I am wild about cabbage: evaluative ‘semantic sequences’ and cross-linguistic (dis)similarities

Marina Bondi, Giuliana Diani


The paper investigates the phraseology of evaluation in two comparable corpora of discussions from blogs in Italian and in English. Subjectivity markers are taken as an indication of the significant role that the writer’s ‘self’ plays in the genre, ideal territory for an analysis of the language of evaluation. After considering collocates and grammar patterns of the selected markers, the analysis centres on evaluative ‘semantic sequences’ by aligning typical recurrent surface arrangements with strings of prototypical meaning elements such as ‘entity or process evaluated’, ‘evaluation’ and different ‘sources of evaluation’. Four types of sequences are identified: ‘basic’, ‘framed’, ‘dialogic’ and ‘concessive’. The results attest for substantial semantic similarities over and above lexico-syntactic and inter-linguistic mismatches. Semantic sequences can be shown to be useful tools for cross-linguistic analysis.

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