Fwd: CSN Cognitive Linguistics: Cognition, Language, Gesture Vol. 1 No. 18, 11/11/2009

Mark Turner mark.turner at case.edu
Wed Nov 11 17:31:26 UTC 2009

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Vol. 1, No. 18: Nov 11, 2009
Institute Professor, Case Western Reserve University - Department of Cognitive Science
mark.turner at case.edu

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Table of Contents

Evolutionary Linguistics

William Croft, University of New Mexico

Peirce's Law of Triviality: The Implementation of the Trivium of Logic, Rhetoric, and Grammar; Basic Categories for Linguistics and Literature Studies from a Universal Semiotic Theory

Fee-Alexandra Haase, affiliation not provided to SSRN

Linguistics and Claim Construction

Kristen Jakobsen Osenga, University of Richmond - School of Law

Adam Smith's Rational Choice Linguistics

David M. Levy, George Mason University


"Evolutionary Linguistics" 

Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 37, October 2008

WILLIAM CROFT, University of New Mexico
Email: wcroft at unm.edu

Both qualitative concepts and quantitative methods from evolutionary biology have been applied to linguistics. Many linguists have noted the similarity between biological evolution and language change, but usually have only employed selective analogies or metaphors. The development of generalized theories of evolutionary change (Dawkins and Hull) has spawned models of language change based on such generalized theories. These models have led to the positing of new mechanisms of language change and new types of selection that may not have biological parallels. Quantitative methods have been applied to questions of language phylogeny in the past decade. The focus has been on widely accepted families with cognates already established by the comparative method (Indo-European, Bantu, Austronesian). Increasingly sophisticated phylogeny reconstruction models have been applied to these families, to resolve questions of subgrouping, contact and migration. Little progress has been made so far in analyzing sound correspondences in the cognates themselves.

"Peirce's Law of Triviality: The Implementation of the Trivium of Logic, Rhetoric, and Grammar; Basic Categories for Linguistics and Literature Studies from a Universal Semiotic Theory" 

FEE-ALEXANDRA HAASE, affiliation not provided to SSRN
Email: F.a.haase at gmx.de

This article focuses on the aspects that refer to linguistics in the works of Charles S. Peirce. His pragmatic philosophy implemented many other sciences and among them is the traditional trivium of logic, grammar, and rhetoric. Peirce divided into different kinds of logic, grammar, and rhetoric. While the impact of the work of Peirce on theses sciences is weak, the integration of the sciences in his philosophy is interesting as a step in the history of science and his work is an example for eclecticism and historism of science in the 19th century and the universalism of science deducted from a philosophy that uses the sign as an unitarian principle. Triple constructions are a very common feature in the writings of Peirce, and the trivium is an example of an academic construction Peirce implemented.

"Linguistics and Claim Construction" 

KRISTEN JAKOBSEN OSENGA, University of Richmond - School of Law
Email: kosenga at richmond.edu

Despite its great importance in patent litigation and recent interest derived from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's en banc Phillips opinion, claim construction - the process of giving a patent claim meaning through defining its terms - is largely an unsettled and uncertain area of patent law. In part, this uncertainty may be due to the Federal Circuit's failure to provide adequate guidance on the process. This Article suggests that the Federal Circuit should clarify its claim construction jurisprudence, looking to the science of linguistics to provide bases for an improved set of guidelines that will improve certainty in patent law. 

This Article argues that claim construction should instead track the way in which we, as readers of a language, attempt to understand what is being conveyed via the written word. First, there is a base level of conventional understanding from which all interpretation starts, an understanding that either a priori exists based on our earlier encounters with the word or is obtained from a dictionary in cases where we lack previous knowledge. Second, from this conventional understanding, we construct the actual meaning of the term based on a number of linguistic clues, both internal to the document and external from our prior experiences. 

In particular, there are at least five notions from linguistics that can help shape a more consistent claim construction methodology: 1) every reader, including a judge, possesses a mental lexicon with a common sense (or conventional) understanding of word meaning which is a point from which to start when interpreting claims; 2) there is an appropriate place for dictionary usage, which is to inform the judge's common sense understanding about a word where he has none; 3) patent claims have their own grammar which must inform the syntactical and contextual analysis, but may also skew the reader's common understanding that was obtained either from a mental lexicon or from a dictionary; 4) regardless of the common sense understanding, the PHOSITA must be returned to the analysis and changes made to the law to effectuate the return of the PHOSITA; and 5) extensive resort to the specification and prosecution history to divine the patentee's intent is inappropriate.

"Adam Smith's Rational Choice Linguistics" 

DAVID M. LEVY, George Mason University

Adam Smith offers an account, based on rational choice considerations, of the grammatical change experienced by languages when adults attempt to communicate across languages in such a way as to minimize transactions costs. His model predicts what is known to linguists as a "pidgin," a language learned by adults in which to make trades. His model can be extended to predict the grammatical trajectory toward pidgin experienced by dying languages.

Solicitation of Abstracts

"Cognitive linguistics goes beyond the visible structure of language and investigates the considerably more complex backstage operations of cognition that create grammar, conceptualization, discourse, and thought itself. The theoretical insights of cognitive linguistics are based on extensive empirical observation in multiple contexts, and on experimental work in psychology and neuroscience. Results of cognitive linguistics, especially from metaphor theory and conceptual integration theory, have been applied to wide ranges of nonlinguistic phenomena." - Gilles Fauconnier. 2006. "Cognitive Linguistics." Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. John Wiley & Sons. 

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Advisory Board

Cognitive Linguistics: Cognition, Language, Gesture

Professor of Biological Anthropology and Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley - Department of Anthropology

Professor, Department of Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego

Professor Emeritus, University of California, San Diego - Linguistics Department


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