Dichotomy between private and public experience: The case of Polish wierzyć ‘believe‘

The aim of the present paper is to analyse the semantico-syntatic structure of two Polish verbs, namely the imperfective wierzyć ‘to believe’ and the perfective uwierzyć ‘to believe’ with a view to establishing how individual mental experience (Individual Cognition) and the mental experience shared by the society (Social Cognition) are expressed linguistically. To that end, the trial version of the PWN Corpus of the Polish Language (7.5 million words) has been analysed. 403 instances of wierzyć and 558 instances of uwierzyć have been annotated manually for such features as aspect, person, number and the form and semantics of the Object. The results were then tested statistically by means of R, free software for statistical computing and graphics. The analysis showed that Individual Cognition correlates with Singular Subjects, while  Social Cognition is typically represented by nominal complements and is expressed by the verb in the Imperfective Aspect.

Keywords: Cognitive Corpus Semantics, the verb believe in Polish, Individual Cognition, Social Cognition, usage-based approach, Multiple Correspondence Analysis, Logistic Regression

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