Klaus Uwe Panther

Klaus-Uwe Panther is Professor Emeritus of English Linguistics at Hamburg University and, at present, a distinguished visiting Professor at Nanjing Normal University in Nanjing, China. He has long been interested in the question to what extent morphosyntactic form might be motivated by conceptual structure and/or pragmatic function.

In his early research, Panther’s work focused on the pragmatic and semantic basis of control theory and the conceptually motivated formal features of conditional clauses and the dative construction. In the last ten years he has investigated conceptual metonymy—its functions as an inferential tool (“natural inference schema”) and its impact on language structure. These interests have led to cooperation with scholars in various countries, in particular, with Francisco Ruiz de Mendoza at the University of La Rioja (Spain), Antonio Barcelona at the University of Murcia (Spain), and last, but not least, to a life and research partnership with Linda L. Thornburg, who is a co-author of many of Panther’s publications.

Among Professor Panther’s recent and forthcoming books are: Metonymy in Language and Thought (edited with Günter Radden, 1999), Metonymy and Pragmatic Inferencing (edited with Linda Thornburg, 2003), Studies in Linguistic Motivation (edited with Günter Radden, 2004), Metonymy and Metaphor in Grammar (edited with Linda Thornburg, Antonio Barcelona, and Günter Radden, fc.), and Introduction to Cognitive Pragmatics (edited with Linda Thornburg, in preparation).

"Culturally motivated animal metaphors in an expressive construction"

This talk presents an in-depth analysis of the pattern a N1 of a N2, which exhibits an interesting case of constructional homonymy. On the one hand, there is the more frequent “unmarked” construction exemplified by noun phrases such as a copy of a magazine; on the other hand, one finds the less frequent “marked” construction instantiated by a nailbiter of a campaign (CNN anchor commenting on the Obama-Romney race, October 24, 2012) – termed ‘expressive’ in this presentation. The two homonymous constructions exhibit the same surface syntax, but they differ considerably in conceptual content, pragmatic function, and expressivity. The goal of this presentation is to make the case that the expressive construction is at least partially motivated by cultural factors, pointing to the necessity of integrating cultural models into the description and explanation of lexicogrammar.