Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alice in Wonderland contributes to advances in linguistics

Date:
May 22, 2014
Source:
Radboud University Nijmegen
Summary:
A researcher has examined sentences that denote movement in 20 translations of Alice in Wonderland and two other novels. She used methods from evolutionary biology to analyze how linguistic descriptions of movement change over time.

The cover of Annemarie Verkerk's doctorate at Radboud University.
Credit: Image courtesy of Radboud University Nijmegen

Annemarie Verkerk examined sentences that denote movement in 20 translations of Alice in Wonderland and two other novels. She used methods from evolutionary biology to analyse how linguistic descriptions of movement change over time. On 13 June, Verkerk will obtain her doctorate from Radboud University.

Related Articles


Until now linguists have divided sentences denoting movement into two construction types. In the first type, a verb expresses the way of moving and a preposition or adverb expresses the path of that movement ('walk across a bridge'). In the second type, a verb expresses the path of movement and the way of moving is omitted or placed in an adverb or clause ('to cross'). Traditionally, languages are divided into two classes, depending on which of the two constructions they most commonly use.

More constructions

However, 'There are more constructions for expressing movement than the two types on which we have focused until now', says Verkerk. 'Various languages in the Indo-European language family that I examined don't 'fit' within either of the two existing classes but in the spectrum in between. My research shows how the way that Indo-European languages indicate movement has changed through history.'

Alice in Wonderland and The Alchemist

Verkerk studied the novels Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there (both by Lewis Carroll) and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. She selected 215 sentences in which characters move from one place to another. Translators worldwide helped her to further analyse these sentences from twenty different translations, from Russian to Hindi.

Collection of 'movement sentences'

Verkerk analysed the collection of 'movement sentences' using methods from evolutionary biology. 'You can use a family tree of languages, like they have in biology for animal species. This reconstructs the history of languages, as well as mapping out the relationships between specific characteristics of those languages. Take, for instance, the use of constructions and verbs: languages that commonly express the way of moving in verbs, have more of those verbs than languages that express the path of movement in verbs. The methods I used are useful for any research into the behaviour of language over time.'

Doctoral defence: The evolutionary dynamics of motion event encoding: 13 June 2014, Radboud University Nijmegen


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Radboud University Nijmegen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Radboud University Nijmegen. "Alice in Wonderland contributes to advances in linguistics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522104902.htm>.
Radboud University Nijmegen. (2014, May 22). Alice in Wonderland contributes to advances in linguistics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522104902.htm
Radboud University Nijmegen. "Alice in Wonderland contributes to advances in linguistics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522104902.htm (accessed December 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

When Healthy Eating Becomes Dangerous

When Healthy Eating Becomes Dangerous

Newsy (Dec. 26, 2014) — Experts say fad diets can lead to orthorexia, a disorder that can cause physical and emotional distress. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Paper Books Better Than E-Books For Sleep Cycle?

Are Paper Books Better Than E-Books For Sleep Cycle?

Newsy (Dec. 23, 2014) — A study from Harvard Medical School shows that electronic readers utilizing LED technology interrupt people's natural sleep cycles. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) — Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins