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Cognitive Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Divjak, Dagmar


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Volume 27, Issue 4

Issues

Working toward a synthesis

Ronald W. Langacker
Published Online: 2016-10-14 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2016-0004

Abstract

Although Cognitive Linguistics represents a recontextualization with respect to prior tradition, internally it has been diverse and grounded from the outset. In design and principle, this holds for Cognitive Grammar, which seeks a comprehensive yet unified account of structure and use. It foreshadowed the “social turn” by claiming that the speaker-hearer interaction is inherent in linguistic units, which are abstracted from usage events; and also the “quantitative turn”, by its usage-based nature and the view that structure resides in processing activity. There is no single way of describing a language, just as there is no single way of describing a biological organism. Linguistics is thus a vast, multifaceted enterprise embracing a wide range of objectives, methods, and expertise. A number of points are made in this regard. (i) While corpus analysis is essential for many purposes, elicited and introspective data also have their place. (ii) With no inconsistency, language is validly characterized as both a cognitive/mental phenomenon and a social/interactive one. (iii) The fact that language resides in processing activity does not entail the absence of discreteness or the non-existence of complex structures. (iv) The importance of quantitative methods does not obviate the central role of structural analysis and description, which have equal claim to being empirical.

Keywords: Cognitive Grammar; data; description; discourse; discreteness; empirical; functionalism; interaction; unification

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About the article

Received: 2016-01-09

Revised: 2016-07-22

Accepted: 2016-08-18

Published Online: 2016-10-14

Published in Print: 2016-11-01


Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, Volume 27, Issue 4, Pages 465–477, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2016-0004.

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