Cognitive linguistics

 Fields and subfields within
linguistics.

Cognitive linguistics
Cognitive linguistics is a branch of linguistics and cognitive science, which aims to provide accounts of language that mesh well with current understandings of the human mind. The guiding principle behind this area of linguistics is that language use must be explained with reference to the underlying mental processes.

Important cognitive linguists include George Lakoff, Eve Sweetser, Leonard Talmy, Ronald Langacker, Mark Johnson, Mark Turner, Gilles Fauconnier, Charles Fillmore, Adele Goldberg (linguist), and Chris Johnson.

There are a number of hypotheses within cognitive linguistics that differ radically from those made in Generative linguistics. Some people in psychology and psycholinguistics who are testing these hypotheses are Michael Tomasello, Raymond Gibbs, Lera Boroditsky, Michael Ramscar, Michael Spivey, Seana Coulson, Teenie Matlock and Benjamin Bergen. David McNeill also arguably falls into this category.

There are also people in computer science who have worked on computational modelling of the frameworks of cognitive linguistics. These include Jerome Feldman, Terry Regier and Srinivas Narayanan.

Aspects of cognition that are of interest to cognitive linguists include:

Some important areas of cognitive linguistics are:
  • All standard areas of linguistics
  • conceptual metaphor theory, heavily influenced by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson
  • conceptual blending theory, heavily influenced by Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner.
  • Frame semantics, heavily influenced by Charles Fillmore.
  • Some versions of Construction Grammar, notably the one put forth by Adele Goldberg (linguist).

These areas are all intended to mesh together into a coherent whole. This has not yet happened, since people working within a particular framework do not necessarily keep track of advances and revisions made in other frameworks. However, there are people working towards a unified framework for the field. A further complication arises because the terminology of cognitive linguistics is not entirely stable, both because it is a relatively new field and because it interfaces with a number of other disciplines.

A helpful reference in sorting out conceptual metaphor and conceptual blending is the 1999 paper by Grady, Oakley, and Coulson listed in "further reading".

Further reading




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