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Cognitive Science & Cognitive Linguistics
Transcript of Cognitive Science & Cognitive Linguistics
Cognitive Linguistics embracing... Cognitive Linguistics Cognitive scientists seek answers to fundamental questions about the mental processes:
How is it that we can learn and remember?
Sense the world around us?
What is the relationship between the mind and the brain?
How has evolution shaped the mind?
Could a computer think?
Linguistics is the study of questions relating the structure, history, philosophy, psychology, and use of language: What are the properties of languages and how are they acquired?
How did language evolve and how have languages changed over time?
How is language organized in the brain? What is it? Cognitive Science Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of thought, learning and mental organization.... It is undoubtedly one of the major interdisciplinary successes of the twentieth century, with its own society, journal, and textbooks, and with more than sixty cognitive science programs established at universities in North America and Europe. Then... a New Movement Dawned... Cognitive linguistics is a relatively new school of linguistics, and one of the
most innovative and exciting approaches to the study of language and thought that has emerged within the modern field of interdisciplinary study known as cognitive science.
It is concerned with investigating the relationship between human language, the mind and socio-physical experience. It originally emerged in the 1970s (Fillmore, 1975; Lakoff & Thompson, 1975; Rosch, 1975) and arose out of dissatisfaction with formal approaches to language which were dominant, at that time, in the disciplines of linguistics and philosophy.
While its origins were, in part, philosophical in nature, cognitive linguistics
has always been strongly influenced by theories and findings from the other cognitive
sciences as they emerged during the 1960s and 1970s, particularly cognitive psychology.
Cognitive linguistics is best described as a ‘movement’ or an ‘enterprise’, precisely
because it does not constitute a single closely-articulated theory. Instead, it is an approach that has adopted a common set of core commitments and guiding principles, which have led to a diverse range of complementary, overlapping (and sometimes competing) theories. Two key commitments of cognitive linguistics The cognitive linguistics enterprise is characterized by two fundamental commitments (Lakoff, 1990). These underlie both the orientation and approach adopted by practising cognitive linguists, and the assumptions and methodologies employed in the two main branches of the cognitive linguistics enterprise: cognitive semantics, and cognitive
approaches to grammar. Commitments The Generalization
Commitment The first key commitment is the Generalization Commitment (Lakoff, 1990). It represents
a dedication to characterizing general principles that apply to all aspects of human
language. This goal is just a special subcase of the standard commitment in science
to seek the broadest generalizations possible. In contrast to the cognitive linguistics
approach, other approaches to the study of language often separate the language faculty
into distinct areas such as phonology (sound), semantics (word and sentence
meaning), pragmatics (meaning in discourse context), morphology (word structure),
syntax (sentence structure), and so on.
As a consequence, there is often little basis for generalization across these aspects of language, or for study of their interrelations. This is particularly true of formal linguistics. Cognitive linguists acknowledge that it may often be useful to treat areas such
as syntax, semantics and phonology as being notionally distinct. However, given the
Generalization Commitment, cognitive linguists do not start with the assumption
that the ‘modules’ or ‘subsystems’ of language are organized in significantly divergent
ways, or indeed that wholly distinct modules even exist. Thus, the Generalization
Commitment represents a commitment to openly investigating how the various aspects
of linguistic knowledge emerge from a common set of human cognitive abilities upon
which they draw, rather than assuming that they are produced in encapsulated modules
of the mind. Cognitive Commitment The second commitment is termed the Cognitive Commitment (Lakoff, 1990). It
represents a commitment to providing a characterization of the general principles
for language that accord with what is known about the mind and brain from other
disciplines. It is this commitment that makes cognitive linguistics cognitive, and thus an approach which is fundamentally interdisciplinary in nature.
Just as the Generalization Commitment leads to the search for principles of
language structure that hold across all aspects of language, in a related manner, the
Cognitive Commitment represents the view that principles of linguistic structure
should reflect what is known about human cognition from the other cognitive and
brain sciences, particularly psychology, artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience, and philosophy.
In other words, the Cognitive Commitment asserts that models of
language and linguistic organization proposed should reflect what is known about the human mind, rather than purely aesthetic dictates such as the use of particular kinds of formalisms or economy of representation References * Cognitive Linguistics An Introduction Vyvyan Evans and Melanie Green Edinburgh University Press
* Being Interdisciplinary: Trading Zones in Cognitive Science Paul Thagard
Philosophy Department University of Waterloo
*http://www.wellesley.edu/cogsci COGNITIVE & LINGUISTIC SCIENCES
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