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Cognitive Linguistics

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Volume 12, Issue 2 (Dec 2001)


Discourse in Cognitive Grammar

Ronald W Langacker
  • University of California, San Diego.
  • Email:
Published Online: 2008-03-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.12.2.143


Cognitive Grammar presupposes an inherent and intimate relation between linguistic structures and discourse. Linguistic units are abstracted from usage events, retaining as part of their value any recurring facet of the interactive and discourse context. Linguistic structures thus incorporate discourse expectations and are interpretable as instructions to modify the current discourse state. There are multiple channels of conceptualization and vocalization, including the symbolization of attentional framing by intonation groups. An expression is produced and understood with respect to a presupposed discourse context, which shapes and supports its interpretation. Particular contextual applications of linguistic units become entrenched and conventionalized as new, augmented units. As discourse proceeds, conceptual structures are progressively built and modified in accordance with the semantic poles of the expressions employed. While initially manifesting the specific conceptual structuring imposed by these expressions, the structures assembled undergo consolidation to reflect the intrinsic conceptual organization of the situations described. This conceptual organization has to be distinguished from grammatical constituency, which is flexible, variable, and in no small measure determined by discourse considerations.

Keywords: discourse; Cognitive Grammar; intonation unit; grounding; structure building; constituency

About the article

Received: 2000-10-30

Revised: 2001-02-26

Published Online: 2008-03-10

Published in Print: 2001-12-01

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.12.2.143. Export Citation

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