Attention and Recombinance: A Cognitive-Semantic Investigation into Morphological Compositionality in English

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Against the general neglect of attention phenomena in linguistics, this study, anchored in Cognitive Semantics, offers a first systematic adaptation of Leonard Talmy's groundbreaking model of linguistic attention, applied to Webbased data of English from an emerging lexical network of emo(tion). Some fifty basic attention-related factors combine to yield increasingly complex patterns of interaction, convergence, and conflict affecting all levels of linguistic recombination, from simplex morphemes up to the text format. Differences in attentional profiles of linguistic representations may well account for conceptual alternativity, another fundamental cognitive principle in language: In their verbal interactions, interlocutors, in production and reception, will have to attend to bottom-up mechanisms and top-down strategies of attention in organizing conceptual content and conveying subtle ceptions of reality.