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  1. An Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics Laura A. Janda University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. The Human Prism • No one-to-one mapping between real-world input and linguistic output • Per/conception and language conventions interact

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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)

  13. Discrete Solid Object: Nut Apple Chair Pail Truck Fluid substance: Sand Water Air Smoke The Two Types of Matter

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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