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An introduction to Cognitive Linguistics Liu Jing.

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1 An introduction to Cognitive Linguistics Liu Jing

2 Introduction What is cognitive linguistics? -- Cognitive linguistics: the study of the relationship between language and cognitive processing in the human brain. -- It argues that language is governed by general cognitive principles, rather than by a special-purpose language module.

3 Introduction Cognitive linguistics is taken here to refer to the approach to the study of language that began to emerge in the 1970s and has been increasingly active since the 1980s. Three major hypotheses as guiding the cognitive linguistic approach to language: language is not an autonomous cognitive faculty grammar is conceptualization knowledge of language emerges from language use

4 Introduction Chomskyan linguistics about the mind: -- the mind is modular and has its initial structure. -- linguistic knowledge is distinct from conceptual knowledge, social cognition, interpersonal skills, math abilities, music abilities, abilities to reason and so on.

5 Introduction: Schools in CL West coast of America Two major Schools: 1.Berkerly: Fillmore, P. Kay (Frame Semantics, Cognitive Semantics) 2.San Diego: Langacker, Fauconnier, Coulson, etc. (Cognitive Grammar, Conceptual Integration)

6 Introduction: CL in China 赵元任 《汉语口语语法》 1979 认为应由意义出发 归纳词类的形式;语法范畴确立的相对性等。具有 认知语言学思想. 早期介绍:文旭,石毓智,王寅,赵艳芳等 目前:研究者众,沈家煊,束定芳,徐盛桓等大家 ,方法多以介绍或对比为主,间或应用

7 Cognitive linguistic ways of approaching language Experiential view Prominence view Attentional view The three interlocking ways of approaching language via its relation to the world around us, describe the core areas of CL

8 Experiential view Describe a “car”.

9 Experiential view Attributes including associations and impressions which are part of our experience are used. “Tom broke the window, So Dad exploded.”

10 Prominence view Describe the picture.

11 Prominence view The Prominence view explains the selection and arrangement of the information expressed in a clause. e.g. the clause subject

12 Attentional view “The car crashed into the tree.”

13 Attentional view Analyzing the sentence in terms of attention allocation, the attentional view explains why one stage of the event is expressed in the sentence and why other stages are not.

14 Categorization and Category Have you seen a tree? I bet that strictly speaking you haven’t!

15 Categorization and Category The same is true with the with the word dog.

16 Categorization and Category A dog (or a tree) stands for all the characteristics of the species it refers to. The special term for this phenomenon is called category. The process of classification is called categorization.

17 Categorization and Category Categorization occurs everywhere around us, without which a lot of information would be in disorder. e.g. Categorization of student Categorization of color

18 Two Theories for Categorization What principles do people use when they do categorizing? 1)Classical theory 2)Prototype theory

19 The classical theory Four assumptions: 1) A thing cannot both have a feature and not have it, it cannot both belong to a category and not belong to it. e.g. a bird 2)Features a are binary. e.g. bird: [+ two legs] but [-four legs] 3)Categories have clear boundaries. e.g. bird V.S. beast 4) All members of a category have equal status. e.g. The sparrow is not a better member than the ostrich in the BIRD category.

20 The classical theory The classical theory dominated for a long time. But when it has to describe categories with good and bad members or fuzzy boundaries, it is found that things in the world are much too complex for a theory as neat as the classical theory. e.g. Do ostriches and penguins belong to the BIRD category?

21 Prototype theory Graded centrality Not all members of a category have the same status within the category. People have intuitions that some category members are better examples of the category than others. Members that are judged to be the best examples of a category can be considered to be the most central in the category. There has been a considerable amount of experimental work by cognitive psychologists on the notion of Goodness-Of-Exemplar (henceforward GOE). The most basic experiment:

22 Prototype theory VEGETABLE GOE rating LEEK, CARROT 1 BROCCOLI, PARSNIP 2 CELERY, BEETROOT 3 AUBERGINE, COURGETTE 4 PARSLEY, BASIL 5 RHUBARB 6 LEMON 7 Combining the results from a large number of subjects allows the identification of the best examples of categories: these are typically referred to as the prototypes or prototypical members of the category.

23 Prototype theory Color terms such as red constituted the starting-point for prototypical research; drawing on the views developed in Berlin and Kay (1969), Rosch’s earliest work is an experimental demonstration of the fact that 1) the borderline between different colors is fuzzy (there is no single line in the spectrum where red stops and orange begins), 2) each color term is psychologically represented by focal colors (some hues are experienced as better reds than others) (Heider 1972; Heider and Olivier 1972).

24 Prototype theory Focal colors/basic color terms According to the experiment conducted by Berlin and Kay (1969), a particular set of color terms met the following criteria: 1)They should consist of just one word of native origin, as opposed to greenish-blue or turquoise. 2)Their application should not be restricted to a narrow class of objects, as opposed to English and German blond. 3) They should come to mind readily and should be familiar to all or at least to most speakers of a language, as opposed to vermilion( 朱红色 ).

25 Prototype theory The prototype theory can 1) explain how people deal with atypical examples of a category. e.g. unbirdy birds. 2) explain how people deal with damaged examples. e.g. one-winged robin 3) work for actions as well as objects. e.g. kill: murder/execute/suicide

26 Levels of categorization Prototype theory also provides an account of levels of categorization. Categories occur at different levels of inclusiveness e.g. a. vehicle – car – hatchback b. fruit – apple – Granny Smith c. animal – dog – spaniel d. cutlery – knife – bread knife e. item of furniture – table – card table basic level, superordinate level and subordinate level.

27 Levels of categorization The basic level items are basic in three aspects: (i) perception: overall perceived shape, single mental image, fast identification (ii) communication: shortest, most commonly used and contextually neutral words, first learned by children and first entered the lexicon. (iii) knowledge organization: most attributes of category members are stored at this level. most frequently used

28 Conceptual metaphor Traditionally, metaphor is a figure of speech. CL: a property of concepts, a tool for conceptualization of abstract categories. It is defined as understanding one conceptual/cognitive domain in terms of another conceptual domain. conceptual domain (A) is conceptual domain (B) target domain source domain He is a tiger.

29 Conceptual metaphor More examples of conceptual metaphors: 1)Love Is A Journey Look how far we’ve come. We will just have to go our separate ways. We can’t turn back now. 2)An Argument Is War Your claims are indefensible. They attacked every weak point in our argument. She shot down all my arguments.

30 Conceptual metonymy Traditionally, metonymy is a figure of speech. e.g. Have you read Shakespeare? I want my love to be with me all the time. CL: Conceptual Metonymy is a cognitive process in which one cognitive category, the source, provides mental access to another cognitive category, the target, within the same cognitive domain, or idealized cognitive model.

31 Conceptual metonymy Conceptual Metonymy plays a very important part in the structures of emotion categories. Bodily symptoms of an emotion stands for that emotion: e.g. I was chilled to the bone. He swelled with pride. He is jumping for joy.

32 Conceptual metonymy Conceptual metonymy differs from conceptual metaphors In the fact that conceptual metaphor involves a mapping across different conceptual/cognitive domains while conceptual metonymy is a mapping within one conceptual domain. cognitive category (A) cognitive category (B) target category source category

33 Conceptual metonymy Most commonly used conceptual metonymies: 1)The producer for the product She loves Picasso 2)The place for the event America doesn’t want another Pearl Harbor. 3)The place for the institution Hollywood is putting out terrible movies. 4)The controller for the controlled Nixon bombed Hanoi 5)An object used for the user The sax has the flu today.

34 Iconicity Contrary to the belief Language is fundamentally arbitrary, there is no resemblance between the signs of a language and the thoughts they stand for, CL holds that the sequence of grammatical elements is governed by the principle of iconicity, in other words, the structure of language reflects in some way the structure of experience. The major types of iconicity are those of order, distance and complexity.

35 Iconicity of order The similarity between temporal events and the linear arrangement of elements in a linguistic construction. He opened a bottle and poured himself a glass of wine. ※ He poured himself a glass of wine and opened a bottle. He jumped onto his horse and rode out into the sunset. ※ He rode out into the sunset and jumped onto his horse.

36 Iconicity of distance Conceptual distance corresponds to linguistic distance, not merely physical distance. a. He killed the chicken. b. He caused the chicken to die. When you buy beef …..

37 Iconicity of complexity Any modification or elaboration of one meaning-bearing grammatical element by another (as in the process of subordination) leads to the increase of both structural and conceptual complexity. a.On the train to Victoria I met her. b.On the train to Victoria I met the girl from next door. c.On the train to Victoria I met this fair-haired, fragile, just unbelievably beautiful creature. Iconicity of complexity accounts for our tendency to associate more form with more meaning, and less form with less meaning.

38 Thank you!

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