Cognitive mechanisms in the interpretation and meaning of idioms
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The focus of the following thesis is the cognitive mechanisms relevant to the interpretation of English idiomatic expressions by native speakers of Spanish. It does so through a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the responses given by 70 participants of 24 idioms, presented to them with and without context. The idiomatic expressions are classified according to their degree of transparency, their nuclei of information, as well as according to their degree of compositionality: isomorphic, globally motivated, partially motivated and non-motivated idioms. The analysis aims at evaluating the hypothesis underlying this research that assumes constancy of schematization among the different interpretations an idiom gets, regardless its degree of opacity. Regarding the quantitative aspect, the results suggest that the degree of transparency of an idiom may be strongly influenced by the degree of compositionality that the idiom has. Insofar as the processes of integration of the idiomatic expressions is concerned, the qualitative analysis of the results shows that there occurs a constancy of domains, schematic figurations and image schemas in the interpretations provided by the subjects, both in de-contextualised and contextualised instances.
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