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Cognitive Linguistics

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Volume 24, Issue 3 (Jul 2013)


What is a domain? Dimensional structures versus meronomic relations

Peter Gärdenfors
  • Corresponding author
  • Cognitive Science, Department of Philosophy, Lund University
  • Email:
/ Simone Löhndorf
  • Linguistics and Phonology, Center for Languages and Literature, Lund University
  • Email:
Published Online: 2013-07-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2013-0017


Within cognitive linguistics, the notion of domain is central. In the literature, the notion of domain has been interpreted in an all-encompassing way, which has led to conceptual confusion. The article proposes to distinguish between a more psychologically oriented description of domains based on dimensional structures, on the one hand; and meronomic relations, on the other. It is shown how Langacker's notion of a configurational domain can be analyzed as higher-level dimensional structures. An added benefit of the distinction between dimensional domains and meronomic relations is that it generates a natural account of the difference between metaphors and metonymies.

Keywords: domain; dimension; meronomy; locational domain; configurational domain; feature analysis; integral dimensions; separable dimensions; metaphor; metonymy

About the article

Published Online: 2013-07-27

Published in Print: 2013-07-26

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2013-0017. Export Citation

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