional phrases combined with certain verbs henceforth, VPREP constructions refer to straightforward spatial scenes. ACC in den Bergen sein; hinter dem Baum stehen?

Introspection in 2nd Language Research

DAT However, these pairs of examples, in which the ACC and DAT marking can easily be contrasted with one another, reflect only part of the complexity of two-way preposition case assignment in German. Consider the following example: 4 Die Sonne verschwindet in d— Meer. Thus, the proposed image schema does not yield a correct result. It should be stressed that to native speakers of German, these sentences are in no way examples of exceptional case marking.

On the contrary, native speakers normally do not under- stand why second-language learners experience difficulties with them. However, it is generally acknowledged that they pose considerable difficulties for second-language learners of German. Many scholars consider case marking to be one of the most difficult areas of German morpho-syntax for learners of German.

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Smith provides an attempt to come to terms with instances of problematic DAT and ACC marking, as illustrated in 6. Smith , p. Er brachte die Lampe an die Decke an. Der Feind ist in der Stadt eingedrungen. Der Feind ist in der Stadt eingedrungen, Smith, , p. The quality of the data in par- ticular is clearly a moot point.

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The numbers in Fig. This, in turn, is a strong indication that several aspects must be taken into account to determine the factors that influ- ence case alternation. For example, it is noteworthy that the use of the past participle seems to have a bearing on the choice of case. The relevance of this factor has already been noted by Paul ; see Smith, , p.

To Paul, this is proof that speakers may judge an emerging relationship between two entities, which normally calls for ACC, to be already established, prompting the non-canonical use of DAT. According to Paul , p. Both the historical and the present-day corpus data confirm that contrasting ACC and DAT is a useful experiment that can tell us something about the meaning of morphological cases, and Smith in particular is to be credited for drawing our attention to the vagaries of the case alternation.

The corpus data provide empirical evidence that there is considerable var- iation in case marking with certain VPREP constructions. This finding is important to any linguist who wishes to establish the meaning of cases because it is in stark contrast to the common simplistic explanations found in most school grammars. How- ever, as explained in Section 2. Recall that extensive corpus analyses were quite common in 19th and early 20th century linguistics.

In particular, philologists were engaged in extensive diachronic research that was often based on large amounts of available historical data, albeit in a manner that differs significantly from the way corpus research is carried out today due to the technical limitations of the time. In itself, this is an interesting and legitimate object of inquiry, but I wish to stress the point that an analysis of the meanings of ACC and DAT and the interpretation of elicited, metagrammatical comments from informants on the function of ACC and DAT in pre-established example sentences are two different types of inquiry.


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Although both inquiries are ultimately dependent on observational data, the first object falls within the purview of intuition, the second within that of introspection. Another important consideration should be noted. In many example sentences in 7 that are used to elicit meaning judg- ments from the informants, there is a clear preference for either ACC or DAT in normal language use.


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This is corroborated by the findings in the DeReKo presented in Fig. Moreover, it does not prove helpful to a better understanding of the three percent of example sentences in the DeReKo in which anbringen an is exceptionally combined with the ACC see Fig. As Itkonen , p.

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It is therefore to be expected that this approach will encounter trouble when confronted with less straightforward non-prototypical instantiations of ACC and DAT case marking that are at odds with the postulated image schemas cf. Gibbs, , pp. Therefore, relying on introspection and the interpretation of elicited motivations offered by informants does not appear to offer a satisfactory solution to the problem of how to address particularly difficult aspects of grammar, which may represent the majority of the issues with which linguists are involved.

On the other hand, it may also have become apparent that adducing corpus data is effective only on the condition that the basic assumption about the nature of meaning behind the cognitive account is addressed as well. Establishing the meaning of ACC and DAT with two-way prepositions in German requires that as many naturally occurring instances as possible are taken into consideration because there is no other way to account for both the semantic flexibility of the cases and the apparent idiomaticity in case assignment with specific VPREP constructions.

However, taking this stance also requires a re-evaluation of the holistic assumptions discussed in Section 2 in favour of a more transparent distinction between language-specific semantic values and general encyclopaedic knowledge. If it is impossible to tell what the intuitive knowledge of language conveys to utterances apart from the interpretations of constructions in specific pragmatic settings, it becomes difficult to see how circularity in the analysis can be avoided, whether it is based on introspection or on corpus data.

To conclude this section, I return briefly to the relationship between the linguistic intuition of cases and the range of pos- sible synchronic interpretations of variable case marking in specific VPREP constructions. It is clear that to assess this relation- ship in an unbiased manner, corpus data are indispensable.

Data drawn from the DeReKo reveal that variable case marking does not prevent one case from being much more common than the other. The latter is not an invariant of normal language use but an invariant on the level of the language system.