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Functional and Cognitive perspectives on the noun phrase

11 June 2014

Recently I was invited to speak at the PGR conference at the University of Sfax in Tunisia. It was a real pleasure to take part in the event and hear about the very good research that is going on in the Laboratory in Approaches to Discourse (LAD).

Here’s the abstract for my talk:

This seminar aims to explore the use of a combined methodological framework (or multi-method design, cf. de Monnink, 1999; Angouri, 2010) to phenomenon based linguistic research. Using two case studies as examples, I will critically examine the use of a multi-method approach and consider the advantages and limitations in each case. The particular area of interest is the noun phrase within both functional (Fontaine, 2012) and cognitive (Dabrowska, 2010) perspectives. The study of the noun phrase is at times made difficult because of its status at three key levels (or strata) of language: below the clause as a unit with its own structure and functions; at clause level as an expression of significant elements of the clause (e.g. Theme/Subject/Actor); and at discourse level as a referring expression that is contextually bound. The decision to focus on one level only is often taken at the expense of the others.  A multi-method approach can, depending on the research objectives, resolve some of these issues.


Angouri, Jo. (2010) Quantitative, Qualitative or Both? Combining methods in Linguistic Research. In Litosseliti, L. (ed.) Research Methods in Linguistics. London: Continuum.

Dąbrowska, E. (2010). The mean lean grammar machine meets the human mind: Empirical investigations of the mental status of rules. In H.-J. Schmid & S. Handl (Eds.), Cognitive foundations of linguistic usage patterns. Empirical approaches Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 151-170.

De Mönnink, Inge  (1999). ON THE MOVE. The mobility of constituents in the English noun phrase: a multi-method approach. Language and Computers 31. []

Fontaine, L. (2012) Analysing English Grammar. Cambridge: CUP.

Here I am in action, with thanks to Ameni Halioui!

sfax presentation