Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Cognitive Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Divjak, Dagmar / Newman, John

4 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 1.902
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 2.297

CiteScore 2017: 1.62

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 1.032
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 1.930

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 27, Issue 4


Turning back to experience in Cognitive Linguistics via phenomenology

Jordan Zlatev
Published Online: 2016-10-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2016-0057


Cognitive Linguistics began as an apotheosis of lived experience, but has over the years diversified into many different stands, interpreting the notion of “experience” and along with it the notion of “cognition” in conflicting ways: individual or social, prelinguistic or linguistic, unconscious or conscious? These issues are not only philosophical as they hold crucial implications for methodology. Here, I propose that most of them can be resolved with the help of phenomenology, “the study of human experience and of the ways things present themselves to us in and through such experience” (Sokolowski 2000. Introduction to phenomenology. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2). Cogent syntheses are proposed to the individual/social and prelinguistic/linguistic debates, showing that scholars like Langacker, Talmy and Itkonen have focused on complementary aspects of implicitly phenomenological investigations. Third-person, “objective” methods are necessary for extending the scope of such investigations, but epistemologically secondary. Thus, the focus of Cognitive Linguistics can be brought back to experience, albeit in a more mature manner than 30 years ago.

Keywords: consciousness; phenomenology; methodology; grounding; sedimentation


  • Bergen, Benjamin K. 2012. Louder than words: The new science of how the mind makes meaning. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar

  • Blomberg, Johan. 2015. The expression of non-actual motion in Swedish, French and Thai. Cognitive Linguistics 26(4). 657–696.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Blomberg, Johan & Jordan Zlatev. 2014. Actual and non-actual motion: Why experientialist semantics needs phenomenology (and vice versa). Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13(3). 395–418.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Bohnemeyer, Jürgen. 2010. Path, fictive motion, and time relations. In Barbara Malt & Phillip Wolff (eds.), Words and the mind: How words capture human experience, 111–137. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar

  • Bråten, Stein. 2006. Intersubjective communication and emotion in early ontogeny. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Coseriu, Eugenio. 2000. The principles of linguistics as a cultural science. Transylvanian Review (CLUJ) IX(1). 108–115.Google Scholar

  • Dąbrowska, Ewa. 2010. Naive v. expert intuitions: An empirical study of acceptability judgments. The Linguistic Review 27. 1–23.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Dor, Daniel. 2015. The instruction of imagination: Language as a social communication technology. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar

  • Frege, Gottlob. 2008 [1892]. On sense and reference. In Susana Nuccetelli & Gary Seay (eds.), Philosophy of language: The central topics, 113–127. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar

  • Fuchs, Thomas. 2005. Corporealized and disembodied minds: A phenomenological view of the body in melancholia and schizophrenia. Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 12(2). 95–107.Google Scholar

  • Gallagher, Shaun & Dan Zahavi. 2008. The phenomenological mind: An introduction to philosophy of mind and cognitive science. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Geeraerts, Dirk & Hubert Cuyckens. 2007. Introducing cognitive linguistics. In Dirk Geeraerts & Hubert Cuyckens (eds.), The Oxford handbook in cognitive linguistics, 3–21. Oxford: OUP.Google Scholar

  • Geeraerts, Dirk. This issue. The sociosemiotic commitment.

  • Gibson, James J. 1979. The ecological approach to visual perception. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar

  • Harder, Peter. 2010. Meaning in mind and society: A functional contribution to the social turn in cognitive linguistics. Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Husserl, Edmund. 1984. Einleitung in die Logik und Erkenntnistheorie. Vorlesungen 1906/07. Husserliana XXIV. Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff.

  • Itkonen, Esa. 2003. What is language? A study in the philosophy of linguistics. Turku: Turku University Press.Google Scholar

  • Itkonen, Esa. 2008. Concerning the role of consciousness in linguistics. Journal of Consciousness Studies 15(6). 15–33.Google Scholar

  • Itkonen, Esa. 2016. An assessment of (mentalist) cognitive semantics. Public Journal of Semiotics 7(1). 1–42.Google Scholar

  • Johnson, Mark. 1987. The body in the mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

  • Koch, Sabine C., Thomas Fuchs, Michalea Summa & Cornelia Müller (eds.). 2012. Body memory, metaphor and movement. Amsterdam: Benjamins.Google Scholar

  • Lakoff, George. 1987. Women, fire and dangerous things: What categories releal about the mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

  • Lakoff, George & Mark Johnson. 1980. Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

  • Lakoff, George & Mark Johnson. 1999. Philosophy in the flesh: The embodied mind and its challenge to Western thought. New York: Basic books.Google Scholar

  • Langacker, Ronald W. 1987. Foundations of cognitive grammar: Theoretical prerequisites. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Langacker, Ronald W. 2006. Subjectification, grammaticization, and conceptual archetypes. In A. Athansiadou, C. Canakis & B. Cornillie (eds.), Subjectification: Various paths to subjectivity, 17–40. Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Langacker, Ronald W. This issue. Working towards a synthesis.

  • Matlock, Teenie. 2010. Abstract motion is no longer abstract. Language and Cognition 2(2). 243–260.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. 1962 [1945]. Phenomenology of perception. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Möttönen, Tapani. 2016. Construal in expression: Intersubjective approach to cognitive grammar. Helsinki: University of Helsinki.Google Scholar

  • Popper, Karl. 1979. Objective knowledge: An evolutionary approach. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar

  • Richardson, Daniel & Teenie Matlock. 2007. The integration of figurative language and static depictions: An eye movement study of fictive motion. Cognition 102(1). 129–138.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Sokolowski, Robert. 2000. Introduction to phenomenology. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Talmy, Leonard. 2000. Toward a cognitive semantics – Vol. 1. Cambridge, MA: MIT press.Google Scholar

  • Thompson, Evan. 2007. Mind in life: Biology, phenomenology and the sciences of mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

  • Varela, Francisco J. 1996. Neurophenomenology: A methodological remedy for the hard problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3(4). 330–349.Google Scholar

  • Vygotsky, Lev S. 1978. Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

  • Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 1953. Philosophical investigations. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar

  • Zahavi, Dan. 2001. Beyond empathy. Phenomenological approaches to intersubjectivity. Journal of Consciousness Studies 8(5–6). 151–167.Google Scholar

  • Zahavi, Dan. 2010. Naturalized phenomenology. In Shaun Gallagher & Daniel Schmicking (eds.), Handbook of phenomenology and cognitive science, 2–19. New York: Springer.Google Scholar

  • Zinken, Jörg. 2007. Discourse metaphors: The link between figurative language and habitual analogies. Cognitive Linguistics 18. 445–466.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Zlatev, Jordan. 1997. Situated embodiment: Studies in the emergence of spatial meaning. Stockholm: Gotab.Google Scholar

  • Zlatev, Jordan. 2007. Language, embodiment and mimesis. In Tom Ziemke, Jordan Zlatev & Roz Frank (eds.), Body, language, mind – Vol. 1: Embodiment, 297–337. Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Zlatev, Jordan. 2008. The dependence of language on consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 15(6). 34–62.Google Scholar

  • Zlatev, Jordan. 2010. Phenomenology and cognitive linguistics. In Shaun Gallagher & Daniel Schmicking (eds.), Handbook of phenomenology and cognitive science, 415–443. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar

  • Zlatev, Jordan. 2013. The mimesis hierarchy of semiotic development: Five stages of intersubjectivity in children. Public Journal of Semiotics 4(2). 47–70.Google Scholar

  • Zlatev, Jordan. 2015. Cognitive semiotics. In Peter Trifonas (ed.), International handbook of semiotics, 1043–1067. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar

  • Zlatev, Jordan. To appear. Embodied intersubjectivity. In Barbara Dancygier (ed.), Handbook in cognitive linguistics. Cambridge: CUP.Google Scholar

  • Zlatev, Jordan & Johan Blomberg. To appear. Embodied intersubjectivity, sedimentation and non-actual motion expressions. Nordic Journal of Linguistics 39(2).Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

About the article

Received: 2016-05-22

Revised: 2016-08-09

Accepted: 2016-08-18

Published Online: 2016-10-13

Published in Print: 2016-11-01

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, Volume 27, Issue 4, Pages 559–572, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2016-0057.

Export Citation

©2016 by De Gruyter Mouton.Get Permission

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.

Alan Cienki
Cognitive Linguistics, 2016, Volume 27, Number 4, Page 603
Dagmar Divjak, Natalia Levshina, and Jane Klavan
Cognitive Linguistics, 2016, Volume 27, Number 4, Page 447
Ronald W. Langacker
Cognitive Linguistics, 2016, Volume 27, Number 4, Page 465

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in