Nelly Tincheva, Ph. D., is an Associate Professor in Linguistics at the Department of British and American Studies at Sofia University 'St. Kliment Ohridski'. Her research and publications areprimarily associated with Cognitive Sciences, Text Linguistics and Political Discourse. She has been lecturing in Text Linguistics, Discourse Analysis, Political Discourse, and (Analytical) Grammar.
Language gaffes - such as 'The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing', 'The death of Francis Shaw was a major turning point in his life' and 'The congressman stayed after the town meeting and discussed the high cost of living with several women' - result from a communicative phenomenon everybody has had their fair share of personal pleasure and pain with. No matter if highly educated or barely literate, a native speaker or a foreign language learner, everyone has, at one point or another, produced a language gaffe. Some of those gaffes pass unnoticed, others are shrugged off as unimportant. Still others, however, may stay to haunt one for years - especially if one is a politician, a celebrity, a TV personality, a lecturer...
The question is, why are language gaffes deemed unimportant by linguists and discourse analysts? Do scholars look down on language gaffes because scholars believe them to be little more than 'funny mistakes'? Aren't 'mistakes' very much a product of our conceptual systems, and, thus, extremely revealing as to those systems' 'proper' employment?
The present endeavor is intended as a step towards answering a those questions.