Questions For Discussion Before Studying Cognitive Linguistics English Language Essay

Before we go to cognitive linguistics, we should reply some inquiries, which are really of import to those who make a survey of linguistics. Everybody knows that there are many regulations in linguistic communication. a?« , for illustration, is used to demo our heat to people: a?«e?·e?› , a?«e?·a?? , a?«a-?????°? , a?«a-????e?¶ , a?«a??a??e‹??z?aˆ¦ However, ?…?is used to bespeak adieu: ?…?eµ° , ?…??…?a?? , ?…??…?a-? , ?…??…?e?S , ?…??…?aˆ? ( Cantonese ) , ?…??…?aZ‹ ( Cantonese, said to person who goes cycling ) , etc. Because these regulations in Chinese do non be in English, we can non state “ *Come in rapidly ” , “ *Sit down rapidly ” , or “ *Walk easy. ” Rules like this are concerned with usage of words. At the same clip, there are regulations in grammar. In English, for illustration, “ I ” is followed by “ am ” , and “ you ” by “ are ” , and “ he ” by “ is ” .

1 ) Are such regulations in linguistic communication formed bit by bit through mundane usage or prescribed by linguists? ( It is really of import for us to reply such inquiries right before we are engaged in doing a survey of linguistics. )

2 ) All linguistic communication users can talk their female parent lingua right, fluently and suitably. An illiterate adult female in Guangzhou, for illustration, can talk Cantonese right, fluently and suitably. Make you believe she knows Cantonese grammar?

3 ) Some people, even some university instructors say that many great bookmans have made a batch of research and published many books on linguistics and grammar. These people think that the celebrated bookmans have solved all linguistic communication jobs and there ‘s nil left for us to do a survey. What ‘s your sentiment about this?

4 ) Language is ever altering. It is one of the belongingss of linguistic communication. Do you believe it is possible to avoid its alteration or it is necessary to make so?

5 ) There are many lingual schools analyzing linguistic communication in the universe. Can you explicate why there are so many schools?

( Cognitive linguistics is one of the so many schools. I do n’t cognize if you are interested in it or non. For me, I steadfastly believe it and besides interested in it, because it can explicate many phenomena in linguistic communication. The accounts from the position of cognitive linguistics help us cognize about how linguistic communication is formed and why it is formed in this manner alternatively of the other manner. Most significantly, such accounts can assist both instructors teach foreign linguistic communications and scholars learn them efficaciously. )

6 ) Where is intending?

In order to understand these sentences we must name upon our cognition about the universe, which does non shack in the sentences or in any of the words of the sentences. ( Scollon & A ; Scollon 2000: 7 )

aˆ¦we tend to look for significance in words themselves, but we are wrong if we think that words possess significance. It is more accurate to state that people possess significance and that words elicit these significances. ( Samovar et al 2000: 123 )

Language does non itself do the cognitive building-it “ merely ” give us minimum, but sufficient, hints for happening the spheres and rules appropriate for edifice in a given state of affairs. Once these hints are combined with already bing constellations, available cognitive rules, and background framing, the appropriate building can take topographic point, and the consequence far exceeds any open expressed information.

This cardinal belongings of linguistic communication is counterintuitive: In our common people theory, it is the words that carry the significance: We “ say what we mean, ” we “ set intending into words, ” and so on. The difference between the folk-theoretic construct and the existent ( wing ) world goes unnoticed for really interesting grounds. aˆ¦ We notice merely the tip of the iceberg-the words-and we attribute all the remainder to common sense. ( Fauconnier 1994: eighteen ) Language does non transport significance, it guides it. As Mark Turner felicitously put it:

Expressions do non intend ; they are prompts for us to build significances by working with procedures we already know. In no sense is the significance of ( an ) aˆ¦ vocalization “ right there in the words. ” When we understand an vocalization, we in no sense are understanding “ merely what the words say ” ; the words themselves say nil independent of the richly detailed cognition and powerful cognitive procedures we bring to bear ( Turner 1991: 206 )

Language, as we use it, is but the tip of the iceberg of cognitive building. As discourse unfolds, much is traveling on behind the scenes: New spheres appear, links are forged, abstract functions operate, internal construction emerges and spreads, point of view and concentrate maintain switching. Everyday talk and commonsense logical thinking are supported by unseeable, extremely ( p. twenty-two ) abstract, mental creative activities, which grammar helps to steer, but does non by itself define. ( Fauconnier 1994: twenty-three )

On this position, words do non truly hold significances, nor do sentences hold significances: significances are something that we construe, utilizing the belongingss of lingual elements as partial hints, aboard non-linguistic cognition, information available from context, cognition and speculations sing the province of head of listeners and so on. ( Croft & A ; Cruse 2004: 98 )

The nucleus thought in Cognitive Linguisticss is that significances are mental entities in conceptual infinite. Meanings are in people ‘s heads. They are non independent entities in the external universe, as is the instance in objectivist theoretical accounts. The external universe is merely indirectly relevant in that significances are constrained by how human existences perceive of the universe.

The 2nd inquiry concerns the relation between lexical points and significance. Lexical points map on to constructs, and significance is the relation between the lexical point and the sphere matrix that it activates. Lexical significance is constrained by encyclopedic cognition, conventionalized functions between lexical points and constructs, conventional manners of idea in different contexts and situational frames. ( aZY???i?sIn cognitive attacks to intend, all lingual looks are profiled harmonizing to a ‘base ‘ ( Langacker 1987a ) , or a ‘frame ‘ ( Fillmore ( 1982 ) , an ‘idealized cognitive theoretical account ‘ of a state of affairs ( Lakoff 1987 ) or a rhythm of contextualization and decontextualization of word significance based on lingual and encyclopedic cognition ( Warren 1999 ) . All these concepts represent presupposed information in an look that the talker infers in state of affairss. In my theoretical account the appropriate construal is employed on the footing of such cognition. See besides Croft ( forthcoming ) for a similar attack to verbs. ) Meanings are therefore non built-in in the lexical points as such, but they are evoked by lexical points. Furthermore, there is no strictly lingual degree of representation that is intermediate between constructs and lexical points, and there is no inactive one-to-one relationship between lexical points and significances. ( aZY???i?sThis is the instance in attacks to intending that assume a vocabulary consisting of formal characteristics, e.g. Bierwich & A ; Schreuder ( 1992 ) , Levelt ( 1989 ) , Pustejovsky ( 1998 ) , Borschev & A ; Partee ( 2001 ) , Jackendoff ( 2002 ) . ) Multiple readings are natural and expected in a dynamic usage-based theoretical account. The constituents of the model are shown in Figure 1.

The 3rd inquiry concerns the kineticss of linguistic communication in footings of synchronous flexibleness and historical alteration. Different readings in different contexts emerge from the purpose that activates the look or the wish to construe the look in a relevant manner in order to obtain socially feasible ( capable of working, working, or developing adequately ; capable of being and development as an independent unit ) functions between words and constructs. In other words, cognitive procedures ( construals ) operate on the conceptual constructions on all occasions of usage. These operations are the beginning of all readings, conventional every bit good as ad hoc ( used for specific or immediate demands ) contextual readings, and possible lexical alteration takes topographic point through new conventional, entrenched links between lingual looks and conceptual constructions ( Paradis 2003b ) . ( Paradis, 2004: 53 )

The precise semantic part of any word is a map of the vocalization context in which it is embedded, and, furthermore, the kinds of ( conceptual ) cognition these lexical entities provide entree to. In other words, words do n’t hold ‘meanings ‘ in and of themselves. Rather significance is a map of the vocalization in which a word is embedded, and the complex procedures of lexical construct integrating. ( Evans, 2006:492 )

More late, a figure of bookmans have suggested that in fact word-meaning is less a distinct organic structure of limited cognition. Rather, words serve as points of entree to larger-scale encyclopedic cognition constructions, which are potentially huge in range as argued in item below. On this position, words provide entree to what I will mention to as a semantic potency, with different kinds of cognition being potentially activated. ( Evans, 2006: 493 )

One manner of believing about the significance of words is to see them as tools for doing talkers to entree specific parts of their cognition base ( Moore & A ; Carling 1982:11, quoted in Lee, 2001:5 ) . At any given minute, persons have a immense shop of cognition available to them ( Lee, 2001:5 ) . Meaning is non a belongings of vocalizations but a merchandise of the interaction between an vocalization and a human being ‘s ‘knowledge base ‘ ( Lee, 2001:12 ) . The map of the noun cat in the vocalization The cat wants something to eat is to do the addressee to place in on ( intending “ to happen ” ) a really specific part of that cognition base-specifically on those nervous constructions that constitute her shop of cognition refering cats in general and the household cat in peculiar. ( Lee, 2001:5 )

Meaning in linguistic communication can be summarized as:

1 ) To understand words or sentences is to name upon the cognition about the universe.

2 ) The cognition does non shack in the sentences or in any of the words of the sentences. That is, words do non possess significance.

3 ) People possess significance and words as tools elicit significances.

2. What is cognitive linguistics

2.1 The importance of cognitive linguistics

Cognitive linguistics is expected to be one of the most of import attacks in the field of linguistics in the 21 century. Some linguists even say that the 21 century will belong to cognitive linguistics. Cognitive linguistics originated from America in 1970 ‘s the last century. Many linguists in China have turned to cognitive linguistics. Documents about cognitive linguistics, documents presenting cognitive linguistics and documents analysing linguistic communication constructions with cognitive attacks can be found in about every academic diary or magazine related to linguistic communication survey in China in recent old ages. If we pay small attending to this attack, we are certain to dawdle behind. That is why we offer you the class of cognitive linguistics.

2.2 The definition of cognitive linguistics

As you know, each lingual school has its ain attitudes towards linguistic communication and its ain attack to linguistic communication. So does cognitive linguistics. Harmonizing to this text edition, cognitive linguistics is an attack to linguistic communication that is based on our experience of the universe and the manner we perceive and gestate our experience of the universe ( p.F36 ) . ( Who would wish to explicate “ gestate our experience ” ? When we say “ gestate our experience ” , we mean that we have the thought for our experience or that we form constructs of our experience. )

2.3 The aim of cognitive linguistics

The aim of cognitive linguistics is to look into and to analyze “ cognitive or mental construction and organisation by analysing cognitive schemes used by worlds in thought, hive awaying information, comprehending, and bring forthing linguistic communication ” . ( Bussmann, Hadumod. 2000. Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics. p.80. Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press & A ; Routledge )

2.4 Two different significances of the term “ cognitive linguistics ”

It is really of import to detect that “ cognitive linguistics ” has two different significances, which come from the word “ cognitive ” . It has the following two significances:

1 ) cognitive – related to knowledge ( This is the logical position. This position accepts logical regulations and nonsubjective definitions. )

2 ) cognitive – related to human experience based on practical and empirical cognition. ( This is the cognitive linguistics we mean. Such cognitive linguistics includes three positions or attacks: the experiential position, the prominence position and the attentional position. )

3. Experiential position: Different accounts of “ Our auto has broken down ”

3.1 Traditional account

Traditionally, most instructors use the undermentioned methods in category:

1 ) rephrasing the significances of words

2 ) analysing the clause form

3 ) discoursing the usage of the present perfect tense

How make you assist your pupils with this sentence? Talk about your instruction, delight?

If person does non cognize the word “ auto ” , the instructor merely tells him that it means “ 4-wheeled motor vehicle ” . Normally the instructor takes into consideration the alleged “ hard points ” . In this sentence, the hard point may be the phrasal verb “ interrupt down ” , which has at least every bit many as 35 significances harmonizing to a dictionary. The first four significances are:

1 ) to go detached into pieces or fragments

2 ) to go chapped or split

3 ) to give manner ; prostration

4 ) to go unserviceable or inoperative/stop operating or working e.g. The telecasting broke down.

The 4th significance is suited to explicate the phrasal verb “ interrupt down ” , so the instructor chooses “ halt operating or operation ” to replace the original phrase, such as “ Our auto has stopped runing ” or “ Our auto has stopped working ” .

3.2 Explanation with the logical position ( of modern linguistics )

In the logical position, some ‘objective ‘ semantic characteristics must be found. The following are a set of ‘objective ‘ semantic characteristics of “ auto ” :

1 ) inanimate

2 ) concrete

3 ) chattel

4 ) self-propelled

The significance of “ auto ” in this account equates “ nonsubjective characteristics. ” This account seems to be ‘cognitive ‘ , because it is related to knowledge. But it is non the cognitive linguistics we are analyzing. The cognitive linguistics we mean is non based on logical cognition, but on practical and empirical cognition.

The logical position can non explicate the phrasal verb “ interrupt down ” , because the phrase is used as a metaphor, which is excluded from the survey of the logical position.

3.3 Explanation with the experiential position

1 ) Meaning is in our experience.

a. property

Before we explain this sentences with the experiential position, we must first pay particular attending to the term “ property ” , which is often used in cognitive linguistics so it is a really of import term in cognitive linguistics, particularly when we explain linguistic communication with the experiential position. Simply to state, “ property ” is characteristic of an entity ( Word Web )

What are the properties of ‘car ‘ ?

The reply is on P. F37, where you can see that the construct “ auto ” has 9 properties in all. Both our communal experience and personal or subjective experience are related to the word ‘car ‘ . Of the 9 properties, some are shared by most people ‘s experience and some others are really personal and subjective. The properties of ‘first love matter ‘ and ‘injury ‘ are really personal and subjective. The significance of “ auto ” in this account is communal experience + personal ( subjective ) experience. These two types of experience equate properties in all.

B. Two of import facets of properties

a ) Properties are from laymans

We should detect that such properties are collected from laymans ( common people/ individuals who are non trained in linguistics ) alternatively of lexicons or bookmans. So to a great extent, these properties can reflect the manner every linguistic communication user perceives the universe and interacts with it.

B ) Attributes help place similar objects

To every word dictionaries give definitions which are sometimes non helpful. The word “ auto ” , for illustration, is defined as “ 4-wheeled motor vehicle ” . This definition can non assist people place a 3-wheeled motor vehicle when they see such a vehicle for the first clip. But it is obvious that attributes from laymans can make that. Peoples can place it as a auto because it agrees with some of the properties. That is why the experiential position is superior to the logical position.

2 ) Meaning in nonliteral linguistic communication.

The original significance for “ interrupt down ” is “ fall apart ” , “ prostration ” . When it is used to show the event that the auto all of a sudden stops working, it is a metaphorical usage because the auto does non go detached into pieces or fragments. Metaphor is no longer regarded every bit merely a rhetorical device. In logical position, metaphor is excluded from the survey of linguistics. But the fact is that metaphor is often used by everyone in their vocalizations every twenty-four hours. It goes without stating that “ bosom ” as in “ Beijing is the bosom of China ” is a metaphor. So is the oculus of Eden in Sonnet 18 by Shakespeare. Everybody can place this sort of metaphor. But metaphor in cognitive linguistics is in a much broader sense. The followers are besides illustrations of metaphor:

( 1 ) You appear at the caput of the list.

( 2 ) the leg of a tabular array

( 3 ) He got into problem yesterday.

In literature, “ acquire into problem ” is no metaphor at all, but in cognitive linguistics it is because “ problem ” is regarded as a container. Actually, people tend to do usage of metaphor. In a metaphorical manner it is easier to show abstract thoughts or unfamiliar things. So concrete constructs are used to show abstract constructs and familiar things are used to bespeak unfamiliar things. We can state, metaphor is permeant in linguistic communication, that is to state, nonliteral linguistic communication is everyplace in linguistic communication. If a lingual theory pays no attending to metaphor or nonliteral linguistic communication, such a theory can be said non to be immature. A good lingual theory should explicate every phenomenon in linguistic communication. Cognitive linguistics is such a lingual theory which makes a survey of every facet of significances in linguistic communication.

4. Prominence position

The prominence position concerns the choice and agreement of the information that is expressed. It is really an account of how the information in a clause is selected and arranged. Compare the undermentioned brace of illustrations:

( 4 ) a. The garden is teeming with bees.

B. Bees are teeming in the garden.

In traditional grammar, the two sentences are regarded as the same in significance. But in fact they do non intend the same because prominence in the sentences are different. ( 4a ) means that there are bees everyplace in the garden, but ( 4b ) means that there are bees in portion of the garden.

5. Attentional position

The attentional position is an attack based on the premise that what we really express reflects which parts of an event pull our attending ( p. F39 ) . That is, an vocalization reflects what is paid attending to. In linguistic communication the same event can be expressed in different ways because of our different attendings. Take learn and Teach for illustration:

( 5 ) a. Xiao Li learned English from Mr. Smith.

b. Mr. Smith taught Xiao Li English.

When the talker ‘s attending is on Xiao Li, he uses the first sentence, but when his attending is on Mr. Smith, he uses the 2nd 1. In paraphrasis, we normally tell the pupils that the two sentences are in the same significance, but in the attentional position, their significances are in fact different.

6. The contents of this book

1 ) This book contains six chapters, with Chapters 1, 2, 3 presenting the experiential position, Chapter 4 covering with the prominence position, Chapter 5 discoursing the attentional position and Chapter 6 briefing iconicity, grammaticalization, lexical alteration and linguistic communication instruction.

2 ) This book talks chiefly about the three positions of cognitive linguistics.

It is of import for you to do clear the three positions foremost, because they are initiated by cognitive linguistics and therefore they are basic theories of cognitive linguistics. And so you should besides travel on to analyze iconicity, grammaticalization, lexical alteration and linguistic communication instruction. Though iconicity and grammaticalization are non initiated by cognitive linguistics, many bookmans are working at them because the two attacks can besides explicate many linguistic communication jobs. The last subdivision of this book besides talks about foreign linguistic communication acquisition and instruction. For us, this subdivision may be helpful. But until now, few people have discussed this subject, so what is presented in the last subdivision of this book is merely the potency of cognitive attack to foreign linguistic communication learning. We can profit from the treatment about foreign linguistic communication acquisition and instruction in this book so as to get down with our ain researches of English instruction and acquisition.


What is cognitive linguistics? What ‘s the difference between the logical position and the experiential position?

How make you understand the term “ property ” in cognitive linguistics? Talk about properties of “ bike ” .