Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details

Cognitive Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Newman, John

4 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR increased in 2015: 1.375
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.527
Rank 29 out of 179 in category Linguistics in the 2015 Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Report/Social Sciences Edition

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.592
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 1.277
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.833

See all formats and pricing
Volume 19, Issue 1 (Feb 2008)


On iconicity of distance

William Croft
  • University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA.
Published Online: 2008-03-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/COG.2008.003


Haspelmath argues that certain universal asymmetries in linguistic distance previously analyzed as examples of iconicity of distance are better analyzed as the result of frequency. It is argued here that Haspelmath's arguments can be countered by an advocate of iconicity of distance as an explanatory factor. Iconicity of distance is not different in kind from iconicity of contiguity, which Haspelmath endorses. Haspelmath's argument works only if one takes relative frequency instead of absolute frequency; yet it is generally accepted that economy effects are the result of absolute frequency. The empirical frequency data that Haspelmath presents is inconclusive. However, Haspelmath presents data that suggest that an iconicity of distance analysis, at least for possession constructions, must be revised as iconicity of length. Finally, criteria are offered to differentiate the effects of economy, iconicity of distance/length, and iconicity of independence.

Keywords: frequency; iconicity; economy; distance

About the article

Received: 2007-04-30

Published Online: 2008-03-12

Published in Print: 2008-02-01

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/COG.2008.003. Export Citation

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Marlou van Rijn
Transactions of the Philological Society, 2016, Page n/a
Victor Kuperman and Raymond Bertram
Language and Cognitive Processes, 2013, Volume 28, Number 7, Page 939

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in