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An Introduction To Cognitive Linguistics

Learning About Language is an exciting and ambitious series of introductions to fundamental topics in language, linguistics and related areas. The books are designed for students of linguistics and those who are studying language as part of a wider course.

An introduction to cognitive linguistics

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Cognitive Linguistics explores the idea that language reflects our experience of the world. It shows that our ability to use language is closely related to other cognitive abilities such as categorization, perception, memory and attention allocation. Concepts and mental images expressed and evoked by linguistic means are linked by conceptual metaphors and metonymies and merged into more comprehensive cognitive and cultural models, frames or scenarios. It is only against this background that human communication makes sense. After 25 years of intensive research, cognitive-linguistic thinking now holds a firm place both in the wider linguistic and the cognitive-science communities.An Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics carefully explains the central concepts of categorizaÂtion, of prototype and gestalt perception, of basic level and conceptual hierarchies, of figure and ground, and of metaphor and metonymy, for which an innovative description is provided. It also brings together issues such as iconicity, lexical change, grammaticalization and language teaching that have profited considerably from being put on a cognitive basis.The second edition of this popular introduction provides a comprehensive and accessible up-to-date overview of Cognitive Linguistics:

LING 360 - Introduction to Cognitive LinguisticsUnits: 3Introduces students to the range of studies within the field of cognitive linguistics. Discusses what we can learn from language use and structure about how the mind stores information, processes data, and builds and extends categories. Data from the meaning systems of different languages will be used to introduce students to different ways of perceiving and expressing thoughts about how the world works. Enrollment restricted to students with Junior or Senior standing. Satisfies GE area: DD

The next chapter discusses radiality and the prototype-based model and their relevance to cognitive linguistics both in the association of semantic networks with words and morphemes and with syntactic constructions.

The next chapter sustains the view that cognitive linguistics can function as a consistent theory in discourse analysis, and L supports the idea with a thorough analysis of family arguments from a television series and from literature. Moreover, the potential of cognitive linguistic applications for discourse analysis is explored through the relationship between the notion of construal and that of constructivism as generally defined in conversation analysis.

This fascinating journey into the world of cognitive linguistics ends with some considerations on creativity in language and the nature of meaning. Through the variety of topics discussed and their carefully organized presentation, this book represents a unique introduction to a new theory that challenges many traditional approaches. L endeavors to make it accessible to readers with no prior knowledge of the field as he strongly believes that the cognitive model is worthy of being disseminated to scholars in other disciplines as well.

This book comprehensively introduces Cognitive Linguistics and applies its tools to religious language. Drawing on authentic samples from a range of faiths, text types, and modes of interactive discourse, the authors accessibly define concepts like embodied cognition, agency, metaphor analysis, and Dynamic Systems Theory; illustrate how they can be used in analyzing religious language; and offer thorough pedagogical material to aid learning and application. Advanced students and scholars of linguistics, discourse analysis, cognitive science, and religious and biblical studies will benefit from this practical guide to understanding and conducting research on religious discourse.

A few weeks ago I asked for suggestions for introductory reading on cognitive linguistics for undergraduates. The following is a copy of the annotated bibliography that I've been able to build up, largely with help from the following:

I was impressed by the quality of what I found, and I'm sure there must be lots more material out there that I haven't found. I haven't tried to rank them, nor have I tried to exclude overlap. Obviously there's a lot of overlap of ideas, but each item presents a distinct view and uses different examples. Unfortunately some items are a bit hard to get hold of (in some cases I only have prepublished versions). This looks like a nice little publishing niche waiting to be occupied - an anthology of accessible introductions to cognitive linguistics.

Geeraerts, Dirk. 1995. Cognitive linguistics. In Jeff Verschueren, Jan-Ola Ístman and Jan Blommaert (eds.) Handbook of Pragmatics: A Manual. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 111-6. A broad review that focuses on ‘language as an instrument for organizing, processing and conveying information' - not quite how I see CL, but a widely held view. Useful comparisons with cognitive science and generative grammar, and a survey of work in CL which goes well beyond CG. Not suitable as an introduction for undergraduates because there are no specific examples, and the language is formidably academic.

Langacker, Ronald. 1990. Concept, Image and Symbol. The cognitive basis of grammar. (chapter 1: Introduction). New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 1-32. A clear introduction to Cognitive Grammar, with plenty of concrete examples and illustrative structures. It introduces a lot of general tenets of CL, but perhaps too many of the specifics of CG for use as a general intro to CL.

Langacker, Ronald. 1998. Conceptualization, symbolization and grammar. In Tomasello (1998b: 1-39) Very clear introduction to CG, but in the broader context of CL. Shows how CG can dispense with autonomous syntax in a number of tricky cases, including subjects and expletives, but acknowledges (23) that some grammatical classes can't be defined in terms of meaning, but doesn't say exactly how they will be expressed as symbolic units. Especially good on the importance of construal, but still not convincing in his ‘semantic' definitions of nouns and verbs. Stresses several times that CG makes standard psychological assumptions eg. (36) re figure-ground alignment, prototype categorization, grouping, focus of attention. Lots about networks.

Radden, Günter. 1992. The cognitive approach to natural language. In Pütz, Martin (ed.) Thirty Years of Linguistic Evolution. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 513-41. Very clear and accessible, with separate sections on iconicity in lg, categorization, metaphor, cultural models and grammar as a conceptual organizing system. Lots of very good and easy examples.

Taylor, John. 1998. Syntactic constructions as prototype categories. In Tomasello (1998b:177-202). Grammatical categories show prototype effects, just like non-linguistic cognitive categories, as predicted if language is part of general cognition. Illustrated for Adjective and various constructions. Clear and simple, though a bit naive in place (e.g. he thinks apple is a noun in apple pie, but doesn't know how to prove it).

Levinson, Stephen. 1998ms. Language as nature and language as art. Paper prepared for the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, ‘Changing Concepts of Nature at the Turn of the Millennium' [prepublished version]. Brilliant and beautiful (colour illustrations!) review of nature vs nurture, proposing a third possibility: coevolution. 1900-50: pro nurture; 1950-now: pro nature = UG + Language of Thought. Language is a hybrid biological/cultural phenomenon, and the human language ability has the built-in expectation of variation. Con Language of Thought and Simple Nativism in colour, kinship and space. "Linguistic categories evolve to solve local adaptive problems, and they strongly influence the conceptual categories in which people think." Genetic/cultural coevolution is familiar from Dawkins, ... Deacon. "All this hardware [for speaking] is there because the cultural traditions of languages are there; and the cultural traditions are there because the hardware enables them." "That is the whole point of the co-evolutionary perspective: culture creates and maintains just the environment that will exploit the possibilities in the genome, which in turn enable the culture." Culture affects the genome "through such mechanisms as sexual selection, the Baldwin effect and (most controversially) group selection." Eg. Infants (but not monkeys) tune in to specific languages within first six months: why? Because cultural evolution is faster than genetic, there will be cultural diversity and the genome is built to expect this. ".. we know that sharing accents is a crucial marker of group membership, which deeply effects the life chances of individuals." Re colour: He found that Yeli Dnye (Rossel Island, Papua New Guinea) has no basic colour terms, and (?because) it has no colour technology at all; so systematic colour terms are not a linguistic universal (accepted now by Paul Kay). Re Kinship: Dravidian kinship "organises individual viewpoints into a coherent whole. No individual designed this system; and because it organizes a totality of distinct individual perspective, it cannot be a projection of any individual's ‘innate ideas'. Rather it is the product of cultural evolution, .." Re space: spatial concepts ought to be universal if any are, and many have proposed cognitive universals (Piaget, Clark, Lyons, Miller and Johnson-Laird, Talmy, Pinker). Not so, e.g. Guugu Yimithirr. 11 GY speakers did better than 15 homing pigeons when put 70 KM from home! Children learn the absolute system by 4! Why worry re innateness of language? Because (a) the nature/nurture controversy is ideological and trivial, and (b) "one simply wishes to understand where language fits in with the rest of natural history. It is the big picture that suffers most under the current rule of Simple Nativism or its strawman radical alternative, extreme cultural relativism." 041b061a72


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