Whatever happened to the Scene Encoding Hypothesis?
Salience and pertinence as the missing links between the Usage-Based Model and Scene Encoding
We argue that there has been a shift of focus from the Scene Encoding Hypothesis (SEH) to the Usage-Based Model (UBM) within the research on CxG and that this shift was (and continues to be) characterized by the negligence of the SEH tradition. It is discussed what is the relationship between the respective explanatory scopes of the SEH and the UBM within the larger context of cognitive constructionist linguistics. A practical though not programmatic one-sided focus on the UBM produces theoretical problems leading to “flat” explanations. The UBM crowd in cognitive-functional linguistics has increasingly become aware of that problem which has led to the parallel increase in the prominence of the notion of “salience” within the UBM. We will argue that this notion, as it is applied in current research, is a potential bridge between the SEH and the UBM, since it may potentially (re-)introduce the neglected phenomenal qualities into the modeling of language competence and structure. However, in its current state within the theory of the UBM, the notion of “salience” falls short of the involved cognitive and practical intricacies and thus needs a careful theoretical and empirical re-evaluation. We will attempt to indicate a potential direction of this re-evaluation by introducing the concepts of ‘salience and pertinence under a pragmatic motive’. In the course of our considerations, we will show that not only the UBM needs complementation by the SEH, for which salience and pertinence may be the bridge, but also that the SEH, despite its principal correctness, is itself fundamentally underspecified with respect to its qualifications. The potential bridge between the UBM and the SEH via salience and pertinence will also provide the qualifications the SEH was lacking so far.
Copyright (c) 2023 Simon Kasper, Christoph Purschke
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