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The Sphere of Influence and Linguistic Explanation with Reference to English

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Authors
Park, Nahm-Sheik
Issue Date
1997-03
Publisher
서울대학교 언어교육원
Citation
어학연구, Vol.33 No.1, pp. 1-52
Abstract
The main point of this paper is that there is a sphere of influence in
human language such that it is of crucial importance to the explanation of
numerous otherwise baffling linguistic phenomena. The present paper is designed
to specifically demonstrate that this sphere of influence is indeed operative
in contemporary English. It is also designed, albeit secondarily, to
help validate (and build upon) many of the points of relevance that I have
already discussed in considerable depth and detail in a number of my earlier
publications, especially Park (l977a. 1977b. 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, and
1985).
A sphere of influence may be defined in terms of two linguistic elements,
i.e. an influencer and its influencee. It may be said that an influencer has
such and such an influencee in its sphere of influence. For example, a transitive
verb may be said to have such and such an object noun phrase in its
sphere of influence. For another example, a preposition may be said to have
such and such a complement in its sphere of influence. For still another example,
old (or given) information may be said to have the sentence-initial
position of the subject in its sphere of influence.
Other things being equal, the power of an influencer in relation to its
influencee may be said to be in direct proportion to the proximity between
the two. In other words, the general tendency here is: the more proximate
an influencer to its influencee, the more powerful the influence of the former
on the latter.
It is interesting that this linguistic sphere of influence is not much different
in nature from such spheres of influence as may be encountered in the
real world, be they physical, psychological, social, or otherwise. It may also
be noted that this sphere of influence is an apparent linguistic universal in
that it appears to be applicable to all languages, not just to English on
which the current paper happens to focus.
It may be in order at this point to observe that a linguistic sphere of influence
is generally directional in that an influencer is usually either antecedent,
or is otherwise superordinate to, its influencee. What this means is
that the influencer normally comes before, or occurs in a higher-level structure
than, its influencee. If the sphere of influence in question operates
counter-directionally, that is, if the said tendency of directionality is not
complied with, an influencer may suffer a loss of power vis-a-vis its
influencee.
In a sphere of influence, the influence exercised by the influencer on its
influencee may be either positive or negative. On the positive side, the influence may take the form of government, concord, attraction, absorption, assimilation
or the like. On the negative side, it may manifest itself in the
form of rejection such as dissimilation.
ISSN
0254-4474
Language
English
URI
https://hdl.handle.net/10371/86093
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Language Education Institute (언어교육원)Language Research (어학연구)Language Research (어학연구) Volume 33 Number 1/4 (1997)
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