15.2245, Review: Ling Theories/Cog Sci: Ibanez (2003)
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LINGUIST List: Vol-15-2245. Fri Aug 6 2004. ISSN: 1068-4875.
Subject: 15.2245, Review: Ling Theories/Cog Sci: Ibanez (2003)
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Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 21:55:13 -0400 (EDT)
From: Suzie Bartsch <suzie.bartsch at t-online.de>
Subject: Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics, Volume 1
-------------------------------- Message 1 -------------------------------
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 21:55:13 -0400 (EDT)
From: Suzie Bartsch <suzie.bartsch at t-online.de>
Subject: Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics, Volume 1
EDITOR: Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez, Francisco José
TITLE: Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics
SUBTITLE: Volume 1
PUBLISHER: John Benjamins Publishing Company
Announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/15/15-561.html
Suzie Bartsch, unaffiliated
This first issue (iv+288 pages) of the "Annual Review of Cognitive
Linguistics" (henceforth ARCL issue) is a collection of 11 fascinating
papers, an interesting interview with George Lakoff, and 2
enlightening book reviews, including methodological (Gries), empirical
(Gries, Caballero, Ortigosa Pastor, Porto Requejo, Vallès, Sánchez
García, Nerlich & Chamizo Domínguez) and 'pseudo-empirical' or
'semi-empirical' (Ibarretxe-Antuñano, Hamawand, Paradis), as well as
theoretical (Paradis, Kravchenko's paper and the review of his book by
Shakovsky) approaches to Cognitive Linguistics (CL).
The contributions address issues which proved to be, or are becoming,
crucial within CL, such as:
* metaphor theory (Caballero, Porto Requejo, Sánchez García, Lakoff's
interview by Sánchez),
* prototype theory and conceptual networks (Gries, Ibarretxe- Antuñano,
Hamawand, Porto Requejo, Vallès),
* polysemy (Hamawand, Nerlich & Chamizo Domínguez, Paradis),
* metonymy (review of Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez et al. 2002 by Panther),
* Neural Theory of Language (NTL) (Lakoff's interview),
* image schemas (Ibarretxe-Antuñano, Lakoff's interview),
* constructionist approaches (Gries, Ibarretxe-Antuñano, Hamawand,
Ortigosa Pastor, Lakoff's interview),
* lexical creativity (Vallès),
* language change (Nerlich & Chamizo Domínguez),
* non-modularity of cognition and language and criticism of the
Chomskyan paradigm (Kravchenko's paper and the review of his book,
Paradis, Hamawand, Vallès),
* evolutionary biology (Kravchenko's paper and the review of his book),
* applied CL (Caballero, Porto Requejo, Sánchez García, Lakoff's
interview), amongst others.
In the next section, the contributions are summarized. The summaries
are intentionally rather detailed, since this review is, amongst
others, meant to be a contribution to the diffusion of CL in broader
circles within the linguistics community. In the discussion section, I
discuss some of the merits and shortcomings of the edition as a whole,
and of the papers in particular. As to the late, the discussion is
centered on the issue of methodologies, going beyond the scope of the
volume under review since it is intended to summarize the main tenets
of the CL enterprise and of the methodological desiderata which should
be met in order to improve its descriptive and explanatory powers,
which by the way are not small. Two other relevant points are
concerned with cross- disciplinarity and application of CL, which are
nevertheless not fully discussed here.
I would like to thank the following people, including some of the
authors of the volume under review, for stimulating discussions,
fascinating papers, and valuable clarifications, by means of personal
communications and/or contributions to the Cogling discussion list (I
am particularly obliged to the people who responded to my query (Jul
04 2004) to the Cogling concerning the methodologies used in CL):
Dmitry G. Bogushevich, Per Aage Brandt, Giancarlo Buoiano, Rosario
Caballero, Israel "izzy" Cohen, Phillip Elliott, Dirk Geeraerts, Zeki
Hamawand, Stefan Gries, Tarik Hadzibeganovic, John Hewson, Joe
Hilferty, Priscilla Hill, Anders Hougaard, Iraide Ibarretxe-Antuñano,
Rembrandt Klopper, Manfred Krifka, George Lakoff, Sydney Lamb, Adam
E. Leeds, Robert "Beau" Link, Ana Ortigosa Pastor, Ma. Dolores Porto
Requejo, Oren Sadeh- Leicht, Chris Sinha, and Robin Turner. I am sorry
if I have forgotten anyone. And I am sorry that, for limitations of
time and space, I could not include all their contributions and
references in this review.
SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
1. "Towards a corpus-based identification of prototypical instances of
constructions" by Stefan Th. Gries (Soenderborg, Denmark) (pp. 1-27)
"The scope of [this] paper is [...] mainly methodological in nature",
as Gries announces (p. 5). Taking as example the analysis of the so-
called 'dative alternation' constructions in English from the
perspective of the prototype theory of categorization (e.g. Rosch
1973), Gries presents a method which includes three phases:
(a) The analyst prepares an inventory of semantic, formal, and
pragmatic features which, according to a large number of studies,
determine the speaker's choice of construction.
(b) Then she analyzes a relatively representative corpus, quantifying
her findings so that she can identify the features with high cue
validity for prototypical instances of the constructions involved,
which enables predictions about the speakers' choices of construction.
(c) Finally, she backs up her findings by means of natives' judgments.
In the case of the study in question, these phases looked like follows:
(a) Gries' inventory of features which, according to other studies
dealing with the so-called 'dative alternation', determine the
speaker's choice of construction (ditransitive or prepositional
construction--DK and PK, respectively), includes features such as the
"process described by the utterance", length and (pronominal or
lexical) kind of NPs realizing referents, animacy or discourse newness
of referents, amongst others (pp. 8f.).
(b) From files of the British National Corpus (BNC) Gries extracted
then 60 cases of DK and 57 cases of PK; by means of a linear
discriminant analysis (LDA) he could identify the features with high
cue validity for DK and PK, which enabled him to characterize
prototypical instances of each of both constructions; the LDA has a
high predictive power (88.9%) (pp. 8ff.).
(c) Finally, to back up his claims he conducted a questionnaire
experiment with English native speakers (p. 16f.).
2. "Entering in Spanish: Conceptual and semantic properties of entrar
en/a" by Iraide Ibarretxe-Antuñano (then Bilbao, now Saragosa, Spain)
Also this paper deals with alternative constructions, namely with the
Spanish constructions 'entrar en' ('enter in') (in these review called
'locative construction' or LK) and 'entrar a' (in some cases + dative
pronoun) ('enter to') (in these review called 'allative construction'
or AK) used to express entering events.
In the first part of the paper, Ibarretxe-Antuñano characterizes
entering events by means of the "semantic primitive of motion" (pp.
29f., 43) and "image schemas" (e.g. Johnson 1987, Lakoff 1987), viz.
"Source-Path-Goal (SPG)" and "Boundary (BND)" (pp. 35f.). The choice
of construction is explained in terms of "force dynamics" (Talmy
1988), "profiling of events" (Langacker e.g. 1987) conveyed by the
prepositions 'a' ("dynamic") and 'en' ("static"), and the "polysemous
character of the verb 'entrar'" conveying a "dynamic" ('to enter
into') and a "static sense" ('to fit') (pp. 34ff.).
Ibarretxe-Antuñano concludes the first part by stating that, while the
"primitive of motion" is not irrelevant, the "key factors" are "the
nature of the boundary crossing itself and the force dynamic relation
between the two entities" involved (p. 43). Thus, a LK can, for
instance, convey a "neutral force dynamic relation" between trajector
and landmark, whereas an AK can convey a "negative force dynamic
relation" between trajector and landmark which have the roles of
agonist and antagonist, respectively (pp. 39f.).
In the second part, Ibarretxe-Antuñano analyzes situations in which
she explains the choice of construction in terms of metonymy, deixis,
and scope. Thus, the LK can, for instance, convey a concrete entering
event (into a building), whereas the AK can convey a metonymical
understanding of the event (metonymy "ACTIVITY FOR PLACE") (p. 47).
3. "The construal of atemporalisation in complement clauses in
English" by Zeki Hamawand (Hamburg, Germany) (pp. 59-85)
Starting from notions as "temporal profile", "sequential scanning",
and "summary scanning" amongst others, used to characterize
"atemporalisers" (Langacker e.g. 1987, 1991, 2000) (pp. 59ff.),
Hamawand investigates the conceptualizations of following
* "the zero complementiser": e.g. 'She made him clean the floor';
* 'to': e.g. 'He decides to take early retirement';
* 'for-to': e.g. 'I want for Anna to meet the deadline'; and
* '-ing': e.g. "Kate enjoys dancing the tango'.
After a critical review on the status of complementisers in some other
frameworks (pp. 62-64), Hamawand presents the cognitive account which
ascribes complementizers "semantic values"(p. 64), such as (1)
"conceptual distance" (e.g. Haiman 1983) between main and complement
events (pp. 66ff.); (2) "temporal reference" relating "the time of a
complement clause to the time of the utterance" (p. 61, pp. 68f.); as
well as (3) a polysemous character leading to conceptual networks
based on "prototypicality and schemacity" (Langacker 1987) (pp. 70f.).
Thus, the example of "zero complementiser" above is explained in terms
of simultaneity of both events (pp.71ff.), whereas the 'to'
construction expresses posteriority of the complement event, which is
its "schematic meaning" that can have the "extend meaning[s]" of
"subsequent potentiality" (e.g. 'They hoped to climb the Mount
Everest') and "subsequent actualization" (e.g. 'She forced him to
reconsider his position') (pp. 73ff.). The complementizer 'for-to' has
the prototypical sense of "subsequent potentiality" as in the example
above, and the "convoluted" sense of "coincident actuality" (e.g. 'It
is wonderful for her to be in high spirits') (p. 78).
In a sense, also this paper deals with alternative constructions and
their conceptualizations, since Hamawand is concerned with both the
speaker's "conceptual flexibility to construe a complex scene either
temporally or atemporally" (p. 61) ... see the definition of
"construal" as the "ability of the speaker to conceive and express a
situation in alternate ways" (p. 59, abstract) -, and his choice of
complementizer depending upon semantic features of complementizers and
predicates (p. 65).
4. "Talking about space: Image metaphor in architectural discourse" by
Rosario Caballero (Spain) (pp. 87-105)
Caballero analyzes the occurrence of image metaphors in 95 building
reviews selected from six magazines specialized in architectural
design. For this genre-based and corpus-driven study, she developed a
procedure in which the metaphors are identified and analyzed semantic-
conceptually according to the respective underlying "metaphorical
mapping" and lexicogrammatically according to their recurrence in the
rhetorical structure. The aims of the study are "to show (a) the
importance of image metaphors against commonly held views on them in
cognitive approaches and (b) point to the difficulties of classifying
metaphors into conceptual or image types without any other
consideration to their discourse instantiation and function" (the
author in personal communication).
Caballero found that the analyzed metaphors convey mainly knowledge
"associations about the target based upon the source", such as FORM IS
MOTION (e.g. 'meander'); others are related to visually perceptible
aspects (e.g. 'skeleton' or "membrane") (p. 92). The instances inform
mainly nouns in distinct "types of pre-modification patterns" (e.g.
'supermarket box' and 'pinwheel plan') (pp. 92f.). Verbs - conveying a
"complex metaphorical transfer" according to conceptual metaphors such
as BUILDINGS ARE ANIMATE BEINGS (e.g. '[...] conservatories [...]
which clamber up the crags [...]') (p. 95) - and adjectives ... whose
interpretation is mostly contextually determined (e.g. 'reptilian' for
the color 'green' (p. 96) - are also very productive (p. 93).
While the primary function of image metaphors in the building reviews
is informational, they also be used for evaluative purposes. The
informational role is a consequence of the descriptive character of
the genre. While metaphors can be used referentially, replacing then
the target term, they "primarily work as extra-specification device",
with co- occurrence of target and source terms. "Image metaphor
clusters" are used mainly to indicate different perspectivizations of
the buildings being described ("spatial" or "perspectival
deixis"). (pp. 97ff.).
5. "Temporal deictic adverbs: A constructionist approach" by Ana
Ortigosa Pastor (La Rioja, Spain) (pp. 107-118)
Following "the main tenets [sic] of Construction Grammar, namely that
each grammatical construction should specify semantic, pragmatic and
syntactic information", Ortigosa Pastor argues that a correlation of
some notions posited in Construction Grammar (CG) (Fillmore 2001),
Role and Reference Grammar (RRG) (Van Valin & LaPolla 1997),
Functional Grammar (FG) (Dik 1989/1997), and Lambrecht (1994) can be
fruitful for "an accurate description" of the temporal deictic adverbs
'yesterday', 'today', and 'tomorrow' as "constructional templates"
Ortigosa Pastor expands (i) Fillmore's lexical-semantic analysis of
temporal adverbs (by means of a "vector construction" with a "temporal
TARGET", a "temporal LANDMARK", and, for deictic adverbs, an
"anchoring landmark", pp. 108- 111) by discussing (ii) the RRG's
syntactic approach ("temporal adjuncts are [...] modifiers of the core
(and sometimes of the clause - e.g. Yesterday, he went to the store
and bought some cheese), although similarly to operators they take
part in the operator projection", the author in personal
communication); and (iii) the pragmatic perspective proposed by
Lambrecht and Dik : Ortigosa Pastor partially disagrees "with
Lambrecht's (1994) view, arguing that they often may be part of the
focus information (e.g. "Secretary Pena is also on his way out
there. He was in Birmingham today'); in other cases, they "are the
main focus of an utterance", and ... following "Dik's (1989) typology
of focus" - convey "some contrastive information" (e.g. 'We will start
briefings for you all perhaps as early as tomorrow, but definitely by
Wednesday') (pp. 113- 116).
6. "Del significado de la palabra a la interpretación del texto: ¿Qué
es la magia?" by Ma. Dolores Porto Requejo (Madrid, Spain) (pp. 119-
135) (Note: I quote passages from this Spanish text translating them
Porto Requejo examines the metaphors that constitute the
conceptualization of MAGIC in the Fantasy novel "Forging the
Darksword" (Weis & Hickman 1988) which presents a world, 'Thimhallan',
whose inhabitants are born with magic powers ... referred to in the
novel as "Magic", "Life", or "Life force" - , using them in their
daily lives. Some are born without them, being forced to make use of
the "Ninth Mystery", "Death", "Dark Art", or "Technology'", i.e.,
their own hands and hand- made tools.
Relying on Gibbs' (1998) notion that a concept is not a monolithic
entity, but a dynamic one which can be approached from several
perspectives, Porto Requejo argues that, for the investigation of the
concept of MAGIC in the mentioned novel, its distinct "metaphorical
projections" must be considered (p. 121), since they make up a
"complex network of metaphors, absolutely structured and
hierarchically organized that provides us with a global mental image
of MAGIC" (p. 119, abstract, p. 122, pp. 130ff.). This "global mental
image" is based on a "megametaphor" (Werth 1994) or "master metaphor"
(Kövecses 2000), as the "central metaphorical projection" from which
the others are derived (p. 119, pp. 132ff.).
In the novel under study, the concepts of MAGIC and TECHNOLOGY are
presented in an opposition by means of metaphors such MAGIC IS
LIFE/NATURAL ORDER and TECHNOLOGY IS DEATH/CHAOS (pp. 126-129). This
opposition result in a "'positive-negative' evaluation system" very
common in many concepts in real life (Kövecses 2000) and also in the
epic fantasy genre. For the novel under study, these specific
metaphors may be reduced to two generic metaphors: MAGIC IS THE GOOD
and TECHNOLOGY IS THE EVIL (pp. 129f.). The underlying "megametaphor"
reads ORDER IS THE GOOD, CHAOS IS THE EVIL. Relying on Lakoff's &
Turner's (1989) notion of "persuasive force" of "poetic metaphors" as
extensions of "daily metaphors" (p. 121), Porto Requejo argues that
the mentioned "megametaphor" is that which confers credibility on the
novel since it is common for both the real and the fictional world
7. "Lexical creativity and the organization of the lexicon" by Teresa
Vallès (Spain) (pp. 137-160)
Partially on the basis of corpus data, Vallès investigates Catalan
neologisms, combining Bybee's (1988) "conception of morphology as a
_lexical organization_" (p. 155, original emphasis) and a reformulated
version of van Marle's (1985) theory on morphological paradigmatic
relations framing the lexicon as start point for the study of lexical
creativity (pp. 137, 141, 150, 155), as well as adapting Bybee's
(2001) network model to the study of lexical morphology processes of
derivation and analogy (pp. 137, 138, 141, 143).
Discussing critically generative "models of possible words"
(pp. 137f., 139-141, 150, 155), Vallès presents "a usage-based model
of actual words" (pp. 138f., 140, 141f.), aiming to demonstrate that
the study of neologisms provides insights into the morphological
organization of the lexicon, and that the study of the lexicon's
morphological organization "constitutes an enriching approach to
lexical creativity" (pp. 137, 138, 141, 145ff., 146, 150, 153,
154). The interrelation between lexicon and neology is explained in
terms of networks based on paradigmatic relations among words sharing
morphemes, "articulated over two main axes: relations among words with
common affixes (derivational categories) and relations among words
sharing the same stem (word families)" (p. 141). Contrarily to the
common view that considers affixes (and, consequently, derivation) "as
the key to lexical creativity" since they are more productive than
stems, Vallès argues that neologisms (e.g. _autoeditor_
'self-publisher') comprise both stems and affixes, and are therefore
the result of the productivity of both (p. 151).
The paradigmatic relations are "expressed by means of morphological
rules or _patterns emerging from the intrinsic organization of the
lexicon_" (p. 146, original emphasis). For instance, relations between
derivational categories by means of affix attachment are based on
"low- level patterns" (Langacker, e.g. 1987) specifying, for instance,
that the adjectival suffix _-ble_ always appears after the basal
thematic vowel (e.g. _agradable_ 'pleasant') (pp. 146-150). Vallès
discusses the distinction traditionally made between "rule-based
derivational process" (affix attachment) and analogy (affix
replacement, e.g. words with the semantically related prefixes
_macro-_ and _micro-_), arguing with Motsch (1988) for a rather "fuzzy
boundary between derivation and analogy" (p. 139, 156).
8. "Amor y metáfora conceptual: Aproximación a los sonetos 153 y 154
de Shakespeare desde la lingüística cognitiva" by Manuel Sánchez
García (Cáceres, Spain) (pp. 161-177) (Note: I quote passages from
this Spanish paper translating them into English)
Basing the investigation on (a) the distinction between "conceptual
metaphor" and "metaphorical expression" (Lakoff and Turner 1989)
(pp.162-164); (b) the partial nature of metaphorical projections with
the concepts of "highlighting" and "metaphorical utilization"
(Kövecses 2002) (pp. 164f.); and (c) the assumption that Shakespeare
wrote the mentioned poems as poetic exercises (two distinct sonnets on
the same theme), Sánchez García aims at showing that in these poems
Shakespeare used distinct "metaphorical expressions" to express a
reduced number of "conceptual metaphors" (pp. 167, 172).
The conceptual metaphors are LOVE IS FIRE, LOVE IS A SICKNESS, LOVE IS
HEAT, and LOVE IS SLAVERY, in which distinct aspects of the target
domain are highlighted in that some characteristics of the source
domains are metaphorically utilized (p. 168). Shakespeare used,
amongst others, following "metaphorical expressions": "his [Cupid's]
heart- inflaming brand", or "against strange maladies a sovereign
cure" (pp. 169-171).
While analyzing literary texts, Sánchez García emphasizes the notion
that metaphors are not simply a literary figure of speech, but a
pervasive tool used in human thought and present in both plain and
poetic discourse (Lakoff & Johnson 1980) (pp. 162, 166, 172, 173). In
the case of Shakespeare's metaphors, these were/are common in plain
discourse (p. 172). Accordingly, the author ultimately aims at
providing a practical example of application of cognitive linguistic
theory of metaphor (p. 168, 172).
9. "The ontology of signs as linguistic and non-linguistic entities: A
cognitive perspective" by Alexander V. Kravchenko (Irkutsk, Russia)
Relying on Maturana (e.g. 1987) Kravchenko outlines his "biocognitive
philosophy of language" (p. 187), presented in Kravchenko (2001) (see
section 13 below) within the framework of "autopoiesis as a new
epistemology of the living" which "is founded on a biological concept
of cognition and language" (p. 180). This approach provides "an
effective alternative" to the "traditional philosophical/linguistic
analysis of semiotic phenomena" which is based on "false
epistemological assumption[s]", such as that linguistic and non-
linguistic "entities" are ontologically distinct (pp. 179f., 182, 185,
188). According to Kravchenko, this view offers "a genuinely
scientific (naturalist) angle and is a giant step toward understanding
consciousness and cognitive (mental) processes" (p. 181).
In autopoiesis, cognition "serves an active organism in its adaptation
to its experiential world" (p. 180). Communication takes place by
means of both coded and non-coded signs, as gestures or smells
(p. 182), it "is an operational cognitive domain of interactions in
which the interacting organisms cause orientational modifications in
each other's behaviors" (p. 183), whereas language is "just one among
many possible domains of orientational interactions"
(p. 183). Semiotic relationships are based on "mutual causality",
i.e., "_a word may function as a sign of some entity, an entity may
function as a sign of the word_" (p. 184, original emphasis). Both
linguistic and non-linguistic "entities" are (a) equally "empirical
objects", "natural constituents" which, "on the grounds of their
ostensibility/perceptibility", belong to the "environmental niche" or
"interactional domain" of the Homo sapiens "as living organisms" (b)
"contribute to the formation of a single concept on equal epistemic
grounds" (c) resulting in mental representations (pp. 184, 185),
conceived of as "relative neuronal activities characterizing the state
of an organism's nervous system as a structure-determined system"
(p. 181, 185).
10. "The use of 'literally': Vice or virtue?" by Brigitte Nerlich
(Nottingham, UK) and Pedro J. Chamizo Domínguez (Málaga, Spain) (pp.
Starting from the polysemous and/or ambiguous use of the word
'literally' in present-day English as both 'unfigurative' and
'figurative' (pp. 196, 198), as in the example "It's literally
freezing out there" (p. 194), Nerlich & Chamizo Domínguez analyze the
use of the word 'literally' from three perspectives - diachronic,
normative, and synchronic -, basing the investigation on the "Oxford
English Dictionary", public texts as web articles, the normative "New
Fowler Modern English Usage" (1968), and texts from the "Bank of
Normatively, the figurative sense is often dismissed in public debates
in terms of "destruction" of the English language. The authors reject
such attitudes by arguing "that the English language [not only] is
tougher than purists [...] give it credit for", but "has even profited
from" "such semantic onslaughts" (pp. 193f., 195, 198ff.)
Diachronically, the unfigurative sense is the oldest (emerged in the
early 16th century) and the "prototypical" meaning, whereas the
figurative sense emerged only in the late 19th in the USA and became
ever since very common (pp. 195, 198). What some call "deterioration"
is rather "the natural result of various well-known mechanisms of
semantic and pragmatic change, such as subjectification, bleaching,
and a gradual strengthening of the rhetorical stance in the uses of
'literally'" (p. 198).
Synchronically, 'literally' can modify the meaning of the expression
within its scope in three main ways: (a) 'in the literal sense' as
synonymous to 'faithfully' or 'precisely' or 'really'; (b) "a gradual
shift in meaning" when used for "rhetorical purposes" with the
"intersubjective function" of "emphasiz[ing] the literal meaning of an
almost 'dead' metaphor", i.e., of an idiom; and (c) a "metaphorically
hyperbolical" meaning, with a "complete shift in meaning", being
synonymous with 'virtually' (pp. 194, 195f., 201ff.).
11. "Is the notion of 'linguistic competence' relevant in Cognitive
Linguistics?" by Carita Paradis (Lund) (pp. 207-231)
In this paper, "meant to be a philosophical contribution to linguistic
theorizing", Paradis argues "that the question of the relevance of
linguistic competence [as posited by Chomsky] is a non-question" from
the Cognitive Linguistic (CL) perspective, since it is a "theoretical
construct" based on the "empirically arbitrary" assumption about the
modularity of cognition and language, whereas in CL "[l]inguistic and
non- linguistic (encyclopaedic) knowledge" lie on a continuum and
semantic and conceptual aspects are crucial (pp. 207f., 225f.).
Paradis reviews critically the generative "narrow view of language",
qualifying its assumptions and methodology as "counter-productive for
the development of the theory" since they reduce the aimed descriptive
and explanatory adequacy (pp. 209-211, 225ff.).
In opposition, in the CL approach human cognition is conceived of as a
network, and [l]anguage as an integral part of" it; the study of
language is therefore connected to psychology, cognitive science, and
neurology (p. 212). Perceptions and bodily experience are crucial for
the formation of conceptual structures and, consequently, for both
language acquisition and language use, and the linguistic input is
"extensive and highly redundant" (p. 213, 214).
Since there is no divide between linguistic and encyclopaedic
meanings/knowledge (p. 212, 215), natural languages exhibit a great
"combinatorial complexity", as demonstrated in studies on polysemy
"using real data" (pp. 219ff.). In this respect, Paradis adheres to
Pustejovsky's (1998b) and Langacker's (1999) "weak polymorphism"
according to which polysemy is both lexically and pragmatically
determined, but "[w]ords in context are prone to evoke more meaning
specifications" (p. 221). Relying on Murphy (2000) for the analysis of
the "nature of lexical knowledge", Paradis posits a "two-level model
of lexical knowledge" which includes for every lexical item: (i) a
"conceptual knowledge _of/about_ the words", and (ii) a "conceptual
knowledge _of/about_ the world", in which linguistic and encyclopaedic
knowledge are inseparable (pp. 222-225), original emphasis).
Paradis concludes that competence in CL includes resources as
linguistic and encyclopaedic knowledge, as well as memory,
intentionality, and skills of abstraction (p. 226).
12. "Interview: Language and cognition: George Lakoff on some internal
and external complexities" by Jesús Sánchez (Córdoba, Spain) (pp. 233-
In this interview from 2000/2001, Lakoff addresses several issues
crucial for the CL framework, as Neural Theory of Language (NTL),
Construction Grammar (CG), metaphor theory, language acquisition,
embodiment, amongst others. I chose to collect some statements about
the NTL since it is the thread of the interview.
One of "the current challenges" for CL is the necessity of "an
integrated theory"; NTL is conceived of as "to create such an
integrated theory" (pp. 233, 260, 263). The central question in NTL
is: "How is it possible for a physical structure, like the brain,
which has just neurons that are connected, and fire and work by
chemistry ... how can chemistry produce ideas and languages"?
(p. 239). "[...] we can model, via computational means, how those
electric chemical connections work" and "we also, through the study of
the embodiment of mind, have been able to get some ideas about what
parts of the brain are computing ... are characterizing certain
concepts" (pp. 239, 262). "Regier, in his [...] model of image
schemas, hypothesized [...] that [...] parts of the visual system
[...] can compute image schemas [...]. It's a theory that explains how
perception and reason can be linked" (pp. 239f., 245). "[...] we were
able to [...] ground our cognitive linguistics in these computational
neural models, which are models of the actual chemical system and
... as a result, the neural computation gives us a bridge between the
linguistics and the chemistry" (p. 240). "But [...] it is not the
case that the brain is a general computational mechanism. [...] The
brain puts constraints on what concepts can be [and w]hat connections
there can be [...]. [T]he brain puts constraints on [...] image
schemas in general, and [...] on the possibility of metaphor and the
learning of metaphors via the neural learning mechanisms, namely
recruitment" ... this is the "theory of neural learning" (pp. 240,
245). "[W]e are discovering that the properties of neural systems are
also properties of linguistic systems" (pp. 240f.).
13. Book Reviews. I will not, of course, review reviews, but I will
give at least a short account on what the books reviewed are about.
Review of Kravchenko (2001) by Victor I. Shakovsky (Volgograd, Russia)
(pp. 269-276). This book discusses several issues in semiotics,
linguistics, and linguist semiotics from the perspective of Maturana-
Varela's (1980) "autopoietic theory", claiming "that the problem of
cognition in philosophy cannot be resolved without the resolution of
the problem of linguistic meaning" (see summary of Kravchenko's paper
in section 9 above).
Review of Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez et al. (2002) by Klaus-Uwe Panther
(Hamburg, Germany) (pp. 276-288). This book provides an evaluative
review of the research on metonymy done up to date, develops a
"conceptual apparatus" (in which metaphor and metonymy "form a
conceptual continuum"), and applies this apparatus to grammar.
The Methodological Question
The CL approach is essentially a usage-based approach, which means
that it refuses some central axioms of the generative paradigm, such
as poverty of stimulus, innate Universal Grammar (UG), modularity of
human cognition and of language knowledge, as explicitly or
implicitly, and by all means correctly, shown in the papers by
Kravchenko and, above all, Paradis. Paradis in her highly stimulating
paper shows how central and how "counter-productive for the
development of the theory" the methodological separation of linguistic
and encyclopaedic knowledge dictated by theoretical axioms is, since
it deprives the theory of its descriptive and explanatory power
(p. 211). Moreover, Paradis points out that this separation is
"empirically arbitrary" (pp. 207f., 225f.), with which she means that
the contextualized study of language provides pieces of evidence for
both the network nature of human cognition and the assumption about
linguistic forms being the result of semantic, conceptual, and
pragmatic functions or structures, and not of (innate) algebraic
rules. The Chomskyan notion of "linguistic competence" has, as
properly demonstrated by Paradis, no utility in the CL framework.
The implicit contention is that CL reinstates the social and
psychological dimensions of language which the decontextualized study
of the modular generative grammar had disregarded. This is the reason
why Geeraerts (2003) distinguish "decontextualizing and
recontextualizing tendencies in 20th century linguistics and literary
theory": because the Chomskyan notion of competence ignores lectal
variations. This is also the reason why CL is assigned by Harré's &
Gillett's (1994) and Sinha (to appear) to what they call "second
cognitive revolution" and "second generation cognitive science",
respectively: because the notion of modularity of human cognition has
'depsychologized' the cognitive sciences. (Incidentally, I warmly
recommend the reading of Sinha's and Geeraert's papers because of
their high epistemological value and because they discuss the basic
tenets of CL from a historical perspective.)
The logical consequence of such a view would be a methodology of
contextualization in which the native speaker abstraction and the
introspective/intuitive method are dismissed. And indeed, Paradis
argues that, for instance, meanings can be "generalized by abstracting
away from contextual variants", but that "[c]ontextual variants are
more fundamental" (p. 222), since "[w]ords in context are prone to
evoke more meaning specifications" (p. 221). That is the reason why
she defends the use of "real data", of contextualized data in context,
in the analysis of, for instance, polysemy (p. 219).
But the question is: "What are real data? What are contextualized
data?" Paradis (p. 219) compares the decontextualized and the
contextualized analysis of the uses of the adjective 'old'. The
decontextualized meaning is 'having long duration of time'. The
contextualized meanings or interpretations of 'old' are, paraphrasing
Paradis' expressions: (i) 'long in use' or 'not new' (e.g. 'an old
car'); (ii) 'long-lasting' (e.g. 'an old friend'); and (iii) 'former'
or 'ex-' (e.g. 'an old boyfriend'). At the first sight, there is
nothing to be said against this analysis, excepting perhaps that the
adjective 'old' in 'an old friend' seems to be related rather to the
friendship than to the friend, but this is not the point here. The
point is: "What is the source of these data?" Since information
concerning the source of the data is not given, it seems reasonable to
suppose that these are Paradis' own data, i.e., _self- generated_
data. But can self-generated data be considered as "_real_ data"?
Does contextualization mean that the analyst devices some situations
in which the analyzed constructions can be used?
To my mind, there is to these questions only one answer possible:
"No". And the reason is that self-generated data are too near to the
ideal speaker abstraction and the introspective methode. And this
might be dangerous, since the analyst is in such situations more prone
to ignore lectal variation, even if she concentrates her analysis on
conceptual structures, as Paradis in her paper, which apart from that
is really inspiring, does.
But the problem is that this sort of introspective work seems to be
pervasive in CL. George Lakoff, for instance, who is one of the
founders of CL and one of the most deserving cognitive linguists,
responded to my timid query (Jul 04 2004) to the discussion list
"Cogling" concerning the methodologies used in CL in the following
terms: "Since you have have [sic] a better idea of what _you_ mean
than you can have of what other people mean, your semantic
introspection is more likely to be accurate when you are working on
your own "corpus" than when when [sic] you are working with other
people's utterances" (Jul 04 2004, original emphasis).
What would be the alternative to self-generated or pseudo- empirical
data? The alternative is: _really_ real data, really _empirical_ data,
as corpus data. Lakoff himself works with corpus data, in his analyses
of political texts (e.g. Lakoff 1996). Nevertheless, in his message
(Jul 04 2004) to "Cogling", he considers: "Corpus linguistics can only
provide you with utterances (or written letter sequences or character
sequences or sign assemblages). To do cognitive linguistics with
corpus data, you need to interpret the data -- to give it meaning. The
meaning doesn't occur in the corpus data. [...] [t]his [i.e. corpus
linguistics] must be done with the recognition of the special
difficulties imposed by having to assign meanings to other people's
To my mind, the meaning _does_ occur in the corpus data, this is the
work the cognitive linguist has to do: to find the meaning in the
empirical data. And in my view, the "difficulties imposed by having to
assign meanings to other people's utterances" should not be used as
justification to work introspectively (in the sense of non-
empirically). What we need are methods "to assign meanings to other
people's utterances", and this is exactly the point where the volume
under review gives some answers.
First of all, the great majority of the papers analyzing linguistic
data rely on corpus data or otherwise authentic data, and merit to be
called 'empirical papers', whereas the 'pseudo-empirical' or 'semi-
empirical' papers are only three: Ibarretxe-Antuñano's, Hamawand's,
and Paradis' papers. Paradis' paper was discussed above and I would
like to stress again the high quality of her analyses despite her
introspectivity. Hamawand's analysis of atemporalizers in English is
also very compelling (even though in some cases other interpretations
would be possible), but he analyzes self-generated sentences only, and
the "evidences" for his interpretations are searched in grammaticality
tests devised by him, but not tested with native speakers, relying
thus only in his own intuitions.
Ibarretxe-Antuñano's analyses of constructions used to express
entering events in Spanish are also persuasive. To her credit, it
should be said that the data "has been tested with Spanish speakers
from Northern Spain" and the author points out that dialectal studies
are necessary to confirm her hypotheses (p. 55, n. 26). But: (i) Her
first examples are very artificial, which the author herself admits
but does use for expository reasons (e.g. 'El cuadrado entra en el
triángulo', 'The square enters the triangle') (pp. 33f.). (ii) Some
other examples were extracted from the 'Diccionario de la Lengua
Española' published by the 'Real Academia de la Lengua Española'
(pp. 43-45) about which one might assume it is a rather conservative,
normative work. (iii) Other examples, again, are self-generated. (iv)
The author often uses expressions such as 'the construction xyz
_triggers_ a different interpretation or conceptualization' (pp. 29,
50, 51, 52, 53). To my mind, this is an expression which reverses a
main tenet of functional- cognitive approaches, namely that
constructions are the result of (intended) meanings ... the author's
expressions give the idea that the meanings are the result of the
Kravchenko's philosophical paper is decidedly introspective. Consider
his supposition: "If we try to conjecture an organism's domain of
interaction (its niche) as some physical space constituted by a set of
perceptible objects, the proportion of linguistic objects found in it
may turn out to be negligible small if not zero" (p. 185). Even if
this is a highly plausible conjecture, without empirical basis it
remains speculation only. I do not know if there is work dealing with,
say, input in children's daily life not only concerned with
child-directed speech, but also with non- linguistic stimuli. But I
would check it before I posit such a hypothesis. Or I would write some
lines on the necessity of empirical evidence, even if I could not
present any. As for his speculations on categorization of linguistic
and non- linguistic "objects" ("What happens in the course of this
human's perception of (cognitive interaction with) these objects?"
p. 185), there is abundant empirical literature on it (see
e.g. Tomasello 2003 for a review), but Kravchenko does not mention any
The truly empirical papers are: Gries (British National Corpus),
Caballero (architectural magazines), Ortigosa Pastor (British National
Corpus, Corpus of Spoken Professional American English), Porto Requejo
(Weis' & Hickman's fantasy novel "Forging the Darksword"), Vallès (the
IEC [Institute for Catalan Studies] Contemporaneous Catalan Corpus),
Sánchez García (Shakespeare's sonnets 153 and 154), Nerlich & Chamizo
Domínguez (Bank of English, web). And out of all of them, Gries' paper
is the most exemplary because of his efforts to develop a method that
aims at objectivizing the analysis.
Before discussing Gries' technique, let us consider the extreme
introspective method. The analyst:
(a) uses self-generated and decontextualized data (or data from
(b) analyzes these data introspectively, and
(c) without confronting his conclusions with native speaker's opinions.
These are, to my view, urgent problems which must be solved by means
of methodologies as empirical as possible. The situation in (b) might
be, in a sense, unavoidable, since some degree of introspection is
always required -- as Geeraerts (1999) in his fascinating 'platonic'
dialogue on "idealist and empiricist tendencies in cognitive
semantics" points out: in scientifical work, regardless of whether the
data are collected more empirically or more introspectively, the
interpretative aspect is in the data analysis often, if not always,
present and decisive, and this hermeneutic job is not seldom strongly
influenced by the respective theoretical assumptions --, nevertheless
quantifying methods could reduce the degree of introspection. And the
situations in (a) and (c) could be changed: (a) by means of
naturalistic and/or experimental data, and (c) by means of new
In this context, Gries' study is really refreshing, because he
suggests some possible solutions to the three problems listed above,
even, partially, for (b):
(a) he uses naturalistic data and a large number of studies in order
to prepare an inventory of semantic, formal, and pragmatic features
determining the speaker's choice of the constructions to be analyzed;
(b) he developed a quantitative method with a high predictive power
(this quantitative aspect mentioned in can also be found in the work
of Dirk Geeraerts' research group in Leuven who also defends a more
empirical approach; see e.g. Geeraerts 1999). (c) he confronts his
conclusions with native speaker's judgments.
There are some problems in Gries' method: (i) it can be dismissed as
"number-crunching" as Gries himself said in a personal communication;
(ii) at least in the paper reviewed on dative alternation, the method
and its presentation seem to thrust the analysis itself into the
background; (iii) Gries, perhaps wisely, departs from the view that
his characterization of prototypical constructions should be
interpreted as the naïve native speaker's mental representations or
conceptualizations of such constructions, and the ideal case would be
that the linguist's interpretations could be confronted with naïve
native speaker's judgments also in terms of mental
representations. However, Gries' work can be considered as highly
significant in the field of CL. His paper is, to my mind, also the
most relevant of the volume under review, followed by Paradis' paper
due to the methodological and the philosophical effort of these
respective authors to sharpen the contours of the CL enterprise.
The ARCL -- Edition and Aims
First of all, I would like to make some remarks on the edition as a
whole. It should be said that, to my mind, the issue is not
sufficiently accurately edited. Firstly, the quantity of misprints and
'ungrammaticalities' is high, reflecting perhaps imprecisions of the
original manuscripts which remained unnoticed by the editors,
Shakovsky's review of Kravchenko (2001) being here a case in point
(some 15 such inaccuracies in 6 pages). Also, the presentation of some
papers partially lacks coherence, simplicity and precision; thus in
some texts, the authors fails to provide references (e.g. in
Caballero's paper, p. 91, it reads: "Given the assumption in genre
research that [...]" without to provide references); in Ortigosa
Pastor's paper, it is difficult to distinguish her own contentions
from the ones posited by the researchers she cites; in this same
paper, p. 113, the author discusses an example "(2f)" that is not
available; several passages in Kravchenko's paper are somewhat obscure
and perhaps also contradictory). Secondly, the structure of the papers
does not always correspond to the ARCL guidelines. Thus, although
"[c]ontributions should be in English", there are 2 articles in
Spanish; several papers are not "accompanied by a biographical note"
(e.g. Caballero, Vallès); in some articles, the examples are not "set
apart from the main body of the text" (e.g. Hamawand); in some texts
the notes are not "kept to a minimum", Ibarretxe-Antuñano's paper
being here a case in point (33 notes); in some articles some central
keywords are missing (e.g. 'categorization' in Gries' paper), in
others there are no keywords (e.g. Ibarretxe-Antuñano). Thirdly, the
position of the notes at the end of the main text is unpractical and
some figures are not adequately placed (e.g. Ibarretxe-Antuñano,
Hamawand). Finally, the articles could have been accompanied by the
date of reception/production, and the volume could have been completed
by an index of names and subjects.
Apart from these rather 'microstructural' deficiencies, the
(macro)structure and presentation of the volume are very satisfactory.
Thus, the edition opens with considerations on methodologies (Gries)
and ends with a philosophical reflection (Paradis) which are both
central for CL, as it is discussed below. To my mind, to judge by the
quality and relevance of the contributions of this first issue, the
ARCL has by all means the prospect of achieving the aim of
"establish[ing] itself as an international forum for the publication
of high- quality original research on all areas of linguistic enquiry
from a cognitive perspective", as it reads in the description on the
publisher's web site
and of achieving a position in the CL community similar to that
occupied by another high qualitative periodical, namely "Cognitive
Linguistics" of the International Cognitive Linguistics Association
(ICLA) edited by Adele Goldberg, one of the leading researchers in CL
(see e.g. Goldberg 1995).
The ARCL, "published under the auspices of the Spanish Cognitive
Linguistics Association" (AELCO/SCOLA), which is incidentally
affiliated to the ICLA, can be seen as the result of the increasing
interest in CL in Spain. The editorial board consists of Spanish
scholars under the direction of Francisco José Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez,
one of the leading cognitive linguists in Spain (see, for instance,
his book (2002) on metonymy reviewed in this first issue). In this
respect, in order to become "an international forum", it would be
desirable that the next issues of the ARCL renounces to the
predominance of Spanish authors which sets the tone of this first
issue (8 or 9 out of 15 authors).
Also, in order to achieve its second aim, namely to support
"[f]ruitful debate [...] with neighboring academic disciplines as well
as with other approaches to language study, particularly
functionally-oriented ones", it would be good if next issues contained
more papers from cross-disciplinary perspectives. For sure,
Kravchenko's "bio-cognitive philosophy of language" (p. 187) relies
partially on evolutionary biology, there are some papers in which CL
is applied to poetics (Porto Requejo, Sánchez García) and to the study
of genres (Caballero), and in Sánchez' interview Lakoff makes some
comments on the application of CL to cognitive therapy (p. 266), and
his own work on both NTL (see previous section) and application of CL
to "social policy and to politics" (pp. 264f.). It would be,
nevertheless, very constructive to have papers discussing CL tenets
from the perspective of, for instance, (i) developmental psychology
(see, e.g., the work on language acquisition and cognition done by
Michael Tomasello (e.g. 1997, 1999, 2003), Elena Lieven
(e.g. Abbot-Smith et al. 2004), and associates in Leipzig; (ii)
psychotherapy and psychoanalysis (see, for instance, Barkfelt's 2003
study on the therapeutic use of metaphors in the treatment of
depressions); (iii) brain research and evolutionary biology (see, for
instance, the paper by Crow 2000 ... admittedly based on a generative
conception of language - on the relations between schizophrenia and
language in the Homo sapiens); (iv) neurolinguistics (see, for
instance, Lamb 2003), to mention some examples. Incidentally, this
issue on cross- disciplinarity and application of CL findings to both
other fields of scientifical work and spheres of human life is highly
relevant not only for the ARCL, but for the whole field of CL.
I think that the next issues of the ARCL has some desiderata to meet
of which some may be extended to the whole field of CL. But all in
all, this first issue can be seen as a successful first step in the
direction of the aimed objectives: to "establish itself as an
international forum for the publication of high-quality original
research on all areas of linguistic enquiry from a cognitive
perspective", and to support "[f]ruitful debate [...] with neighboring
academic disciplines as well as with other approaches to language
study, particularly functionally-oriented ones". Moreover, it is very
recommendable for both readers with and without knowledge in CL. For
the late, the issue can even serve as a sort of introduction into the
field, since the majority of the papers includes good explanations of
the underlying notions and common terminologies, even though parallel
readings would be by all means advisable.
The volume under review contains much more interesting and relevant
issues than the ones discussed in this review, e.g. prototype theory,
metaphor theory, alternate constructions, to cite only some
examples. I chose to concentrate the discussion on the methodological
issue since it is crucial for the field. In this respect, I can
conclude that, given the pervasiveness of the extreme introspective
method as described above, the development of objectivizing
methodologies is of central relevance for the field of
cognitive-functional linguistics, in order to avoid that Paradis'
criticisms to the generative program concerning its restricted
descriptive and explanatory powers be applied to CL.
[Note: The references cited in the reviewed papers are not included
below; they can be provided on demand to the reviewer.]
Abbot-Smith, K., Lieven, E., & Tomasello, M. (2004): Training
2;6-year- olds to produce the transitive construction: The role of
frequency, semantic similarity and shared syntactic
distribution. Developmental Science, 7,1, 48 - 55.
Barkfelt, Judith (2003): Bilder (aus) der Depression. Metaphorische
Episoden über depressive Episoden: Szenarien des Depressionserlebens.
Crow, T.J. (2000): Schizophrenia as the price that Homo sapiens pays
for language: A resolution of the central paradox in the origin of the
species. In: Brain Research Reviews, 31, 118-129.
Geeraerts, Dirk (1999): Idealist and empiricist tendencies in
cognitive semantics. In: Janssen & Redeker (eds.), pp. 163- 194.
Geeraerts, Dirk (2003): Decontextualizing and recontextualizing
tendencies in 20th century linguistics and literary theory. In:
Mengel, E., Schmid, H.-J. & Steppat, M. (eds.): Anglistentag 2002
Bayreuth, pp. 369-379. Trier: Wiss. Verlag.
Goldber, Adele (1995): Constructions: A Construction Grammar Approach
to Argument Structure. Chicago, IL: The Univ. of Chicago Press.
Harré, R. & Gillett, G. (1994): The Discursive Mind. London: Sage.
Janssen, Theo & Redeker, Gisela (eds.) (1999): Cognitive Linguistics:
Foundations, Scope, and Methodology. Berlin: de Gruyter.
Lakoff, George (1996): Moral Politics: What Conservatives Know That
Lamb, Sydney (2003): Neurolinguistics and General Linguistics: The
importance of the microscopic level. Logos and Language 4, 1-16.
Kravchenko, Alexander (2001): Sign, Meaning, Knowledge: An essay in
the cognitive philosophy of language. Irkutsk, Russia.
Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez, Francisco José & Otal Campo, José Luis (2002):
Metonymy, Grammar, and Communication. Albolote: Ed. Comares.
Sinha, Chris (to appear): Cognitive linguistics, psychology and
cognitive science. In: Geeraerts, D. & Cuyckens, H. (eds.): Handbook
of Cognitive Linguistics.
Tomasello, M. & Call, J. (1997): Primate Cognition. Oxford University
Tomasello, M. (1999). The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition. Harvard
Tomasello, M. (2003): Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of
Language Acquisition. Cambridge, MA & London: Harvard Univ. Press.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
The reviewer is currently working on her M. A. thesis on the
acquisition of argument constructions in a bilingual child within a
usage-based framework. Her research interests include first language
acquisition, multilingualism, cognitive science, developmental
psychology, as well as history of linguistics.
If you buy this book please tell the publisher or author
that you saw it reviewed on the LINGUIST list.
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