Games associated with congestion situations à la Rosenthal have pure Nash equilibria. This result implicitly relies on the existence of a potential function. In this paper we provide a characterization of potential games in terms of coordination games and dummy games. Second, we extend Rosenthal's congestion model to an incomplete information setting, and show that the related Bayesian games are potential games and therefore have pure Bayesian equilibria.
An evolutionary approach to historical linguistics can be enlightening when not only the mechanisms, but also the statistical methods are considered from neighboring disciplines. In this short paper, we apply survival analysis to investigate what factors determine the lifespan of words. Our case study is on post-classical Greek from the 4th century bc to the beginning of the 8th century ad. We find that lower frequency and phonetically longer lexemes suffer earlier deaths. Furthermore, verbs turn out to have higher survival (...) rates than adjectives and nouns. (shrink)
Construction grammar organizes its basic elements of description, its constructions, into networks that range from concrete, lexically-filled constructions to fully schematic ones, with several levels of partially schematic constructions in between. However, only few corpus studies with a constructionist background take this multi-level nature fully into account. In this paper, we argue that understanding language variation can be advanced considerably by systematically formulating and testing hypotheses at various levels in the constructional network. To illustrate the approach, we present a corpus (...) study of the Dutch naar-alternation. It is found that this alternation primarily functions at an intermediate level in the constructional network. (shrink)
Dutch, like other Germanic languages, disposes of two strategies to express past tense: the strong inflection and the weak inflection. This distinction is for the most part lexically determined in that each verb occurs in one of the two inflections. Diachronically the system is in flux though, with the resilience of some verbs being mainly driven by frequency. Synchronically this might result in variable verbs. This diachronic corpus study shows that this variation is not haphazard, but that semantic factors are (...) at play. We see two such effects. First of all, synchronically, the variation is exapted in an iconic manner to express aspect: durative meanings tend to be expressed by longer verb forms and punctual meanings tend to be expressed by shorter verb forms. Secondly, we see that metaphorical meanings come to be associated within obsolescent inflectional forms, as predicted by Kuryłowicz’s “fourth law of analogy”. (shrink)
This article presents findings from an interview study of human rights practitioners who assist relatives of the disappeared from Chechnya with their complaints before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). These practitioners work for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). The study contributes to the scant literature on NGO litigation before the ECtHR and to the social scientific literature on how human rights are actively practiced. It investigates the NGOs’ intermediary position between the ECtHR and the relatives of the disappeared in Chechnya. (...) Consequently, this article asserts that a significant aspect of this position lies in the practitioner’s capacity to mediate between an ambition to externalize local grievances to the ECtHR and the relatives’ hopes that the ECtHR can bring certainty to the uncertain loss of their disappeared relatives. From this position, several dilemmas emerge as to how international legal mechanisms can provide remedies following disappearances. (shrink)
We investigate empirically whether framing in general, and the use of Simplifying Models as a framing tool in particular, has an effect on the way topics are cognitively construed. Existing studies on framing in linguistics have either been theoretical or descriptive. Going beyond such methodologically simple approaches, we use a more rigid test design involving the use of a control group, the construction of test conditions in which different Simplifying Models constitute the major source of variation, the inclusion of independent (...) variables like age and prior knowledge of the subjects, and the use of linear and logistic regression analysis. Our results show that our more rigid methodological approach yields a more reliable image of the effect of Simplifying Models on the way in which people deal with information on a complex topic like sustainable food production. Fleshing out these effects further may in time lead to a better informed construction of communication on complex social topics. (shrink)
Part of the generalizability issues that haunt controlled lab experiment designs in psychology, and more particularly in psycholinguistics, can be alleviated by adopting corpus linguistic methods. These work with natural data. This advantage comes at a cost: in corpus studies, lexemes and language users can show different kinds of skew. We discuss a number of solutions to bolster the control.
On the basis of synchronic English language material, Bolinger (Degree Words, Mouton, 1972) has put forward the hypothesis that intensifying meanings or “degree words” often develop from identifying expressions. This paper will empirically test Bolinger's hypothesis by means of in-depth diachronic study of the development of such—one of Bolinger's central examples—and of its Dutch cognate zulk in historical text corpora. To this aim, a detailed cognitive-functional account will first be provided of the (differences between the) identifying and intensifying uses of (...) such and zulk, with attention for diachronic changes affecting the syntax and semantics of these uses, cross-linguistically as well as language-specifically. It will be shown that, as predicted by Bolinger (Degree Words, Mouton, 1972), the proportion of identifying uses decreases over time in favor of the intensifying uses both in English and Dutch. The comparison between such and zulk will, however, show that, despite the close relation between these two languages, the development does not run strictly parallel in English and Dutch, thus endorsing a view that language change does not necessarily follow predetermined pathways. We will argue that minute differences in the syntax of such and zulk steer the diachronic course these elements follow. Finally, Bolinger's shift from identification to intensification will be discussed in terms of its relation to existing (inter)subjectification hypotheses. (shrink)
The thesis developed and defended in this paper is that is it false that all knowledge is founded on experience. Much of our knowledge (or alleged knowledge), it is argued, is based on testimony. Still, many philosophers have either not dealt with testimony at all, or treated it very unkindly. One of the reasons for this is that those philosophers (such as Descartes and Locke) work with a concept of knowledge according to which knowledge is certain, indubitable, and/or self-evident. And (...) if knowledge is what these philosophers say it is, then there is no such thing as knowledge based on testimony indeed. Thomas Reid is introduced as holding that we do have testimonial knowledge and that therefore Descartes' and Locke's concept of knowledge is untenable. Reid furthermore holds that human beings are endowed with a disposition to accept or believe what otherstell us („the principle of credulity”). The working of this principle is refined through all kinds of experience. What Reid says or shows is how this disposition in fact operates. Many epistemologists, however, have higher aspirations and look for reasons or arguments that can justify our factual acceptance of testimony. The inductive argument Hume offers, it is argued, is unconvincing. There is even reason to think that the principle of credulity can never be justified by adducing reasons. This does not imply, however, that acceptance of testimony is unjustified. Whether or not it is depends, among other things, on the concept of justification one uses. On an internalist concept of justification (as Locke's or Hume's) this disposition may never be justified. But on an externalist conception it may. This may be disappointing, given some widely held philosophical aspirations, but at the same time it is, as Alston has said, a lesson in intellectual humility. (shrink)
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