Cognitive linguistics essay

Classical theory objectivism 4. Conclusion 6. Bibliography 1. Introduction Language, in general, has always been an intricate matter for research. Linguistic categorisation Cognitive linguistics is, above all, concerned with the phenomenon of categorisation and the ways in which humans categorise the entities in the real world. Ray Jackendoff discusses the essence of categorization for the cognitive linguistics: An essential perhaps the essential aspect of cognition is the ability to categorize: to judge that a particular thing is or is not an instance of a particular category.

Jackendoff states further in his book Consciousness and the Computational Mind what is understood under primary distinction within the frames of categorisation: The primary distinction that must appear in conceptual structure in order to be able to encode categorization is between the individual things tokens being categorized and the categories types to which the tokens do or do not belong. Classical theory objectivism The idea of categorisation of entities in the real world has been in the centre of the interest of many scientists and philosophers since antique times.

He elaborates on the limitation of the traditional view by stating the following: [ Sign in to write a comment. Read the ebook.

Advanced issues in cognitive science and linguistics (5cr)

Worth a Profes Current A Germanistik - Linguistik George Lakoffs kognitive Theorie Psychologie - Medienpsychologie Cognitive Load Theory und der split-a Anglistik - Linguistik Problems of prototype theory. The existence of passives in a given language, for instance, is then explained as a topicalization mechanism: grammars contain passives because topicalizing direct objects is a useful function in discourse. In the realm of Cognitive Linguistics, this tendency takes the form of an insistence on the idea that Cognitive Linguistics is a usage-based model of language as it is aptly called by Barlow and Kemmer Importantly, the model is also applied to language acquisition.

Specifically in the work done by Tomasello and his group see this volume, chapter 41 , an alternative is presented for the Chomskyan genetic argument. These researchers develop a model of language acquisition in which each successive stage is co determined by the actual knowledge and use of the child at a given stage, that is, language acquisition is described as a series of step-by-step usage-based extensions of the child's grammar. The grammar so to speak emerges from the child's interactive performance.

Finally, language use is becoming an increasingly important factor in grammatical change, witness Traugott's studies on the role of speaker-hearer interaction in grammaticalization; Croft's usage-based theory of language change and grammatical change, in particular ; and Bybee's and Krug's work on such usage-based factors as entrenchment and frequency in grammatical change.

To conclude, if we can agree that contemporary linguistics embodies a tendency a cluster of tendencies, to be more precise toward the recontextualization of linguistic enquiry, we may also agree that Cognitive Linguistics embodies this trend to an extent that probably no other theoretical movement does. It embodies the resemanticization of grammar by focusing on the interplay between language and conceptualization. It embodies the recovery of the lexicon as a relevant structural level by developing network models of grammatical structure, like Construction Grammar.

And it embodies the discursive turn of contemporary linguistics by insisting explicitly on the usage-based nature of linguistics. Other approaches may develop each of these tendencies separately in more detail than Cognitive Linguistics does, but it is the latter movement that combines them most explicitly and so epitomizes the characteristic underlying drift and drive of present-day linguistics. We would like to suggest, in short, that it is this feature that constitutes one of the fundamental reasons behind the success of Cognitive Linguistics.

The recognition that Cognitive Linguistics is not a closed or finished doctrine implies, obviously, that there is room for further developments. The contributions brought together in this Handbook not only give an idea of the achievements of Cognitive Linguistics, but they also point to a number of underlying issues that are likely to shape the further elaboration of Cognitive Linguistics. Three issues that we would like to highlight are the following.

Readers will have noticed that a fourth type of context mentioned in our description of the decontextualizing tendencies of twentieth-century linguistics was absent from our overview of recontextualizing tendencies that apply to Cognitive Linguistics. This emphasis on the social aspects of language , however, will have to be turned into a an actual research program exploring social cognition and sociovariational p. If Cognitive Linguistics develops an interest in language as a social phenomenon, it should pay more attention to language-internal variation.

Volume 11 Issue 10 (2016)

Socio-linguistic research, however, is probably the least developed of all linguistic domains within Cognitive Linguistics. Recently, though, we witness some developments toward cognitive sociolinguistics. For one thing, variational phenomena are being studied empirically in work such as Kristiansen on phonetic variation, Berthele on differences in syntactic construal between dialects, and Grondelaers on grammatical phenomena whose distribution is determined by a combination of internal structural or semantic and external contextual or sociolinguistic factors.

More examples may be found in Kristiansen and Dirven Usage-based and meaning-based models of grammar in fact introduce more variation into the grammar than a rule-based approach tends to do: the language-internal or discourse-related factors that influence the use of a particular construction may be manifold, and the presence or absence of a construction is not an all-or-none matter.

Disentangling those different factors, then, becomes one methodological endeavor: in the actual practice of a usage-based enquiry, grammatical analysis and variationist analysis will go hand in hand. In work such as Lakoff , this approach takes on a critical aspect that brings it close to the tradition of ideological analysis known as Critical Discourse Analysis. Some researchers are applying the theory of conceptual metaphors and cultural models to questions of social identity and the role language plays in them: see the collective volumes edited by Dirven, Frank, and Ilie , Dirven, Frank, and Putz , and Dirven, Hawkins, and Sandikcioglu It has recently been pointed out Berthele ; Geeraerts that such metaphorical models may also characterize the beliefs that language users entertain regarding language and language varieties.

In this way, Cognitive Linguistics may link up with existing sociolinguistic research about language attitudes. These developments show that the interest in sociovariational analysis in Cognitive Linguistics is on the rise, but at the same time, it has to be recognized that the final contextual gap that we discussed in the previous section still has to be filled properly. If we understand empirical methods to refer to forms of research like corpus linguistics, experimentation, and neurological modeling that do not rely on introspection and intuition but that try to ground linguistic analysis on the firm basis of objective observation, then we can certainly witness a growing appeal of such empirical methods within Cognitive Linguistics: see the argumentation of Gibbs and Geeraerts b in favor of empirical methods, and compare the practical introduction provided by Gonzalez-Marquez, Mittelberg, Coulson, and Spivey The theoretical background of this development is provided by the growing tendency of Cognitive Linguistics to stress its essential nature as a usage-based linguistics—a form of linguistic analysis, that is, that takes into account not just grammatical structure, but that sees this structure as arising from and interacting with actual language use.

The central notions of usage-based linguistics have been programmatically outlined in different publications Langacker ; Kemmer and Barlow ; Tomasello , ; Bybee and Hopper b ; Croft and Cruse , and a number of recent volumes show how the program can be put into practice Barlow and Kemmer ; Bybee and Hopper a ; Verhagen and van de Weijer The link between the self-awareness of Cognitive Linguistics as a usage-based form of linguistic investigation and the deployment of empirical methods is straightforward: you cannot have a usage-based linguistics unless you study actual usage—as it appears in corpora in the form of spontaneous, nonelicited language data or as it appears in an online and elicited form in experimental settings.

Also, if Cognitive Linguistics belongs to cognitive science, it would be natural to expect the use of techniques that have proved their value in the cognitive sciences at large. Experimental psychology, for instance, has a long tradition of empirical studies of cognition. So, one might count on the use of the same methods in Cognitive Linguistics. And obviously, the growing interest in the link between Cognitive Linguistics and neuroscience headed by the Neural Theory of Language Group of George Lakoff and Jerome Feldman goes in the same direction.

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The recent rise of interest in empirical methods does not imply, to be sure, that empirical approaches were absent in the earlier stages of Cognitive Linguistics. The methodology of European studies in Cognitive Linguistics in particular has tended to be more corpus-based than the early American studies, which were predominantly introspective.

The use of corpus materials which seems to have come to the attention of the broader community of Cognitive Linguistics only since Kemmer and Barlow was already part of early European studies like Dirven and Taylor , Rudzka-Ostyn , Schulze , Goossens , and Geeraerts, Grondelaers, and Bakema Early experimental studies, on the other hand, are represented by the work of Gibbs , and many more and Sandra and Rice In this respect, what is changing is not so much the presence of empirical research as such, but rather the extent to which the belief in such a methodology is shared by cognitive linguists at large.

However, the empirical aspects of usage-based linguistics still often remain programmatic: in many cases, a lot more methodological sophistication will have to be brought in than is currently available.


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In the realm of corpus research, for instance, the type of quantitatively well-founded investigations that may be found in the work of Gries , Stefanowitsch , Gries and Stefanowitsch , and Stefanowitsch and Gries and in that of Grondelaers, Speelman, and Geeraerts , and Speelman, Grondelaers, and Geeraerts is still rather exceptional. For an overview of the methodological state of affairs in usage-based linguistics, see Tummers, Heylen, and Geeraerts While the reasons for this relative lack of enthusiasm may to some extent be practical training in experimental techniques or corpus research is not a standard part of curricula in linguistics , one cannot exclude the possibility of a more principled rejection.

Cognitive Linguistics considers itself to be a nonobjectivist theory of language, whereas the use of corpus materials involves an attempt to maximalize the objective basis of linguistic descriptions. Is an objectivist methodology compatible with a nonobjectivist theory? Isn't any attempt to reduce the role of introspection and intuition in linguistic research contrary to the spirit of Cognitive Linguistics, which stresses the semantic aspects of the language—and the meaning of linguistic expressions is the least tangible of linguistic phenomena. Because meanings do not present themselves directly in the corpus data, will introspection not always be used in any cognitive analysis of language?

There seems to exist a tension, in other words, between a broad methodological tendency in Cognitive Linguistics that considers introspection the most or perhaps the only appropriate method for studying meaning and a marginal but increasing tendency to apply empirical methods that are customary in the other cognitive sciences. Resolving that tension is likely to be on the agenda of Cognitive Linguistics in the near future. As we mentioned and illustrated several times in the course of this introductory chapter, Cognitive Linguistics is far from being a unified and stabilized body of knowledge.

We have tried, in the course of compiling and editing this Handbook , not to make the enterprise of Cognitive Linguistics look more unified than it actually is.

Does Cognitive Linguistics live up to its name?

Nevertheless, theoretical unification may be expected high on the future research agenda of Cognitive Linguistics. In this respect, we hope that the survey of Cognitive Linguistics that is offered in the present volume will not only introduce novices to the full richness and dynamism of research in Cognitive Linguistics, but that it may also help the cognitive linguistic community at large to define the directions for the future more clearly.

Barlow, Michael, and Suzanne Kemmer, eds. Usage-based models of language. Find this resource:. Berthele, Raphael. A tool, a bond or a territory: Language ideologies in the US and in Switzerland. LAUD Paper, no. The typology of motion and posture verbs: A variationist account.

In Bernd Kortmann, ed. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Edited by Dirk Geeraerts and Hubert Cuyckens

Bybee, Joan L. Phonology and language use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Frequency and the emergence of linguistic structure. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. In Joan L. Bybee and Paul Hopper, eds. Chomsky, Noam. Aspects of the theory of syntax. Croft, William. Explaining language change: An evolutionary approach. London: Longman. Radical construction grammar: Syntactic theory in typological perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Croft, William, and D. Alan Cruse. Cognitive linguistics. De Mey, Marc. The cognitive paradigm: An integrated understanding of scientific development.