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  • Author: Ronald W. Langacker x
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The Cognitive Basis of Grammar

Abstract

It is quite legitimate for Broccias and Hollmann (2007) to question the characterization of verbs in terms of sequential scanning. However, they have not advanced any cogent arguments against it. Although experimental evidence is certainly to be desired, there is no doubt about the psychological status of sequential scanning: it amounts to nothing more than the sequentiality inherent in the real-time experience of events. Its sequentiality should be most fully manifested when a verb is directly apprehended as a grounded clausal head (hence most salient); owing to general effects of compression, a more holistic view should prevail when a verb is subordinated to other elements. The arguments made by B&H concerning the English auxiliary, causatives, and path prepositions are discussed and found to be invalid. Nonetheless, their critique has shown the need for clarification and refinement and has directed attention to important issues.

Abstract

Goldberg overstates the differences between Cognitive Grammar and Cognitive Construction Grammar. The former does not claim that a clause invariably inherits its profile from the verb; it has merely been suggested that the latter's preference for monosemy may have been pushed too far. The matter can only be addressed given a specific definition of what is meant in saying that a verb “has” a certain sense. Also, the schematic meanings proposed in Cognitive Grammar for basic grammatical notions do not imply a “reductionist” or “essentialist” view based on classical categorization. Instead they complement the characterization of these notions as “metageneralizations over construction-specific categories”, which otherwise begs the question of why the distributional patterns supporting such generalizations should be observed in the first place.

Abstract

A general framework is sketched for thinking about problems of usage and acquisition from a cognitive linguistic perspective. It is a dynamic, usage-based approach emphasizing the temporal dimension of language structure as an aspect of cognitive processing. A variety of topics are discussed involving the abstraction of linguistic units, their mental representation, and their activation in usage events.