Swahili conditional constructions in embodied Frames of Reference: Modeling semantics, pragmatics, and context-sensitivity in UML mental spaces

Dissertation, Trinity Western University (2020)

Abstract

Studies of several languages, including Swahili [swa], 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 states-of-being and actions, 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 Language (UML) mental spaces in analyzing Swahili conditional constructions to show how necessary, sufficient, and contributing conditions obtain on the embodied FoR networks level.

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