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


Bernárdez, E. (2007).  Synergy in the construction of meaning.  In M. Fabiszak (ed.), Language and Meaning: Cognitive and Functional Perspectives.  Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang.  pp. 15-37.

Danielewiczowa, M. (2002). Wiedza i Niewiedza: Studium Polskich Czasowników Epistemicznych. [Knowledge and Lack of Knowledge: A Study of Polish Epistemic Verbs]. Uniwersytet Warszawski: Katedra Lingwistyki Formalnej.

Dąbrowska, E. (1997). Cognitive Semantics and the Polish Dative.  Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Dirven, R., L. Goossens, Y. Putseys and E. Vorlat (eds.) (1982).  The scene of linguistic action and its perspectivization by speak, talk, say and tell.  Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Fabiszak, Małgorzata (ed.) (2007). Language and Meaning: Cognitive and Functional Perspectives. Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang.

Geeraerts, D. (1993).  Generalized onomasiological salience.  In J. Nuyts and E. Pederson (eds.), Perspectives on Language and Conceptualisation.  Brussels: University of Brussels Press.  pp. 43-56.

Geeraerts, D., S. Grondelaers and P. Bakema (eds.) (1994).  The Structure of Lexical Variation: Meaning, Naming and Context.  Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Glynn, D. (2010).  Synonymy, lexical fields, and grammatical constructions: A study in usage-based Cognitive Semantics.  In H-J. Schmid and S. Handl (eds.), Cognitive Foundations of Linguistics Usage Patterns.  Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.  pp. 89-118.

Glynn, D. and K. Krawczak (submitted).  Social cognition, cognitive grammar and corpora: A multifactorial approach to subjectification.  Language and Cognition.

Greenacre, M. (2007). Correspondence Analysis in Practice. London:  Chapman and Hall.

Gries, S. (2006).  Introduction.  In S. Gries and A. Stefanowitsch (eds.), Corpora in Cognitive Linguistics: Corpus-based Approaches to Syntax and Lexis. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.  pp. 1-17.

Gries, S. (2009).  Statistics for Linguistics with R: A Practical Introduction. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Gries, S. and A. Stefanowitsch (eds.) (2006). Corpora in Cognitive Linguistics. Corpus-based Approaches to Syntax and Lexis. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Lakoff, G. and M. Johnson (1980).  Metaphors We Live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lakoff, G. and M. Johnson (1999). Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought. New York: Basic Books.

Langacker, R.W. (1991). Concept, Image, Symbol.  Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Langacker, R.W. (2008). Cognitive Grammar: A Basic Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Musolff, A. and J. Zinken (2009).  A discourse-centered perspective on metaphorical meaning and understanding. In A. Musolff and J. Zinken (eds.), Metaphor and Discourse.  Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.  pp. 1-8.

Musolff, A. and J. Zinken (eds.) (2009).  Metaphor and Discourse. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Nuyts, J. and E. Pederson (eds.) (1993).  Perspectives on Language and Conceptualisation. Brussels: University of Brussels Press.

Przybylska, R. (2002). Polisemia Przyimków Polskich w Świetle Semantyki Kognitywnej. [Polysemy of Polish Prepositions within the Framework of Cognitive Semantics]. Kraków: Universitas.

Radden, G. and R. Dirven (2007). Cognitive English Grammar. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Schmid, H-J.  and S. Handl (eds.) (2010).  Cognitive Foundations of Linguistics Usage Patterns. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Szwedek, A. (2007).  An alternative theory of metaphorisation.  In M. Fabiszak (ed.), Language and Meaning: Cognitive and Functional Perspectives.  Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang.  pp. 313-327.

Talmy, L. (2000). Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press.

Zlatev, J., T. P. Racine, C. Sinha and E. Itkonen (2008).  Intersubjectivity: What makes us human?. In J. Zlatev, T.P. Racine, C. Sinha and E. Itkonen (eds.), The Shared Mind: Perspectives on Intersubjectivity.  Amsterdam: John Benjamins. pp. 1-13.

Zlatev, J., T.P. Racine, C. Sinha and E. Itkonen (eds.) (2008).  The Shared Mind: Perspectives on Intersubjectivity. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.


Download full text of the article as PDF