[Lingtyp] Lexical semantics of 'know/believe/think'-type verbs

Anna Sjöberg anna.sjoberg at ling.su.se
Wed Jul 22 08:07:47 UTC 2020


This happens to be more or less the subject of my ongoing thesis project (the semantics of knowledge ascription terms). To the best of my knowledge, there is no comprehensive typology of the area, but some references that I have found interesting are:

As mentioned, within the NSM framework, there has been a lot of work, in particular

Wierzbicka, A. (2018). I Know: A Human Universal. In: Stich et al (eds.) Epistemology for the Rest of the WorldOxford University Press. https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/oso/9780190865085.001.0001/oso-9780190865085-chapter-10
Goddard, C. (2003). Thinking across languages and cultures: Six dimensions of variation. Cognitive Linguistics, 14(2–3). https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.2003.005
Goddard, C. (2010). Universals and Variation in the Lexicon of Mental State Concepts. Oxford University Press. http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195311129.001.0001/acprof-9780195311129-chapter-5

The East Cree paper (and the 2003 Goddard paper) were part of a special issue of Cognitive Linguistics (14:2-3, 2003) with several interesting papers.

Perhaps not quite what you're looking for but nevertheless very interesting is
Fortescue, M. (2001). Thoughts about thought. Cognitive Linguistics, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.12.1.15

Machery, E., Stich, S., Rose, D., Chatterjee, A., Karasawa, K., Struchiner, N., Sirker, S., Usui, N., & Hashimoto, T. (2018). Gettier Was Framed! in Stich et al (eds.) Epistemology for the Rest of the World. Oxford University Press. https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/oso/9780190865085.001.0001/oso-9780190865085-chapter-7
is more philosophically oriented, but contains some very brief discussion of Bengali making the same equation of knowing and believing as you mention (which seems quite rare, but not completely unheard of).

Best wishes,
Anna Sjöberg
PhD Student
Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University

Från: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> för Broadwell,George Aaron <broadwell at ufl.edu>
Skickat: den 21 juli 2020 18:01:49
Till: lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
Ämne: [Lingtyp] Lexical semantics of 'know/believe/think'-type verbs

Dear colleagues,

I'm trying to understand the semantics of a handful of verbs in Choctaw that seem to be used rather differently than their closest English translations:

  *   ahnih seems to equate to 'want, notice, find out, think, pay attention to'
  *   yimmih seems to equate to 'believe', but only with nominal objects ('believed Mary' or 'believed in Jesus') but not with clausal objects
  *   ikha̱nah seems to equate to ’know (probably as the result of inquiry’) and often to ’believe’ with a clausal object.
  *   akostininchih is something like ’be certain of’

So far as I can tell, none of these "attitude verbs" seem to match very closely to their English equivalents. (At least, given an English sentence with an attitude verb, I am only partially successful in predicting which verb a Choctaw speaker will use!)

I would appreciate links to discussion of other languages with similar systems or an overall typology of different ways of dividing up this semantic domain.

Aaron Broadwell

George Aaron Broadwell, broadwell at ufl.edu<mailto:broadwell at ufl.edu>  [Pronouns: he/him/his]
Elling Eide Professor | University Term Professor (2018-2021)
Associate Chair,
Dept. of Anthropology, University of Florida
Turlington Hall, Room B364
PO Box 117305 Gainesville, FL 32611
Copala Triqui dictionary: http://copalatriqui.webonary.org/
Timucua dictionary: http://timucua.webonary.org
San Dionisio Zapotec http://sandionisiozapotec.webonary.org<http://sandionisiozapotec.webonary.org/>
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