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Cognitive Linguistics


With your neighbour, list basic colour terms in English/German. ... MAMMAL = superordinate; DOG = basic level; BULLDOG = subordinate. A. Basic level categories ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Cognitive Linguistics

Cognitive Linguistics
  • Übung im Sommersemester 2004
  • Dozentin Monika Bednarek, M.A.

  • Organisatorisches
  • Goals of module
  • The structure of this module
  • Course Content
  • Cognitive Linguistics An Introduction

  • Email
  • Sprechstunde

Goals of this module
  • This class aims to introduce you to Cognitive
    Linguistics, by explaining and applying its key
    concerns prototypes, categories, metaphors,
    metonymy, and frames. In doing so, not only will
    you gain insight into a new approach to
    linguistics, but you will also learn more about
    how human cognition seems to work. (VLvz)

The structure of this module
  • Cognitive linguistics (CL) an introduction
  • Prototypes and categories
  • Levels of categorization
  • Frames
  • Figure and ground
  • Conceptual metaphors and metonymies
  • Other issues in CL

Most sessions will follow this pattern
  • Short refreshment of last time
  • Introducing new topics
  • Group activities
  • Summary

1. Cognitive Linguistics an Introduction
  • What is CL and where does it fit in?
  • The term cognitive
  • Cognitive means relating to the mental process
    involved in knowing, learning, and understanding
    things. (COBUILD)
  • In that many modern linguists recognize that
    language knowledge resides in the minds of
    speakers they might be said to practice
    cognitive linguistics

  • Chomskyan linguistics as cognitive linguistics
    and the cognitive turn in linguistics
  • Syntactic Structures (Chomsky 1957), Aspects of
    the Theory of Syntax (Chomsky 1965) grammar
    exists in speakers minds innate UG language as
    autonomous component of the mind knowledge of
    language forms an autonomous module/faculty
    independent of other mental processes
  • Cognitive Linguistics definitions and

  • A descriptive label for a rather broad
    movement within modern linguistics. It includes a
    variety of approaches, methodologies, and
    emphases, which are, however, unified by a number
    of common assumptions. Foremost among these is
    the belief that language forms an integral part
    of human cognition, and that any insightful
    analysis of linguistic phenomena will need to be
    embedded in what is known about human cognitive
    abilities. (Taylor 2002 3f.)

  • Cognitive linguistics … is an approach to
    language that is based on our experience of the
    world and the way we perceive and conceptualize
    it. (Ungerer Schmid 1996 x)
  • In CL research is shaped from the outset by what
    is believed to be cognitively plausible. Language
    as an integral part of cognition study of
    language in light of what is known about the mind
    (experimentation, introspection, common-sense

  • Cognitive Linguists study much the same kind of
    things as any other linguist syntax,
    morphology, phonology, word meaning, discourse
    structure …. But the general thrust of the
    Cognitive Linguistics enterprise is to render
    these accounts consonant with aspects of
    cognition which are well documented or
    self-evident, or at least highly plausible, and
    which may well be manifested in non-linguistic
    activities. (Taylor 2002 9)
  • Three main topics/approaches experientialism,
    prominence, attention

  • 1. Experientialism (vs objectivism)
  • Experientialism rejects the basic belief of
    objectivism that categories exist in objective
    reality, together with their properties and
    relations, independently of our consciousness.
    Symbols of language are meaningful because they
    are associated with these objective categories.
    Three doctrines of objectivism that are refuted
  • The doctrine of truth-conditional meaning
    Meaning is based on reference truth
  • The correspondence theory of truth Truth
    consists in the correspondence between symbols
    and states-of-affairs in the world

  • The doctrine of objective reference there is an
    objectively correct way to associate symbols
    with things in the world.
  • ? Instead, experientialism suggests that our
    bodily experience and the way we use imaginative
    mechanisms are central to how we construct
    categories to make sense of experience. (Lakoff
    1987 xii)
  • 2. Prominence selection and arrangement of
  • 3. Attention which aspect of an event attracts

Why study CL?
  • 1) one of the most recent approaches within
  • 2) unified cognitive explanation of language,
  • 3) applicable to TEFL

CL and neurocognitive linguistics
  • Neurocognitive linguistics is based on the study
    of the brain how language is represented in the
    neuronal structure. But it has to be recognized
    that neurological studies of language tend to
    deal with very global aspects of language
    structure and language processing, not with the
    nitty-gritty details that are the main
    preoccupations of linguists. ? we simply do not
    know enough about the specifics

2. Cognitive Capacities
  • Categorisation human ability to create and
    operate with thousands of categories
    (fine-grained vs. general) flexible (modify and
    create categories) external versus internal
  • and language words as names for categories
    language as object of categorization

  • Figure-ground organization e.g. visual
    perception and other senses (sound) attention
    directed towards figure flexible levels of
  • and language (Talmy, Langacker) e.g.
  • a. The farmer shot the rabbit.
  • b. The rabbit was shot by the farmer.

  • Mental imagery and construal we can construe
    situations in different ways (figure-ground
    organization, detail, perspective)
  • and language wording reflects construal
  • a. The roof slopes gently downwards.
  • b. The roof slopes gently upwards.

  • Metaphor and experientialism metaphor reflects
    capacity to construe one thing in terms of
  • and language conceptual metaphors (Lakoff)
  • Conceptual archetypes conceptual universals such
    as Thing (spatially bounded physical object)
    Event, Action, figure-ground organization,
    Containment, Support, Causality, Animacy etc.
  • and language linguistic differences in
    entities denoted by nouns etc
  • Inferencing filling out of missing links
  • and language we do not state everything that
    can be stated

  • Automatisation e.g. acquisition of motor skills
    (e.g. tie shoe laces, instruments)
  • and language pre-formed chunks of language
  • Notion of entrenchment (Langacker) expressions
    become deeply rooted in language

  • Storage versus computation e.g. 1212
    (calculation) vs. 1212144 (ready-made)
    rapid/effortless vs. slow/laborious
  • and language open-choice vs. idiom principle
    (Sinclair) rule/list fallacy (Langacker) the
    fact that we know a rule (e.g. plural formation)
    does not meant that frequent plurals are stored
    as such (eyes)

  • Focus on form we derive pleasure from form
    (abstract art rituals)
  • and language language play (Jakobsons poetic
    function) formal complexity not perceived as
    burden (inflectional morphology)

  • Social behaviour man as social animal
  • and language impulse to use language in
    social interaction, e.g. to establish group

  • Symbolic behaviour difference between human
    beings and animals offline thinking (past,
    present, future, imagine possible words,
    alternatives, consequences etc)
  • and language this offline thinking is made
    possible by our control of a symbolic system

  • CL tries to offer a unified approach to language
  • Relates the use of language to our basic
    cognitive capacities

  • Think of everyday examples of the use of these
    cognitive capacities

Cognitive Linguistics
What we did last time
  • CL unified approach to language language as
    inherent part of cognition Methodenpluralismus
    (experiments, introspection, observation)
  • Cognitive capacities

Prototypes and Categories I
  • Remember Categorisation one of the cognitive
    capacities human ability to create and operate
    with thousands of categories (fine-grained vs.
    general) flexible (modify and create
    categories) external versus internal world
  • How do we categorise the world?

  • Book, house, people vs. vague entities knees
    (thigh), trunk (treetop), valley
    (slope/mountain), rain (drizzle)

(No Transcript)
  • ? However boundaries exist in reality
  • ? But what about length, width, height,
    temperature, colours (scales) no natural
    divisions e.g. between cold, warm, hot ?
    classification as a mental process called

(No Transcript)
  • Cognitive categories/concepts as product
  • Principles of categorization arbitrary or not?
  • The case for arbitrariness (1) colour terms
    differ between languages (braun -- brun, marron,
    jaune) (2) supports Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
  • The case for non-arbitrariness focal colours
    (Berlin Kay 1969)
  • standardized colour chips (handout)
  • Interested in basic colour terms (one word of
    native origin, general application, familiar)

  • All those chips which they would call X
  • The best examples of X
  • Findings speakers of different languages
    identified the same colour chips as best
    examples, called focal colours ? while the
    names for colours may vary, the categorization of
    colour is universally anchored in focal colours

Psychological background
  • Focal colours and the categorization of natural
  • Selection of stimuli (selected for cognitive
  • Identification and classification (compare with
    stored knowledge)
  • Naming

  • Roschs research of these aspects in Papua New
    Guinea focal colours are perceptually more
    salient (attract childrens attention more
    often), are more accurately remembered in
    short-term and long-term memory, their names are
    acquired earlier. Renamed focal colours natural
    prototype, enabling an extension of the notion,
    e.g. prototypical shapes (handout description)
  • Can this notion be extended?

  • Name as quickly as you can five types of birds,
    fruit, furniture (in German or English)
  • Now order them based on their goodness or

  • In Roschs experiments high level of agreement
    among informants (handout)
  • ? categories are formed around prototypes
    (cognitive reference points) they have
    prototypes, good examples, and bad (marginal)
  • Boundaries?

  • Max Blacks chair museum a series of chairs
    differing in quality by least noticeable amounts.
    At one end of a long line, containing perhaps
    thousands of exhibits, might be a Chippendale
    chair at the other, a small nondescript lump of
    wood. Any normal observer inspecting the series
    finds extreme difficulty in drawing the line
    between chair and non-chair. (Black 1959 32)

  • Labovs research cups and bowls and
    context-dependence (handout) fringe areas
    between adjacent categories (fuzzy category
  • Vagueness versus fuzziness mountain (slope)
    versus MOUNTAIN (HILL)

  • Categorization is based on the cognitive
    capacities of the human mind
  • concrete entities and natural phenomena are
    conceptually structured as prototype categories,
    with fuzzy boundaries and good and bad examples
    (typicality scale)
  • No one-to-one relation between categories/concepts
    and words (polysemy)

  • With your neighbour, list basic colour terms in
    English/German. Also list some non-basic colour
    terms. Think about when you would use one or the
    other. Are there they all known to both of you?
    What are their restrictions?
  • Looking around the room / outside the window
    which entities are vague which arent? List two
    vague and bounded entities. What about their
    category boundaries?

Prototypes and Categories II
  • What is the internal structure of categories?

  • look up the dictionary definitions for types of
    dogs (Alsatian, bulldog, dachshund, terrier,
    guide dog, gun dog, sheepdog). What properties
    are listed?

  • Shared (implied) properties four-legged mammal,
    fur, tail, ears …
  • Category attributes
  • The classical theory (Aristotle) Aristotle made
    a distinction between the Essenz and the Akzidenz
    of a category. A category is defined by its
    essential features (these are necessary and
    sufficient conditions (two-legged featherless
  • Prototype theory and Wittgensteins notion of
    family resemblances (Handout)

  • each item has at least one, and probably
    several, elements in common with one or more
    other items, but no, or few, elements are common
    to all items. (Rosch and Mervis 1975 575)
  • Important to greater (superordinate categories)
    and lesser degrees (BIRD bundle of birdiness
    features shared by all these features are
    cognitively salient (cue validity) (handout)

  • Attributes and prototypes (Rosch and Mervis,
    1975) (1) prototypes have the most attributes in
    common with other category members and the least
    attributes in common with category members of an
    adjacent category (2) bad examples have the
    least attributes in common with other category
    members and share several attributes with
    category members of adjacent categories.
  • Summary (Handout)

Cognitive Linguistics
What we did last time
  • Categorisation
  • colour perception arbitrary or universal? (focal
    colours ? natural prototypes)
  • prototypes, good examples, bad examples, fuzzy
    category boundaries (fuzziness vs. vagueness),
    familiy resemblances, attributes

  • Welches ist der größte Vogel?, fragt Luis.
  • Der Adler, sage ich. Nein, der Kondor ist
  • Der größte Vogel ist der Strauß, murmelt Paola
    unter der Bettdecke.
  • Aber der Strauß kann nicht fliegen, sage ich.
    Ein Vogel, der nicht fliegen kann, ist kein
    richtiger Vogel.
  • Seit wann entscheidest du, was ein richtiger
    Vogel ist, sagt Paola und richtet sich auf.
  • (Das Beste aus meinem Leben, Axel Hacke im SZ
    Magazin No. 21, 23.5.2003)

Levels of categorization
  • Remember family resemblances have different
    validity in superordinate and other categories
  • Categories exist on different levels of
  • the notion of class inclusion the
    superordinate class includes all items on the
    subordinate level U S 60) (compare scientific
  • MAMMAL superordinate DOG basic level
    BULLDOG subordinate

A. Basic level categories
  • Everyday use of category names How do you refer
    to entities in the world (objects, persons etc?)
    when you introduce them?
  • A. Two cars crashed into each other
  • B. ? Two vehicles crashed into each other
  • C. ? A Mercedes and a jeep crashed into each

  • Preferred in neutral contexts, first acquired by
    children, simple morphology, used most frequently
  • Research into folk taxonomies suggests a primacy
    of such generic or basic (middle) level
    categories (DOG, CAT, BIRD)
  • Possible reasons cultural (or biological)
    significance focus of human interest

  • Psychological research
  • At basic level the most obvious differences can
    be perceived (too many similarities between kinds
    of dogs too few similarities within
    superordinate category mammal right amount of
    difference between dogs and cats)? At the basic
    level the most information can be obtained with
    the least cognitive effort (principle of
    cognitive economy)
  • Characteristic shape of members of basic level
    categories and characteristic interactions with

  • Prototype categories and the basic level
  • Prototype categories are most fully developed on
    the basic level
  • an ideal prototype structure can only be found
    on the basic level (U S 74)

B. Superordinate categories

  • imagine that your neighbour is a foreigner who
    has asked you about the meaning of the word fruit
    how would you explain it to him/her?

  • Differences to the basic level
  • No common overall shape if asked to draw a
    fruit, you would probably draw an example (an
    orange, banana, apple etc) When explaining a
    superordinate category you give examples when
    asked about features/attributes you give features
    of these examples (parasitic categorisation).

Family resemblances Revisited
  • Very important in superordinate categories what
    holds them together sometimes only 1
    category-wide attribute (TOY used to play
    with) or none (Wittgensteins GAME). chain
  • Non-basic status reflected linguistically not
    one-syllabic acquired after basic level
  • Scientific (logical) vs. experiential

  • ? folk taxonomies are full of gaps and
    alternatives (depending on cognitive needs of

C. Subordinate Categories
  • Used when we want to be specific
  • Is there a prototypical ROBIN, DIME, QUARTER?
  • Parasitic organisation we can name a lot of
    attributes but most are shared and belong to
    basic level (those that are not, very specific,
    versus general ones of superordinate categories)
  • Compare Figure 2.9 and 2.5 (handout)

  • Subordinate categories are often expressed by
    complex forms compounds (blackbird, wheelchair)
    or syntactic groups (black hair)
  • ? attributes of compound derived from both source
    categories to different degrees other attributes
    are not borrowed from either (wheelchair
    invalid, hospital) but are based on world

  • Subordinate categories can become basic level
    categories themselves (newspaper) ? often drop
    first element (paper)
  • Even some apparently simple words are
    etymologically derived from two source categories
  • Daisy days eye
  • Dandelion dent de lion (fr)
  • Summary handout

  • Establish a hierarchy for a domain of experience
    youre familiar with (superordinate category
    basic level and subordinate categories)

By the way …Hyponymy and Hyperonymy)
  • Hyponymie ein Wort bzw. … eine Reihe von
    Lexemen (z.B. rose, tulip, daisy, lily) steht
    in einem Unterordungsverhältnis zu einem
    allgemeinerem Ausdruck (flower) (Kortmann 1999
  • Intension Hyponym comprises all attributes of
    hyperonym (compare types of dog)
  • Extension Hyperonym includes hyponyms (can be
    used to refer to all hyponyms)

  • Compare the amount of basic level words and
    superordinate words in the two texts on your

D. Types of Basic Level Categories
  • So far objects (CHAIR) and organisms (DOG)
  • Others action event categories properties
    stative locative relations

Action categories
  • e.g. LYING
  • (a) actual falsehood
  • (b) falsity of belief
  • (c) intention to deceive
  • ? Prototypical instances satisfy all criteria
  • Problem of finding true hierarchy of b.l.c.,
    sub/superordinates (MOVE WALK STRIDE). Only
    some action categories have prototypes ? more
    research is necessary

Event categories
  • e.g. BREAKFAST
  • Fusing of action (EAT, DRINK, CUT, SPREAD) and
    object/organism (BREAD, BUTTER, KNIFE) categories
  • Superordinate MEAL

  • categories or experiences?
  • TALL, SMOOTH, HOT, SWEET good examples depend
    on collocates. Compare for TALL
  • sky-scraper church door
  • good less good
  • But can we decide independently? Probably not
    properties must be understood as representing
    cognitive phenomena which are based on sensory
    events derived from our … interaction with
    objects, other people and our own bodies. (U
    S 107)
  • ? adjectival properties reflect basic EXPERIENCES
    (rather than presenting categories)

Stative and locative relations
  • ? possible to analyse as prototype CATEGORIES
  • ? possible to analyse as based on image schemas,
    reflecting basic EXPERIENCES
  • More on this later

(No Transcript)
  • Classical theory vs. Prototype theory

Classical theory
  • a category is defined by necessary and sufficient
    features category members have the same
    membership status category boundaries are
    clear-cut and fixed

Prototype theory
  • a category is NOT defined by necessary and
    sufficient features categories get their
    structure by reference to the prototype and/or by
    family resemblances between their members
    category members do not have the same membership
    status good examples, prototypes, bad examples
    category boundaries are fuzzy

Prototype theory
  • different types of categories prototype
    categories vs. family resemblance categories /
    subordinate basic level superordinate
    categories / objects, organisms, actions, events,
    stative locative relations …

  • Use the classification system in Dyirbal
    (handout) to argue against the classical theory
    of categorization.

Cognitive Linguistics
What we have done so far
  • Cognitive linguistics (definitions) cognitive
  • Prototype theory
  • Levels of categorisation subordinate level,
    basic level, superordinate level types of
    categories (object, event, action, properties etc)

Frame Theory I
  • Frame theory is a theory about world knowledge
  • Interested in how knowledge is stored
  • Why do we need such a theory?
  • Jane was invited to Jacks birthday party.
  • She wondered if he would like a kite.
  • She went to her room and shook her piggy bank.
  • It made no sound (Minsky 1975 241)
  • It all started in Artificial Intelligence (AI)
    research… (Handout)

Frame Theory in AI
  • Marvin Minsky concerned with the question of how
    to equip computers with world knowledge, but
    also with a theory of human thinking
  • takes up a notion introduced by the psychologist
    Bartlett as early as 1932 ... the past
    operates as an organised mass rather than as a
    group of elements each of which retains its
    specific character. (Bartlett 1932 197).

  • Here is the essence of the frame theory When one
    encounters a new situation ..., one selects
    from memory a structure called a frame. This is a
    remembered framework to be adapted to fit reality
    by changing details as necessary. A frame is a
    data-structure for representing a stereotyped
    situation like being in a certain kind of living
    room or going to a childs birthday party.
    Attached to each frame are several kinds of
    information. ... Some is about what one can
    expect to happen next (Minsky 1977 355).

  • ? a frame a mental representation of our
    knowledge of the world, a data-structure which is
    located in human memory and can be selected, or
    retrieved when needed. A frame is a network of
    nodes and relations (Minsky 1977 355) which
    seem to be structured in different levels. There
    are the fixed top levels, representing those
    components of a situation that are always true,
    and there are the lower levels, which have many
    terminals, slots that must be filled by
    specific instances or data (Minsky 1977 355).

  • Those specific instances, or assignments can
    themselves be smaller sub-frames, and usually
    have to fulfil certain conditions given by the
    terminals through what Minsky calls markers.
    Concerning these terminals, Minsky highlights the
    fact that a frames terminals are normally
    already filled with default assignments. ...
    The default assignments are attached loosely to
    their terminals, so that they can be easily
    displaced by new items that fit better the
    current situation. ...

  • Once a frame is proposed to represent a
    situation, a matching process tries to assign
    values to each frames terminals, consistent with
    the markers at each place (Minsky 1977 356,
    original emphasis). Some of these assignments are
    mandatory, others optional (Minsky 1975 239).
    Basically, this means that, in our memory,
    knowledge is stored in a very large number of
    frames and frame-systems (collections of related
    frames, Minsky 1977 355).

  • BED-ROOM frame (typical features such as bed,
    lamp, bed-side table). ? encounter particular
    bed-room ? selecting and matching process (1) a
    frame is evoked on the basis of partial evidence
    or expectation (Minsky 1977 359). (2)
    Comparison of new experience to selected frame
    (3) assignment of features of new experience
    (particular lamp, bed-side table etc) to frames

  • AI rather than linguistics gives no evidence
    does not explain frame structure in more detail
    what exactly are the top levels, for instance?
  • the schemes proposed herein are incomplete in
    many respects. First, I often propose
    representations without specifying the processes
    that will use them. Sometimes I only describe
    properties the structures should exhibit. I talk
    about markers and assignments as though it were
    obvious how they are attached and linked it is
    not (Minsky 1975 213).

Frame Theory in Linguistics
  • Fillmore Frame-semantics (Handout)
  • A frame semantics outlook emphasizes the
    continuities, rather than the discontinuities,
    between language and experience. (Fillmore 1982

  • An Alternative to Checklist Theories of Meaning
    (Fillmore 1975 123) ( i.e. an alternative to the
    idea that the meaning of a word can be described
    in terms of its semantic features like HUMAN,
    MALE, ADULT, as in structural linguistics)

  • Fillmore words represent categorisations of
    experience, and each of these categories is
    grounded in a (prototype background) frame
    explaining the reason for the existence of these
    categories (cf. Fillmore 1982 112).

  • Example an orphan a child whose parents are
    dead. Category is motivated against a particular
    cognitive frame (prototypical background world),
    where children depend on their parents, parents
    care for their children, and a person without
    parents has a special social status up to a
    certain age, because until then, society must
    provide for them

  • A frame is best understood as a prototype
    rather than as a genuine body of assumptions
    about what the world is like (Fillmore 1982
    118). ? Use of word orphan should also evoke this
    prototypical frame associated with its use.
  • ? a linguistic expression evokes a frame
  • ? a linguistic expression situates a particular
    thing in a frame
  • ? a linguistic expression schematises the world
    from shore to shore trip across water from
    coast to coast trip across land land (surface
    of earth as distinct from sea) ground (surface
    of earth as distinct from the air above it)

  • Different linguistic expressions can evoke the
    same frame, but from a different perspective.
    E.g. converse verbs. Please-like, come-go, buy,
    sell etc.
  • Example Fillmores COMMERCIAL EVENT frame
    (e.g. background of BUY)
  • A has money B has goods. A gives money to B, B
    gives goods to A. A has goods, B has money. Four
    categories are connected to BUY BUYER, SELLER,
    GOODS, MONEY (these and their interrelations make
    up COMMERCIAL EVENT frame)

  • Which aspects of the COMMERCIAL EVENT frame are
    highlighted by using
  • (1) buy
  • (2) sell
  • (3) charge s.o. amount of money for
  • (4) pay amount of money to s.o. for

  • David bought an old shirt from John for ten
    pounds ? focus on BUYER, GOODS
  • John sold an old shirt to David for ten pounds ?
    focus on SELLER, GOODS
  • John charged David ten pounds for an old shirt ?
    focus on SELLER, BUYER
  • David paid ten pounds to John for an old shirt ?
    focus on BUYER, MONEY
  • ? The difference is a change of perspective
    within the same frame

Related notions (within AI and linguistics)
  • Scripts A script is a predetermined, stereotyped
    sequence of actions that defines a well-known
    situation. (Schank Abelson 1977 41) Exhibit a
    very predictable temporal structure. Script is a
    name for a frame that deals with event sequences

  • John went into a restaurant. He ordered a
    hamburger and a coke. He asked the waitress for
    the check and left.
  • John went into a restaurant. He saw the waitress.
    He got up and went home.
  • He pushed against the door. The room was empty
    He pushed against the door The door opened. He
    looked inside. He saw that The room was empty.
  • Handout

  • Try to write a script/frame for ATTENDING A
  • If you have any cross-cultural experience compare
    this frame to ATTENDING A SEMINAR AT A
    UNIVERSITY in that country

  • Scenarios One can think of knowledge of settings
    and situations as constituting the interpretative
    scenario behind a text (Sanford Garrod 1981
    110). Situation-specific
  • Schema pre-existing knowledge structure in
    memory (Yule 1996 85))
  • Scene any kind of human beliefs, actions,
    experiences or imaginings (Fillmore 1975 124)
  • Handout (overview of terms)

Cognitive Linguistics
Frame Theory II
  • What we did last time
  • Marvin Minskys AI research on frames
  • Fillmores frame semantics (vs structural
    semantics Saussure)
  • Related notions script, scenario, schema, scene

One possible frame definition
  • Typical characteristics
  • - cognitive
  • - established trough socialisation (not innate)
  • - culturally and diachronically dependent
  • - rather stable (no radical changes in reality)
  • - conventionalised, widely recognised

  • Structure
  • - consists of cognitive components/features and
    their interrelations (X has a Y, X is on Y, X is
    a part of Y)
  • - a feature / component can be a category or a
  • - components provide default assumptions by
    supplying prototypes
  • - central vs. marginal components (scalar

(No Transcript)
  • general vs. specific (going on holiday versus
    going on a cheap last-minute package holiday to
  • EVENT frame / scripts / scenarios
  • OBJECT frame, PERSON frame, etc
  • Folk frames and expert frames (alternative terms
    Expertenwissen vs. Laienwissen/Alltagswissen
    (Schwarze 1981, Heringer 1999), naïve models (U
    S), folk models (Lakoff))

Folk Frames
  • models formed by people who do not have any
    technical expertise
  • From a strictly scientific p.o.v. they may be
  • E.g. (Activity)

  • Imagine an airplane flying at constant speed
    altitude. At one point, a large metal ball is
    dropped from the plane this goes on flying at
    the same speed and altitude and in the same
    direction. Draw the path the ball will follow
    until it hits the ground (ignoring resistance).
    Indicate its end position in relation to the

  • Parabolic arc, hitting ground directly below

  • Only 40 of informants got it right in experiment
    (most straight line/diagonal)
  • ? naive cultural model of motion in contrast to
    expert model
  • We dont need scientifically correct models, but
    functionally effective ones

  • In how far do the texts on the handout show how
    frames are acquired through socialisation?
  • Identify typical frame features of the BAR
    frame that are mentioned in both texts
  • Identify the cognitive categories and sub-frames
    for the UNIVERSITY and the FOOTBALL frame
    that are called up by text

Frames and language I
  • Sue caught a plane from London to Paris. After
    she had found her seat she checked whether the
    life vest was beneath it, but she could not find
    it. So she asked the flight attendant to find one
    for her
  • Inferencing (Remember cognitive capacity)

  • Plane ? PLANE ? FLYING ON A PLANE frame
    (compare above)
  • Words evoke categories categories are grounded
    in complex frames ? consider frames as background
    structures against which the meaning of words are
    structured (Fillmores original idea)

  • when we produce or listen to language we
    unconsciously fill in an incredible amount of
    information taken from frames and scripts (U
    S 216)
  • A lot of research in text comprehension has dealt
    with the influence of world knowledge on
  • Frames help hearers to create coherence, to
    understand, make sense of the text
  • Frame-breaks cause misunderstandings

  • Frame-breaks can be an essential part of jokes
  • Ralph You ever hear that joke?
  • Mary No. laughing
  • Ralph Well, it was just one woman wanted a
    telegram? She always wanted a singing telegram?
    Guy says, Maam I dont think you want this as a
    singing telegram. Yeah, go ahead. Fred and
    the kids are dead. singing and clapping on
    stressed words
  • Mary laughs briefly I didnt get it.
  • Ralph You dont get it. You dont sing a
    telegram about death or anything bad news.
    (SBCCN Singing Telegram)

  • Discuss the relation between frames
    frame-breaks and joking, coherence, and
    misunderstanding in the texts on your handout

Frames and language II
  • Linguistic cues for the existence of frames in
    speakers minds
  • sixteen types of linguistic evidence (of all
    kind) found in research which reveal
    expectations omissions, repetitions, false
    starts, backtracks, hedges, negatives,
    contrastive connectives, modals, inexact
    statements, generalisations, inferences,
    evaluative language, interpretations, moral
    judgements, incorrect statements, and additions
    (Tannen 1993b 41).

  • E.g. negation
  • S50 (72)
  • this road thats ... UH its not paved, its
    just sort of a dirt road
  • negative statements are generally used to express
    something unusual, unexpected about a situation
    evidence for the fact that this speaker (an
    American) expects roads to be paved.
  • Definite article (see above)

Frame Theory in Cognitive Linguistics
  • Lakoffs idealized cognitive models (ICMs)
  • The main thesis of this book is that we organize
    our knowledge by means of structures called
    idealized cognitive models, or ICMs, and that
    category structures and prototype effects are
    by-products of that organization (Lakoff 1987

  • Example Tuesday ? ICM natural cycle (sun
    moving), standard means of measuring time,
    seven-day cycle (week). Week a whole with 7
    parts in linear sequence each is called a day,
    third is Tuesday.
  • This model is idealized 7-day-weeks do not exist
    objectively in nature, created by us (other
    cultures have different kinds of weeks). ICMs are
    more complex than frames but can also consist of
  • This gives rise to prototype effects

  • Example bachelor ? ICM human society with
    (typically monogamous) marriage, a typical
    marriageable age. Nothing in it about priests,
    un-married couples, homosexuality etc. With
    respect to this ICM, a bachelor unmarried adult
  • This ICM is oversimplified it does not apply to
    the pope it does not apply to Tarzan
  • ? prototype effects

  • An ICM may fit the world
  • Perfectly
  • Very well
  • Pretty well
  • Somewhat well gradience
  • Pretty badly
  • Badly
  • Not at all

  • ? IF ICM fits perfectly and person referred to is
    an unmarried adult male, we can call him
  • ? If EITHER ICM does not fit OR person referred
    to is not an unmarried adult male, we cannot call
    him a bachelor.
  • Lakoff argues that the category BACHELOR is NOT
    graded, but an all-or-none concept relative to an
    ICM. Gradience arises from ICM-world fit.

Lakoffs Cluster Models
  • Some concepts are structured against a number of
    cognitive models that are combined, e.g. MOTHER
  • The birth model person who gives birth
  • The genetic model female who contributes genes

  • The nurturance model female adult who nurtures
    raises the child
  • The marital modther wife of father
  • The genealogical mother closest female ancestor
  • ? in ideal case, the models converge

  • But a lot of divergences in modern life
  • ? more than one of these models contributes to
    the characterization of a real (protoypical)

  • Compounds may reflect lack of convergence of
    models (Rather than simple sub-categories of
    mothers) stepmother, surrogate mother, adoptive
    mother, foster mother, biological mother, donor
    mother …
  • The concept MOTHER is NOT clearly defined in
    terms of common necessary and sufficient

  • The ideal case of convergence as background
    structure gives rise to protoype effects.
  • The category of mother … has what we will call
    a radial structure. A radial structure is one
    where there is a central case and
    conventionalized variations on it which cannot be
    predicted by general rules. (p. 84) The
    variations are conventionalised and have to be

Lakoffs metyonymic models
  • Lakoff explains social stereotypes as metonymic
    models a subcategory is used to stand for the
    entire category in defining social aspects, e.g.
    housewife-mother stands for MOTHER
  • Compare
  • She is a mother, but she isnt a housewife.
  • She is a mother, but she is a housewife.
  • She is a mother, but she has a job.
  • She is a mother, but she doesnt have a job.

  • Such metonymic models can also give rise to
    prototype effects. E.g. bachelor example If ICM
    fits, a person who is macho nondomestic fits
    the stereotype bettter ? prototype effects
    because of social stereotype even though category
    is an all-or-none category
  • Other cases of metonymy in categorization
    typical examples, ideals, paragons, generators,
    submodels, salient examples

  • The main thrust of Lakoffs argument is that
    frames are too simple they only explain some
    prototype effects but not others
  • He argues that you need image-schematic,
    metaphoric and metonymic models in addition.
    These are all included in his notion of ICMs

U Ss Cognitive Models
  • U Ss cognitive models all the stored
    cognitive representations that belong to a
    certain field (p. 47)
  • Are open-ended (very hard to describe,
    descriptions are always selective)
  • Combine to build networks (cf Minsky)
  • Are omnipresent

  • Provide the context for categories and their
  • The hunter took his gun, left the lodge and
    called his dog (HUNTING model prototypical dog
  • She took her dog to the salon to have its curls
    reset (SALON model prototypical dog poodle)
  • The ratings of prototypes given in experiments
    depend on a default model or zero-context
  • Alternative term cultural model (shared,
  • E.g. different cultural models for FIRST MEAL OF
    THE DAY (English breakfast, petit déjeuner)

Cognitive Linguistics
  • Criticism recommendations
  • What you like
  • What you dont like
  • What you would like
  • …
  • Results to be discussed next class

Figure and Ground
  • Langackers Cognitive Grammar
  • Talmys notion of event-frames

Langackers Cognitive Grammar
  • Remember Figure-ground perception one of the
    basic cognitive capacities
  • Face/vase illusion (handout) old lady/young
    woman ? only one at a time (figure-ground
    segregation (Rubin))
  • Figure perceived as more prominent (perceptual
  • Objective input does not change images allow
    figure-ground reversal (unusual) ? factors

The Principle of Prägnanz
  • Notion coined in Gestalt Psychology
  • Refers to clear-cut organization in terms of
  • The principle of proximity elements near each
    other are perceived as related
  • The principle of similarity similar elements are
    perceived as one common segment
  • The principle of closure perception is anchored
    in closed figures
  • The principle of continuation elements are
    perceived as wholes if they are not interrupted

The pad is on the table
  • ? the relationship between figure and ground can
    be seen in terms of locative relations (?
  • ? locative prepositions can be explained in terms
    of figure and ground

Prepositional analysis in cognitive linguistics I
  • Remember locative relations (OVER, UNDER, UP,
    DOWN, IN, OUT) regarded as image schemas (basic
    cognitive structures which are derived from our
    everyday interaction with the world (U S
  • Real world experience of things-over-things ?
    acquiring of schema for OVER relation ? can be
    applied to new experiences
  • A schema is less concrete than a prototype
    category, an elementary mental picture

(Central) IMAGE-schema OVER
  • handout

Instances of OVER-schema
  • The balloon is flying over the house
  • The bird is flying over the tree

  • The figure follows a PATH
  • The figure is called a TRAJECTOR (the path of a
    bullet is its trajectory - German Flugbahn)
  • The ground functions as and is called LANDMARK
  • Trajector most prominent element (figure) in a
    relational structure landmark ground
  • trajector/landmark as basis for analysis of
    various prepositional meanings, e.g. out, up

(Central) IMAGE-schemas OUT/UP
  • Handout
  • Locative relations (prepositions) can be analysed
    in terms of image schemas which consist of a
    trajector, a landmark and a PATH.

  • Variations of central schema
  • Account for specific meanings (polysemy), linked
    by similarity to central schema
  • handout
  • Metaphorical extensions (She has a strange power
    over me)

  • The table is under the pen
  • The pen is on the table
  • The woman is in front of the house
  • The house is behind the woman
  • Explain why some of these examples are unusual
    (although grammatically correct!)

  • But special context?
  • - Which house is his?
  • - Oh, the one just behind this woman over there
  • Woman as landmark (cognitive reference point)

Other schemas
  • Remember image schemas are grounded in physical
    experience (perceiving, moving, exerting,
    experiencing force …) used to organize more
    abstract domains
  • CONTAINMENT schema
  • Experience body as container, being in rooms,
    putting thins into containers
  • E.g. Shes deep in thought (activity as
  • Polysemy of IN as expressing different
    relationships between entity container
    meanings again as extensions from a central
    containment schema

  • The water in the vase
  • The crack in the vase
  • The crack in the surface
  • The bird in the tree
  • The chair in the corner
  • PATH schema
  • Shes writing a PhD thesis and shes nearly there
    (activity as moving along a PATH)

  • FORCE schema
  • Force F acts on Entity E
  • F
  • Blockage
  • F

  • Removal of Restraint
  • F
  • applied to modal verb analysis

  • Other schemas links, balance, up-down,
    front-back, part-whole, centre-periphery
  • Summary image schemas are … experientially-based
    conceptual constructs by which we characterize,
    for example, spatial relations, and which can be
    metaphorically extended across a range of
    domains, typically shifting from the external and
    concrete to the internal and abstract (Saeed p.

Figure/ground and Cognitive Grammar (Langacker)
  • Standard clause pattern S V C (object,
  • In Cognitive Grammar (CG)
  • Subject figure /clausal trajector
  • Object ground / clausal landmark
  • Verb fig/ground (trajector/landmark)

  • Susan resembles my sister
  • My sister resembles Susan
  • Prominent / point of
  • assessed entity reference (landmark)
  • (trajector)
  • (unusual in its symmetry, similar to face/vase

Role Archetypes
  • ? semantic roles for elements in clauses (similar
    to case grammar etc Introduction to Linguistics)
  • Agent, patient, instrumental, experiencer
  • For Langacker, they are cognitive phenomena (see
    cognitive capacities)
  • Based on our world experience

  • I throw a ball
  • Agent patient

  • The ball smashes the window
  • The glass breaks

  • I love sunshine
  • absolute/theme
  • Experiencer

  • All role archetypes (agent, patient, instrument,
    experiencer …) can occur in Subject position, but
    agents are favoured
  • I (agent) throw a ball
  • The ball (instrument) smashes the window
  • The glass (patient) breaks
  • I (experiencer) love sunshine (absolute/theme)
  • Sunshine (absolute/theme) pleases me
  • Langacker explains this by reference to the
    notion of energy transmission/flow

Langackers conception of energy transmission
  • Entity 1 Entity2
  • Contact
  • Charged with / absorbs /
  • source of transmits receives
  • energy energy energy
  • handout

Action Chains
  • Longer interactions are called action chains
  • Head (source) tail
  • ? Imagine playing pool!
  • Susan peels a banana
  • Head of action chain tail
  • Trajector landmark
  • agent
  • Floyd broke the glass with a hammer.
  • Langackers explanation Tendency for agents to
    appear as subjects (clausal trajectors) because
    they are head of action chains

  • The subject is consistently the head of the
    PROFILED portion of the action chain, i.e. the
    participant that is farthest upstream with
    respect to the energy flow. By contrast the
    object is the tail of the profiled portion of
    the action chain the participant distinct from
    the subject that lies the farthest downstream
    in the flow of the energy. (Langacker 1990 217)

  • But when we want to change the usual perspective
    we can profile other segments of the action
  • Floyd broke the glass with a hammer (usual
  • The hammer broke the glass.
  • The glass broke.
  • (This explains the possibility to have patients
    and instruments as subject/figure/trajector)

Mental Interactions
  • Experiencer absolute/theme
  • Source mental link
  • (no energy flow)
  • ? This explanation does not mean that other role
    archetypes cannot be chosen as trajector, but it
    offers an explanation for fact that agents are
    preferred trajectors (subjects)

The background
  • Like a setting of a play
  • Versus participants (subjects objects)
  • Adverbials of space and time
  • I am teaching a class at the University of
    Augsburg at 2 oclock in the afternoon

  • Action chain or mental interaction identify
    role archetypes?
  • Dad opened the box with a knife.
  • Little Sue wants a mountain bike
  • Diana was sipping her long drink
  • I hate cheese!

CG and other types of prominence
  • A. Domains
  • Linguistic expression based on perception of real
    world (stimuli)

CG and other types of prominence
  • Each stimulus is evaluated with respect to a
    domain (context for the characterization of a
    semantic unit), e.g. the elementary domains of
    space, vision, temperature, taste, pressure,
    pain, colour. Elementary domains represent basic
    human experience, are not reducible. Specific
    domains may range from food to clothes to
    whatever context is needed at a given point in
  • handout
  • circle is the primary domain for ARC

  • Cognitive units are profiled on the basis of
    domains (pre-linguistic). Does not determine
    linguistic expression
  • B. Word Classes

  • The three people were together (adverb)
  • The three people have many common views (adj)
  • The three people share their views (verb)
  • Focus on relation between them.
  • Profiled relation

  • A group of three people (n)
  • The Haydn Trio (n)
  • Profiled cognitive region
  • ? regional profiles expressed by
  • ? relational profiles expressed by verbs, adj,

  • C. Scanning
  • identification of similar and dissimilar items
  • different ways of construing a scene
  • Type 1 Summary Scanning
  • Type 2 Sequential Scanning
  • Summary scanning aspects of situation examined,
    put together, a whole gestalt complex profile
    consisting of simultaneous activation of its
    component states
  • Highway 36 goes from Denver to Indianapolis.
  • Part of H 36 part of H 36 part of H 36

  • Sequential scanning used only for events,
    aspects examined, put together but only up to a
    certain stage of the event. Conceptualiser tracks
    the changing state of an entitiy m through
    processing time
  • The milk went sour
  • milk fresh milk less fresh milk slightly
    sour milk sour

Summary vs. Sequential scanning
  • Sequential scanning viewing a process as a
    sequence of component sub-events (watching a
  • Summary scanning viewing a process as a complete
    unit where all its sub-events are viewed as an
    integrated whole (looking at a photograph)
  • Falling off a cliff
  • Wheeler fell off the cliff sequential mode
  • Wheelers fall from the cliff summary mode

  • Explain the difference in scanning
  • Keegan entered the room.
  • Keegans entrance into the room

Summary of cognitive processing
  • Situation Tom is cooking pasta
  • ? cognitive stimuli (SPOON, KNIFE, PASTA…)
  • ? profiled in relation to domains (space, taste
    food, vegetable)
  • ? cognitive units selected for relevance
  • ? profiled as cognitive regions or relations
  • ? Result interactive network (compare frame!)

Interactive Network (incomplete)
  • cheese vegetables tomato
  • is contain slice contain
  • parmesan
  • slice
  • onion TOM oil
  • saucepan
  • in in with prepare contain
  • spoon knife pasta

  • A speaker who wants to express this situation
    linguistically can say
  • Tom is cooking pasta (general action chain)
  • Tom is slicing the onions (specific action chain
  • The pasta has tomatoes and onions in it (setting)

Prominence and Specificity
  • 3 principles guiding cognitive processing
  • (1) prominence
  • (2) specificity
  • (3) perspective / viewing arrangement

  • Specificity
  • most specific Tom completely shattered the
    unfriendly neighbours living-room window
    by throwing his football at it very
  • Tom smashed the window
  • least specific Someone broke something
  • ? can be understood as profiling

  • Perspective/Viewing arrangement
  • From whose perspective is the event
  • E.g. who is the deictic focus?
  • Norm 3rd person perspective
  • The vinegar is on the table
  • versus
  • I can see the vinegar.
  • Have you seen the vinegar?
  • ? Langacker calls the vantage point (from which
    something) is conceptualized the ground

Summary of the figure-ground (trajector/landmark)
distinction in Langackers CG
  • P. 200 U S

  • Which of the elementary domains (space, taste,
    vision, temperature, pressure, pain, colour) are
    called up, which are especially important in
  • Draw an interactive network for ROAD ACCIDENT and
    identify suitable action chains

Talmys Event Frames
  • Remember according to Langacker, motion events
    consist of the following components figure /
    trajector, ground/landmark, path
  • Talmy adds 3 more components motion (includes
    zero-motion/locatedness), cause, manner

(No Transcript)
  • Core-structure of a motion event Figure, ground,
    path, motion event-frame
  • Talmy A set of conceptual elements and
    relationships that … are evoked together or
    co-evoke each other can be said to lie within or
    constitute an event-frame, while the elements
    that are conceived of as incidental whether
    evoked weakly or not at all lie outside the
  • (Compare Fillmores early frame theory

  • Five types of event-frames
  • 1) motion,
  • 2) causation,
  • 3) cyclic,
  • 4) participant-interaction,
  • 5) interrelationship

Langacker versus Talmy
  • On 26 July 1909 Louis Blériot flew across the
    English Channel from Les Baraques to Dover.
  • Langacker On 26 July 1909 (setting) Louis
    Blériot (figure) flew across the English channel
    (setting raised to ground status) from Les
    Baraques to Dover (setting)
  • Talmy On 26 July 1909 (outside event-frame)
    Louis Blériot (figure) flew (motion) across
    (path) the English channel (ground) from les
    Baraques to Dover (path beginning and end)

  • Beginning and end point of path are mentioned
    foregrounding of certain portions of an
    event-frame Talmy calls this windowing of
    attention in contrast to gapping (backgrounding)

Windowing in motion event-frames
  • Grafik p. 224 / Examples p. 225
  • Open paths X
  • Closed paths
  • Fictive paths imaginary paths
  • My bike is across the street from the bakery
  • ?Hearer constructs a mental/fictive path across
    the street

  • With closed and fictive paths there are
    possibilities of windowing too (v. complex)
  • Gapping
  • My bike is across the street
  • ? What is gapped must be known to S and H

Windowing in causation event-frames
  • Three types of causation
  • Event-causation (no animate beings)
  • The vase broke
  • Author-causation (caused but not intended by
  • He broke the