[Dgkl] CfP: Construal and language dynamics (Theme session proposal for ICLC-15)

Stefan Hartmann stefan1.hartmann at uni-bamberg.de
Tue Aug 7 07:44:23 EDT 2018

Dear colleagues,

Please find below (and attached) a CfP for a theme session proposal that 
Michael Pleyer and I are going to submit for the 15th International 
Cognitive Linguistics Conference (Nishinomiya, Japan, August 6–11, 2019).

Best wishes,




*Construal and language dynamics:*


Interdisciplinary and cross-linguistic perspectives on linguistic 

- Theme session proposal for the 15th International Cognitive 
Linguistics Conference,

Nishinomiya, Japan, August 6–11, 2019 -


Stefan Hartmann, University of Bamberg

Michael Pleyer, University of Koblenz-Landau

The concept of construal has become a key notion in many theories within 
the broader framework of Cognitive Linguistics. It lies at the heart of 
Langacker’s (1987, 1991, 2008) Cognitive Grammar, but it also plays a 
key role in Croft’s (2012) account of verbal argument structure as well 
as in the emerging framework of experimental semantics (Bergen 2012; 
Matlock & Winter 2015). Indirectly it also figures in Talmy’s (2000) 
theory of cognitive semantics, especially in his “imaging systems” 
approach (see e.g. Verhagen 2007).

According to Langacker (2015: 120), “[c]onstrual is our ability to 
conceive and portray the same situation in alternate ways.” From the 
perspective of Cognitive Grammar, an expression’s meaning consists of 
conceptual content – which can, in principle, be captured in 
truth-conditional terms – and its construal, which encompasses aspects 
such as perspective, specificity, prominence, and dynamicity. Croft & 
Cruse (2004) summarize the construal operations proposed in previous 
research, arriving at more than 20 linguistic construal operations that 
are seen as instances of general cognitive processes.

Given the “quantitative turn” in Cognitive Linguistics (e.g. Janda 
2013), the question arises how the theoretical concepts proposed in the 
foundational works of the framework can be empirically tested and how 
they can be refined on the basis of empirical findings. Much work in the 
domains of experimental linguistics and corpus linguistics has 
established a research cycle whereby hypotheses are generated on the 
basis of theoretical concepts from Cognitive Linguistics, such as 
construal operations, and then tested using behavioral and/or 
corpus-linguistic methods (see e.g. Hilpert 2008; Matlock 2010; 
Schönefeld 2011; Matlock et al. 2012; Krawczak & Glynn forthc., among 
many others).

Arguably one of the most important testing grounds for theories of 
linguistic construal is the domain of language dynamics. Recent years 
have seen increasing convergence between Cognitive-Linguistic theories 
on the one hand and theories conceiving of language as a complex 
adaptive system on the other (Beckner et al. 2009; Frank & Gontier 2010; 
Fusaroli & Tylén 2012; Pleyer 2017). In this framework, language can be 
understood as a dynamic system unfolding on the timescales of individual 
learning, socio-cultural transmission, and biological evolution (Kirby 
2012, Enfield 2014). Linguistic construal operations can be seen as 
important factors shaping the structure of language both on a historical 
timescale and in ontogenetic development (e.g. Pleyer & Winters 2014).

Empirical studies of language acquisition, language change, and language 
variation can therefore help us understand the nature of linguistic 
construal operations and can also contribute to refining theories of 
linguistic construal. Interdisciplinary and cross-linguistic 
perspectives can prove particularly insightful in this regard. Findings 
from cognitive science and developmental psychology can contribute 
substantially to our understanding of the cognitive principles behind 
language dynamics. Cross-linguistic comparison can, on the one hand, 
lead to the discovery of striking similarities across languages that 
might point to shared underlying cognitive principles (e.g. common 
pathways of grammaticalization, see e.g. Bybee et al. 1994, or 
similarities in the domain of metaphorical construal, see Taylor 2003: 
140), but it can also safeguard against premature generalizations from 
findings obtained in one single language to human cognition at large 
(see e.g. Goschler 2017).

For our proposed workshop, we invite contributions that explicitly 
connect theoretical approaches to linguistic construal operations with 
empirical evidence from e.g. corpus linguistics, experimental studies, 
or typological research. In line with the cross-linguistic outlook of 
the main conference, we are particularly interested in papers that 
compare linguistic construals across different languages. Also, we would 
like to include interdisciplinary perspectives from the behavioural and 
cognitive sciences.

The topics that can be addressed in the workshop include, but are not 
limited to,


    the role of construal operations such as perspectivation and
    specificity in language production and processing;


    the acquisition and diachronic change of linguistic categories;


    the question of whether individual construal operations that have
    been proposed in the literature are cognitively realistic (see e.g.
    Broccias & Hollmann 2007) and whether they can be tested empirically;


    the refinement of construal-related concepts such as “salience” or
    “prominence” based on empirical findings (see e.g. Schmid & Günther


    the relationship between linguistic construal operations and
    domain-general cognitive processes;


    the relationship between empirical observations and the conclusions
    we draw from them about the organization of the human mind,
    including the viability of concepts such as the
    “corpus-to-cognition” principle (see e.g. Arppe et al. 2010) or the
    mapping of behavioral findings to cognitive processes.

Please send a short abstract (max. 1 page excl. references) and a 
~100-word summary to construal.iclc15 at gmail.comby August 31st, 2018. We 
will inform all potential contributors in early September whether your 
paper can be included in our workshop proposal. If we are unable to 
accommodate your submission, you can of course submit it to the general 
session of the conference. The same applies if our theme session 
proposal as a whole is rejected.


Arppe, Antti, Gaëtanelle Gilquin, Dylan Glynn, Martin Hilpert & Arne 
Zeschel. 2010. Cognitive Corpus Linguistics: Five Points of Debate on 
Current Theory and Methodology. Corpora5(1). 1–27.

Beckner, Clay, Richard Blythe, Joan Bybee, Morten H. Christiansen, 
William Croft, Nick C. Ellis, John Holland, Jinyun Ke, Diane 
Larsen-Freeman & Tom Schoenemann. 2009. Language is a Complex Adaptive 
System: Position Paper. Language Learning59 Suppl. 1. 1–26.

Bergen, Benjamin K. 2012.Louder than Words: The New Science of How the 
Mind Makes Meaning.New York: Basic Books.

Broccias, Cristiano & Willem B. Hollmann. 2007. Do we need Summary and 
Sequential Scanning in (Cognitive) Grammar? Cognitive Linguistics18. 

Bybee, Joan L., Revere Perkins & William Pagliuca. 1994. The Evolution 
of Grammar: Tense, Aspect, and Modality in the Languages of the World. 
Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Croft, William & Alan Cruse. 2004. Cognitive Linguistics.Cambridge: 
Cambridge University Press.

Enfield, N.J. 2014. Natural causes of language: frames, biases, and 
cultural transmission. (Conceptual Foundations of Language Science 1). 
Berlin: Language Science Press.

Frank, Roslyn M. & Nathalie Gontier. 2010. On Constructing a Research 
Model for Historical Cognitive Linguistics (HCL): Some Theoretical 
Considerations. In Margaret E. Winters, Heli Tissari & Kathryn Allan 
(eds.), Historical Cognitive Linguistics, 31–69. (Cognitive Linguistics 
Research 47). Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.

Fusaroli, Riccardo & Kristian Tylén. 2012. Carving language for social 
coordination: A dynamical approach. Interaction Studies 13(1). 103–124.

Goschler, Juliana. 2017. A contrastive view on the cognitive motivation 
of linguistic patterns: Concord in English and German. In Stefan 
Hartmann (ed.),Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association 
2017, 119–128.

Hilpert, Martin. 2008. New evidence against the modularity of grammar: 
Constructions, collocations, and speech perception. Cognitive 
Linguistics19(3). 491–511.

Janda, Laura (ed.). 2013. Cognitive Linguistics: The Quantitative 
Turn.Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.

Kirby, Simon. 2012. Language is an Adaptive System: The Role of Cultural 
Evolution in the Origins of Structure. In Maggie Tallerman & Kathleen R. 
Gibson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Language Evolution, 589–604. 
Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Krawczak, Karolina & Dylan Glynn. forthc. Operationalising construal. Of 
/ about prepositional profiling for cognition and communication 
predicates. In C. M. Bretones Callejas & Chris Sinha (eds.), Construals 
in language and thought. What shapes what?Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John 

Langacker, Ronald W. 1987. Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. Vol. 1: 
Theoretical Prerequisites.Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Langacker, Ronald W. 1991.Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. Vol. 2: 
Descriptive Application. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Langacker, Ronald W. 2008. Cognitive Grammar: A Basic 
Introduction.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Langacker, Ronald W. 2015. Construal. In Ewa Dąbrowska & Dagmar Divjak 
(eds.), Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics,120–142. Berlin, New York: De 

Matlock, Teenie. 2010. Abstract Motion is No Longer Abstract. Language 
and Cognition2(2). 243–260.

Matlock, Teenie, David Sparks, Justin L. Matthews, Jeremy Hunter & 
Stephanie Huette. 2012. Smashing New Results on Aspectual Framing: How 
People Talk about Car Accidents. Studies in Language 36(3). 700–721.

Matlock, Teenie & Bodo Winter. 2015. Experimental Semantics. In Bernd 
Heine & Heiko Narrog (eds.),The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis, 
771–790. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pleyer, Michael & James Winters. 2014. Integrating Cognitive Linguistics 
and Language Evolution Research. Theoria et Historia Scientiarum 11. 19–43.

Schmid, Hans-Jörg & Franziska Günther. 2016. Toward a Unified 
Socio-Cognitive Framework for Salience in Language. Frontiers in 
Psychology7. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01110 
<https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01110>(31 March, 2018).

Schönefeld, Doris (ed.). 2011.Converging evidence: methodological and 
theoretical issues for linguistic research.(Human Cognitive Processing 
33). Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Talmy, Leonard. 2000. Toward a Cognitive Semantics.Cambridge: MIT Press.

Taylor, John R. 2003. Linguistic Categorization. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford 
University Press.

Verhagen, Arie. 2007. Construal and Perspectivization. In Dirk Geeraerts 
& Hubert Cuyckens (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics, 
48–81. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Dr. Stefan Hartmann
Universität Bamberg
Lehrstuhl für deutsche Sprachwissenschaft
Hornthalstraße 2
96047 Bamberg
Raum 00.01
Tel. 0951 / 863-2238
stefan1.hartmann at uni-bamberg.de

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