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An Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics. Laura A. Janda University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Structure of talk:. Introduce basic concepts of Cognitive Linguistics: category structure and metaphor Provide demonstration of role of metaphor in grammar

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An Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics


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an introduction to cognitive linguistics

An Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics

Laura A. Janda

University of North Carolina

at Chapel Hill

structure of talk
Structure of talk:
  • Introduce basic concepts of Cognitive Linguistics: category structure and metaphor
  • Provide demonstration of role of metaphor in grammar
  • Talk 2 on transitivity will provide demonstration of category structure
basic concepts
Basic concepts
  • Linguistic cognition has no special status, is not autonomous in the brain
  • The goal of linguistics is to discover structure and its motivation
  • All linguistic phenomena are meaningful
  • Meaning is grounded in embodied human experience
the human prism
The Human Prism
  • No one-to-one mapping between real-world input and linguistic output
  • Per/conception and language conventions interact
the structure of a radial category
The structure of a radial category
  • Linguistic categories = cognitive categories
  • Relationships to a prototype; no boundary
  • Some members central, others peripheral
  • Some members share no features

genetic mother

birth mother

mother

adoptive mother

surrogate mother

basic level
Basic level
  • Concepts are gestalts
  • The basic level for cognitive categories is not the level of “features” – it is a middle level
    • Superordinate level: furniture
    • Basic level: chair
    • Subordinate level: wheelchair
metaphor mapping from a source domain to a target domain
Metaphor: mapping from a source domain to a target domain
  • Space is source domain for in, out
    • Target domain time:
      • get it done in time, running out of time
    • Target domain emotions:
      • fall in love, fall out of love
    • Target domain states:
      • getting in trouble, getting out of trouble
metaphorical basis of grammar
Metaphorical basis of grammar
  • Physical interactions in space as source domain for semantics of case and transitivity
    • Nominative = energy source
    • Accusative = energy sink
    • Dative = recipient
    • Instrumental = conduit
matter and russian aspect
Matter and Russian Aspect
  • Matter provides the source domain for the metaphor that motivates aspect in Russian
  • PERFECTIVE IS A DISCRETE SOLID OBJECT vs. IMPERFECTIVE IS A FLUID SUBSTANCE
  • Correlation between aspectual distinctions and count/mass, number distinctions
slavic aspect
Slavic Aspect:
  • Contrasts perfective vs. imperfective (no progressive and no neutral aspect)
  • Is independent of tense and other verbal categories
  • Implements imperfective (as unmarked) where other languages would have perfective
  • Has a complex and seemingly incoherent array of uses
traditional feature analyses
Traditional Feature Analyses
  • Boundedness, Totality, Definiteness, Change vs. Stability, Sequencing vs. Simultaneity, Exterior vs. Interior, Figure vs. Ground, Punctuality vs. Durativity. Resultative
  • Lack intricacy needed to account for uses
  • Are ultimately new synonyms for perfective vs. imperfective
the icm of matter
The ICM of Matter
  • Conflates notions of count vs. mass, solid vs. fluid, hard vs. soft, shaped vs. formless, etc.
  • Both more narrow and more richly textured than count vs. mass (basic level)
  • Russian has heavy morphological investment in nominal distinctions relating to this ICM (individuation)
the two types of matter
Discrete Solid Object:

Nut

Apple

Chair

Pail

Truck

Fluid substance:

Sand

Water

Air

Smoke

The Two Types of Matter
temporal metaphors from general to specific
Temporal Metaphors from General to Specific:
  • TIME IS SPACE (well-documented, cf. Haspelmath 1997)
  • A SITUATION IS A MATERIAL ENTITY (cf. comparisons of perfective vs. imperfective to count vs. mass)
  • PERFECTIVE IS A DISCRETE SOLID OBJECT vs. IMPERFECTIVE IS A FLUID SUBSTANCE
russian investments in individuation
Russian Investments in Individuation
  • Number is overt, obligatory, intricate, and marked on all inflected words as sg or pl (no default general number)
  • Russian categorizes as masses items that other languages categorize as individuals (fruits, ethnonyms)
  • Collective and singulative suffixes
  • Genitive/Locative singular –у for mass nouns
russian nominal and verbal morphology
Russian Nominal and Verbal Morphology
  • Perfective vs. Imperfective is obligatory and ubiquitous like sg vs. pl
  • Semelfactive -ну- parallels singulative -ин(к)-а
  • Imperfectivizing suffixes parallel collective suffixes
  • Delimitatives in по- parallel quantification of masses
the human observer
The Human Observer
  • NOW is a point in the timeline, but it is occupied by a human observer
  • The Human Observer is not a point, and interacts with situations the way that a discrete solid interacts with material entities
  • This is important for distinguishing future time from present time, and for gnomic vs. non-gnomic
properties of matter and parameters of aspect
Properties of Matter and Parameters of Aspect
  • Inherent Properties -- correspond to inherent structure of situations and act as default values
  • Interactional Properties -- correspond to discourse structure, and can override Inherent Properties
  • Human Interactional Properties -- correspond to pragmatic structure, and can override Inherent Properties
analysis of russian aspect
Analysis of Russian Aspect
  • See the Table and the examples in your handout.
  • The letters on the Table correspond to the lettered headings of the examples.
beyond slavic
Beyond Slavic
  • French: more perfective than imperfective; motivated by closed vs. open or filling; attenuated number
  • Chinese: perfective, imperfective and neutral aspect, motivated from various sources; reduced number and no formal count vs. mass distinction
  • Navajo: Similar to Chinese, and with no number distinction