Cognitive Linguistics in Action

Applications of Cognitive Linguistics 14

Editors Gitte Kristiansen ´˜ Francisco J. Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez Honorary editor ´ Rene Dirven

De Gruyter Mouton

Cognitive Linguistics in Action
From Theory to Application and Back

Edited by

Elzbieta Tabakowska ˙ ´ Michał Choinski Łukasz Wiraszka

De Gruyter Mouton

ISBN 978-3-11-020581-7 e-ISBN 978-3-11-022609-6 ISSN 1861-4078
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Cognitive linguistics in action : from theory to application and back / ´ edited by Elzbieta Tabakowska, Michał Choinski, Łukasz Wiraszka. ˙ p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-3-11-020581-7 (alk. paper) 1. Cognitive grammar. 2. Language and languages Study and ´ teaching. I. Tabakowska, Elzbieta. II. Choinski, Michał, 1983 ˙ III. Wiraszka, Łukasz, 1982 P165.C644 2010 371.3315 dc22 2010032908

Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available in the Internet at 2010 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/New York Typesetting: RoyalStandard, Hong Kong Printing: Hubert & Co. GmbH & Co. KG, Göttingen Printed on acid-free paper Printed in Germany

Table of Contents
Introduction Theory informing applications, applications informing theory . . . . . ´ Elzbieta Tabakowska, Michał Choinski and Łukasz Wiraszka ˙ Part I. From loop to cycle Looking back at thirty years of Cognitive Linguistics . . . . . . . . . . . ´ ´ ´˜ Rene Dirven and Francisco Jose Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez Recontextualizing Grammar: Underlying trends in thirty years of Cognitive Linguistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dirk Geeraerts How theory informs application and how application informs theory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Laura Janda Part II. The context for prototypes Why not? Prototypes and blocking of su‰x shift in Russian verbs. . . Tore Nesset Prototype-based taxonomy of idiomatic expressions . . . . . . . . . . . . Esa Penttila ¨ Part III. Contexts for Cognitive Grammar Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting . . . . . . . Ronald W. Langacker A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions. . . Peter Willemse Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs . . . . . . . Jari Sivonen A cognitive approach to parenthetical speech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jaakko Leino Part IV. The pragmatic context Using RST to analyze subjectivity in text and talk . . . . . . . . . . . . . ´ Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and Jose Sanders 291 163 209 241 273 123 145 11 1




Table of contents

Typology meets witness narratives and memory: Theory and practice entwined in Cognitive Linguistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317 ´ Luna Filipovic Part V. The social and cultural contexts for CMT and CI Cross-cultural variation in idiomatic expression: Insights from Cognitive Metaphor Theory and implication for Translation Studies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Diane Ponterotto Mundane Transcendence? Conceptualizations of faith in prosperity theology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Małgorzata Pasicka



From god is a father to god is a friend: Conceptual integration in metaphors for God in Christian discourse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 387 Aleksander Gomola Subject index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 409

Introduction: Theory informing applications, applications informing theory ´ Elzbieta Tabakowska, Michał Choinski and ˙ Łukasz Wiraszka
The present volume brings together a selection of papers delivered during the 10th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, which was held ´ in Krakow (Poland), from July 15 to July 20, 2007. This was, indeed, a jubilee year for Cognitive Linguistics: thirty years after various strands of linguistics focusing upon the relation between language and mind began to develop their theoretical frameworks in a cognitive direction, building up – during the 1980s – uniform cognitive foundations for linguistic description, and twenty years after the appearance of the first two milestones: Lako¤ ’s Women, Fire and Dangerous Things and Langacker’s Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. ´ Eighteen years after the first conference, organized by Rene Dirven in Duisburg in 1989, the event in Poland was attended by over five hundred scholars from 42 countries. The conference was organized by the Polish Cognitive Linguistics Association in cooperation with the Jagiellonian ´ University of Krakow. Its leading theme, Cognitive Linguistics in Action: From Theory to Application and Back, gave the title to the present volume. During the five days of the Conference the participants presented results of their research devoted to a wide array of linguistic phenomena of interest to Cognitive Linguistics. Despite the great variety of scholarly interests and the problems addressed, all the researchers – whether the six plenary speakers (Laura Janda, Leonard Talmy, Ronald W. Langacker, ´˜ Francisco J. Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez, Chris Sinha and Dirk Geeraerts), the hundreds of speakers in general and theme sessions, or the forty authors of poster presentations – shared at least one common objective: to illustrate, as Laura Janda puts it in her chapter below, ‘‘how theory informs application and how application informs theory.’’ Traditionally, jubilee was a year of celebration and forgiveness. The present volume was conceived as part of the celebration, bearing testimony to the event and its key theme. But at the same time the editors feel obliged to ask their readers’ forgiveness: because of space limitation, the book could not encompass all the quality papers, lectures and presen-


´ Elzbieta Tabakowska, Michał Choinski and Łukasz Wiraszka ˙

tations o¤ered as contributions to the 10th ICLC. A choice had to be made so as to present the readers with a more or less coherent volume, which would at the same time provide a varied and stimulating reading. As a result, it was decided to shift the focus towards such aspects of the relation between theory and application in Cognitive Linguistics that have not been comprehensively dealt with in other recent publications. Therefore the articles o¤ered here do not specifically address such topics as second/foreign language learning and pedagogy (Putz, Niemeier, and ¨ Dirven 2001; Boers and Linstromberg 2008), language acquisition (Tomasello 2003; Dabrowska 2004), sign language (Emmorey 2002; Janzen ˛ 2005), nonverbal communication (McNeill 1992, 2000, 2005) or computational and corpus-based linguistics (Gries and Stefanowitsch 2006; Stefanowitsch and Gries 2006). Naturally, individual papers in the book address a wide array of topics, dealing with various fields of application, as defined in the introduction to the first volume in the ACL series (Kristiansen, Achard, Dirven and Ruiz ´˜ de Mendoza Ibanez 2006). Some – more general in scope – indicate new directions and open new perspectives, others – originally presented at the Conference as section papers dealing with finer-grained issues – demonstrate ways in which application of the theory to new data and using new methodologies lead to refinement, further development or modification of the theoretical framework. All provide illustration for the recent ‘‘empirical turn’’ in Cognitive Linguistics, which is marked by the consideration and description of large amounts of authentic data, facilitated due to increased use of electronic corpora, as well as by the increasingly interdisciplinary approach. The ill-famed ‘‘linguistic artifacts’’, which linguists of various persuasions often used to create to illustrate and support their hypotheses about what language is and how it works, are being replaced by large linguistic corpora, setting new standards for empirical research. The impact that the theoretical framework of Cognitive Linguistics has been making on the neighbouring fields of study is evident; it is often reflected by the very titles of books written within new ‘‘interdisciplinary disciplines’’, where the adjective cognitive comes to implicate significant modifications that a given field has been undergoing, following the adaptation of CL theoretical models, methodologies and principles of practical application. Thus we have witnessed the emergence of Cognitive Sociolinguistics (Kristiansen and Dirven 2008), Cognitive Poetics (Stockwell 2002; Gavins and ˆ Steen 2003; Brone and Vandaele 2009), Cognitive Stylistics (Semino and Culpeper 2002) and Cognitive Translation Theory (Tabakowska 1993; Gutt 2000). Cognitive principles of categorization as reflected in linguistic

Introduction: Theory informing applications, applications informing theory


labels put on entities and categories, as well as the cognitive model of grammar of the natural language, are now used, and developed, in fields seemingly very remote from that of linguistics proper, such as archaeology, cultural anthropology or theology. Many further vistas lie open. By bringing up a collection of papers which point out these new directions the editors hope to provide scholars working in the field of linguistics, as well as in other fields within the humanities, with a survey of recent trends which constitute the ‘‘empirical turn’’ in the Cognitive Linguistics of today. The contributions in the first section of the volume, written by eminent scholars, whose position within the field of Cognitive Linguistics has been firmly established, touch upon issues of continuing relevance to the discipline and introduce thematic areas covered in the next four sections. There, the contributions come mainly from young scholars, whose research illustrates various ways leading to the implementation of the cycle through di¤erent forms of contextualization, either presenting descriptive analyses that lead to theoretical adjustments and amendments, or widening the field of possible applications, e.g. to include theological or metaphysical discourse. Part I of the volume (‘‘From loop to cycle’’) begins with a comprehen´ ´ ´˜ sive survey by Rene Dirven and Francisco Jose Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez, who review relevant developments that took place over the thirty years of the history of Cognitive Linguistics, putting special emphasis on the relation of grammar to cognition and presenting the distinctive features of CL, in particular the non-modular conception of language and conceptual prominence in grammar. The authors discuss the notion of embodiment, showing the philosophical grounding of embodied realism in phenomenology, and demonstrate the role of categorization in the emergence of the lexicon-grammar continuum, focusing upon the crucial notions of construal, perspective, and compositionality. In the contrastive sections of ´˜ the chapter, Dirven and Mendoza Ibanez elaborate on the areas of overlap and contrast between Cognitive Grammar and the various versions of construction grammars. In the second part of their survey, they critically review the issue of polysemy, arguing for a solution based on complementing qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques. Finally, they discuss blending as a pervasive cognitive phenomenon and a psychologically plausible explanation for non-compositional aspects of grammar, pragmatics and discourse. In Dirk Geeraerts’ chapter, historical trends in the history of Cognitive Linguistics are also a central issue. Arguing for ‘‘recontextualization’’ in


´ Elzbieta Tabakowska, Michał Choinski and Łukasz Wiraszka ˙

CL methodology, the author looks for patterns underlying the developments in CL descriptions over the last thirty years, claiming that their discovery and re-thinking will have significant implications for the directions and ways which CL should follow in the future. Posing the question about the common trend underlying the development of various strands within CL, the author argues that what keeps together the vast breadth of cognitive approaches in linguistic description is their tendency to recontextualize the study of grammar. Laura Janda’s contribution demonstrates the working of the full cycle: from theory through application to further refinement of theory. The author presents an example of this cycle of mutual interaction by showing how the findings of CL studies of case in Slavic languages may be applied to language pedagogy and how this application in turn influences the theory. Motivated by the need for teaching materials, Janda’s paper gives an illustration of a scholarly agenda in which practical needs lead to a comprehensive investigation of a linguistic phenomenon and, ultimately, to ‘‘uncovering new territory for theoretical exploration.’’ Part II (‘‘The context for prototypes’’) focuses on the fundamental notion of prototypicality. It presents two ‘‘contextualizing’’ applications of prototypes in linguistic analysis. Tore Nesset demonstrates how the notions of prototypical and peripheral members of radial categories may be applied to explain certain changes in Russian verb morphology. He investigates the process which results in Russian verbs with the su‰x /a/ shifting to the group with the su‰x /aj/ due to the interaction of the prototypes of source and target verb categories. ¨ Esa Penttila demonstrates how a prototype-based approach can be used to investigate characteristics of idiomatic expressions and to create a taxonomy which takes into account the entire complexity of the problem. In his analysis, the author highlights various relationships between di¤erent subclasses of idioms, arguing for viewing the phenomenon of idiomaticity in terms of a continuum rather than in terms of categorial notions. Part III (‘‘Contexts for Cognitive Grammar’’) opens with a contribution by Ronald W. Langacker, who explores the problem of the mind/ body duality and its linguistic manifestations in the domain of English complementation, arguing that a more unified account of complementation in language can be achieved by further refining the concept. Langacker claims that the body/mind duality is a ‘‘natural product of embodied cognition’’ and thus has ‘‘a firm experiential basis.’’ As he demonstrates, it is this duality, which is systematically manifested in linguistic expressions, that underlies the distinction between what he defines

Introduction: Theory informing applications, applications informing theory


as e¤ective and epistemic relationships on the conceptual plane, with the former involving the occurrence of events, and the latter pertaining to the validity of knowledge. The progression from e¤ective to epistemic relationships is shown to be correlated with di¤erent degrees of structural complexity of linguistic expressions, from lexical predicates, to direct complementation, to infinitival and clausal complementation. Moreover, the author suggests that the opposition between e¤ective and epistemic relationships can also be manifested within each of these levels, in di¤erent ways, depending on the inherent properties of the particular level. In conclusion, Langacker contends that the recognition of the systematicity of the opposition between the two types of relationships allows for significant unification of the account of di¤erent types of complementation. Peter Willemse takes up the problem of the description of nominal reference-point constructions, paying specific attention to the way in which such constructions are embedded referentially in the discourse context, and the way in which the reference-point relation may interact with information in the surrounding discourse. Following a corpus study of English possessive noun phrases, which as the author claims should be studied in extensive discourse contexts, Willemse argues for distinguishing a continuum of discourse statuses of these phrases rather than adopting binary distinctions. The paper concludes with implications for both the description itself and the theory of English nominal reference-point constructions. The author of the next contribution, Jari Sivonen, focuses on an analysis of path as part of the semantics of Finnish motion verbs. An essay in Cognitive Semantics, Sivonen’s paper presents the results of his investigation of fifteen lexemes: the most frequently used motion verbs which profile indirect path. He distinguishes between five groups of verbs with respect to their implied path shapes (Paths of Irregular Shape, Paths of Regular Shape, Paths of a Single Turn, the Back and Forth Paths and the Crossing Shape Paths). Once again, Sivonen’s paper demonstrates that recognizing the systematicity of seemingly disparate linguistic phenomena enhances uniformity of linguistic descriptions, and at the same time provides refinement of existing theories (in the case of motion verbs, Talmy’s theory of verb-framed and satellite-framed languages). Jakko Leino demonstrates that Construction Grammar is a useful tool for a researcher aiming at bringing together issues of spoken language and syntactic theory. To this end, the article presents an analysis of two parenthetical expression types characteristic of spoken Finnish and elaborates on the role of expression types in shaping the notion of construction, the organization of speech, and the relation between the two. In conclusion,


´ Elzbieta Tabakowska, Michał Choinski and Łukasz Wiraszka ˙

the author claims that models of grammatical constructions are just as useful for analyzing the syntax of spoken language (which is less frequently addressed in the linguistic enterprise than the more ‘‘orderly’’ written language) as they are for the written variety. Moreover, the notion of construction may actually prove to be more useful than the traditional notions of clause or sentence. Part IV (‘‘The pragmatic context’’) o¤ers two illustrations of the significance of pragmatic context in linguistic research. Kirsten Vis, Wilbert ´ Spooren and Jose Sanders investigate the issue of conversationalization of public discourse. Analyzing three Dutch newspaper corpora: two corpora including texts from national newspapers from 1950 and 2002 and a corpus consisting of spontaneous conversations recorded c. 2002, the authors use tools provided by Rhetorical Structure Theory to compare various levels of discourse coherence; the content as well as epistemic and speech act relations between clauses are investigated to establish the degree of subjectivity in the investigated texts. Recognizing the level of discourse as a ‘‘major challenge to Cognitive Linguistics’’, they demonstrate how RST allows to provide explicit links between the level of linguistic information and the level of conceptual representation. Vis, Spooren and Sanders’s chapter demonstrates the e¤ectiveness of the method itself rather than final results of the study. ´ Luna Filipovic analyses the content of witnesses’ testimonies: transcripts of police interviews with native speakers of Spanish and their attested translations into English. Focusing upon descriptions of motion events, she investigates the di¤erences between lexicalizations of the experiential domains in the two languages. In her work, these di¤erences (e.g. reference to the manner of the motion verb), which result from Talmy’s (1985) linguistic typology, are used to help to explain the modifications of the content of the testimonies, which take place when they are translated from Spanish into English. The study demonstrates how systematic research of lexicalization patterns within particular cognitive domains might reveal significant typological contrasts between languages and thus contribute to our general knowledge of language typology. On the pragmatic plane, the ´ implications of Filipovic’s study are equally significant: the description – and the following awareness – of typological di¤erences can allow for a better understanding of language-specific bias in legal contexts and provide significant clues for training language professionals – e.g. interpreters or translators. ´ Filipovic’s chapter provides a mental link with the final part of the volume (‘‘The social and cultural contexts for CMT and CI’’), devoted to

Introduction: Theory informing applications, applications informing theory


demonstrating social and cultural contexts for Cognitive Metaphor and Conceptual Integration Theories. Diane Ponterotto demonstrates how Cognitive Metaphor Theory can be applied to cross-linguistic analyses, ultimately contributing to the understanding of translation problems regarding idiomaticity. By o¤ering a contrastive analysis of a selection of English and Italian idiomatic expressions, her study explores similarities and di¤erences in cross-language renderings of such expressions, focusing on the issue of conceptual metaphor identification. Ponterotto ends her study with some practical implications for translation studies and translator training by pointing out the importance of the awareness of constraints imposed on translation practice by cross-cultural variation of metaphorical conceptualizations. Emphasis on cross-cultural di¤erences, as manifested in particular instantiations of universal conceptual metaphors, suggests a possibility of completing the theory-application-theory cycle: investigation of attested translations produced by practising translators might obviously contribute to our understanding of universal vs. language- and culturespecific metaphorization. The final two chapters o¤er CL analyses of two key notions in Christian religious discourse. In her chapter on metaphorical conceptualizations Małgorzata Pasicka o¤ers an analysis of expressions used by followers of Faith Movement, a branch of charismatic Christianity, which she defines as ‘‘prosperity theology.’’ She discusses conceptual blends and metaphorical conceptualizations of faith, which, as she claims, ‘‘lie at the very heart’’ of the Faith Movement. She demonstrates how the blending theory, seen as an enrichment of the conceptual metaphor theory, o¤ers a better possibility of interpreting complex and novel metaphors, which are characteristic of the ‘‘positive confession’’ parlance of the Faith Movement. Moreover, she indicates and explores certain innovative syntactic structures which appear in the Faith Movement discourse, and concludes by showing how such syntactic innovations co-operate with metaphors and conceptual blends to create an overall picture of faith as ‘‘something almost tangible, something mundane rather than metaphysical.’’ The direction for further investigation is clear-cut: although the hypothesis of linguistic relativism is not explicitly mentioned, with the pragmatic goals of FM in view, psychological and sociocultural implications of Pasicka’s analysis seem evident. Last but not least, Aleksander Gomola investigates the concept of God that underlies the metaphor ‘‘God is Friend’’, often used by process theology and feminist theology. An analysis of the metaphor, carried out in the framework of Conceptual Blending Theory, leads to the second part


´ Elzbieta Tabakowska, Michał Choinski and Łukasz Wiraszka ˙

of the chapter, which brings out the semantic contrast between the ‘‘God is Friend’’ metaphor and some other, well established metaphors that occur in Christian discourse, e.g. ‘‘God is Father’’. Gomola elaborates on the origin of the new concept as well as on social and religious consequences of its wider application. It is generally assumed that man cannot talk about God in plain, i.e. non-metaphorical language; Gomola’s analysis shows that a linguist can profitably use plain language to talk about the metaphors that men use to talk about God. Theory informs application, application informs theory. They feed each other, and at the same time provide food for thought for anyone keen on trying to understand the nature of complex bonds that tie human language and human mind together. References
Boers, Frank and Seth Lindstromberg 2008 Cognitive Linguistic Approaches to Teaching Vocabulary and Phraseology. (Applications of Cognitive Linguistics 6.) Berlin/ New York: Mouton de Gruyter. ˆ Brone, Geert and Jeroen Vandaele 2009 Cognitive Poetics: Goals, Gains and Gaps. (Applications of Cognitive Linguistics 10.) Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Dabrowska, Ewa ˛ 2004 Language, Mind and Brain: Some Psychological and Neurological Constraints on Theories of Grammar. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Emmorey, Karen 2002 Language, Cognition, and the Brain: Insights from Sign Language Research. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates. Gavins, Joanna and Gerard Steen (eds.) 2003 Cognitive Poetics in Practice. London: Routledge. Gries, Stefan Thomas and Anatol Stefanowitsch (eds.) 2006 Corpora in Cognitive Linguistics: Corpus-based Approaches to Syntax and Lexis. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Gutt, Ernst-August 1991/2000 Translation and Relevance, Cognition and Context. Manchester: St Jerome Publishing. Janzen, Terry 2005 Topics in Signed Language Interpreting. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. ´ Kristiansen, Gitte, Michel Achard, Rene Dirven and Francisco J. Ruiz de Mendoza ´˜ Ibanez 2006 Cognitive Linguistics: Current Applications and Future Perspectives. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Introduction: Theory informing applications, applications informing theory


´ Kristiansen, Gitte and Rene Dirven (eds.) 2008 Cognitive Sociolinguistics. Language Variation, Cultural Models, Social Systems. (Cognitive Linguistics Research 39.) Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Lako¤, George and Mark Johnson 1980 Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Langacker, Ronald W. 1993 Reference point constructions. Cognitive Linguistics 4: 1–38. Langacker, Ronald W. 1995 Possession and possessive constructions. In: John R. Taylor and Robert E. MacLaury (eds.), Language Language and the Cognitive Construal of the World, 51–79. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. McNeill, David 1992 Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal about Thought. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. McNeill, David (ed.) 2000 Language and Gesture. (Language Culture and Cognition.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. McNeill, David 2005 Gesture and Thought. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ´ Putz, Martin, Susanne Niemeier and Rene Dirven (eds.) ¨ 2001 Applied Cognitive Linguistics I: Theory and Language Acquisition. (Cognitive Linguistics Research 19.) Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Semino, Elena and Jonathan Culpeper (eds.) 2002 Cognitive Stylistics: Language and Cognition in Text Analysis. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Stefanowitsch, Anatol and Stefan Thomas Gries (eds.) 2006 Corpus-based Approches to Metaphor and Metonymy. Berlin/ New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Stockwell, Peter 2002 Cognitive Poetics: An Introduction. London: Routledge. Talmy, Leonard 1985 Lexicalization patterns: semantic structure in lexical forms. In: Timothy Shopen (ed.), Language Typology and Syntactic Description (Vol. 3), 57–149. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tabakowska, Elzbieta ˙ 1993 Cognitive Linguistics and Poetics of Translation. Tu ¨bingen: Gunter Narr Verlag. Taylor, John R. 1996 Possessives in English. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Tomasello, Michael 2003 Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Part I.

From loop to cycle

Looking back at 30 years of Cognitive Linguistics1 ´ ´ Rene Dirven and Francisco Jose Ruiz de ´˜ Mendoza Ibanez
1. Introduction: Looking back in pride After 30 years of inner development and steady growth, Cognitive Linguistics stands firm, both qualitatively and quantitatively. As a symbol of this self-assured presence in the linguistic landscape rises Geeraerts and Cuyckens’s (2007) monumental Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics,2 which even boasts on its blurb: ‘‘In the past decade, Cognitive Linguistics has developed into one of the most dynamic and attractive frameworks within theoretical and descriptive linguistics.’’ What has made Cognitive Linguistics so dynamic and attractive? The dynamicity of Cognitive Linguistics (CL) is largely due to the fact that it is not a single person’s enterprise. Rather it arises from the combi1. This paper is a heavily revised and expanded version of previous work by Dirven (2002a, 2005). We want to thank Gunter Radden, Ad Foolen and ¨ Verena Haser for their valuable comments on this earlier work. Financial support for part of this research has been provided by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, grants HUM2004-05947-C02-01/FILO and HUM2007-65755/FILO, which are co-financed through FEDER funds. 2. Cognitive Linguistics now has a whole range of introductions, surveys and readers. There is the shorter type of introduction such as Taylor (1995a), Ungerer and Schmid ( 22006), Dirven and Verspoor ( 22004), or Lee (2001), and the longer type of an advanced introduction such as Evans and Green (2006). Then there is the more specialized type of introduction such as Taylor (2002) and Langacker (2008) for Cognitive Grammar, and Croft and Cruse (2004) for Radical Construction Grammar. In contrast, Geeraerts and Cuyckens (2007) is a highly specialized handbook, covering all strands, linguistic fields and even a number of neighbouring disciplines. Readers are: Evans, Bergen and Zinken (2006) and Geeraerts (2006b), and Kristiansen, Achard, Dirven and Ruiz de Mendoza (2006). An introduction to a two-model conception of CL, with a strict separation between the semantic and the conceptual world, is Schwarz (1996). Finally, for a comprehensive overview of the contrasts between the various versions of Construction Grammar and some functional ´ models of language, see Gonzalvez and Butler (2006).


´ ´ ´˜ Rene Dirven and Francisco Jose Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez

nation of various pioneering ideas that, acting as separable strands of one whole, have drawn together to give rise to a unified paradigm. Central to the whole paradigm is the cognitive commitment, i.e. the conviction that there is fundamental unity and interaction among all cognitive faculties including perception, attention, categorization, conceptualization, a¤ect, memory, reasoning, and language (see Lako¤ 1990; Talmy 1997). The attractiveness of CL may be due to the fact that it has largely given up the traditional axioms that reduce language to a self-su‰cient system, especially dichotomies such as syntax vs. semantics, lexis vs. grammar, semantics vs. pragmatics, langue vs. parole, competence vs. performance, and synchrony vs. diachrony. The belief in the arbitrariness of the linguistic sign has given way to a search for the motivation of linguistic organization on the basis of cognitive principles. This change of direction stands in sharp contrast to the central claim of generative linguistics that language is an autonomous system, detached from any other type of knowledge, including encyclopedic or world knowledge. In contrast, CL holds that there is no clear-cut distinction between linguistic and encyclopedic knowledge (Haiman 1980; Langacker 1987). Additionally, in CL, the view of the interwovenness of language and other cognitive faculties has generally been synonymous with an extreme anti-modularity view, which is in line with a general anti-generative mind-set. However, a milder approach in all these matters is now growing. Whereas language itself is still seen as an internally non-modular system (e.g. by Glynn 2007), from an anatomic perspective, there are some who would not deny that the various cognitive faculties may be organized on the basis of functional modularity, i.e. the encapsulation of information in distributed areas of the brain, for which there is a growing body of evidence in neuroscience (e.g. Calabretta, Di Fernando, Wagner and Parisi 2003).3 In spite of this non-modular conception of language and the belief in the continuity of grammar and lexicon, all the main strands in CL have
3. Functional modularity rejects the naive notion of modularity as information encapsulation in specific parts of the brain. Similarly, in the case of language, the evidence strongly suggests that there is no domain specificity. For example, there are brain areas involved in language that are also related to motor control (Heiser et al. 2003). There is additional evidence that understanding the meaning of some linguistic expressions often requires that listeners become involved in an embodied ‘‘simulation’’ of the described situation (Gallese and Lako¤ 2005; Gallese 2005). Embodied simulations of actual object manipulation are thus used in reasoning processes such as understanding the metaphorical meaning of grasp an idea (Bergen 2005; Feldman and Narayanan 2004).

Looking back at 30 years of Cognitive Linguistics


emphasized either the grammatical units of language or else its lexicalsemantic units. In line with this fact, the present retrospective overview will first concentrate on the more grammatical strands, and next on the lexical-semantic strands, not losing sight of further discourse orientations. We will also outline some developments within these strands, highlight internal problems, if any, and obstacles on the path to their integration. The following strands, or topics related to them, will be discussed: (i) the relation of grammar to cognition (Section 2); (ii) Cognitive Grammar (CG) (Section 3); (iii) di¤erences of opinion between CG and the various versions of construction grammar (Section 4); (iv) Construction Grammar (CxG) (Section 5); (v) Radical Construction Grammar (RCG) (Section 6); (vi) the philosophical basis of CL (Section 7); (vii) Conceptual Metaphor and Metonymy Theory (Section 8); (viii) Lexical Semantics (Section 9); (ix) Discourse: Mental Space and Blending Theory (Section 10).

2. The relation of grammar to cognition The most important inroads into the relation between grammar and cognition have been made by, amongst others, the following scholars: Haiman (1985a, 1985b) on iconicity; Fillmore (1977) on frames and scenes; Talmy (1975, 1978, 1988a, 1988b, 2000a, 2000b) on figure/ground alignment, and on attention and (per)ception phenomena; Langacker (1987, 1990, 1991, 1999) on construal, perspective, subjectivity and mental scanning; Fillmore (1990), Fillmore, Kay, and O’Connor (1988), Fillmore et al. (2004), Goldberg (1995, 2002, 2005), Croft (2001), and Bergen and Chang (2005) on constructional patterns; Lako¤ and Johnson (1980, 1999), Lako¤ (1993) and Lako¤ and Turner (1989) on metaphor; Johnson (1987) on image schemas; Lako¤ (1987) on categorization, and Fauconnier and Turner (1996, 2002) on blending.4 From a historical point of view, CL belongs to the functionalist tradition in linguistics. Although Saussure ([1916] 1974) saw linguistics as part of semiology or semiotics, he mainly emphasized one of the three main modes of semiotic reference, i.e. symbolicity, as the organizing principle of linguistic structure. In the more balanced semiotic view of language taken by Haiman (1985b), the other two main semiotic principles, i.e.
4. Since Fillmore’s work, although generally compatible with the main assumptions of CL, does not subscribe to the cognitive commitment, we will only make occasional reference to it where it is relevant for our discussion.


´ ´ ´˜ Rene Dirven and Francisco Jose Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez

iconicity and indexicality, are shown to be highly relevant, too. They are, moreover, more perceptually and experientially based, and as such fully in line with the cognitive view of language. As a direct manifestation of the interaction between perception and language, the principle of iconicity becomes visible in three sub-principles of linguistic organization, i.e. sequential order, proximity/distance, and quantity. The sequential order in the perceived or conceived world is reflected in syntactic word order as in the advertising slogan Eye it, try it, buy it. Syntactic proximity and distance reflect conceptual closeness or di¤erence, e.g. in the position within adjective sequences as in a large purple satin coverlet: here the conceptual closeness between the linen (coverlet) and the material that it is made of (satin) determines the primacy of the material adjective; color is next in the intrinsic nature of artifacts, and size is the least intrinsic feature and stands at the greatest distance from the noun. The principle of quantity relates to the pairing of form and meaning: a more complex form usually carries a greater amount of meaning, and form is motivated by functional factors such as politeness, demands of informativeness, and rhetoric, among others (e.g. compare the wording of No smoking in a public place with that of Customers are kindly requested to refrain from smoking, if they can in the dining room of a chic restaurant). Thus iconicity clearly reveals that extra-linguistic cognitive factors can have a direct bearing on linguistic form, or that linguistic form is not so arbitrary as many have claimed since Saussure.5 One of the greatest merits of Talmy is to have incorporated Gestalt Psychology into the cognitive exploration of language. Another major asset of Talmy’s work is its concern with both grammar and lexicon, and with their subtly di¤erent relation to cognition. As a highly abstract symbolic system of generalized or schematic conceptualizations, the grammar of a language is even more intimately linked with, and subject to, general cognitive principles and processes than the lexical system, which is an inventory of more specific and singular forms of conceptualization. Whereas iconicity is a receptive cognitive principle in that it reflects metonymic links between parts (single event or property) and wholes
5. This claim arises from an extreme interpretation of Saussure’s real views. As Radden and Panther (2004) have noted, Saussure was well aware of the dangers of applying the principle of arbitrariness without restriction and was consequently in favor of relative motivation, a view that is not incompatible with most CL claims on the relationship between form and meaning (cf. Langacker’s 1987 treatment of the relationship as ‘‘symbolic assemblies’’).

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(total of events or objects), the imposition of gestalts on the experiential world is a far more creative achievement. That the structure of grammar is directly related to principles of gestalt perception was first shown by Talmy (1975; see also 1978, 2000a, ch. 5). One of these is the principle of figure/ground alignment, according to which the perception of an overall shape comes about by dividing the perceptual field into a more prominent part, the figure, and a less salient part called the ground. It is against this ground that the figure moves, is moved or stands out. Talmy furthermore applies this perceptual principle to complex sentences thus showing that the main clause has the function of the figure and the subordinate clause that of the ground. Probing more generally into the relation of grammar to cognition, Talmy (1988a, 2000a, ch. 1) deals with the relations between lexicon, grammar and cognition in terms of a building metaphor. Whereas the lexicon can be compared to the single bricks of a building, the grammar is ‘‘the conceptual framework or, imagistically, a skeletal structure or sca¤olding for the conceptual material that is lexically specified’’ (Talmy 1988a: 165). The lexicon contains content words and reflects the tens of thousands of individual phenomena as single, conceptual categories, whereas the grammar develops more abstract, schematic categories, applying over wide ranges of phenomena. Such a schematic category of meaning, e.g. that of the plural morpheme, is one that applies to all possible relevant contexts. Thus the schematic meaning of the plural is the notion of ‘‘more than one’’, technically called multiplexity, which is found not only with count nouns (cups), but also with abstract nouns ( fears, misgivings), uncountable nouns (ashes, waters), or event nouns (the silences between the two lovers). Furthermore, the concept ‘‘multiplex’’ is not limited to nouns and plurals, but is also found with iterative verb forms as in He was hitting her. Thus, whereas the lexicon diversifies the conceptual world more and more, the grammar synthesizes, under one common denominator, quite di¤erent manifestations of multiplexity, be it concrete or abstract, countable or uncountable, things or events. It is also in this sense that grammar creates gestalts: ‘‘[grammatical] structuring is necessary for a disparate quantity of contentful material to be able to cohere in any sensible way and hence to be amenable to simultaneous cognizing as a Gestalt’’ (Talmy 1988a: 196). Still, lexical and grammatical specifications are to be seen along a continuum ranging from content categories to schematic categories. An example of closed-class notional category that impinges on grammar is force dynamics (Talmy 1988b, 2000a). Linguistic expressions can


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have a force-dynamic grounding where either of two forces, an agonist and an antagonist, one stronger than the other, can be in focus. We can have basic steady-state force-dynamic patterns with a tendency to motion (e.g. The ball kept rolling) or to rest (e.g. The fence kept standing in spite of the strong wind ) or change-of-state patterns which also exhibit a tendency to motion (e.g. The water made the fire die down) or to rest (e.g. The ball made the lamp fall ). There can be internal psychodynamics as in He forced himself to keep working (motion) and He refrained from smoking in the lab (rest). As Deane (1996) has noted the elements of force dynamics are basic to human cognition since they are grounded in natural motor activities. A related area of Talmy’s research where the cognitive role of perception is crucial for grammar is the study of motion. Talmy (2000a) distinguishes three types of motion: factive, fictive, and metaphorical. Factive motion, concerns real motion as in The boy ran from the tree to the fence. Fictive motion consists in depicting a situation where there is no actual motion, but it is conceived as if it involved real motion, as in The road ran from the river to the valley; this is possible since our perceptual mechanisms give us the false impression that there is motion (we move our eyes from one point to another and interpret the static scene as if it were dynamic). Finally, with metaphorical motion we see a non-physical entity as if it were a moving object, as exemplified by The smell came into the room. In general, Talmy’s own grammatical description of a number of single constructions such as those for motion events in various languages around the world tends to be typological in orientation (Talmy 2000b). Thus, he notes that there are satellite-oriented languages like English that represent the path of the motion in a prepositional phrase or satellite (e.g. The child crawled into the room) and verb-oriented languages like Spanish and ´ Japanese that represent the path in the verb root (e.g. El nino entro en la ˜ ´ habitacion gateando lit. ‘The child came into the room crawling’). In the latter, the co-event (i.e. gateando) is secondary to the motion event itself ´ (entro ); it describes the manner of motion and is typically expressed by a gerund. Thus there is a double opposition: Spanish expresses path as a first event and manner as a secondary event; English expresses path as a satellite and manner as the sole event. Thus, the English path expression by means of a satellite is a major carrier of the notion of motion in the sentence. In contrast to other founding fathers of CL, Talmy has never developed a specific grammar model. But, stimulated by Talmy and also by Fillmore, CL has seen the development of various models of cognitive grammar (the

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use of lower case throughout this paper suggests a generic use of a term and the upper case a specific model). In the following sections we discuss what we feel are the most relevant contributions of the various approaches, which include Langacker’s Cognitive Grammar, several versions of construction grammar, and Fauconnier and Turner’s Blending Theory.

3. Cognitive Grammar: Construal, perspective, and compositionality Historically speaking, Langacker’s accomplishment is to have realized the enormous potential of Talmy’s gestalt-based approach to language and to have developed it into a fully-fledged theory, which at first he labeled Space Grammar and later Cognitive Grammar. Langacker’s main inroads into cognition in grammar are the application of the notion of construal to explain various linguistic phenomena, his elaboration of Talmy’s notion of perspective, and the generalization of the gestalt principle of figure/ground alignment to all levels of linguistic structure. The notion of construal is needed to mark the cognitive operation transforming a conceptual scene into a linguistic description of it. Whereas a conceptual scene is in principle not limited in the number of participants and relations, its linguistic expression always imposes a ‘‘construal’’ on the scene in terms of scope and perspective. Scope, which relates to how much of the scene is to be included in the description and which elements are to be excluded, is roughly equivalent to Fillmore’s (1977) notion of frame. Thus the well-known scene of a commercial transaction comprises participants and relations.6 Among the participants we have a buyer, a seller, goods, a price, and the quality of the goods or the extent of the sales. Then, there are two main relations: the transfer of goods and of money. Of all this rich conceptual content, the construal operation never allows all elements within its scope. The absolute maximum is to express all of the participants, but only one direction in the transfer: I paid her 200 dollars for the ring or else She sold me the ring for 200 dollars. It is of
6. The example of the commercial transaction scene stems from Fillmore (1982). His notions of scene and frame (Fillmore 1977) are comparable to Langacker’s notions of conceived situation and scope. Semantic frames are schematic representations of situation types described in terms of participants and their roles, which matches the elements of a scene taken into the speaker’s scope. Associated with the frame there are a number of lexical units and inheritance relations with other frames.


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course possible to express the double transfer by means of the verb exchange (We exchanged the ring for 200 dollars), but here the buyer/seller relation is kept out of sight so that the commercial character of the transaction itself is out of the scope. One can exchange anything for anything else, e.g. stamps for horse pictures. Other forms of construal of the commercial transaction focus on the goods and the price (The ring cost 200 dollars), on the seller and the price (She charged 200 dollars for the ring), on the buyer and the price (I bought the ring for 200 dollars, I paid 200 dollars for the ring). All in all, there is a limited number of ways of construing the same content. Construal is determined by the perspective that speakers impose on the scene to be described. In the commercial transaction only one of the four participants can serve as the point of departure: the buyer can only buy, pay a price and receive the goods; the seller can only sell, charge a price and transfer the goods; the goods cost a certain amount; and money can buy them. Langacker’s main contribution in this respect is that he has not just left the notion of perspective at a fairly vague level, as exemplified by the various ways of construing the commercial transaction scene, but that he has further elaborated it into more discrete components. Thus, the perspective adopted on a given scene or situation can involve three further components: a vantage point, an objective vs. subjective view, and a given direction in the mental scanning of the scene. First, construal can involve the choice of a vantage point from which one looks at the situation. This can be the sentential subject as the figure selected for the scene, as illustrated above for each of the four di¤erent participants in the commercial transaction, whereby the other participants then form the ground (see further down below). But the vantage point can also be either of the participants in the speech situation, i.e. the speaker’s or the hearer’s position as in the use of come: here the speaker can take either his own perspective or that of the hearer as in the contrast between Shall I come to your place? or Will you come to my place? In the former the coming is seen from the hearer’s perspective, in the latter from the speaker’s. Second, perspective can involve the choice between an objective and a subjective construal. These two terms are used in a very specific sense, based on their everyday meanings. An objective construal presents an explicit temporal or spatial setting of the scene relative to speech time or to the speaker’s position. Thus, by using the adverb before now the speaker defines the time reference point objectively as the time of the speech act (now); and by saying She was sitting across the table from me the speaker puts himself or herself objectively on the stage as the spatial reference point. Subjec-

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tivity in such cases means that the speaker leaves out the speech time (She was sitting here) or the speaker’s position (She was sitting across the table) such that these vantage points are merely implied, explicitly or ‘‘objectively’’ put on the stage. That is, a subjective construal as She was sitting across the table is precisely subjective because it implies an o¤-stage, speaker-dependent reference point. As a third component, perspective can involve the choice of a direction of the motion in real motion events or in fictive motion events. Fictive motion is found in scenes such as The roof slopes, where the mind simulates motion in processing the sentence (Matlock 2004a, 2004b). Also in such mental scanning the speaker has to decide on the direction of the motion by choosing between The roof slopes steeply upward and The roof slopes steeply downward, where the former suggests motion away from, and the latter motion towards, the speaker. After selecting a perspective, the speaker assembles the various elements chosen from the scene into larger composite wholes, linguistically expressed as phrases, clauses, sentences, or text. Next to these refinements in viewing processes, Langacker has also considerably extended the notion of figure/ground alignment to all linguistic levels.7 The structuring of a scene into a figure and a ground does not only apply to the relation of main clause and subclause, as shown by Talmy (1975, 1978), but also to other levels such as a lexical unit, a compound, a phrase (verb phrase, prepositional phrase, adjective-noun phrase), a clause, and a speech act. Before going into some of these levels, it is necessary to point out that, according to Langacker (1987, 1995), all linguistic units and their meanings can be reduced to two kinds of conceptual entities: things and relations. Things are independent conceptual entities such as book or linguistics, whereas relations are conceptual entities constituting conceptual links between things such as the temporal relation know or the atemporal relation about. Conceptual entities are joined to one another by assembling them into increasingly larger and more complex units. Thus book is assembled with about linguistics into the relationship book about linguistics; this initial assembly is in its turn combined with good into good book about linguistics; these are all atemporal relations, which are further assembled with the temporal relation I know into I know a good book about linguistics. This principle of composing and integrating smaller units into larger higher-order ones is known as compositionality, to which we will come back in Section 4. But let us first see

7. For a survey of the uses of figure/ground, see Grundy and Jiang (2001: 115).


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how the figure/ground relationship applies to various conceptual units and their expression. Each conceptual entity, e.g. book or strawberry, consists of a profile and a base: the figure is what is profiled and the base is what the figure is profiled against. For strawberry the base is the domain of plants, in this case a strawberry plant with roots, leaves and fruit, and the noun strawberry profiles the fruit. A relationship like the strawberry on the plate consists of the relational link (or relation) on and two things as participants, i.e. strawberry and plate. The relation on profiles contact or support with a surface in the domain of space. The figure/ground relationship holds between the first participant strawberry as the figure and the second participant, plate, as the ground. In order to have a more specific term for figure/ground relationships, Langacker (1987: 217–220) has introduced the spatial terms trajector – which does not necessarily identify a moving entity – and landmark. Langacker sees the trajector/landmark configuration, which further specifies the notion of figure/ground alignment, as applicable to those conceptual relationships that are linguistically expressed as phrases, clauses, and complex sentences. In the structure of a simple sentence or clause, the trajector is the subject, and the landmark is the (direct) object or the oblique complement. Furthermore, each trajector/ landmark relation in a finite clause – or rather the situation or scene described in it – is simultaneously ‘‘grounded’’ in time and reality by means of the tense system or in irreality (i.e. potential reality or nonreality) by the modality system. A clause uttered in discourse functions in the interaction between speaker and hearer as a speech act (see Searle 1979). Figure/ground relationships also hold in this case, which is – in our view – Langacker’s most innovative extension of the notion in question. That is, the speech act itself functions as the figure and the whole speech situation is the ground. The speech situation comprises the speech act participants (speaker and hearer), the speech act time and location, and the di¤erent elements of background knowledge. The speech situation is thus the whole context or the ground against which the linguistic expression communicated makes sense as the figure. Langacker has also developed outspoken views on three issues that have caused di¤erences of opinion within CL: the notion of compositionality, the number of conceptual-linguistic units, and the universal status of grammatical categories such as noun, verb, subject, and direct object. Though not apparent at first sight, these issues may well be linked to one another, which we will do in the context of construction grammar models. Thus, as will be evident in the ensuing discussion, Langacker’s

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schemas – which may range from specific to abstract – are but ‘‘conventionalized patterns’’ that give rise to more creative constructions.

4. Di¤erences between Cognitive Grammar and construction grammars Although Langacker’s Cognitive Grammar and the various construction grammar models share the basic tenets of cognitive linguistics, they also di¤er fundamentally on the principle of compositionality, the inventory of linguistic units, and the status of grammatical categories. Construction grammar claims that compositionality cannot account for all linguistic phenomena and that acceptance of a third conceptual-linguistic unit is unavoidable: in addition to things and relations, they also argue for the existence of constructions, i.e. fixed patterns in the combination of relations and things, not built up compositionally, but available as whole constructional units with their own constructional meanings (see e.g. Michaelis 2003). Thus, the linguistic expression I painted myself in a corner can have two di¤erent interpretations and hence also two constructional paths. The compositional build-up accounts for the literal meaning that the speaker made a picture of himself/herself and did so in a corner. In this interpretation the object (myself ) is assembled to the verb ( paint) into a verb phrase that is then assembled into a relationship with the subject (I ), thus yielding a new composite structure that is further assembled to the adverbial phrase (in a corner). The non-compositional, idiomatic and constructional meaning is quite di¤erent, i.e. ‘I expressed an opinion, which committed me to things which I subsequently regretted.’ This figurative meaning is based on the figurative interpretation of the global construction whereby the speaker does something that brings him/her into an unpleasant state. In order to distinguish this case from the caused-motion construction, as in The player kicked it into the goal, we will call it a caused-change construction. In such a construction there is no assembly of the verb ( paint) and a direct object (myself ), but only between the verb ( paint) and the subject (I ), on the one hand, and between the pronominal noun phrase (myself ) and the adverbial phrase (in a corner), on the other. But the link between those two relationships is not borne out by a linguistic form, which is the very reason why construction grammar claims that it is the construction as a whole that expresses the notion of caused change. This in turn entails that there are not just conceptual entities like things and relations, but also more abstract patterns or strings – the ambiguous and hence infelicitous term chosen for them


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is ‘‘constructions’’ – which just like things and relations also function as conceptual units.8 In such constructional units – or non-compositional constructions – the interpretation process is claimed to follow a topdown direction, whereas in compositional constructions the interpretation results from a bottom-up assembly of the various lexical units (I, paint, myself, in, corner) into increasingly larger phrases and a clause. In the figurative interpretation of I painted myself in a corner it is especially the relationship myself in a corner that seems to lack any conceptual and syntactic status in the clause as a whole. It is important to realize that it is not the figurative use of the caused-change construction that makes the construction special. This non-compositional caused-change construction can also occur with many other verbs, also when used literally. Consider the verb drink. Here the caused-change construction can be used to express a resultant state, with adjectives (He drank himself poor/silly/senseless), with the goal prepositions to or into (He drank himself to death/into a coma), and with the source preposition out of (He drank himself out of his practice/out of his career). In Section 5 we will discuss the solution Construction Grammar o¤ers for this, then evaluate Langacker’s view of it, and suggest other solutions. But first we must refer to the other major point of disagreement between Langacker’s Cognitive Grammar and construction grammar models, especially Radical Construction Grammar, which is the status of grammatical categories like noun, verb, subject, and direct object. For Langacker, there are only two basic conceptual entities, i.e. ‘‘things’’ as somehow independent entities, and ‘‘relations’’ as establishing links between ‘‘things.’’ Linguistic expressions that profile things are, prototypically, nouns, pronouns, determiners, and higher-order expressions such as full noun phrases. Linguistic expressions that profile relations are verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and adjectives, among others. There are two types of relations: finite verbs profile temporal relations (i.e. processes); non-finite verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and adjectives profile atemporal relations. For Langacker, the two main categories discussed here, nouns and verbs are not just meta-theoretical constructs, useful to talk about language, but they are an intrinsic part of grammar and thus have a universal status. The same claim is made for the functional categories of subject and object (Langacker 2005: 128–129). Radical Construction Grammar rejects this view on the grounds that most gram8. Langacker uses the term construction in a much looser sense than constructionists in CL do. For Langacker the notion of construction is even compatible with that of compositionality, as will be shown below.

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matical categories di¤er across languages and can only be defined from a language-specific perspective (see Section 6).

5. Constructions and Construction Grammar (CxG) Construction grammars di¤er from Langacker’s Cognitive Grammar in that they reject compositionality as the main principle governing the grammar of a language, and claim that languages have numerous fixed or idiomatic expressions or ‘‘constructions’’, i.e. grammatical units in themselves. There are four main constructionist approaches. The first of all has been Fillmore’s construction grammar, also called Berkeley Construction Grammar (BCG), which was developed partly within a generative frame of thought by Fillmore, Kay and O’Connor (1988), Fillmore (1990), Fillmore and Atkins (2000), Kay and Fillmore (1999) and Fillmore, Kay, Michaelis and Sag (2004). Still, Fillmore incorporates quite a number of assumptions from CL in his approaches to the lexicon and grammar, known as Frame Semantics and Construction Grammar respectively. But typical for the more generative outlook, in this respect, is the separation between lexicon and grammar. According to Lako¤ (cf. Pires de Olivera 2001: 26), Fillmore does not consider himself a part of the Cognitive Linguistics paradigm, mainly because of his non-commitment to the interconnection between linguistic capacity and other cognitive faculties. Besides Fillmore’s approach, there are three fully cognitive versions of construction grammar: Goldberg’s (1995) Construction Grammar (CxG), Croft’s (2001) Radical Construction Grammar (RCG), and Bergen and Chang’s (2005) Embodied Construction Grammar (ECG).9 According to Langacker (1991: 8), the di¤erence between CG and CxG can be characterized as follows: whereas CG considers constructions to be reducible ‘‘to symbolic relationships’’, CxG assumes that ‘‘grammatical classes and other constructs are still thought of as a separate level of organization.’’ But more is at stake than a ‘‘separate level of organi9. ECG is mainly concerned with the embodied aspects of online language processing, which involves accessing and simulating conceptual representations or embodied schemas. ECG stands out for its emphasis on the simulation stage of processing, the inferences this process brings about, and its overall goal to achieve computational adequacy. However, ECG has not explicitly addressed issues of compositionality, the inventory of linguistic units, and the status of grammatical categories, which are the focus of this section.


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zation’’; it is equally a question of ‘‘constructional meaning,’’ as has been pointed out by diverse ‘‘constructivists’’ such as Lako¤ (1987: 467, 538), Fillmore (1990), Goldberg (1995, 2006), Kay and Fillmore (1999), Michaelis (2003) and many others. That is, construction grammar starts from the existence of gestalt-like patterns or ‘‘established configurations’’ that are both simpler to produce and have meaning relations between the composing parts above their ad hoc compositional meanings. According to Goldberg (1995: 4) such patterns or constructions ‘‘carry meanings independently of the words in the sentence,’’ as in the parade example of an extended caused-motion construction Fred sneezed the napkin right o¤ the table (onto the floor). The verb sneeze, which has no causative meaning, is intransitive and cannot have a direct object. Since the ‘‘causative’’ meaning of the sentence as a whole is, according to Goldberg (1995: 4), ‘‘not strictly predictable from the construction’s component parts or from other previously established constructions,’’ she proposes to derive it from a constructional pattern such as cause-move <cause theme source/ goal>. Of these thematic or semantic roles, Fred is the cause, the napkin the theme, o¤ the table the source, and onto the floor the goal. Thanks to this higher semantic schema the verb form sneeze inherits a causative meaning from the abstract predicate cause-move and functions as an ordinary caused-motion verb such as to put in He put the napkin on the table. However, there is a major di¤erence between the verbs to put and to sneeze: whereas to put does command a direct object and an obligatory resulting location or state, to sneeze does not command either of these. This appears from the passive test, which works with verbs such as to put (The napkin was put on the table), but not with to sneeze (*The napkin was sneezed o¤ the table). The solution that Construction Grammar has chosen is, in fact, to accept an abstract verb cause-move, which in our opinion is not necessarily the only possible, and perhaps not even the best solution. The first problem is the choice of an abstract predicate, which is a solution comparable to accepting a zero-morpheme in order to account for a causative meaning for expressions without a causative marker. Now already 20 years ago and in a di¤erent context, Langacker (1987: 452) discussed causative expressions that have no overt causative marker and said that he is not in favor of ‘‘positing causative zeromorphemes.’’ Langacker (2005: 153) tends to a solution whereby verbs such as to sneeze in the parade example might gradually, through its frequent use, assume a causative meaning in the long run. However, this solution does not solve all problems. Although the various caused-change

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expressions with drink such as drink oneself to death are relatively frequent, it is unclear whether it is possible to think of this use of the verb to drink as involving causation. On top of all this uncertainty about the causative status of to sneeze or to drink, there is the non-object status of the napkin and oneself in such intransitive causative sentences. The incompatibility of the verb and the noun phrase is even clearer in drink oneself to death. Here to drink is a verb that has already incorporated its direct object (excessive amounts of alcohol ) and, moreover, if there was a direct object, it could not be human, but only non-human. This fact makes the explanation in terms of three arguments proposed by Goldberg’s Construction Grammar for the extended caused-motion and caused-change constructions highly suspect. The same holds for Langacker’s acceptance of a potential gradual meaning shift in to sneeze or, for that matter, in to drink. The essential problem is that at the conceptual level there cannot be a predicate-argument relation between drink and himself in He drank himself to death, but there can only be one within each of the two substructures He drank and himself to death. The second problem with Goldberg’s abstract predicate cause-move is that this does not account for the absolute necessity of a source/goal in the extended caused-motion construction with intransitive verbs such as sneeze, drink or others (e.g. laugh in The audience laughed the actor o¤ the stage). In these extended uses of the caused-motion construction the notion of motion is by and large expressed or carried by the dynamic prepositional phrase with o¤, out of, to, into, etc. This fact cannot but be related to Talmy’s insight (discussed in Section 2) that English is a satellite-oriented type of language, using the motion verb for secondary aspects such as the manner of motion, but expressing the very motion path by satellites as in The thief must have escaped by the backdoor through the garden and over the garden wall. In the extended caused-motion construction, the path component (o¤ the table, o¤ the stage, out of his job) is the sole component to conceptualize and express the motion, which also explains why it is a conceptually necessary component. The intransitive verb itself (sneeze, laugh, drink) reflects the action that serves as the direct or indirect cause triggering o¤ the motion, but this does not have to imply that the verb itself assumes a causative potential. It thus turns out that the extended causedmotion construction is far more complex in conceptual content than a single predicate-argument schema like 3cause-move cause theme source/ goal4 can suggest. The further question is then: is there any other way to account for


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the causative relation between the two substructures in [(X sneeze) (the napkin o¤ the table)]? For a possible answer to this question, we turn to Langacker’s (1987) discussion of compositionality again. Langacker does not invoke compositionality for all usage events in language. Rather, he makes a distinction between fully compositional, partially compositional, and non-compositional constructions. As an example of the latter, Langacker (1987: 454–457) discusses the adjective-noun combination a patriotic pole-climber. Here he analyzes a putative event of boosting the feelings of patriotism amongst the crowds of spectators before American football matches by having a cowgirl climbing a flagpole in the stadium and kissing the American flag. The expression for such a putative event might be patriotic ( flag)pole-climber, which, if repeated regularly, might become an entrenched expression. Still, it would not have the compositional meaning of ‘a patriotic person who climbs the flagpole,’ but the non-compositional meaning associating it with the football context above. Langacker (1987: 453) sees such composite structures as ‘‘evoking a knowledge system to which neither of its components [i.e. patriotic and pole-climber] provides direct access, [but] the component structures motivate and highlight selected facets of the composite meaning.’’ In terms of figure/ground alignment, we can see the selected expressions and their meanings as the figures which here evoke two (back)ground domains, i.e. patriotism as associated with the American flag, and sports as associated with pole-climbing, combining both in an act of patriotic love amidst crowds of sports spectators. This means that metonymically referring expressions can evoke much wider scenes, and even implicitly highlight the conceptual relations potentially holding between elements in those scenes. That is, the relation between patriotic and pole-climber is largely contextually determined. Once the expression is repeated often enough, it acquires an increasingly de-contextualized meaning, which in turn becomes entrenched. As an alternative to Goldberg’s schema cause-move <cause theme source/goal>, it is possible to propose an approach like that of Langacker’s above for the caused-motion or caused-change construction as found in paint oneself in a corner and drink oneself to death. A good reason to do so is that CG does not regard lexicon and grammar as di¤erent systems. According to Langacker (1987: 456), both lexicon and grammar may, though in di¤erent proportions, show all the various degrees of compositionality, i.e. full compositionality, partial compositionality, and non-compositionality. Therefore we will apply this approach to non-

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Figure 1. Perception of Causality

compositional constructions such as the extended caused-motion construction with to sneeze and the caused-change construction with to drink. It is part of the speakers’ knowledge system that the force-dynamic event (see Talmy 1988b) involved in sneezing may cause lighter objects to fly away and that excessive alcohol drinking may lead to a person’s corporeal or professional ruin. In each case two conceptual relationships are juxtaposed as follows: [(Fred sneeze) ! (the napkin is o¤ the table)] and [(Fred drink) ! (Fred comes to death)]. The causal link between the two relationships in each construction is based on our general perception and knowledge system. As has been empirically shown in experimental psychology (see Selg 1966, quoted by Radden 1985: 186), naive observers spontaneously establish causal links between two successive events, scenes or situations, even when no such links hold. Radden (1985) describes an experiment where subjects were shown a film of drawn triangles. One of the triangles approached the other and reached it; then, this second triangle started to move away in the same direction while the first one remained in the same place. The naive observer sees triangle A moving towards triangle B (phase I), and then hitting triangle B (phase II) thus causing B to move away (phase III). However, in the film the picture sequence was not one of causality. Given this strong propensity for imposing a chain of causal links onto observed or conceived successive events, it is quite legitimate to accept that speakers-conceptualizers do the same in language use. The causal link in to sneeze a napkin o¤ the table and to drink oneself to death would then not have to follow from an abstract predicate cause-move or cause-change, but could simply follow from a perceptual-conceptual propensity of naive human observers to construe causal links between two successive events or states. Just as Langacker invokes contextual factors to motivate the symbolic links between the components in patriotic poleclimber, we could propose an empirically-based and contextually-imposed


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causal link for the two constructions under discussion. For a more linguistic representation of this construction, see the end of Section 10.10 Solutions like this one are not needed for very frequent constructions such as the transitive, intransitive, passive, and ditransitive constructions (Goldberg 1992). Therefore we can limit the discussion to another test case and pick out one construction from the various less frequent cases discussed in the literature such as the incredulity response construction (What? Him write a novel?! ), the let-alone construction (Fillmore, Kay and O’Connor 1988), or the middle construction (Yoshimura 1998; Heyvaert 2003; Ruiz de Mendoza 2008). We will concentrate on this last one. The middle construction as in The door opened is a special case of the intransitive construction as in The book fell down. The middle construction with sell (e.g. This book sells well ) is even more special because it has a transitive counterpart, which, as shown in Section 3, operates in a fully compositional construction. Used in a non-compositional middle construction, sell can no longer focus on all the four participants of the commercial transaction scene (that is, neither on the seller, the buyer, nor the money), but the scope is mainly constrained to the goods. Still, the use of sell in a middle construction allows the speaker to construe a
10. Ruiz de Mendoza and Mairal (2007, 2008) have explored the metaphorical grounding of some uses of the caused-motion construction, as in The audience laughed the actor o¤ the stage. Typically, the predicate laugh is either intransitive (They laughed and laughed ) or it may take a prepositional object (They laughed at the poor actor). However, in ‘‘laugh someone o¤ somewhere’’, laugh seems to take a direct object, very much like any prototypical transitive predicate (cf. They kicked the actor o¤ the stage). Both types of sentence can be passivized: He was laughed at and He was laughed o¤ the stage. We suggest that this kind of motion is comparable to Talmy’s notion of fictive motion. That is, we do not actually use direct force as in the case of kick, but we see the laughing as a psychological force fictively causing motion. In a case like He drank himself out of his job we then have to deal with metaphorical motion, which in fact does not involve motion, but only a change of state. This use is the result of high-level metaphor whereby the action of excessive drinking is seen as an indirect force moving the man out of his job. High-level metaphor acts as a ‘‘licensing factor’’ for the participation of the predicate drink in the caused-motion construction. This account is compatible with one where the hearer is expected to impose a contextually-grounded causal link between the event of people laughing at someone and the emotional reaction of leaving the place, which would act as a further pragmatic constraint on the possibility of a caused-motion use of laugh.

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configuration that goes far beyond a classical predicate-argument structure. Although there is no agent-seller, there is an agent-like property of the goods that has an ‘‘enabling’’ force11 allowing the goods to make good sales. The utterance This book sells well is not just a neutral statement, but highlights a less prominent component of the commercial transaction scene, i.e. the quality of the goods and its relation to the manner or extent of the process of selling. Whereas in compositional constructions with sell this manner or extent component is optional, in the non-compositional middle construction it is obligatory, or at least implicitly present.12 Another important component in the sell middle construction is the fact that, unlike the intransitive construction, which may take all possible tenses, this use of the middle construction prototypically occurs in the simple present, suggesting a general situation. Again, this component of the middle construction does not stand on its own, but is intimately linked with the properties of goods and the manner or extent component. Each of these three components more or less conditions the other two components. Conceptually there is a focus on the quality of the selling process enabled by the goods’ properties, allowing a high sales output, and presupposing a whole series of selling events. It is this specific contextual background that is caught by the sell middle construction, which totally focuses on one participant in the commercial transaction event, i.e. the quality of the goods and sales. The special characteristic of a non-compositional construction is then that it can overrule the normal compositional paths of languages and create subjects or direct objects that at the conceptual level have no equivalent roles as agents or patients. This view of what non-compositional constructions do seems to go into a somewhat di¤erent direction from that of Taylor (1998), who still seems
11. Radden and Dirven (2007) have observed that the subject of middle constructions in English has an enabling function such that the subject takes on a causal, agent-like value, as in Our new stadium seats 80,000. The presence of causality has also been noted by Heyvaert (2003: 132), who argues that the middle construction ‘‘foregrounds the fact that the Subject-entity has properties which influence the occurrence of a particular process.’’ 12. This formulation di¤ers from that by Yoshimura (1998: 279), who says that ‘‘the subject book goes beyond the semantic value of a non-agentive intransitive in that it has some special properties that ‘‘enable’’ what is denoted by the predicate, sell well.’’ What is still lacking here is the link between the goods’ properties and the manner or extent component in the selling process. This lack in the overall configuration of the sell middle construction is somehow felt in speaking of a predicate sell well, where in fact only sell is the predicate.


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to see a bottom-up compositional build-up in constructions. According to this author, constructions such as the middle construction are schemata which have to be characterized by criteria such as the configuration of the parts, the contribution of the parts to the overall meaning of the construction, and the semantic, pragmatic, and discourse value of the construction (the middle construction is especially favored in advertising). In our view, the semantic component of ‘‘enabling property’’ does not come from the assembly of book with sell, but it originates in specific facets such as certain factors in commercial transactions favoring good sales. In this sense, constructions are gestalts in which the construction is, as said before, the figure, and the commercial context the ground of the construction as a whole. This wider view also allows other factors than what would be a direct object in a transitive construction (sell a book) to become the more salient factor in the success of the sales process. Thus also the location of the goods can, though marginally, function as the point of departure in the middle construction. Yoshimura (1998) gives the following example of a bookseller’s exchange: ‘Where shall we put the new travel book?’ – ‘Well, the corner shop window sells very well’. Obviously, we can observe prototypicality e¤ects in this construction too, demonstrating that we witness the impact of the same very general cognitive principles at all levels of description.

6. Radical Construction Grammar Compared with Goldberg’s CxG, Croft’s (2001) Radical Construction Grammar (RCG) is based on both Fillmore’s construction grammar and Langacker’s Cognitive Grammar (CG) and is, in fact, closer to Langacker’s CG than to Goldberg’s CxG. RCG is sometimes even called a notational variant of CG, which is certainly not the case. But both RCG and CG are alike in that they do not start from Goldberg’s putative abstract predicates such as cause-move as the predicate in argument structures. RCG is ‘‘radical’’ in comparison with both Goldberg’s CxG and Langacker’s CG for various reasons. First, there is a di¤erence over the basic linguistic units. Whereas CxG originally used the term ‘‘constructions’’ only for non-compositional or unpredictable expressions, but not for compositional or predictable ones,13 RCG sees constructions as the only basic
13. Goldberg now subsumes, just like Langacker, all complex linguistic expressions under ‘‘constructions’’.

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linguistic unit, or ‘‘primitive’’ as Croft calls them. This applies to both lexicon and grammar (or syntax, as Croft prefers to say). The lexicon contains ‘‘atomic substantive constructions,’’ whereas the syntax or syntactic rules are ‘‘complex schematic constructions.’’ Unlike Langacker, Croft thus avoids having to make conceptual distinctions between things and relations, and their lexical expression as nouns and verbs, respectively. Similarly, Croft avoids having to distinguish between temporal relations (verbs) and non-temporal relations (adjectives, prepositions, conjunctions), to which we will come back below. A second major di¤erence between the three CL grammar models concerns the number of levels in the formmeaning pairings of language. Langacker (2005: 105) observes that CG only posits two levels or poles, i.e. semantic structure and phonological structure, which are linked as symbolic structure, but that CxG and RCG posit three levels: semantic structure, grammatical form, and phonological structure. That is, for CxG the verb give has the semantic structure of cause-receive <agt rec pat>, where agt stands for agent, rec for receiver, and pat for patient, plus the syntactic form V SUBJ OBJ OBJ 2 and its phonological structure. For RCG the semantic structure of give is give (donor, gift, recipient) and the syntactic structure is NP1 < Verb < NP2 < NP3 . Although Langacker uses such labels for descriptive analysis, too, he claims that they are semantic notions, not syntactic ones, as Goldberg and Croft are purported to claim. But maybe Langacker misinterprets Croft here. For this purpose, let us see how Langacker (2005: 106) presents Goldberg’s and Croft’s analyses of the ditransitive construction with give. Whereas Goldberg’s CxG (Fig. 2a) explicitly claims a syntactic level with a subject, an indirect object and a direct object between the semantic and phonological levels, Croft’s RCG (Fig. 2b) only uses categories at phrase level (NP, V), which are directly linked by the dotted lines to the corresponding component units in the semantic structure. Croft (2001: 2)

Figure 2. Contrast between Construction Grammar and Radical Construction Grammar


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claims that ‘‘there are no syntactic relations between elements in a construction,’’ which may be the reason why he avoids terms such as subject and object and only uses phrasal units whose mutual relations derive from the relations between their corresponding semantic relations, as suggested by the dotted lines. Thus, he argues that syntactic relations are not determined by semantic roles such as agent or instrument, but by the causal relations among participants in the action. This view is supported by the di¤erent construal operations that are possible with the verb sell: the subject can be the agent (He sells the book), the patient (The book sells well ), or the location, (This shop window sells well ). In each case, it is not the semantic role as such that determines the subject, but the whole causal configuration of the construction. Additionally, Croft (2001: 35–45) thinks that grammatical categories such as subject, object, and oblique NP can only be defined languagespecifically, because constructions are language-specific themselves. Croft concludes that such grammatical categories can have no universal definition and no meaningful relations to one another. Here, Langacker (2005: 111) defends the opposite view, defining subject and object in terms of ‘‘focal prominence.’’ The participant that receives primary focus becomes the subject and the participant that receives secondary focus is the object or the oblique NP. However, there need not be a contradiction between Langacker’s and Croft’s views. In the case of sell, each of the three subjects (seller, book, shop window) exerts a certain causal force thus attracting the primary focus. Since in Langacker’s view the subject/ object configuration is an instantiation of the trajector/landmark configuration, which is itself a specification of figure/ground alignment, here the circle has become full: figure/ground alignment is a ubiquitous phenomenon. Our brief overview of some of the central assumptions of CG, CxG, and RCG has evidenced the complementariness of the three approaches, despite some apparently marked di¤erences, which are more a natural side e¤ect of di¤erences of focus. Thus, CG focuses on compositional constructions, CxG on non-compositional constructions and on construction networks and alternations, and RCG on the semantization of syntax. We now turn to the more lexical explorations, including the creative processes of metaphor and metonymy. Whereas the grammatical innovations of CL are rather based on psychological foundations, lexical-conceptual explorations are rather faced with philosophical problems. Therefore the next section will discuss the philosophical roots of the CL enterprise.

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7. The philosophical basis of CL: embodied realism or phenomenology? From its inception, CL defined itself in strong opposition to its dominant structuralist and generative predecessors, which are both still alive and vital. Unlike the rival theories, CL saw language not as a self-su‰cient system as had been generally accepted since Saussure, but as a cognitive faculty interacting with other cognitive abilities such as perception, attention, memory, imagination, emotion, and reasoning. The main focus of CL is not – like in many structuralist or generative approaches – on form only, nor – like in traditional semantics – on meaning only, but on the pairing of form and meaning. From Saussure to Chomsky and beyond, linguistic meaning had silently been taken for granted as a semiotic system of its own or explicitly conceived of as an autonomous system in the mind, i.e. as a module separated from the human conceptual world, or at best as linked to it by a conceptual-semantic interface (Bierwisch and Schreuder 1992; Pustejovski 1995; Jackendo¤ 1996, 2002; Schwarz 1996). But in CL meanings are part and parcel of our conceptual world. Meanings are concepts or combinations of concepts that have been laid down in language. By embracing Eleanor Rosch’s Prototype Theory CL has broken away from the traditional Aristotelian treatment of categories and accepts Rosch’s view of the internal layering of categories with central or prototypical members, less central members, and peripheral members, which also entails the partial overlapping of categories. That is, categories or concepts are man-made distinctions in the experience and perception of the human internal or external world and do not just reflect the ‘‘basic facts’’14 of reality in themselves. CL thus ventures into philosophical territory, but unfortunately it has not been su‰ciently cautious in its search for a philosophical basis. Instead of formulating its own ‘‘experiential (or embodied) realism’’ as developed by Lako¤ (1987) and Lako¤ and Johnson (1980, 1999), CL might also have opted straight away for the philosophical roots of experiential realism, known as phenomenology, as has repeatedly been advocated by Geeraerts (1985, 1993). The phenomenologist revolution in philosophy was launched by philosophers such as Husserl (1960, 1970a, 1970b), Heidegger (1962, 1982), and Merleau14. This term is used by Searle (2005) to denote the physical facts in the world, which he sees as independent from consciousness. This is the opposite of what Rosch proposes. In addition to physical facts, Searle also accepts social (or institutional) facts and cultural facts.


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Ponty (1945, 1962, 1979), and it has been actualized by Dreyfus and Dreyfus (1999), and Dreyfus (2002). Lako¤ and Johnson (1999: 97) do not make much emphasis on the roots of CL notions in phenomenology and the connection is virtually absent in the authors’ previous discussions of experientialism versus objectivism (e.g. Lako¤ and Johnson 1980; Lako¤ 1987). Phenomenologists, in contrast, have devoted quite some attention to the points they share with cognitive science, such as the embodied mind and the important role of pre-conceptual experience in language and logic (cf. Wiggins 1994). In any event, Lako¤ and Johnson (1999: 97) point out that what distinguishes CL from other approaches to embodied realism is the use of empirical evidence coming from neuroscience and cognitive science. According to Lako¤ and Johnson’s ‘‘experiential realism,’’ all individuals have access to the world by their embodied experience and perception of that world (experientialism), and they can all have the same experiences and perceptions, because they all share the same bodily constitution in contact with that world (realism). From a phenomenological point of view there is nothing wrong with this view, although it does need refining. The problem is that Lako¤ and Johnson go far beyond this (implicitly) phenomenological claim in that they see experiential realism as a challenge to traditional Western thought, ranging from Aristotle to Descartes and to many present-day thinkers, whom they lump together under the label of ‘‘objectivism’’ or ‘‘objectivist realism.’’ For Lako¤ (1987: 183), in objectivist realism ‘‘true knowledge of the external world can only be achieved if the system of symbols we use in thinking can accurately represent the external world.’’ The alternative view, i.e. experiential realism, holds that ‘‘human language and thought are structured by, and bound to, an embodied experience’’ (Lako¤ and Johnson 1999: 233). Perceptual, especially spatial, experience is said to pave the way for categorization of the world phenomena, and these categories in concrete domains are mapped metaphorically onto more abstract domains such as time, emotion, and event structure. One objection to Lako¤ and Johnson’s notion of embodiment and embodied realism is found in the notion of a ‘‘situated body’’ as explored in the collective volumes Body, Language, and Mind. In the first volume, edited by Ziemke, Zlatev and Frank (2007), the main reservation is that the conception of the same ‘‘bodily constitution’’ cannot merely be a mass of single human beings floating around in the air, but that they are ‘‘situated bodies’’ linked to their natural environment and to one another. Its twin volume, edited by Frank et al. (2008), concentrates

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on the social dimension of the body/mind’s situatedness, which is given shape in language and communication in human communities with their own cultural beliefs and institutions.15 The sharpest objection to Lako¤ and Johnson’s notions of experiential realism and objectivism is formulated in Haser (2005), who criticizes Lako¤ and Johnson’s presentation of and quotations from the so-called objectivist literature as being very scarce and ambiguous. Up until now there has not been any serious refutation of Haser’s criticism. But can and must this criticism be refuted? Would it not be better to search for the very roots of experiential realism? In fact, this route was already proposed by Geeraerts (1985, 1993), who places the deeper roots of CL in the phenomenologist revolution in philosophy, especially as presented by Merleau-Ponty (1945, 1962). This phenomenologist stresses consciousness and intentionality in the joint interaction of the body and the mind with the environment. Embodiment is not a matter of the body alone, but of the mind through the body. Merleau-Ponty’s thesis is that ‘‘consciousness is present in the corporeal experience of the world’’ (Geeraerts 1985: 355). Here we find all the basic epistemological tenets of CL: its realism, its experientialism, and its assumption of embodiment in the sense of an embodied mind, or as Merleau-Ponty puts it, ‘‘an em-mind-ed body.’’ These insights of Merleau-Ponty’s are taken up again by Violi (2008), who combines Merleau-Ponty with Peircean semiotics:
Through perception the subject meets the world in the first place and begins to give meaning to it. Phenomenological and perceptive meaning is transformed into linguistic meaning through the corp propre16 which founds, at one and the same time, the subjectivity of consciousness and the exteriority of the world. Here we can see another possible compatibility with Peirce’s philosophy: in Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, too, external and internal world are not separate and in opposition with one another, but related to each other via the mediation of the corp propre that operates, in a way, as translator of perceptually constructed meaning into linguistic and conceptual meaning.

15. Yu (2009) is an impressive illustration of the role of a community’s cultural conceptualization of the world. He shows how the Chinese understanding of the body/mind as a microcosm in the macrocosm of the universe has always been the core of traditional Chinese philosophy and medicine and is still part and parcel of present-day literary and non-literary Chinese discourse. 16. The English translation for this somewhat opaque term is ‘lived body.’


´ ´ ´˜ Rene Dirven and Francisco Jose Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez But the body is also the place where a¤ect and emotion are rooted, as Freud and psychoanalysis have taught us, reminding us that the Ego is first and foremost a corporeal Ego. Recent developments in semiotic theory are insistent on the fundamental role emotions play on the very deep level of sense structuring.

Violi has also re-introduced the concept of a¤ordances, which are possibilities for action o¤ered by the local environment to a particular type of embodied agent, equipped with specific bodily features. In this way perception is always contextualized and constructed: the world is essentially perceived by some given organism endowed with its own intentions in some given context, and is seen as a¤ording opportunities for goaldirected actions. Perception is therefore always connected to action, and both perception and action are always connected to cognition (Violi 2004: 216).17 These observations call for a serious revision of the philosophical underpinnings of CL. If the paradigm is not adequately contextualized, it is likely to keep ignoring the connections between the notion of embodiment and the social and cultural dimensions of language, and to pursue in the oversimplification of regarding most of Western thought as imbued with an ‘‘objectivistic’’ vision of science and knowledge. If, on the contrary, CL takes on the challenge of exploring more deeply the roots of experientialism, the theory will gain broader philosophical support in the domains of body/mind unity and interaction, the connection between inner and exterior perceptions, and the nature of consciousness and intentionality, among other issues. Undoubtedly, CL has a privileged position for this kind of epistemological venture in comparison with other approaches to language: CL is a flexible framework that is already backed up by serious empirical work in psychology and neuroscience. The mutual feedback between CL and research paradigms such as phenomenology is more than promising if the philosophical reflection is sensitive to the cognitive commitment. 8. Conceptual metaphor and metonymy: How conceptual and how linguistic? To a large extent, CL owes its breakthrough to the innovative work by Lako¤ and Johnson (1980), which launched Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT). This breakthrough is remarkable if one takes into account that, from early on, CMT met with severe criticism from psycholinguists (e.g.
17. Violi (2004) is an earlier version of Violi (2008).

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Camac and Glucksberg 1984; Glucksberg, Brown and McGlone 1993; Cacciari and Glucksberg 1994; Glucksberg 1998, 2001; Vervaeke and Kennedy 1996; Vervaeke and Green 1997). But the success of CMT has been overwhelming, both in CL (e.g. for ideology research) and outside it, even in many other sciences such as therapy and social studies.18 A positive evolution is found in the development of Conceptual Metonymy Theory (CMyT), which is now an equivalent partner of CMT. In CMT metaphor and metonymy are regarded as processes of thought, and not just a question of language. In other words, metaphors and metonymies are seen as basically conceptual processes, which subsequently find expression in a number of concrete forms, both verbal and non-verbal. From a linguistic viewpoint, however, the problem is that a given linguistic form is usually linked to various conceptual categories such that the form seems to trigger o¤ or create the conceptual links between these categories, which might not be there without the linguistic form. In theory, one cannot fully ignore the impact of the linguistic form on the coherence between diverse metaphorical conceptualizations. At least, this holds for verbal metaphor, but perhaps far less so, or even not at all, for non-verbal metaphors. Before going into a more detailed analysis of CMT, it may be appropriate to deal first with some of the criticism on the basic CMT claims. The priority attributed by CMT to the conceptual level has been criticized on the grounds that one first needs a literal linguistic expression and its semantic-conceptual domain, e.g. the fruit of a plant, before it can be mapped onto a di¤erent domain, e.g. the fruit of one’s hard work (Bartsch 2002; Warren 2002; Haser 2005). However, this criticism is rather vacuous, since metaphor can be expressed, not only in language, but also in visual, audio or sensory-motor media such as drawing, painting, architecture, music, dance and gesture. The mere existence of non-verbal or multimodal metaphors (c.f. Forceville 2006) is a clear counterargument, since there is no reason why verbal or linguistic metaphors should be submitted to di¤erent conditions than non-verbal ones.19
18. To quote just a few examples of ideology research: see Dirven, Hawkins and Sandikcioglu (2000), Dirven, Frank and Ilie (2001), Dirven, Frank and Putz ¨ (2003), Grundy and Jiang (2001), Morgan (2001), and Verboven (2003); for therapy and social studies, see Lawley and Tompkins (2000, 2006) and Schmitt (2005). 19. We should bear in mind that linguistic expressions are not the carriers of meaning but simply ‘‘pointers to’’ meaning. This idea, which is widespread in CL, lies at the basis of other approaches to communication, especially Relevance Theory in the domain of inferential pragmatics (Sperber and Wilson 21995; Ruiz de Mendoza and Perez 2003). ´


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The question is then rather: what exactly is the conceptual element in verbal or non-verbal metaphors according to CMT? Lako¤ and Johnson (1980) start from the assumption, fully spelled out in Johnson (1987), that metaphor is ultimately grounded in the human perceptual system and experiential world. The perceptual system is based on a number of pre-conceptual, most of all spatial, configurations which allow humans to react to, and manipulate, the world around them. This assumption is basically in agreement with the phenomenologist views propounded by Merleau-Ponty and Violi, as discussed in Section 7 above. The perceiver imposes structure on the things perceived, as is clearly expressed in the following quotation taken from Violi (2008: 57):
According to Merleau-Ponty, meaning is in the first place articulated in our body, through perception. Also for the French philosopher perception is not merely the simple and passive record of an external world, already structured and pre-given in its configuration; perception is rather the active construction of a world already endowed with meaning and intentionality.20

The label Lako¤ and Johnson coined for such perceptual configurations is image schemas (see Hampe 2005: 1), i.e. topological, pre-conceptual structures that encompass sensory-motor and visual schemas such as motion (animate, inanimate, caused or self motion), containment/container, path (source-path-goal), link, part-whole, center-periphery, balance, contact, support, blockage, verticality (up-down), horizontality (front-back), and proximity-distance.21 As the human mind and language develop, image schemas serve as the basis for categorizing phenomena in the physical domain and, by means of metaphor, phenomena in concrete domains are used to come to terms with experiences in the more abstract mental domains. Thus we tend to conceptualize the emotion of anger as a heated substance via the conceptual metaphor (hence in upper case), love is a hot fluid in a container, which may be expressed in various linguistic metaphors such as My blood was boiling, He was seething with anger, and

20. For some more detailed, though brief information on Merleau-Ponty’s views, see the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at entries/merleau-ponty/ 21. For a full list, see Hampe (2005: 2); for a detailed corpus-based description of each schema in Johnson’s list and its network relationships with other schemas, see Pena (2003). ˜

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He blew his top. Time is envisaged as motion in space, either as inanimate motion via time is a moving object (The years flow by) or as self motion of an observer via time is an end point for a moving observer (We are coming up to Christmas). Events and states are captured in a complex event structure metaphor consisting of various subtypes such as states, changes of state, causes, actions, purposes, means, and di‰culties. All of these are conceptualized in terms of spatial image schemata: states are locations (be in doubt), change of state is change of location (get into trouble), action is self-propelled motion, purposes (of action) are destinations, means are paths (to destinations), and difficulties are impediments to motion or blockage. Lako¤ and Johnson claim that such basic conceptual metaphors may well be universal since human bodily experience is basically the same all over the world. Research on the universality of conceptual metaphor has been burgeoning within CL. Although first research results, for instance, on the spatialization of time seemed to confirm this universal tendency, it was soon ´ found out that far more contrastive research was required: Marın (1996) for English and Spanish; Alverson (1994) for English, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, and Sesotho (criticized in Tyler 1995). Even if the spatialization of time occurs in many cultures, there may be huge di¤erences. Thus Boroditsky (2001) shows in empirical research that the Western concept of time as a ‘‘horizontal’’ time line and the Chinese as a ‘‘vertical’’ one influences the location of months before or after one another. Another remarkable di¤erence in metaphorical conceptualization was found by Ning Yu (1998) for the domain of emotion: whereas, according to Lako¤ and Kovecses, English sees anger as a hot fluid in a ‘‘whole body’’ con¨ tainer (cf. Geeraerts and Grondelaers 1995 for an alternative analysis), Chinese sees it as hot gases in smaller body-part containers called ‘‘belly fire,’’ ‘‘kidney fire,’’ ‘‘liver fire,’’ etc. Here traditional Chinese philosophy and medical practice leads to a far more concrete, bodily self-experience. The research by Boroditsky and Yu thus o¤ers evidence both for the adequacy of Lako¤ and Johnson’s universal claims at a fairly abstract level and for the great, colorful variation of culture-specific realizations of these putative universal conceptual metaphors. Although Lako¤ and Johnson (1980) did not neglect metonymy altogether, they defined it in terms of metaphor: metaphor was seen as a mapping, i.e. a set of correspondences across di¤erent conceptual domains, and metonymy as a mapping within one domain. However, their metaphor revolution received virtually all of the attention and it took almost another twenty years to fully redress the balance between meta-


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phor and metonymy, a position that had already been defended some time before by Jakobson (1971). The new metonymy upsurge of the late nineties culminated in programmatic papers by Kovecses and Radden ¨ (1998), Radden and Kovecses (1999), Radden (2000), a book by Ruiz ¨ de Mendoza and Otal (2002), and in collective volumes by Panther and Radden (1999), Barcelona (2000), and Dirven and Porings (2002). For ¨ the sake of economy, we will concentrate here on Ruiz de Mendoza and Otal (2002: 27–42, 50–56), because, as already noted in Dirven (2005), they were the first to define metonymy fully independently from metaphor. Lako¤, Johnson, Turner, Radden, and others, see metonymy either as having a referential function, whereby one entity ‘‘stands for’’ another entity within the same cognitive domain, or else as serving as a reference point that o¤ers access to the other entity. These approaches cannot, however, account for constraints on these referential functions. While it is not denied that these referential functions are often served by metonymies, it is not their essence. Ruiz de Mendoza and Otal (2002) conclude this from the existence of predicate metonymies such as Mary is a pretty face, in which a pretty face does not ‘‘stand for’’ the person of Mary, but is rather a very salient feature that even serves to sum up the whole person. The authors do agree with Lako¤ and Johnson’s domain criterion: in the case of a metaphor like John is a pig there are always at least two di¤erent domains involved (people are animals), whereas in metonymy only one domain is involved, usually a domain and a subdomain (people and their faces). Just like in metaphor source features are mapped onto target structures, also in metonymy we are dealing with mappings, i.e. conceived and imposed connections or correspondences between features in the source and the target. In metonymy, the salient features of the whole domain are mapped onto the subdomain or salient features of the subdomain are mapped onto the whole domain as in the above example: Mary not only has a pretty face but she is a pretty face. By saying this, the speaker identifies Mary as a pretty face: the beautiful and attractive features of the face dominate the person’s whole being. Unlike in CMT with its claim to one-directionality, i.e. from source to target, CMyT has, because of the domain/subdomain relationship, one more possibility. Thus, the pretty face example is a source-in-target metonymy: the source, pretty face, is part of and maps onto the target, Mary. The target is the most encompassing conceptual structure, or matrix domain, and, as such, it is the only domain available for further reference, as in The pretty face is paying her bill. This remarkable potential is called ‘‘domain avail-

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ability.’’22 The opposite case is a target-in-source metonymy like Bush attacked Iraq, where ‘‘Bush’’ stands for ‘‘army.’’ Although traditionally examples like this have been seen as cases of part-for-part metonymy, Ruiz de Mendoza and Otal (2002: 55) claim that this example is a wholepart metonymy. Our encyclopedic knowledge about Bush is such that it includes his being the president of his country, the commander-in-chief of the army, the leader of the Republican Party, etc. But the target, i.e. the referent that is meant in the sentence about attacking Iraq, is only the U.S. army. So the target (army) is a subdomain of the source (Bush), which now serves as the matrix domain. Bush as the source is mapped onto the army as target. In this target-in-source metonymy, the target is no longer available for reference, because it is encapsulated in the source and, hence, no anaphoric reference to the intended referent is possible: Soon after Bush attacked Iraq, *it (¼ the U.S. army) took Bagdad. In other words, the target in a metonymy is only referentially accessible if it is not encapsulated in some other subdomain. The newer CL approach to metonymy not only re-analyzes metonymy itself, but has also rethought some central aspects of pragmatics in a cognitive sense. A pioneering e¤ort in this respect is Thornburg and Panther’s (1997) metonymic analysis of indirect speech acts. In their view, indirect speech acts of the types that Searle (1979) calls directive, commissive, and expressive such as promises, o¤ers, requests, suggestions, etc., can be described in terms of metonymic models. In other words, just as a speaker can refer to a person by mentioning a salient feature of that person, a speaker can perform a speech act by calling up an attribute of that speech act, e.g. the speech act participants’ ability (Can you pass the salt?), their volition (Would you please sign here?), or the reason to perform the action (Why don’t we stop here?). This approach works not only for overt speech acts, but also for other constructions such as hedged performatives (May I ask if you’re married?) and sentences expressing sense perceptions (You can hear the motorway from here) and mental activities (I am thinking aloud now), all of which corroborate the hypothesis that speech act metonymies are just special applications of more general
22. The Domain Availability Principle, first formulated in Ruiz de Mendoza (2000), states that only the matrix domain of a metonymic mapping is available for anaphoric reference. It does not work alone but in combination with other factors of domain prominence and conceptual chaining that have been ´ explored in detail in Ruiz de Mendoza and Dıez (2004).


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metonymic principles. In Panther and Thornburg (2003) this insight is variously applied to pragmatic inferencing. The contributions to that volume aim to bridge the gap between CL and inferential pragmatics. Topics not only include the role of metonymically-based inferences in speech act and discourse interpretation, but also grammar itself. Further questions dealt with are: what is the pragmatic meaning of grammatical constructions, what is the impact of metonymic mappings on grammatical structure, and what is the role of inferencing in linguistic change? It may thus be useful to refer to all these connections with the label cognitive pragmatics, which is intended to capture all attempts to explain most, if not all, major pragmatic phenomena in terms of the standard conceptual tools provided by CL. The relevance-theoretic distinction between explicatures and implicatures is a clear case in point. Ruiz de Mendoza ´ and Perez (2003) have made this inferential pragmatics distinction compatible with Lako¤’s notion of idealized cognitive model. The explicatures of an utterance are the result of a number of cognitive operations like expansion or reduction, whereby, due to metonymy, the utterance meaning can be associated with ‘‘more’’ meaning (expansion) or with ‘‘less’’ meaning (reduction). Implicatures are enabled by the processes of correlation or resemblance, which are forms of metaphor. Another example of the power of the explanatory tools of CL is provided by Ruiz de Mendoza and Baicchi’s (2007) study of illocutionary constructions in terms of formmeaning pairings where the meaning part consists of high-level situational scenarios like the Cost-Benefit cognitive model and a specification of the conditions that allow metonymic access to such scenarios. Exploring this avenue further, cognitive pragmatics is likely to become a more central issue for the core of the CL paradigm.

9. Lexical semantics: Meaning selection or meaning construction? Over the last 30 years, views of categorization have changed dramatically. This has a¤ected lexical semantics in three ways: (i) prototype theory has largely replaced feature theory and the classical definition of categories; (ii) the structure of word meaning is understood as a semantic network resulting from semantic extensions via the figurative processes of metaphor and metonymy, and the non-figurative processes of specification, and generalization (the latter two will not be gone into in much detail); and (iii) lexical and phrasal meaning, which is often highly idiomatic, is seen as contextually determined.

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First, we will look back at prototype theory vs. classical definitions. Early CL had already given up the belief in the Aristotelian or classical definition of categories, which makes the following rigid assumptions: all members of a category, e.g. fruit, share some essential feature(s); these features are ‘‘necessary and su‰cient’’; all category members have equivalent status as members, and category boundaries are clear-cut. However, no linguist has ever managed to set up a list of such ‘‘basic’’ features.23 Even if one selects some putative features, they never apply to all members of the category. Suppose that for the category fruit characteristics such as sweet, soft and having seeds are necessary and su‰cient features. In this case several types of fruit would be outside the category: lemons, because they are not sweet, avocados, because they are not necessarily soft, and bananas, because they have no seeds. Strawberries are more like rhubarb because both grow on the ground, not on bushes or trees. Are they fruits? Why is a strawberry a fruit, while rhubarb is a vegetable? It is this fuzziness within or between categories that has suggested the necessity of a di¤erent approach to categorization, such as the prototype view (Rosch 1977, 1978; Berlin and Kay 1969; Lako¤ 1987; Geeraerts 1989). On this view, categories do not just reflect feature assemblies, but are rather manmade constructs consisting of prototypical members such as apples, pears and oranges for the category fruit, and more marginal members such as avocados, lemons and strawberries. Members of a category do not have equivalent status, and category boundaries are not clear-cut (nuts grow on trees, but do not share any of the three basic features). Categories are
23. There are, however, two possible exceptions that come from neighboring research enterprises. One is Wierzbicka’s (1996) Natural Semantic Metalanguage, which consists of around 70 primitive concepts, which are claimed to be universal. However, such primitives do not lead to classical definitions, but to exhaustive explications of the conceptual components of lexical and grammatical units. Mairal and Faber (2007) and Ruiz de Mendoza and Mairal (2008), within a cognitive-functional orientation, have incorporated similar primitives to the metalanguage used to define lexical constructions, which they call lexical templates. These authors have obtained their semantic primitives through extensive and systematic factorization of usage-based meaning definitions, which they have grouped hierarchically on the basis of standard lexematic procedures (cf. Faber and Mairal, 1999). Ruiz de Mendoza and Mairal (2008) provide a survey of the conditions for the incorporation of lexical templates into constructional templates (i.e. argument constructions) within the context of their Lexical Constructional Model. For reasons of space, we cannot go into these strands, which are compatible with the essentials of CL.


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to some extent also based on family resemblances as shown by Wittgenstein (1953) for the German category Spiele ‘games’, which contains such diverse members as a football match, a theatre play, or gambling. Rosch (1978) also provided psychological evidence for prototype e¤ects in categorization; statements about central members of a category are processed far more quickly than statements about marginal members, and reasoning about any category is based on what is known about good examples of the category. Thus, for Spiel ‘game’, the feature of entertainment or amusement is most central. The second insight in lexical semantics is not really new, but is new in view of generative linguistics, which postulates the analytical preponderance of monosemy, while CL has generally considered polysemy to be the rule. However, recently a number of cognitive linguists have moved towards the monosemy view. In the monosemist views of meaning, as stated by Bierwisch and Schreuder (1992), words have only one basic meaning, which may however get di¤erent applications to entities in the world. This is managed via an interface between language and thought (cf. Taylor 1995b). The objection to this solution is that it may work nicely for words denoting man-made entities such as artifacts or institutions, like the word university, but not for words designating natural categories and their metaphorical and metonymic extensions, such as fruit in fruit and vegetables, the fruit of the womb, the fruits of the earth, and the fruits of his work. But even in the case of words like university, the appeal to an interface is unnecessary. Thus, this word can refer to a building, an institution for learning and research, a period of time in a person’s life, an academic qualification for a certain profession, etc. These senses need not be accounted for separately, since they are all linked to each other by what Dirven (2002b: 94) calls conjunctive metonymy, which relates to complex entities consisting of many components and in which a part of the complex entity may metonymically stand for the whole and vice versa. Given this basic metonymic link, an interface would not be needed at all. In the same way, words denoting relations such as the preposition or particle over or the verb to run are extremely diversified and hence less manageable by a putative interface. Admittedly, the reaction of early CL to monosemism may have been too extreme and researchers may have overreacted by trying to find too many di¤erent senses and explaining the motivation for the links among them. In a more critical approach, the main problem for CL is to find a good balance between the number of di¤erent uses or senses (indicated by subscripts) and the motivation for them. The item fruit is a good case in point. In its prototypical use in a given cultural context, fruit1 refers

Looking back at 30 years of Cognitive Linguistics


to ‘something such as an apple, banana, or strawberry that grows on a tree or other plant and tastes sweet’ (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English; LDCE ). In this sense we can oppose fruit1 to vegetables, e.g. fresh fruit and vegetables. But in a technical sense, fruit2 is ‘the part of a plant, bush, or tree that contains the seeds’ (LDCE ).24 In this narrower sense, potatoes and all other root crop are fruits. Obviously, these two senses of one word form are mutually exclusive. Fruit2 is the result of specialization, which is, just like metonymy, one of the four di¤erent cognitive processes of meaning extension, the two others being generalization and metaphor. An instance of generalization is the meaning of fruit3 , i.e. ‘all the natural things that the earth produces such as fruit, vegetables or minerals’ (LDCE ). Metaphorical extension has applied to fruit4 as in the fruits of one’s work, meaning ‘the good results from working very hard’ (LDCE ). Although the four conceptual categories designated by the same word form are independent of one another, the human conceptualizer may see similarities and extend the use of this form from one category to others. Such extensions are neatly recorded in dictionaries as conventionalized senses, but this should not trap us into thinking that words do indeed ‘‘have’’ clearly defined di¤erent meanings. What is at stake is rather that a given word form is applied in a number of di¤erent contexts of use and thereby exploits one or several of the four processes of semantic extension. Although the various senses of a word may be clearly interrelated, the question is whether they are conceptually so strongly linked as was thought in traditional semantics and also in early Cognitive Semantics, which posited a di¤erent sense for each use in a di¤erent context, trying to motivate the links between them. Thus, Lako¤ (1987: 416–461) saw no less than 24 di¤erent senses in the English preposition over (see also Brugman and Lako¤ 1988). In a critical evaluation of Lako¤ ’s analysis, Tyler and Evans (2001) managed to show that the senses of over can be reduced to half that number. The various senses of over presuppose the image of a full-arc trajectory (ABC), suggesting the motion from ground level A to a higher level B and back to ground level C at the other end. Though the arc trajectory is presupposed, it is not part of the meaning of over. This proto-image is exemplified in example (0) below, but the basic meaning of over, also applicable to static contexts, is only that of position B in the trajectory, i.e. ‘higher than and approximate to.’ Apart from this proto-sense, the senses of over and several metaphorical extensions can be grouped into five clusters, illustrated in (1)–(5) below: (1) the other side
24. It is this sense that is exploited by the Latin-based metaphor fruit of the womb.


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Figure 3. The semantic network for over

or end of the ABC trajectory cluster; (2) the Coverage schema; (3) the Verticality cluster; (4) the Up cluster; and (5) the Reflexive cluster. Tyler and Evans’s semantic network representing the links between the protosense, the 5 clusters and the 12 senses is presented below in Figure 3, where the senses marked as (aa) have a closer meaning relationship to those marked (a) than to the rest of the senses. (0) He jumped over the wall. (1) a. Arlington is over the Potomac River from Georgetown. b. The film is over. c. Sally turned the keys of the o‰ce over to the janitor. (2) The tablecloth is over the table. (3) a. Mary looked over the manuscript quite carefully. b. The little boy cried over his broken toy. (4) a. Jerome found over forty kinds of shells on the beach. aa. The heavy rain caused the river to flow over its banks. b. She has a strange power over me. c. I would prefer tea over co¤ee. (5) a. The fence fell over. aa. After the false start they started the race over.

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The temporal or causal extensions within each cluster of senses are fully motivated by the particular spatial sense given first. Further, the coherence of the clusters of senses within the whole semantic network of over is accounted for. Also the criteria for distinct senses are justified. Thus there is no distinct sense if the use of the meaning purely results from the context or from encyclopedic knowledge, which is contradicted by Gries (2006), as we will see later on in this section. Still, in doing all this, Tyler and Evans have convincingly shown the usefulness of the very notion of semantic network. However, criticism of the validity and value of semantic networks had already been expressed in the mid nineties. Taylor (1995b) has shed doubts on semantic networks as a descriptive tool, since di¤erent authors had come to di¤erent results for the same lexical item. Sandra and Rice (1995) have questioned the psychological reality of semantic networks. On the basis of empirical work, Rice (2003) has claimed that the various uses of polysemous items are acquired and stored in a relatively piecemeal, idiomatic and construction-based fashion. This suggests that semantic networks are linguists’ representations of motivated extensions of form-meaning pairings, but not mental representations of a word’s polysemy by language users. The semantic network may thus remain useful as a summary of the motivated links between the various senses of a polysemous lexical item, and for the same reason, of a grammatical construction too. The third new insight into lexical semantics concerns the contextuallybased determination of lexical meaning. Here we can distinguish between a purely theoretical approach with a strong monosemist orientation and a fully empirical approach with a polysemist outlook, based on corpus studies. The monosemist approach is exemplified by the papers by Allwood, Zlatev and Janssen in Cuyckens, Dirven and Taylor (2003), which are neither extremely monosemist nor extremely polysemist, but rather regard the lexicon as strongly context-adaptive or, seen from the hearer’s viewpoint, as strongly context-dependent. Assuming that a theory of meaning is more operational than representational, these authors suggest that some very few basic senses of an expression (in the limiting case, just one) serve as ‘‘prompts’’ for meaning construction in on-line discourse, combining with contextual interpretation to yield the necessary inferences about distinct semantic functions of an expression in distinct environments. Instead of trying to specify a fixed set of senses for a word, Allwood (2003: 43) introduces the notion of meaning potential, which is ‘‘the union of its individually or collectively remembered uses.’’ Wright (2007: 571–572) has criticized the wide gap between this definition of meaning potential and the absence of any procedure to specify it:


´ ´ ´˜ Rene Dirven and Francisco Jose Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez [. . .] if lexical senses are mapped one-to-one into monosemous meaning potentials. . . , then specifying the meaning of any given word is just to specify the union of all information which has ever been conveyed in using it; and since no language user or linguist has access to all such information, the meaning potential of an expression can at most be approximated but never be specified.

Zlatev (2003, 2007) also speaks in terms of use potential, which he deals with on the basis of connectionist networks. Wright (2007: 573) criticizes Zlatev’s understanding of use potentials as ‘‘minimally di¤erentiated language games’’, and as ‘‘an amalgam of ideas from Merleau-Ponty, Wittgenstein, Searle, Dreyfus, Langacker, Talmy, and many others.’’ In the same monosemist vein, Janssen (2003) considers words as having ‘‘undivided highly abstract meanings,’’ which he illustrates by means of the behavior of Dutch possessives. Queller (2003) rejects sense-tosense mapping operations (e.g. Lako¤’s image-schema transformations or metaphorical and metonymic extensions) in favor of the emergence of new, freestanding senses via an abductive reanalysis of usage events. All in all, however challenging these new orientations may be, the fact is that little or no empirical work has been brought forward to support the hypothesis of non-polysemy. Consequently, these theoretical discussions can only remain hypotheses. A totally di¤erent perspective has been opened up in the last ten years by the marriage between lexical semantics and corpus linguistics, which by definition looks at language in context, with the sentential context as the lower limit. Two successful CL approaches in this direction are the Leuven group around Dirk Geeraerts and the German group around Anatol Stefanowitsch and Stefan Gries. As a good representative illustration we will concentrate on Gries’s (2006) analysis of to run, for which he has selected 815 sentences from the International Corpus of English (ICE) for British English and the Brown Corpus for American English. The 815 sentences exhibit about fifty di¤erent uses (or senses), including uses with prepositions or particles such as run into somebody, i.e. ‘meet.’ In order to be able to handle the corpus material quantitatively and statistically, all sentences are first coded for a variety of linguistic parameters (so-called ID tags) such as word class, syntactic analysis in terms of subject and object, verb form, etc., which is done partly automatically, but to a large extent manually, because there are no fewer than 252 di¤erent attributes or tags to choose from. This analysis of all examples yields a complete syntactic-semantic picture or behavioral profile of this verb (see Table 1 below). The quantitative method provides objective empirical evidence for questions of the prototypical meaning of to run, the (degree of ) sense

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distinctness, the clustering of senses, the structure of a possible semantic network and the possibility of automatic sense identification. The most frequent use of to run is that of ‘fast pedestrian motion,’ which applies in 25 per cent of the corpus, or about 200 out of the 815 sentences. Other quantitative indicators of prototypicality are the sense with the greatest variety of prepositions or particles, the sense used most frequently in the nominal derivation of the verb, the sense used first in child language acquisition and the sense first encountered in diachronic perspective. For all these criteria the sense of ‘fast pedestrian motion’ comes on top. The distinctiveness of di¤erent senses is much more di‰cult to decide. Thus, in its sense of ‘to flow’ the verb to run always has a liquid as its subject, but according to two criteria by Tyler and Evans (2001) this use of to run with the meaning ‘to flow’ would not be a distinctive sense. Indeed, it is a sense that follows from the context (the subject is a liquid) and, on top of that, it follows from our encyclopedic knowledge (only liquids can flow). So on the ground of those two criteria, the sense of ‘to flow’ would not be a distinctive sense of to run, which is certainly counterintuitive. Gries attaches far more importance to the intra-clustering of senses in a cluster than to sense distinctiveness and to their inter-clustering and their eventual configuration in a semantic network. Thus the sense of ‘(non-pedestrian) motion’ in There are three boats that run from the mainland to the Island is clearly more distinct than the di¤erences between ‘fast’ and ‘non-fast pedestrian motion.’ Or again, all ‘motion’ senses are more distinct from the sense of ‘functioning’ in The machine is running than they are to one another. A more general conclusion is the astonishing correlation between syntactic and lexical-semantic distinctions. Thus in all the senses discussed so far to run functions as an intransitive verb, but in its transitive use its most prototypical sense is that of ‘to manage.’ The contrast between these intransitive and transitive uses, and in fact a summarizing illustration, of the corpus approach may appear from the following table (Gries 2006: 86). A relatively di¤erent approach is provided by Geeraerts and his Leuven team is basically the same, but it also di¤ers in several respects. Thus in Geeraerts, Grondelaers and Bakema (1994), which is an investigation of Dutch clothing terms, the authors more strongly put the emphasis on lexical variation, not only finding out the various senses of words (the semasiological dimension), but also the various terms used for a given object such as the various terms referring to a jacket (the onomasiological dimension). This wider scope guarantees the embedding of cognitive linguistics in the wider tradition of 19th and 20th century semantics, as practiced in linguistics and philology. The quantitative statistical methods


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Table 1. Complementary distribution of selected ID tags for the two most frequent senses of run ‘fast pedestrian motion’ verb form þ À þ À þ clause type À þ subject preposition of following PP À þ À ran runs intransitive transitive main clause, imperative clause (zero) relative clause, interrogative clause human, animate concrete objects, organization/institution towards, for, down, after, up À ‘to manage’ run (past part.) ran transitive intransitive zero relative clause, zero subordinate clause main clause organization/institution À 0 À


as practiced in sociolinguistic research have always been part and parcel of Geeraerts’ work, but a major di¤erence with the recent turn in CL towards corpus linguistics is that they have also been applied both diachronically and sociolinguistically. Thus, for example, Geeraerts, Grondelaers and Speelman (1999) continue and extend the research on clothing terms by Geeraerts, Grondelaers and Bakema (1994), but they now investigate both clothing and soccer terms and cover three periods in the development of their use, both in Belgian Dutch and in Netherlandic Dutch. All these diachronic and sociolinguistic variation studies are also theoretically and programmatically explored in Geeraerts (2005, 2006a), which all stress the inevitability of a cognitive sociolinguistics. It is only to be hoped that these diverse CL approaches to lexical semantics will somehow integrate their research on prototype e¤ects, semantic flexibility and variation into a usage/corpus-based and quantitativequalitative synthesis. 10. Discourse: Mental Space Theory and Conceptual Blending Theory Cognitive Linguistics is not only a lexico-grammatical theory of language; it also embraces the whole of language functions and structure, including

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both pragmatic aspects, as shown in Section 8, and the discourse dimension, which is to be discussed now. In discourse, various knowledge systems, linguistic and non-linguistic ones, are invoked, which Fauconnier (1985/21994) calls mental spaces. Each utterance, even each content word, in discourse reflects and evokes a mental representation of some situation and/or some entities taking part in it. For the encoding and interpretation of mental representations speakers and hearers draw, not only on the linguistic expression as the figure, which mainly gives hints for interpretation, but also on the speech situation, and on their encyclopedic or world knowledge, which, in Langacker’s view (see Section 3), all together form the ground. Each utterance is grounded in a basic mental space which is primarily the speaker’s perspective, but which comes to be shared by other participants in the speech event. This speech situation is the base space (space 0). In the base space we can open new spaces as illustrated in an often quoted and much discussed example: I dreamt I was Marilyn Monroe and kissed me. How can the obligatory use of the phrase I kissed me instead of I kissed myself be explained here? In the example, the phrase I dreamt is part of the base space, and the verb dream is a space-builder opening a new space (space 1) of an imagined world in which the second I (was Marilyn Monroe) is no longer identical with the first I (dreamt) in the base space, but is part of a new knowledge frame in which Marilyn Monroe is not kissing herself, but the speaker, i.e. the I in the base space. Mental Space Theory (MST) initially started out as a cognitive alternative to traditional theories of reference and managed to solve many of the referential problems left unsolved by logic-oriented trends in generative linguistics. Gradually MST has, in the work of Fauconnier and Sweetser (1996) and Fauconnier (1997), developed into an encompassing cognitive theory of discourse and discourse management (see also Oakley and Hougaard 2008). In the development of the ongoing discourse, speaker(s) and hearer(s) have to keep track of all the mental spaces opened up for referents and they can at any time go back to any of them to elaborate them further. Still, MST is not limited to reference or discourse management, but also explores grammatical problems such as the tense-aspectmodality system serving the grammatical functions of perspective, viewpoint, epistemic distance, and grounding. This concept of ‘grounding,’ which is Langacker’s term for anchoring the speech act and the whole discourse in the actual reality of the speech act situation at speech time (see Section 3), can directly be linked to Fauconnier’s notion of base space. Furthermore, MST is also at the basis of Turner and Fauconnier’s (1995) metaphor theory, which is one of the applications of Fauconnier’s Conceptual Blending Theory (CBT). In their view, the source domain of


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a metaphorical expression is not just mapped onto the target domain as proposed in Lako¤ and Johnson’s Conceptual Metaphor Theory, but both the source and target domains are input spaces, which, via the generic space containing their common elements, are blended or integrated into the blend, which may also contain new emergent meaning, not present in the input spaces. Comparing the divergences between the two cognitive metaphor theories and those between the various grammar theories, it is not di‰cult to see that there is far less opposition between the former than between the latter. CBT is not a rival of Conceptual Metaphor Theory and certainly does not intend to replace it. The two models of metaphorical mapping are to be seen as complementary to each other rather than as rivals, as claimed by Grady, Oakley and Coulson (1999: 101): blending theorists are said to look at the particulars of single metaphorical expressions, whereas conceptual metaphor theorists are more interested in generalizations over conventional patterns across metaphors. Also here the desirability of a stronger integration of the various CL strands into a more synthetic view is strongly felt. This line of thought is also followed by Langacker (2003a, 2003b), who is making various attempts to come closer to and integrate views from both Fauconnier’s MST and Goldberg’s CxG into his Cognitive Grammar model. That a harmonic integration of the various CL strands is feasible at the descriptive level has now been proven in Radden and Dirven’s (2007) Cognitive English Grammar, from which an analysis in terms of conceptual blending for the extended caused-motion construction in Fred sneezed the napkin right o¤ the table is presented here (Figure 4). This blending analysis allows one to unite CBT with either Langacker’s Cognitive Grammar or Goldberg’s CxG. In fact, one input space is still lacking here, i.e. the as-path-specified motion that the napkin gets o¤ the table. Let’s call it input 3.25 We can interpret the causal link represented by input space 2 either as an element of encyclopedic knowledge, uniting two successive events in perception as one causing the other. This would be a possible representation of our own extension of Langacker’s line of
25. Blending Theory postulates inconsistencies and asymmetries between input spaces that are resolved in the blend. This thesis has been disputed in Ruiz de Mendoza (1998) and Ruiz de Mendoza and Pena (2005), who basically claim ˜ that inconsistencies and non-correspondences only arise when not enough input spaces have been activated. The blend in this alternative view becomes a mere repository of structure projected – in a principled, non-arbitrary way – from multiple input spaces, but not the creator of new, emergent structure.

Looking back at 30 years of Cognitive Linguistics


Figure 4. Blending in Fred sneezed the napkin o¤ the table

reasoning for the phrase patriotic pole-climber. But input 2 can also be invoked as the spelled-out representation of Goldberg’s predicate-argument structure with the abstract predicate cause-move and the arguments <cause goal theme>. The great advantage of the Conceptual Blending approach is that one does not have to pin down oneself on either a purely-conceptual-perceptual interpretation of the causal link or else a conceptual-linguistic one. Would it be conceivable that CL is going to look for viable solutions to its richly di¤erent approaches along these or similar lines? 11. Conclusion This necessarily brief survey has attempted to highlight the main areas of interest of the CL enterprise from the point of view of its unity despite apparent diversity and of its ability to interact in a fruitful way with di¤erent disciplines related to language, mind, and the social context. It has also put into focus the strong descriptive and explanatory potential of the di¤erent strands of CL, which, far from being mutually contradictory accounts of language, can be regarded as highly complementary. The di¤erences are thus a matter of shifts of emphasis and can be reconciled, as we have tried to show, and integrated into a broad, ambitious picture


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of language use in relation to the embodied mind and specific cultural exploitations of its universal features. The necessarily unfinished picture that 30 years of theoretical growth of CL presents is suggestive, colorful, and dynamic, with each and every element of the overall approach gradually taking shape in its appropriate place. References
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Crossroads. A Cognitive Perspective, 109–132. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. ´˜ Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez, Francisco J. 2008 Cross-linguistic analysis, second language teaching and cognitive semantics: the case of Spanish diminutives and reflexive constructions. In: Sabine De Knop and Teun De Rycker (eds.), Cognitive Approaches to Pedagogical Grammar – Volume in ´ Honor of Rene Dirven, 121–152. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. ´˜ ´ Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez, Francisco J. and Jose Luis Otal Campo 2002 Metonymy, Grammar, and Communication. Albolote, Granada: Editorial Comares. ´˜ ´ ´ Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez, Francisco J. and Lorena Perez Hernandez 2003 Cognitive operations and pragmatic implication. In: Klaus-Uwe Panther and Linda Thornburg (eds.), Metonymy and Pragmatic, 293–320. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. ´˜ ´ Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez, Francisco J. and Olga I. Dıez Velasco 2004 Metonymic motivation in anaphoric reference. In Gu ¨nter Radden and Klaus-Uwe Panther (eds.), Studies in Linguistic Motivation, 23–50. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. ´˜ Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez, Francisco J. and Sandra Pena Cervel ˜ 2005 Conceptual interaction, cognitive operations and projection ´˜ spaces. In: Francisco J. Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez and Sandra Pena Cervel (eds.), Cognitive Linguistics: Internal Dynamics and ˜ Interdisciplinary Interaction, 254–280. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. ´˜ Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez, Francisco J. and Annalisa Baicchi 2007 Illocutionary Constructions: Cognitive Motivation and Linguistic Realization. In: Istvan Kecskes and Laurence Horn (eds.), Explorations in Pragmatics: Linguistic, Cognitive, and Intercultural Aspects, 95–128. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. ´˜ Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez, Francisco J. and Ricardo Mairal 2007 High-level metaphor and metonymy in meaning construction. In: Gunter Radden, Klaus-Michael Kopcke, Thomas Berg ¨ ¨ and Peter Siemund (eds.), Aspects of Meaning Construction in Lexicon and Grammar, 33–49. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. ´˜ Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez, Francisco J. and Ricardo Mairal 2008 Levels of description and constraining factors in meaning construction: an introduction to the Lexical Constructional Model. Folia Linguistica 42/2: 355–400. Sandra, Dominiek and Sally Rice 1995 Network analyses of prepositional meaning: mirroring whose mind – the linguist’s or the language user’s? Cognitive Linguistics 6(1): 89–130.


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Taylor, John R. 1995a Linguistic Categorization: Prototypes in Linguistic Theory. 2nd Revised Edition. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Taylor, John R. 1995b Models of word meaning in comparison: The two-level model (Manfred Bierwisch) and the network model (Ronald Lan´ gacker). In: Rene Dirven and Johan Vanparys (eds.), Current Approaches to the Lexicon, 3–26. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. Taylor, John R. 1998 Syntactic constructions as prototype categories. In: Michael Tomasello (ed.), The New Psychology of Language: Cognitive and Functional Approaches to Language Structure, 177–202. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum. Taylor, John R. 2002 Cognitive Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Thornburg, Linda and Klaus-Uwe Panther 1997 Speech act metonymies. In: Wolf-Andreas Liebert, Gisela Redeker and Linda Waugh (eds.), Discourse and Perspective in Cognitive Linguistics, 205–219. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Turner, Mark and Gilles Fauconnier 1995 Conceptual integration and formal expression. Metaphor and Symbolic Activity 10: 183–204. Tyler, Andrea and Vyvyan Evans 2001 Reconsidering prepositional polysemy networks: The case of ‘over’. Language 77: 724–765. Tyler, Stephen 1995 The semantics of time and space. American Anthropologist 97: 567–592. Ungerer, Friedrich and Hans-Jorg Schmid ¨ 22006 An Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics. London/New York: Longman. Verboven, Hans 2003 Die Metapher als Ideologie: Eine kognitiv-semantische Analyse der Kriegsmetaphorik im Fruhwerk Ernst Jungers. Heidelberg: ¨ ¨ CarlWinter. Vervaeke, John and John M. Kennedy 1996 Metaphors in language and thought: Falsification and multiple meanings. Metaphor and Symbolic Activity 11: 273–284. Vervaeke, John and Christopher D. Green 1997 Women, Fire, and Dangerous Theories: A Critique of Lako¤ ’s Theory of Categorization. Metaphor and Symbol 12: 59–80. Violi, Patrizia 2004 Embodiment at the crossroads between cognition and semiosis. Recherches en Communication 19: 199–217.


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Warren, Beatrice 2002 An alternative account of the interpretation of referential ´ metonymy and metaphor. In: Rene Dirven and Ralf Porings ¨ (eds.), Metaphor and Metonymy in Comparison and Contrast, 113–130. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Wierzbicka, Anna 1996 Semantics: Primes and Universals. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wiggins, Osborne 1994 Phenomenology and Cognitive Science. In: Mano Daniel and Lester Embree (eds.), Phenomenology of the Cultural Disciplines, 67–83. Dordrecht: Springer. Wittgenstein, Ludwig 1991 Philosophical Investigations. Oxford: Blackwell. First published [1953]. Wright, Cory D. ´ 2007 Review of Hubert Cuyckens, Rene Dirven and John R. Taylor (eds.), Cognitive Approaches to Lexical Semantics. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Cognitive Linguistics 18(4): 570–579. Yoshimura, Kimihiro 1998 The Middle Construction in English: A Cognitive Linguistic Analysis. Department of Linguistics, University of Otago: Ph.D. dissertation. Yu, Ning 1998 The Contemporary Theory of Metaphor. A Perspective from Chinese: John Benjamins. Yu, Ning 2009 The Chinese HEART in a Cognitive Perspective: Culture, Body, and Language. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Ziemke, Tom, Jordan Zlatev and Roslyn M. Frank (eds.) 2007 Body, Language, and Mind. Volume 1: Embodiment. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Zlatev, Jordan ´ 2003 Polysemy or generality? Mu. In: Hubert Cuyckens, Rene Dirven and John Taylor (eds.), Cognitive Approaches to Lexical Semantics, 447–494. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Zlatev, Jordan 2007 Embodiment, language, and mimesis. In: Tom Ziemke, Jordan Zlatev and Roslyn M. Frank (eds.), Body, Language, and Mind. Volume 1: Embodiment, 297–337. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Recontextualizing Grammar: Underlying trends in thirty years of Cognitive Linguistics Dirk Geeraerts
1. Cognitive Linguistics: radial set or schematic network? Cognitive Linguistics is a success: from the relatively marginal position that it originally occupied in the linguistic landscape, it has developed into one of the mainstream trends in current linguistics. A search on the strings ‘‘cognitive linguistics’’ and ‘‘cognitive grammar’’, in contrast with ‘‘generative linguistics’’ and ‘‘generative grammar’’ in the LLBA bibliography, broken down over four periods of five years starting in 1988, yields the figures presented in Table 1. Although the search terms could be extended to get a more complete picture, the present figures already indicate with su‰cient force that Cognitive Linguistics seems to be overtaking the generativist enterprise in terms of scholarly productivity and appeal. This conspicuous success raises the question whether there is a common denominator in the expansion of Cognitive Linguistics? A cursory inspection would seem to suggest that the internal evolution of Cognitive Linguistics is of the radial network type (to put the matter in an appropriate terminology). A number of core ideas – like grammatical construal, prototypicality, radial networks, ICMs, conceptual integration, constructions – are pursued and developed rather independently of each other, to the extent that each of them constitutes a mini research programme of its own. But what is it that keeps these separate approaches together – if anything?

Table 1. The presence of Cognitive Linguistics and Generative Grammar in the LLBA from 1998 to 2007 (figures as of October 15, 2007) 88–92 generative grammar / linguistics cognitive grammar / linguistics 304 81 93–97 538 337 98–02 337 376 03–07 296 916


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In Geeraerts 2006a, written as an introduction to a collection of basic readings in Cognitive Linguistics, two principles of cohesion were mentioned. On the one hand, the central concepts of Cognitive Linguistics are mutually related because they derive from a common set of underlying fundamentals: the principle that language is all about meaning, in the broadest possible sense, in combination with four specific assumptions about the nature of linguistic meaning – that meaning is flexible and dynamic, that it is encyclopedic and non-autonomous, that it is based on usage and experience, and that it is perspectival in nature. On the other hand, repeating a point originally formulated in Geeraerts (2003), it was suggested that the various strands of Cognitive Linguistics belong together because they exhibit various ways of recontextualizing the study of language. In this sense (once again applying the models of categorization developed in Cognitive Linguistics), we can not only say that the various branches of Cognitive Linguistics constitute a radial network, but also that there is a schematic commonality over and above the radial structure. In the present paper, the recontextualizing nature of Cognitive Linguistics is further analyzed: the paper will present the di¤erent parts of the recontextualization in more detail, and it will show that the internal development of the framework and the chronological steps in the gradual elaboration of the radial set structure are guided by the recontextualization programme. This analysis will lead to a brief consideration of a further question that arises from the success of Cognitive Linguistics: to what extent is the manifest success of Cognitive Linguistics also a threat? Under which conditions could the very wealth of the research undermine the unity of the approach? Or conversely, would the conceptual unity that we may discern if we look at the evolution of Cognitive Linguistics be su‰cient to maintain its success? As a practical introductory remark, it should be noted that the present paper is a highly synthetic one that assumes familiarity with the basic concepts of Cognitive Linguistics. The purpose is to reveal an underlying but largely unheeded pattern in the rich variety of approaches in Cognitive Linguistics, not to present these approaches as such. Discovering such a pattern, to the extent that it is successful, will be important for the decision how to further elaborate Cognitive Linguistics. But it also serves a more immediate, didactic purpose: it may help to introduce the full breadth of research in Cognitive Linguistics within a synthetic and systematic framework.

Underlying trends in thirty years of Cognitive Linguistics


2. Decontextualization and recontextualization in 20th century linguistics If we are interested in what drives the development of Cognitive Linguistics and keeps its various branches together, we may start by trying to determine what distinguishes Cognitive Linguistics from other approaches in modern linguistics. How does Cognitive Linguistics fit into the development of theoretical linguistics? An answer to that question requires an insight into the basic lines of evolution of modern linguistics. So, if we were to present the history of 20th century linguistics in a nutshell, what would be the main lines of its development? Would it at all be possible to synthesize a century of theoretical development into a few pages? The following pages will try to identify some of the main lines in the development of 20th century linguistics, arguing that this development is characterized by a succession of a decontextualising and a recontextualizing movement. Obviously, there is a price to pay for the attempt to cover such a vast domain. For one thing, we will be able to focus only on the mainstream developments in the international scene of linguistics, disregarding local traditions, isolated individual achievements, avant-gardes and rearguards. For another, a historiographical programme of this type basically takes the form of a logical reconstruction: can we retrospectively find a perspective that brings order into the apparent chaos? To what extent does the development lend itself to a rational reconstruction, where the di¤erent steps in the development are interpreted as an elaboration of a basic research question? Such a rational reconstruction implies that hardly any attention can be given to the actual biographical factors and the sociological interactions. Also, the analysis presented here does not claim to be the only possible one. We will take our starting-point in the di¤erences between the Saussurean dichotomy of langue and parole and the Chomskyan dichotomy of competence and performance, but that does not rule out the possibility that the story could be told with a di¤erent point of departure and from a di¤erent point of view. 2.1. Gaps in the system: Saussure and Chomsky The Saussurean dichotomy between langue and parole creates an internally divided grammar, a conception of language with, so to speak, a hole in the middle. On the one hand, langue is defined as a social system, a set of collective conventions, a common code shared by a community:


Dirk Geeraerts ` Mais qu’est-ce que la langue? . . . C’est a la fois un produit social de la ´ ´ ´ faculte du langage et un ensemble de conventions necessaires, adoptees par ´ le corps social pour permettre l’exercice de cette faculte chez les individus [But what is language? . . . It is at the same time a social product of the language faculty and a collection of necessary conventions adopted by a community to allow individuals to use that faculty] (1976: 25).

On the other hand, parole is an individual, psychological activity that consists of producing specific combinations from the elements that are present in the code:
´ La parole est au contraire un acte individuel de volonte et d’intelligence, dans lequel il convient de distinguer 1) les combinaisons par lesquelles le ´ sujet parlant utilise le code de la langue en vue d’exprimer sa pensee per´ ´ sonelle 2) le mecanisme psycho-physique qui lui permet d’exterioriser ces combinaisons [Speech on the other hand is a deliberate and intelligent individual act, in which we can distinguish, first, the combinations by means of which the individual subject uses the code of the language to express his personal thought, and second, the psycho-physical mechanism that allows him to exteriorize those combinations] (1967: 30).

When langue and parole are defined in this way, there is a gap between both: what is the mediating factor that bridges the distance between the social and the psychological, between the community and the individual, between the system and the application of the system, between the code and the actual use of the code? The Chomskyan distinction between competence and performance formulates the fundamental answer to this question: the missing link between the social code and the individual usage is the individual’s knowledge of the code. Performance is basically equivalent with parole, but competence interiorizes the notion of linguistic system: competence is the internal grammar of the language user, the knowledge that the language user has of the linguistic system and that he puts to use in actual performance. Remarkably, however, Chomsky introduces a new gap into the system. Rather than the trichotomy that one might expect, he restricts his conception of language to a new dichotomy: the social aspects of language are largely ignored. In comparison with a ternary distinction distinguishing between langue, competence, and parole/performance (between social system, individual knowledge of the system, and actual use of the system), the binary distinction between competence and performance creates a new empty slot, leaving the social aspects of language largely out of sight. Figure 1 schematically summarizes the Saussurean and the Chomskyan positions, highlighting the systematic relationship between both. The ques-

Underlying trends in thirty years of Cognitive Linguistics


Figure 1. Schematic representation of the gaps in the Saussurean (upper picture) and Chomskyan (lower picture) conception of language

tion marks indicate those aspects of language that disappear in either of the two approaches. Relegating the social nature of language to the background, in the Chomskyan approach, correlates with a switch towards the phylogenetic universality of language. The Chomskyan emphasis on the genetic nature of natural language links up rationally with his apparent lack of interest for language as a social semiotic. Where, in particular, does the individual knowledge of the language come from? If the source of linguistic knowledge is not social, what else can it be than an innate and universal endowment? If the language is not learned through acculturation in a linguistic community (given that a language is not primarily a social code), what other source could there be for linguistic knowledge except genetics? 2.2. The decontextualization of grammar The link between the Chomskyan genetic perspective and the absence of any fundamental interest in language as a social phenomenon engenders a stepping-stone development, leading by an internal logic to an isolation of the grammar. Let us go through the argument in the form of the following chain of (deliberately succinct and somewhat simplistic) propositions. First, if natural language is not primarily social, it has to be genetic. This is the basic proposition that was described in the previous paragraph. The relationship could of course be construed in the other direction as well. As presented above, the Chomskyan predilection for a genetic per-


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spective in linguistics follows from his lack of interest for the social side of language. But in actual historical fact, Chomsky’s preference for a genetic conception of language probably grew more from his discussion with behaviorist learning theory (Skinner in particular) than from a confrontation with Saussure. Because the amazing ability of young children to acquire language cannot be explained on the basis of a stimulus-response theory – so the argument goes – an innate knowledge of language has to be assumed. But if one of the major features of language is its genetic nature, then of course the social aspects of language are epiphenomenal. Regardless of the direction in which the link is construed, however, the e¤ects are clear. Second, if natural language is primarily a genetic entity, semantics or the lexicon cannot be part of the core of language (or the core business of linguistics). Meanings constitute the variable, contextual, cultural aspects of language par excellence. Because social interaction, the exchange of ideas, changing conceptions of the world are primarily mediated through the meaning of linguistic expressions, it is unlikely that the genetic aspects of language will be found in the realm of meaning. Further, if the lexicon is the main repository of linguistically encoded meaning, studying the lexicon is of secondary importance. Here as before, though, it should be pointed out that the actual historical development is less straightforward than the reconstruction might suggest. The desemanticization of the grammar did not happen at once (nor was it absolute, for that matter). Triggered by the introduction of meaning in the ‘‘standard model’’ of generative grammar (Chomsky 1965), the ‘‘Linguistic Wars’’ (see Harris 1995) of the late 1960s that opposed Generative Semantics and Interpretive Semantics basically involved the demarcation of grammar with regard to semantics. The answer that Chomsky ultimately favoured implied a restrictive stance with regard to the introduction of meaning into the grammar, but this position was certainly not reached in one step; it was prepared by severe debates in the generativist community. Third, if semantics or the lexicon cannot be part of the core of linguistics, linguistics will focus on formal rule systems. The preference for formal syntax that characterizes generative grammar follows from the fact that generative grammar links up with cognitive science as it originated in the late 1950s and the 1960s, which sees knowledge as a set of internal symbolic representations, and mental processing as internal symbol manipulation. The Chomskyan emphasis on the formal syntax fits in with the symbol manipulation paradigm that was dominant in cognitive

Underlying trends in thirty years of Cognitive Linguistics


science. But it also follows by elimination from generative grammar’s genetic orientation: formality is required to restrict the impact of meaning, and studying syntax (or more generally, the rule-based aspects of language) correlates with the diminished interest in the lexicon. It should be added that the focus on rules is not only determined by a negative attitude with regard to meanings, but also by a focus on the infinity of language: language as an infinite set of sentences requires a rule system that can generate an infinity of entities. (At this point, an additional undercurrent in the history of 20th century linguistics crops up: the relationship between linguistics and logic. Chomsky, in fact, got the inspiration for his conception of linguistic rule systems from the architecture of logical proof theory. This is not a line to be pursued here, though.) Finally, if linguistics focuses on formal rule systems, the application of the rule systems in actual usage is relatively uninteresting. If the rules define the grammar, it is hard to see what added value could be derived from studying the way in which the rules are actually put to use. The study of performance, in other words, is just as secondary as research into the lexicon. This chain of consequences leads to a decontextualisation of the grammar. It embodies a restrictive strategy that separates the autonomous grammatical module from di¤erent forms of context. Without further consideration of the interrelationship between the various aspects of the decontextualising drift, the main e¤ects can be summarized as follows. First, through the basic Chomskyan shift from langue to competence, linguistics is separated from the social context of language as a social code. Second, through the focus on the genetic aspects of the language, linguistics is separated from the cognitive context that shows up in the semantic side of the language. Third, through the focus on formal rule systems, linguistics is separated from the situational context of actual language use. And fourth, these two last features tend to favour the study of formal syntactic rules over the study of the lexicon. 2.3. Trends towards recontextualization In terms of the subdisciplines covered by linguistics, this means that the core of linguistics in Chomskyan terms disfavours the study of language in its social context, any model of language in which semantics or the lexicon is at the heart of the grammar, and the investigation of language in actual usage. This does not mean, however, that these areas of research,


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which would be considered peripheral from the generativist point of view, were totally non-existent in the heyday of generative grammar. In fact, the generativist era witnessed the birth of approaches that autonomously developed the aspects that were rejected or downplayed by generative grammar. A brief overview may su‰ce to establish that the period from the late 1960s to the 1980s constitutes a crucial period for the development of sociolinguistics, pragmatics, and semantics: if we look at what would now be considered foundational publications for the approaches in question, we see that they are situated precisely in the period from the mid 1960s to the mid 1980s. (If the main factors that were dispelled by generative grammar are meaning, the lexicon, language use, and the social context of language, then the approaches mentioned here cover three out of four factors. Lexicology, in fact, did not boom as a separate discipline in the way the other three did.) Sociolinguistics in its present form (including the sociology of language, the ethnography of speaking, and sociohistorical linguistics, next to sociolinguistics in the narrow, Labovian sense) came into existence with works such as Labov (1972), Haugen (1966), Weinreich, Labov and Herzog (1968), Gumperz and Dell Hymes (1972). Pragmatics as a separate discipline started o¤ in the wake of Grice (1975) and Austin (1962). In seminal works such as Stalnaker (1974) or Gazdar (1979), a Gricean, logically inspired form of pragmatics saw the light, focusing on questions of presupposition, conversational implicature, and contextual interpretation. In the same period, Searle (1969) developed Austin’s approach into speech act theory. Somewhat later, a broader type of discourse linguistics and conversational analysis was introduced by Coulthard (1977), Gumperz (1982), Brown and Yule (1983), or Tannen (1984), to name just a few of the early works. Semantics received a major impetus through the development of formal semantics, as in Montague (1974), Partee (1979), Dowty (1979). Building on the achievements of formal logic, formal semantics is a type of meaning-based grammar, but the conception of meaning that lies at the basis of formal semantics is restricted to the referential, truth-theoretical aspects of meaning. (In this sense, it is a more or less restricted form of semantics. Later developments like Cognitive Linguistics will take a less restrictive approach to meaning, as we will see.) In short, the decontextualising, autonomist attitude of generative grammar was to some extent compensated by the development of disciplines that explore the aspects of language that are relegated to the background

Underlying trends in thirty years of Cognitive Linguistics


by generative grammar. The works quoted above are indicative of the initial stages in the development of these disciplines: anyone familiar with the history of contemporary linguistics will recognize that each of them flourished afterwards. With the exception of formal semantics (specifically in its association with categorial grammar), these approaches are not models of the grammar, if we think of the grammar as the description of the internal structure of the language. As separate disciplines (or, at best, as separate ‘‘modules’’ in a modular conception of language) sociolinguistics and pragmatics developed alongside grammatical theory rather than interacting with it intensively. This suggests that the recuperation of the contextual aspects rejected by generative grammar can be carried one step further, if the study of context does not take the form of a set of separate disciplines but if context features are introduced into the heart of the grammar. This is exactly what is happening in a number of more recent trends in linguistics. From roughly 1980 onwards, a number of developments in linguistics appear to link the grammar more closely to the contextual aspects that were severed by generative theorizing. The peripheral aspects – meaning, the lexicon, language use, the social context of language – that were being developed largely separately and autonomously, are now being linked up more narrowly with the grammar itself. The following overview of the relevant tendencies will again be brief and schematic. Its main purpose is to point out the existence of the trends, not to describe them in much detail. This also means, for instance, that no attention will be paid to the overlap that may exist between di¤erent tendencies. The reintroduction of the lexicon into the grammar is probably the most widespread of the tendencies to be mentioned here; it is, in fact, relatively clear within generative grammar itself. This lexicalist tendency in grammatical theory is triggered by the recognition that describing grammatical rules appears to imply describing the lexical sets that the rules apply to. Reversing the descriptive perspective then leads to a description of the valency of the lexical items (i.e. the structures that an item can appear in). The lexicalist tendency appears in various forms in the more formal approaches to grammar: one may think of the projections and theta-roles of generative grammar, of the central role of the lexicon in Lexical Functional Grammar (Bresnan 2001), and of the lexically driven grammar developed in the framework of Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (Sag, Wasow and Bender 2003). Hudson’s Word Grammar (1991) is a functionally oriented type of lexical grammar.


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Approaches that give meaning a major, if not dominant, role in linguistics were not restricted to formal semantics. As we mentioned already, within generative grammar, the Generative Semantics movement had to give way to the supremacy of the semantically restricted Chomskyan approach. But parallel to generative grammar, a cluster of functionalist approaches to grammatical description gave pride of place to meaning. This holds true for Functional Grammar as defined by Dik (1989), for the functional-typological approaches developed by Givon (1979), and for Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics (1994), to mention only the most important representatives. Typically, these approaches take a broad view of meaning, i.e. they include pragmatics: in all forms of functional linguistics, discursive and interactional communicative functions are seen as essential features of natural language. For instance, a number of functionalist approaches try to find (potentially universal) discourse motivations for grammatical constructs. Discourse is then no longer the mere application of grammatical rules, but the grammatical rules themselves are motivated by the discourse functions that the grammar has to fulfill. The existence of passives in a given language, for instance, is explained as a topicalization mechanism: grammars contain passives because topicalizing direct objects is a useful function in discourse. Seminal publications within this approach include Givon (1979), Hopper and Thompson (1980), Hopper (1987). The communicative aspect inherent in this family of functional approaches also means that the social aspects of language are explicitly recognized. If language is primarily seen as an instrument for communicative interaction, a social conception of language is automatically implied. Within the group of functionalist frameworks, Systemic Functional Linguistics is the one that most distinctly follows up on this social conception of language. Thinking about language in social, interactional terms suggests that the systemic descriptive and theoretical framework might be particularly suited for socially oriented types of linguistic investigation. In practice, this shows up in the many studies in Systemic Functional Linguistics that are geared towards the analysis of text and discourse from a social perspective (see e.g. Eggins 1994; Thompson 1994). Not surprisingly, the methodology of Systemic Functional Linguistics has also been embraced by Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough 1995). At the same time, this social perspective in Systemic Functional Linguistics seems to be restricted primarily to the study of text types and register di¤erences, without a lot of attention for language-internal variation of a lectal or sociolinguistic kind.

Underlying trends in thirty years of Cognitive Linguistics


3. Cognitive Linguistics as a recontextualizing approach It is not di‰cult to establish that the four elements of context that we mentioned earlier (meaning, the lexicon, discourse and use, and the social context) receive particular attention in Cognitive Linguistics. Meaning – Cognitive Linguistics constitutes an outspoken attempt to give meaning a central position in the architecture of the grammar. The basic vocabulary of the cognitive framework involves semantics: the notion of prototype, schematic network, conceptual metaphor, metonymy, conceptual integration, idealized cognitive models, frames, and all sorts of construal mechanisms are semantic notions. Crucially, these semantic concepts involve a contextualized view of semantics. There are several ways of making that clear. To begin with, if we compare Cognitive Linguistics with formal semantics, it is obvious that the conception of meaning that lies at the basis of the cognitive approach is not restricted to a referential, truth-functional type of meaning. Linguistic structures are thought to express conceptualizations, i.e. conceptualization is central for linguistic structure – and conceptualization goes further than mere reference. It involves imagery in the broadest sense of the word: ways of making sense, of imposing meaning. Further, if we come down from this very general level and look more closely into the semantic concepts in question, we can see that they systematically refer to various contextualized forms of meaning. Cognitive Linguistics embodies a fully contextualized conception of meaning in that its central semantic concepts describe di¤erent ways in which the conceptualizations that are expressed in the language have an experiential basis: the type of relevant context is di¤erent for various central concepts. Prototypicality e¤ects and the various aspects of categorial polysemy, including conceptual mechanisms like metonymy and metaphor, derive from the fact that new knowledge is constituted against the background of existing cognitive and linguistic categories: existing categories provide a context for the development of new nuances and extended meanings. Frames in the Fillmorean sense, Idealized Cognitive Models, and mental spaces in the sense of conceptual integration theory (a.k.a. blending) represent the idea that linguistically relevant knowledge is structured knowledge of the world: language has to be seen in the context of encyclopedic cognition, and not as an autonomous realm of the mind. Mechanisms of grammatical construal like figure/ground perspectivization implement the idea that linguistic meaning has to be studied in corre-


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lation with general cognitive mechanisms, like the gestalt features of knowledge in the case of figure/ground alignment. The neural theory of language developed by Lako¤ shows that the embodied nature of language is not only considered in a psychological sense (focusing on individual experience in a phenomenological sense), but also in the most literal sense possible: the neural embodiment of the mind in the brain constitutes the material context of natural language semantics. Lexicon – From very early on, treating grammatical categories according to the model provided by the lexicon was a natural thing to do in Cognitive Linguistics: if meaning description is the focus of Cognitive Linguistics, and if the models for the description of meaning were primarily developed in the realm of lexical semantics, it is no surprise to find that notions of prototypicality and polysemy were applied to grammatical categories. But it is only with the rise of Construction Grammar (Goldberg 1995; Croft 2001; Langacker 2005) that the lexicalization of the grammar becomes outspoken, because it is only at that point that the lexicon begins to play a role on the form side of the grammatical description. There are two aspects to be mentioned. First, the concept of a construction introduces lexical material into the notion of a grammatical entity. Constructions of the ‘‘let alone’’ type (Fillmore, Kay and O’Connor 1988) constitute combinations of specific words and abstract patterns. Second, while not all constructions need be of this mixed type (e.g. the ditransitive construction does not include specific lexical materials), there is no a priori dividing line between the lexically specific and the abstract patterns. Between fully lexicalized formal units (words and idioms) and patterns that can only be described in terms of abstract grammatical categories (like traditional immediate constituent analyses), there are intermediate entities at di¤erent levels of abstraction. In this sense, lexicon and grammar are integrated, as di¤erent levels of abstraction in an inventory of constructional patterns. Language use and discourse – The most immediate type of discourserelated investigation in Cognitive Linguistics is the study of all kinds of pragmatic and discursive phenomena, like discourse particles and pragmatic markers (Fischer 2000), information structure (Sanders and Spooren 2007), grounding (Brisard 2002), Current Discourse Space (Langacker 2001), etc. – the references are indicative only. A recent development along these lines is the investigation of blending phenomena as on-line meaning construction, as in Coulson (2006). However, there is a more fundamental link between Cognitive Linguistics and the study of performance: more and more, Cognitive Linguistics

Underlying trends in thirty years of Cognitive Linguistics


conceives of itself as a usage-based approach to language. According to a number of programmatic accounts of usage-based linguistics (Bybee and Hopper 2001; Kemmer and Barlow 2000; Langacker 1999; Tomasello 2000; Verhagen and Van de Weijer 2003), the essential idea of a usagebased linguistics is the dialectic nature of the relation between language use and the language system. The grammar does not only constitute a knowledge repository to be employed in language use, but it is also itself the product of language use. The former perspective considers usage events as specific, actual instantiations of the language system. According to this view, one can gain insight into the language system by analyzing the usage events that instantiate it. This is a strong motivation for empirical research: the usage data constitute the empirical foundation from which general patterns can be abstracted. The latter perspective considers usage events as the empirical source of the system. From this point of view, usage events define and continuously redefine the language system in a dynamic way. As a result, every usage event may slightly redefine a person’s internal language system. The consequences of such a position are both thematic and methodological. Thematically speaking, a usage-based approach fosters interest in specific topics and fields of investigation. For instance, it follows from the dialectic relationship between structure and use that the analysis of linguistic change (Bybee 2007) is a natural domain of application for any usage-based approach. Similarly, literary analysis from a cognitive point ˆ of view (Freeman 2007; Brone and Vandaele 2009) ensues naturally from an interest in language use: if the analysis of discourse is a legitimate (and, in fact, important) goal for Cognitive Linguistics, cognitive poetics is likely to emerge as the study of the very specific type of discourse represented by literary texts. This holds more generally for cognitive stylistics in its various forms (Semino and Culpeper 2002). Further, interesting perspectives for language acquisition research open up: the usage-based approach holds the promise of answering the acquisition problem that looms large in the Chomskyan delimitation of linguistics. In the work done by Tomasello and his group (2003), an alternative is presented for the Chomskyan genetic argument. These researchers develop a model of language acquisition in which each successive stage is (co)determined by the actual knowledge and use of the child at a given stage, i.e. language acquisition is described as a series of step by step usage-based extensions of the child’s grammar. The grammar, so to speak, emerges from the child’s interactive performance. At the same time, there are methodological consequences: you cannot


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have a usage-based linguistics unless you study actual usage – as it appears in an online and elicited form in experimental settings or as it appears in its most natural form in corpora in the shape of spontaneous, non-elicited language data. We can indeed see that the interest in corpus-based and experimental studies is growing, but it would be an exaggeration to say that it has become the standard approach in Cognitive Linguistics (cf. Geeraerts 2006b; Tummers, Heylen and Geeraerts 2005). Social context – There are four, more or less hierarchically ordered levels at which Cognitive Linguistics pays explicit attention to the social nature of language. The first level is that of language as such: the definition and the basic architecture of language are recognized as involving not just cognition, but socially and culturally situated cognition. The type of work produced from this perspective emphasizes and analyzes the way in which the emergence of language as such and the presence of specific features in a language can only be adequately conceived of if one takes into account the socially interactive nature of linguistic communication. Examples of this strand of research include Sinha (2000, 2007) on language as an epigenetic system, Zlatev (2005) on situated embodiment, Itkonen (2003) on the social nature of the linguistic system, Verhagen (2005) on the central role of intersubjectivity in language, and Harder (2003) on the socio-functional background of language. Taking one step towards a more specific approach, the next level is that of variation among languages and cultures. This is the oldest form of a social perspective in Cognitive Linguistics: the notion of cultural model played a significant role in the emergence of the new framework. However, a tension existed between a more universalist approach and a more culturally oriented approach. A typical case in point is the discussion between Geeraerts and Grondelaers (1995) on the one hand and Kovecses ¨ (1995) on the other regarding the nature of anger is heat metaphors: while the former emphasized the culturally specific and historically contingent nature of such metaphorical patterns, the latter defended a universalist, physiologically grounded position. In recent years, however, the socio-cultural perspective has been gaining ground: see Palmer (1996) and, very explicitly, Kovecses (2005). In practical terms, this type of socio¨ cultural investigation takes the form of a historical investigation into changing conceptualizations within a given language or culture, or of cultural and anthropological comparisons. Within the latter group, we can also place the flourishing research tradition of cross-linguistic and crosscultural investigation into the relationship between language and thought,

Underlying trends in thirty years of Cognitive Linguistics


as illustrated by works like Slobin (1996), Boroditsky (2000) and Levinson (2003). The third level considers not variation between languages, but variation within languages: to what extent do the phenomena that we typically focus on in Cognitive Linguistics exhibit variation within the same linguistic community? The research conducted within this approach links up with the research traditions of sociolinguistics, dialectology, and stylistic analysis, using the same type of meticulous empirical research methods: see Kristiansen and Dirven (2008). This attempt to bring grammatical analysis and variationist research closer together cannot be disentangled from the usage-based perspective mentioned above. Usage-based and meaning-based models of grammar introduce more variation into the grammar than a rule-based approach tends to do: the language-internal or discourse-related factors that influence the use of a particular construction may be manifold, and the presence or absence of a construction is not an all-or-none matter. In the analysis of this type of variation, it often appears that the variation is co-determined by ‘‘external’’, sociolinguistic factors: the variation that appears in actual usage (as attested in corpora) may be determined simultaneously by grammatical, discursive, and sociolinguistic factors. Disentangling those di¤erent factors, then, becomes one methodological endeavour: in the actual practice of a usage-based enquiry, grammatical analysis and variationist analysis will go hand in hand. At this level, there is also a less descriptive and more critical form of Cognitive Linguistics to be mentioned – a form of analysis, in other words, that not only intends to describe but that also takes an evaluative stance. The best known example is Lako¤’s study of metaphorical models of the family exploited in a political context (1996). This work led to his practical interest in the ‘‘framing’’ of public issues (and to his active involvement in US political debate). Lako¤’s work, though highly visible, is not the only one in this domain. There is a growing body of research on ideology (see Dirven, Polzenhagen and Wolf 2007), and in works such as Chilton (2004), Musol¤ (2006), Hart and Lukes (2007), we witness an exciting convergence between ‘‘critical’’ Cognitive Linguistics and the older British tradition of Critical Discourse Analysis. The final and most specific level overlaps with the discourse related approach mentioned above: this is the level where actual conversations and communicative exchanges are analyzed from a socially interactionist point of view. In the context of socially oriented linguistics, this perspec-


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Figure 2. The reintroduction of context features into Cognitive Linguistics

tive links up with interactionist sociolinguistics and ethnomethodology rather than with variationist sociolinguistics (as was the case on the third level of analysis). In Cognitive Linguistics circles, representatives of this approach tend to take some of their inspiration from Clark (1996): see Croft (2009), and most elaborately, Tomasello (2003) on the interactionist nature of language acquisition. Figure 2 o¤ers a schematic representation of the reintroduction of the four crucial context factors into the grammar as conceived of by Cognitive Linguistics. The external boxes in the figure indicate the four elements as we discussed them above, and the labelled arrows represent the reintroductory movements by means of keywords. 3.2. Stages in the expansion of Cognitive Linguistics and the chronological recovery of context The previous section demonstrates that Cognitive Linguistics indeed embodies the recontextualizing trends in contemporary linguistics in a singular way: all the aspects of recontextualization that we identified in our overview of the history of 20th century linguistics are substantially covered by Cognitive Linguistics; even more importantly, they determine core features of Cognitive Linguistics, like the importance of meaning for grammatical description and the choice for a usage-based approach. Now, if recontextualization is indeed a core feature, would it also be the case that the internal development of Cognitive Linguistics is characterized by a gradual expansion towards the various forms of recontextualization that we distinguished? Does recontextualization not only portray Cognitive

Underlying trends in thirty years of Cognitive Linguistics


Linguistics at large, against the broad canvas of modern linguistics, but does it also characterize its internal growth? Does the internal evolution of Cognitive Linguistics take the form of a progressive recovery of the various types of context? To answer that question, we first need to have a look at the history of Cognitive Linguistics from the point of view of the sociology of science: if we look at it from an external point of view (not with a focus on the development of ideas and theories, but with a focus on the people it mobilizes, the public appeal it exerts, the organizational and institutional entrenchment it achieves), what are the main periods in its development? The seeds of Cognitive Linguistics were planted some thirty years ago: Len Talmy published his ‘‘figure and ground’’ paper in 1975, Ron Langacker started working on his Cognitive Grammar in 1976, and George Lako¤ published his ‘‘linguistic gestalts’’ article in 1977. But the real public life and the international expansion of Cognitive Linguistics started about ten years later. The year 1987 is an outspoken landmark, with the publication of Lako¤ ’s Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things, and the first volume of Langacker’s Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. In 1988, Brygida Rudzka edited the seminal Topics in Cognitive Linguistics volume, and in 1989, John Taylor published his Linguistic Categorization, which is still one of the best readable introductions to Cognitive Linguistics. 1989 is important in another sense as well: it is the year that the first International Cognitive Linguistics Conference (ICLC) took place in Duisburg, Germany. It was one of the so-called LAUD symposia (where LAUD stands for Linguistic Agency of the University ´ of Duisburg) that had been organized by Rene Dirven since 1977 and where some of the world’s most distinguished linguists were invited to ´ present their work. So in 1989, Rene Dirven (whose role in the international expansion of Cognitive Linguistics can hardly be underestimated) invited Lako¤ and Langacker for a ‘‘Symposium on Cognitive Linguistics’’. The Duisburg conference was of crucial importance for the institutionalization and the international expansion of Cognitive Linguistics: it was there and then that the International Cognitive Linguistics Association was founded (the conference was accordingly rebaptized as the First International Cognitive Linguistics Conference), that plans were made to launch the journal Cognitive Linguistics, and that the monograph series Cognitive Linguistics Research was announced. The next twenty years can be roughly divided into two more periods of ten years. The first ten years leading to the present situation – roughly, up to 1997 – were years of international consolidation. The whole approach


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demonstrated its viability on the international forum, in a number of senses: the newly founded journal was able to attract high-quality contributions, and the successful series of biannual ICLC conferences proved that there was a broad interest in the framework. The years from, say, 1997 up to now were marked by the international institutionalization of Cognitive Linguistics; the whole framework got firmly entrenched in the international fabric of linguistic studies. This is most clear if you look at the emergence of national ICLA a‰liates. These are ICLA branches defined by region or country (and occasionally by language). The first one to be founded was the Spanish Cognitive Linguistics Association (1998), whose a‰liation was formally approved at the 1999 ICLC. The year 2001 saw the a‰liation of the Finnish, the Polish, and the Slavic Cognitive Linguistics Associations. Further a‰liates include the Russian Association of Cognitive Linguists (2004), the German Cognitive Linguistics Association (2005), the Discourse and Cognitive Linguistics Association of Korea (2005), the Association Francaise de Linguistique ¸ Cognitive (2005), the Japanese Cognitive Linguistics Association (2005), the Conceptual Structure, Discourse and Language Association (2005), the UK Cognitive Linguistics Association (2006), the Chinese Association for Cognitive Linguistics (2006), and BeNeCla, the Cognitive Linguistics association of Belgium and The Netherlands (2008). Another unmistakable sign of the institutionalization of Cognitive Linguistics is the number of introductory books and reference works published in the last decade: Ungerer and Schmid was first published in 1996, Dirven and Verspoor in 1998, Violi in 2001, Croft and Cruse in 2004, Evans and Green in 2006, the Basic Readings collection (Geeraerts 2006c) and the companion volume edited by Kristiansen, Achard, Dirven and Ruiz de Mendoza in 2006, Geeraerts and Cuyckens in 2007. Next to Cognitive Linguistics, the Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics provides a second journal specifically dedicated to publications in Cognitive Linguistics. Given this classification into three periods of more or less ten years each (a foundational one, a period of expansion, and a period of institutionalization), is there any correlation with the internal development, in terms of ideas and theoretical constructs? In very general terms, it would seem to be the case that the major steps in the recovery of context are situated in the past decade. After the foundational first decade, the second decade, up to the middle of the 1990s, focused on the basic notions of cognitive semantics: prototypes, radial networks, conceptual metaphor, image schemas, and the various aspects of Langacker’s and Talmy’s construal-based grammars.

Underlying trends in thirty years of Cognitive Linguistics Table 2. Nine topical items in the Cognitive Linguistics Bibliography, divided over five-year periods 77–81 No. of articles Meaning Semantics Construction Usage-based Discourse Pragmatic(s) Sociolinguistic(s) Social Cultural 247 23 15 9 0 13 6 2 7 2 82–86 591 66 53 28 0 23 19 0 13 5 87–91 1093 137 128 66 4 62 37 4 38 38 92–96 1647 275 201 150 2 141 98 3 61 87 97–01 2416 458 281 295 16 255 162 15 127 159


02–06 2557 603 300 439 48 394 209 42 176 240

In the third decade, however, we witness a broadening of the type of context that is deemed relevant: the majority of the publications that were mentioned above under the rubric of ‘‘lexicon’’, ‘‘usage’’, and ‘‘social context’’ are situated in the second half of the 1990s and the beginning of the new millennium. The initial insight of Cognitive Linguistics is that the semantics of natural language expressions needs to be studied in a broader cognitive context: individual meanings are part of polysemous structures, of frames, of Idealized Cognitive Models – whatever structure the experiential basis of language takes. Moving beyond this initial cognitive context, the previous decade has introduced the context of use in its various forms: in the attention for the performative usage level as the dialectic basis of grammar, in the attention for the lexicon as the embodiment of abstract grammatical patterns, in the attention for the social context of language. That the wave of types of research contextualizing grammar came after a first wave of research exploring the semantics of language also becomes clear when we have a look at the presence of certain topics in the Cogni´ tive Linguistics Bibliography compiled by Rene Dirven (The Cognitive Linguistics Bibliography is made available annually as an electronic addition to the journal Cognitive Linguistics.). Table 2 lists the frequencies of topical items in the bibliography, divided over five-year periods. The items


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Figure 3. The development of recontextualizing themes in the Bibliography of Cognitive Linguistics

may be grouped into four groups corresponding to the four types of contextualization that we distinguished earlier: meaning and semantics under the label semantics, construction under the label construct(ion grammar), usage-based, discourse, and pragmatic(s) under the label usage, and sociolinguistic(s), social and cultural under the label social. We then calculate the proportion of each item with regard to number of articles in each period, and average over the items in each group. If we then trace the development of the four groups over time, as is done in Figure 3, we can indeed confirm that the interest in meaning comes first in the development of Cognitive Linguistics, while the interest in constructions, in usage-based models, in the social context of language takes o¤ later. Also, while the attention for meaning has reached a stable level since the beginning of the 1990s, the focus on the other three forms of recontextualization is still increasing. (It should be noted that, while it is straightforward to have a look at the temporal development of the lines,

Underlying trends in thirty years of Cognitive Linguistics


we should be careful with a direct comparison of the level of the lines among each other. The figures give the proportion of articles that contain one of the topical keywords, calculated against the total number of articles in a given period. However, because di¤erent keywords may occur together within the same article, any given article may be referred to more than once at a certain point in time.)

4. Cognitive Linguistics in Context So far, we have established two crucial things. First, thinking about Cognitive Linguistics in terms of the recontextualization of grammar adequately captures the singular position of Cognitive Linguistics in the context of contemporary linguistics. If post-Chomskyan linguistics is characterized by an emerging tendency to reintroduce into the grammar those aspects of context that were discarded as irrelevant by hardcore generativism, then Cognitive Linguistics may be seen to embody that tendency in an outspoken way. All the relevant features – meaning, the lexicon, the level of performance and language use, and the social context – are saliently present in the theoretical and descriptive apparatus of Cognitive Linguistics. And some of them, like the importance of meaning and the usage-based character of linguistics, even belong to the core beliefs of Cognitive Linguistics. Second, thinking about Cognitive Linguistics in terms of the recontextualization of grammar not only helps to determine its external position in the context of linguistics at large, it also sheds a revealing light on the internal development of the framework. Parallel to the sociological expansion of Cognitive Linguistics as an international movement, we observe an internal expansion that is driven by the gradual recovery of context. The conceptual drift of Cognitive Linguistics (if we may use that term) seems to reside precisely in the recontextualizing movement. It appears, in other words, that recontextualization is a common denominator that keeps together – at least conceptually speaking – the various branches of Cognitive Linguistics that are being developed in an era of massive international expansion. But if, coming back to the introduction to this article, recontextualization can indeed be seen as the schematic node overarching the radial network of cognitive approaches, does that theoretical common denominator su‰ce to keep Cognitive Linguistics together on a practical and sociological level? Will the centripetal force of an underlying trend be stronger than the centrifugal forces that are


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inherent in a radial development, where each separate topic of interest may start to develop into a domain of investigation and a sociological network of its own? 4.1. Cognitive Linguistics as a scientific paradigm To see more clearly why there might be a di‰culty, we may have a look at what the sociology of science has to say about the lifecycle of theories. Indeed, if we see Cognitive Linguistics as a paradigm in the sense of Kuhn’s theory of science, and if we then apply a sociological perspective to the development of the paradigm, we inevitably come across one of the most intriguing questions in the sociology of science: what determines the lifecycle of scientific paradigms, (sub)disciplines and specialties? There are various lifecycle models in the sociology of science, but for the present purposes, it may su‰ce to have a look at the one that is presented in De Mey (1992). It distinguishes between four stages. In the pioneering stage, the paradigm is formulated. The methodological and rhetorical justification focuses on the originality of the approach. The organization of the field is informal at most. In the building stage, the paradigm works according to the ‘‘normal science’’ model described by Kuhn: the basic tenets are accepted without questioning by the adherents; research is geared towards productively showing the applicability of the approach. At the same time, an organizational structure is set up, in the form of journals and conferences. The third stage, that of internal criticism, has a two-sided character. On the one hand, it is a period of conceptual organization: the findings that were reached somewhat disorderly during the building stage have to receive a place within the overall framework; you might say: the body of knowledge accumulated in the building stage needs to be consolidated within the theoretical fabric of the paradigm. This is typically the stage, then, in which textbooks and reference works appear. On the other hand, the third stage is also the period in which the internal anomalies of the paradigm become apparent. The initial confirmation has been carried through massively in the building stage, so that the attention may now shift to the resistant problems. Those problems may inspire new research and new ideas within the paradigm, but they may also lead some people to question the overall approach and perhaps abandon the framework. In the final stage, that of external criticism, the internal problems have become so important that the paradigm loses its attractiveness. Although

Underlying trends in thirty years of Cognitive Linguistics


the existing institutional organization may ensure a prolonged existence of the framework, it has stopped to grow, and it loses terrain with regard to newer, more appealing alternatives. Now, if we accept this classification, it is obvious that Cognitive Linguistics has moved beyond the pioneering stage (the first decade) and the building stage (the second and third decade). The current situation, at the end of the third decade of its existence, definitely exhibits at least one side of the third stage mentioned by De Mey: we are living in a period of consolidation, in the form of textbooks and reference works. In fact, a retrospective article like the present one is probably typical of this stage in the development: one aspect of the consolidating movement is the e¤ort to provide clear overviews of the history of the discipline. 4.2. Cognitive Linguistics within cognitive science If this is correct, we also need to ask the question whether the other aspects of the third stage of development – a growing awareness of outstanding problems, increasing tensions between potentially rival approaches, fragmentation into independent subdisciplines – are part of the current situation in Cognitive Linguistics. If recontextualization is at the center of Cognitive Linguistics, is there any indication that the centre may not hold? To round o¤ this discussion of the basic tendencies within Cognitive Linguistics, we may try to identify a number of factors that could either constitute a threat or a safeguard for the unity of Cognitive Linguistics. On the negative side, we may observe that the thematic unity of Cognitive Linguistics as a recontextualizing approach to grammar is as yet a highly schematic one, which is not accompanied by an outspoken tendency towards theatrical unification or the development of appropriate methods. First, building a unified theory has never been a prominent feature of Cognitive Linguistics. Cognitive linguists work with a number of key notions that are motivated by general assumptions about language and cognition, but the exact relationship between many concepts and approaches within Cognitive Linguistics is still unclear. How exactly do a Langacker-type approach and a Talmy-type approach to grammar relate to each other? On which points are they notational variants, on which points are they compatible, on which points are they in opposition to each other? And if there is an incompatibility, what kind of evidence could decide between the two? Similar questions may be asked about Concep-


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tual Metaphor Theory and a Mental Spaces approach: in some respects, the latter is an extension of the former, but could it completely replace Conceptual Metaphor Theory or not? Further, what about the di¤erent crucial components of recontextualization (like the di¤erent forms of socially oriented Cognitive Linguistics)? In short, there are lots of theoretical issues in Cognitive Linguistics that need further clarification. Progress in Cognitive Linguistics now basically takes the form of developing and applying one or the other central concept or well established approach. Now that Cognitive Linguistics is reaching a mature age, systematic attempts at theory formation are called for. Second, if we can agree that Cognitive Linguistics is essentially characterized by a recontextualizing ‘‘drift’’, there are specific consequences with regard to the observational basis and the analytical method of linguistic research. If one takes a usage-based model of the grammar seriously, one will have to study actual language use. In terms of the observational basis of Cognitive Linguistics, this suggests a shift from introspective conceptual analysis to the study of non-elicited language use, as epitomized by corpus linguistics, and to the study of on line processes, as epitomized by experimental research. Further, if one wishes to investigate how diverse factors like meaning, structure, discourse and lectal variation interact, the sheer complexity of the phenomena calls for appropriate analytic methods, i.e. for a shift towards quantitative testing of hypotheses. The complexity of a fully recontextualized grammar requires a methodology that goes beyond the traditional reliance on introspection: disentangling the e¤ect of the various contextual factors that enter into the constitution of actual language use requires an advanced quantitative analysis that is able to capture the multivariate nature of linguistic usage. Now, while there are various indications for such an ‘‘empirical turn’’ in Cognitive Linguistics, the tendency is not dominant, and explicit defenses of an empirical approach are countered by equally outspoken defenses of introspection (cf., for instance, Geeraerts 2006b and Talmy 2007). Such a ‘‘methodenstreit’’, if it continues, would obviously not contribute to the unity of the framework. In contrast with the absence of outspoken internal tendencies towards theoretical and methodological unification, there is an external factor that is likely to contribute strongly to the integrity of Cognitive Linguistics: the recontextualizing trend that we have identified as the unifying factor within the theoretical and methodological pluralism of Cognitive Linguistics is not restricted to linguistics. It is, in fact, a growing tendency within the cognitive sciences at large. In an overview article charting the

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development of cognitive psychology, Wagemans (2005) characterizes the recent evolution of cognitive science with two well-chosen phrases: ‘‘downward into the brain’’ and ‘‘outward into the environment’’. By thinking of the human mind as a machine algorithmically manipulating symbols, the traditional paradigm of cognitive science (as it arose in the 1960s) isolates the mind both from the brain and the environment. By contrast, in the contemporary developments within cognitive psychology, ‘‘intelligence became embodied again and cognition became situated in its context again’’ (Wagemans 2005: 359). The parallelism with Cognitive Linguistics is striking, and fits entirely into Sinha’s (2007) argument that Cognitive Linguistics is part of ‘‘second generation cognitive science’’, just like generative linguistics (the culmination in the decontextualization of grammar) belonged to the cognitive revolution of the late 1950s and 1960s. The recontextualizing tendency in cognitive science at large will undoubtedly buttress the recontextualizing drift in Cognitive Linguistics. But at the same time, the question concerning the internal cohesion of Cognitive Linguistics receives a di¤erent interpretation when we consider Cognitive Linguistics in the context of cognitive science: what is important from this perspective is not primarily internal cohesion as such, but rather the way in which Cognitive Linguistics may optimally contribute to the interdisciplinary development of a contextualized cognitive science. But that, of course, is a task for the next thirty years.

Austin, John 1962

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Cognitive Construal of the World, 153–179. Berlin/New York, Mouton de Gruyter. Geeraerts, Dirk and Hubert Cuyckens (eds.) 2007 The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press. Givon, Talmy 1979 On Understanding Grammar. New York: Academic Press. Goldberg, Adele E. 1995 Constructions: A Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Grice, Paul 1975 Logic and conversation. In: Peter Cole and Jerry L. Morgan (eds.), Speech Acts, 41–58. New York: Academic Press. Gumperz, John (ed.) 1982 Language and Social Identity. Cambridge: CUP. Gumperz, John and Dell Hymes (eds.) 1972 Directions in Sociolinguistics: the Ethnography of Communication. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Halliday, Michael. A.K. 1994 Introduction to Functional Grammar. Second Edition. London: Edward Arnold. Harder, Peter 2003 The status of linguistic facts: Rethinking the relation between cognition, social institution and utterance from a functional point of view. Mind and Language 18: 52–76. Harris, Randy A. 1995 The Linguistic Wars. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hart, Christopher and Dominik Lukes (eds.) 2007 Cognitive Linguistics in Critical Discourse Analysis: Application and Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Haugen, Einar 1966 Language Conflict and Languages Planning: the Case of Modern Norwegian. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Hopper, Paul 1987 Emergent grammar. Berkeley Linguistic Society 13: 139–157. Hopper, Paul and Sandra Thompson 1980 Transitivity in grammar and discourse. Language 56: 251–299. Hudson, Richard A. 1991 English Word Grammar. Oxford, Blackwell. Itkonen, Esa 2003 What is Language? A Study in the Philosophy of Linguistics. ˚ Turku: Abo Akademis tryckeri. Kemmer, Suzanne and Barlow, Michael 2000 Introduction. In: Usage-Based Models of Language, Michael Barlow and Suzanne Kemmer (eds.), vii–xxviii. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

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How theory informs teaching and how teaching informs theory* Laura A. Janda
1. Introduction One of my best friends and favorite colleagues in the field of Slavic linguistics is a generativist whom I have known for over thirty years now. A few years ago I asked him what applications there might be for generative linguistics in the language classroom. His answer was: ‘‘Uh, none.’’ That was a real non-starter and it was clear that I needed to move the conversation quickly to another topic. For my friend, linguistic theory is something akin to a ‘‘pure’’ science like mathematics, and application is unnecessary to justify its existence. Indeed, even the suggestion that one might undertake such applications was apparently insulting. There is a general tendency to overlook and underestimate the value of application in linguistics, and this tendency is supported by the hiring, tenure and promotion processes at universities, as well as by the reviewing and ranking of scholarly publications. I do not mean to imply that there is anything wrong with these structures, but they do have an e¤ect on the relative prestige attached to achievements in theory in comparison with those in application. Nor do I wish to imply that either theory or application should be considered superior, one over the other. The intent is instead to show that theory and application can inform each other in a cyclic way as suggested by the title of this article. This article begins with a brief philosophical discussion on the roles of theory and application in linguistics in general and in cognitive linguistics in particular (section 2). Taking language pedagogy as an example of a domain where applications can be developed (cf. de Knop & de Rycker 2008), I describe the cycle of how theoretical endeavors are translated into language teaching materials, which then provoke further theoretical inquiry (section 3). I have gone through this cycle three times thus far (section 4), and can provide concrete examples of theoretical and pedagogical contributions relevant to case meaning (section 4.1), aspect meaning
* I would like to thank my employer, the University of Tromsø.


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(section 4.2), and aspectual clusters of verbs (section 4.3). I conclude (section 5) that the development of pedagogical applications can reveal further research opportunities, thus enhancing one’s scholarly profile. Many of the pedagogical applications are available online via links from my homepage (; these are noted as follows: (OL).

2. What is the role of linguistics? This is a question I have often posed to both myself and colleagues. In terms of theory and application, we might suggest that there are two answers, but it is important to keep in mind that these two answers are not mutually exclusive. The first answer is that linguistics is a theoretical enterprise and this justifies the pursuit of science for science’s sake. There is nothing wrong with this. Indeed, if we did not have visionary theorists, we would not have our science at all. So science for science’s sake is important. The other answer is that linguistics can contribute to applications that are valuable for people other than linguists. Some of these applications might include teaching materials and language resources, computer technologies for dealing with real-language interfaces, primary research on documenting languages and dialects, and consulting on programs to revitalize smaller languages and get them needed political protections. Cognitive linguistics has a tradition of being accountable to other disciplines, like psychology, neurobiology, etc. It seems logical that this tradition of accountability should extend also to society by making our theoretical achievements accessible in applications that are useful to others. Fortunately results achieved in cognitive linguistics can be transferred fairly easily to applications without requiring users to master a theoretical linguistic artifice because cognitive linguistics does not make any assumptions beyond those necessary and common to all cognition. In this article I focus on applications that can be used in the language classroom. All language learners have bodies, and they can use their embodied physical experience to make sense of the metaphors that underlie the grammars of foreign languages. Cognitive linguistics is utterly transparent in these applications, which do not require learners to have any linguistic expertise in order to access state-of-the-art analyses of linguistic subsystems of Slavic languages. I have often been warned that ‘‘real’’ linguists do not write language

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textbooks, presumably because such activity would detract from their scholarly output and the results would not be comprehensible to the average layman. The aim of this article is to demonstrate that cognitive linguists can make contributions to language pedagogy while boosting their scholarly production at the same time.

3. How theory can inspire application and application can inspire theory This section contrasts the goals and audiences of theoretical contributions which are typically tightly focused, o¤ering a narrow scope perspective on phenomena, with the goals and audiences of language teaching applications, which cover entire subsystems of languages and thus o¤er a broad scope perspective on phenomena. These two approaches can be complementary and mutually supportive. The narrow scope approach can make it possible to pinpoint a problem and work out a model, which can then be extended into a broader approach. The very process of extension inevitably uncovers some previously unnoticed wrinkles in the model, leading to more narrow scope investigations. Our scholarly publications tend to o¤er narrowly specified theoretical contributions aimed at a relatively small group of colleagues. This is partly due to the nature of science: linguistic research is hard to do, and the horizons of our knowledge are gradually pushed forward in tiny increments. It is also partly due to the peer-review process, which makes it easier to get narrow contributions published, and disadvantages broader works. A work that takes on a broader issue constitutes a bigger target for anonymous peer reviewers, and this problem is compounded if a scholar wants to suggest a truly original analysis of a broader issue, bringing into question traditional assumptions that most peer-reviewers are heavily invested in. It is thus often narrower works that receive the prestige of publication in scholarly journals. A consequence is that there is often less prestige and less recognition by our universities attached to broader applications. The audience of broader pedagogical applications is a potentially unlimited population of learners, whose goals include passing an exam at the end of the semester or learning to speak a language well. Learners are typically interested in macroscopic issues. They do not want part of an answer. They want an explanation that will apply as broadly and exhaustively as possible. The advantage is that they can force us as scholars to


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take a comprehensive look at a phenomenon and connect all the dots of a given system, often giving us new perspectives on language phenomena. As I have experienced it, the interaction between theory and application can be cyclic. Usually I start with a narrowly focused theoretical model developed on the basis of a limited dataset. This makes it possible for me to pinpoint a problem without excess ‘‘noise’’ and figure out what the relevant parameters are and how they interact. Once I understand the mechanics and have a model, I can extend it to account for an entire subsystem of a language and take it into the ‘‘noisy’’ environment of the language classroom. Thus a narrowly focused theoretical model is translated into a broadly focused pedagogical application. Usually the nice tidy solution suggested by a linguistic model turns out to need some readjustment when it is stretched to cover the needs of the learner, and these readjustments are opportunities for new research. The new patterns and issues revealed in this process thus inspire more narrowly focused research. Occasionally, this process also leads in the direction of a more philosophical discussion of linguistics (Janda 2008a). I find that the end product of this cycle tends to open up entirely new directions that send me back through the cycle again with a new topic. As detailed below in section 4, work on the first set of issues (case meaning) actually led to work on aspect meaning, which then led to work on aspectual clusters, so in a sense the process can be understood as a spiral.

4. Case studies of how theory and application inform each other This section presents three examples of cycles I have experienced in my work. In each example, I began with a theoretical investigation which led to a model designed to account for specific data. I was then tempted to try my model out in the classroom, and this led to the creation of pedagogical materials with a broader scope. However, in the course of creating pedagogical materials to account for entire subsystems in the grammars of Slavic languages, I discovered new patterns and phenomena that I might not have noticed otherwise. These discoveries launched further, more theory-oriented research. The pedagogical materials include interactive components, using sophisticated programming, graphics, and audio, and all of them are available in part or in their entirety over the Internet. These materials required teamwork to produce and have been supported by various grants; funding sources and collaborators are listed under Works Cited, Part 2.

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4.1. Case meaning With the exceptions of Macedonian and Bulgarian, which retain only vestiges of a case system restricted to pronouns, in the remaining Slavic languages all noun phrases are case marked, in a system with six or seven cases: Nominative, Accusative, Dative, Genitive, Locative, Instrumental, and in some languages also Vocative. Case use, when explained at all in traditional grammars and textbooks, is usually described by listing typical syntactic roles, prepositions, and verbs associated with given cases. This information is atomistic and unsatisfactory for both linguistic description and language pedagogy. The research agenda described in this section was inspired by my own frustrations as a learner of Slavic languages. Often even though I knew all the words in a sentence and could parse it accurately, I still did not know what the sentence meant because my textbooks had told me about only a small portion of the uses of case. Later on, when I was able to consult academy grammars and linguistic publications I discovered that though they provided more detail, they lacked coherence. 4.1.1. Primary research on case meaning The initial goal of my theoretical research was to work out the relationships between the various submeanings in each grammatical case. From the perspective of cognitive linguistics, it was apparent that the grammatical cases were examples of polysemy, because each case had multiple meanings. As a cognitivist, I was then inspired to look for the prototypical meanings that motivated each case. I could further assume that the prototypical meanings were grounded in concrete physical experiences that served as the source domain for extensions to abstract metaphorical meanings, and that all of the meanings of any given case were related to each other in a radial category. Here is an example to illustrate the kind of problems I was faced with as both a language learner and a linguist. The Genitive case in Russian presents at least eighteen submeanings governed by a rather ba¿ing array of constructions, involving over one hundred prepositions, a couple dozen verbs, and a wide variety of quantifiers. But when viewed from the perspective of a radial category, it is easier to see clear well-motivated patterns. One of the core prototypical meanings of the Genitive involves ‘withdrawal from’, most often associated with prepositions, as in this example:


Laura A. Janda

ˇ ˇ ˇ (1) Doc ’ prisla iz skoly. [Daughter-N came from school-G] ‘My daughter has come from school.’ This meaning of physical withdrawal serves as the source domain for other, metaphorical, types of withdrawal, thus explaining the association of verbs like bojat’sja ‘be afraid’ and stydit’sja ‘be ashamed’ with the Genitive case, as in this example: ˇ (2) Doc ’ bojalas’/stydilas’ bednosti. [Daughter-N feared/was ashamed poverty-G] ‘My daughter was afraid/ashamed of poverty.’ Similar explanations can be found throughout the landscape of Slavic case. The research agenda on case meaning unfolded gradually, tackling one case at a time and building up the theoretical model over the course of twelve years. It began with some peculiar uses of the Dative case in Czech that are grammatically superfluous (not governed, but optional) and are used to assert authority or solidarity. These uses were explained in terms of a mapping of meaning into the pragmatic domain (Janda 1988). A larger study (Janda 1993) compared the full extent of two cases, the Dative and the Instrumental, in Czech and Russian. It was several more years before I managed to make sense of the Genitive (Janda 1999) and the Accusative (Janda 2000). 4.1.2. Pedagogical applications for case meaning I never actually finished the entire case system in developing the theoretical model, since I did not cover the Nominative and the Locative. But I had to make up for that deficiency when Steven Clancy and I took up the creation of pedagogical materials, which were complete descriptions of the case systems for Russian (Janda and Clancy 2002) and Czech (Janda and Clancy 2006), with a third book in the series devoted to Polish soon to be completed. The case system is also featured in a reference grammar of Czech (Janda and Townsend 2000). Scholars continue to cite my 1993 book on the dative and instrumental, overlooking the case books, where the analysis is more complete and mature. No doubt this is due to the fact that most people are not looking for theoretical contributions in pedagogical works. Though cognitive linguistics is the basis for all these applications, it is

How theory informs teaching and how teaching informs theory


never mentioned by name, and indeed, we specifically avoid any unnecessary linguistic terminology in the case books, restricting ourselves only to words like: noun, preposition, verb. These books prove that it is possible to translate a complex linguistic analysis into straightforward, useful language teaching materials without compromising on detail or depth. Sample chapters of the case books available online (OL) illustrate the manner of presentation, though they lack the interactive features of the full packages (which provide audio for all examples, with choice of male or female voice, plus instant navigation between indexes, table of contents, and text, making it possible to click and link to any meaning or use with any preposition, verb, etc.). The full menus of exercises can be accessed online (OL). All of the examples in the texts and exercises represent real language data, collected from various corpora, not sanitized textbook examples. Also, these materials are designed to cover all meanings of case in the given languages, which means that hundreds of examples are used, in both text and interactive exercises. A learner who has worked through these materials can expect to fully master the meanings of the cases, mimicking the proficiency of a native speaker, who can interpret and use case meaning even in novel situations. One advantage of writing material for non-linguists is that one’s audience is potentially unlimited, and this can lead to unexpected uses for such applications. Recently, for example, I was informed that The Case Book for Czech (Janda and Clancy 2006) is being used at Charles University in Prague to teach Czech to hearing-impaired students. For speakers of Czech Sign Language, the case system of Czech is just as foreign and mysterious as it is for speakers of non-Slavic languages, and colleagues in Prague have long been struggling to find a way to help their deaf students over this barrier to achieving literacy in Czech. The system of connected meanings grounded in physical experiences shared by all human beings, whether deaf or hearing, is accessible to these students. Thus The Case Book for Czech is now being used to teach Czech in the Czech Republic too. 4.1.3. Further research on case meaning inspired by applications Work on the Case Books inspired multiple new theoretical inquiries. Within a given Slavic language there are often border zones in the case system where a nearly synonymous idea can be expressed by more than one case. These instances of case competition made for some fine-tuned analyses (Janda 2002a, 2002c, 2004b, 2004c). Furthermore, there are


Laura A. Janda

significant di¤erences in the use of the ‘‘same’’ cases across the various Slavic languages. This led me to undertake some syntactic dialect geography, which yielded results mostly parallel to dialect geography of Slavic in terms of phonology (Janda 2002b, 2002e). Furthermore, when I looked at what kinds of cross-linguistic di¤erences in case marking there were within Slavic, I noticed that the domain that showed largest di¤erences was that of time. The time domain alone accounts for nearly a third of all variation in case marking among Slavic languages (Janda 2002d, 2002f ). Expressions of time were and continue to be a fascination, and this carried over into the later investigations of aspect, which are the topic of the remaining two case studies. I was not the only one to be fascinated by comparing case usage across Slavic languages – my case book co-author, Steven Clancy, has undertaken a more sophisticated comparison supported by multi-dimensional scale modeling (Clancy 2006). Case meaning continues to o¤er me new opportunities. Goldberg’s Constructions (1995) and Constructions at Work (2006) gave me the idea of piecing together a comprehensive construction grammar for a case language. A first draft accounts for the range of transitivity constructions facilitated by case usage in Russian, presenting them as a radial category of constructions (Janda 2008c). This approach has been further extended in two di¤erent directions, both involving case use and construal. A striking feature of Russian as opposed to English is the use of the Dative case in impersonal expressions to express ideas that would occasion a personal construction in English. In other words, whereas in English we would say I was cold, I was having a hard time, I had to leave, in Russian the equivalent expressions are Mne bylo xolodno, mne bylo ˇ trudno, mne pris los’ ujti. All of the Russian expressions begin with a Dative first person singular pronoun, and their literal meanings are ‘to me it was cold, to me it was di‰cult, to me it arrived/was necessary to go’. This tendency to avoid expression of agency in Russian has its roots in the meanings of the Dative case and the relationship of the Dative to other cases in closely related constructions. This is an issue that I have pursued together with Dagmar Divjak (Divjak and Janda 2008). Wierzbicka (1999) and Kovecses (2001) both claim that the metapho¨ rical understanding of given emotions are language-specific, though the strategies may be universal. Russian has six terms typically translated ˇ as ‘sadness’: grust’, pecal’, toska, unynie, melanxolija, xandra. Together with Valery Solovyev, I have analyzed the relative corpus frequencies of the case constructions that these nouns appear in (Janda and Solovyev 2009). This type of analysis makes it possible to make precise distinctions

How theory informs teaching and how teaching informs theory


among the six synonyms, and also to examine what types of metaphors are used to understand the various types of ‘sadness’, revealing that only a portion of the phenomena are explainable via extension from the container source domain. Overall, case meaning is a treasure trove that I am still mining out. Creating pedagogical materials forced me to undertake a comprehensive description of case systems, but these in turn have yielded a wealth of ideas that I might never have had otherwise, because I might not have seen the patterns if I was not forced to connect all the dots. 4.2. Aspect meaning In the Slavic languages, a given verb, throughout its paradigm, is either Perfective or Imperfective, regardless of whatever other categories it might express. Like case meaning, aspect use was traditionally described in terms of long lists of uses, many of which appeared contradictory and unmotivated. 4.2.1. Primary research on aspect meaning Because I am a cognitive linguist, I suspected that there must be a metaphor motivating Slavic aspect, and that there must be an orderly polysemy behind the apparently chaotic inventories of usage. I went in search of a source domain that would account for the observed phenomena in a coherent way, and discovered that physical matter served this purpose (Janda 2004a). Physical matter, understood as a distinction between hard, solid objects vs. fluid substances, is a rich source domain because human beings have many experiences relating to this distinction, and these experiences are isomorphic to the distinctions in the Slavic aspect system. Perfective events are understood as metaphorical discrete solid objects, which have clear boundaries and are unique and countable, as opposed to Imperfective events which are understood as metaphorical fluid substances and therefore lack inherent boundaries and shapes, and are neither unique nor countable, but can be spread about. Furthermore, many of the seeming contradictions in use of aspect can be cleared up when we realize that this metaphor is applied at three di¤erent levels, and that subsequent levels can trump prior ones. At the first level the metaphor applies to the inherent structure of events. At the discourse level, the metaphor applies to how events interact, which can motivate a di¤erent construal. And lastly at the pragmatic level this metaphor invokes di¤erences in satisfaction, comfort, and danger associated with physical objects, again moti-


Laura A. Janda

vating construals that can concur with or override those at the event and discourse level. Here is an illustration of how the rich domain of embodied experience we all have with matter motivates Russian aspect. First let’s take a discrete solid object like an apple. It has a shape, it has edges, it has a distinct identity (no other apple can also be this apple, making this one unique), and I cannot put two apples into the exact same location – the best I can do is to set one next to the other one. These are just a few of the things that we know about discrete solid objects thanks to our embodied experience. Like an apple, a Perfective event has a definite shape, which means that we know that it had a discrete beginning and/or end, that we are talking about a single, unique event, and when I have more than one such event (discourse level), the normal interpretation is that they are not at the same temporal location, but next to each other, and therefore sequenced. Here is a sentence with two Perfective events, each of which has clear boundaries and is unique. ˇ (3) Oleg sel v masinu i poexal v restoran. ‘Oleg got into the car and drove to the restaurant.’ The normal interpretation of this sentence is as a sequence. This experience of discrete solid objects motivating Perfective aspect can be contrasted with that of substances motivating Imperfective events. A fluid substance like sand has no inherent shape or boundaries and cannot be counted unless it is put in buckets. Furthermore sand is just sand, without unique identity, and it can be spread around. If there are two piles of sand, they can be blended together in the same place. Like sand, an Imperfective event is not understood to have a clear beginning or end, it does not have to be unique, and if there are two such events, they can easily occupy the same temporal location, making them simultaneous. Here is a sentence with two Imperfective events, neither of which tell us anything about temporal boundaries or uniqueness, and which are understood to be simultaneous. ˇ (4) Oleg nosil galstuk i ezdil na sportivnoj masine. ‘Oleg wore a tie and drove a sportscar.’ Note that example (4) has the same syntactic structure as example (3), the only di¤erence being that the two past tense verbs joined by the conjunction in (3) are Perfective, whereas the verbs in (4) are Imperfective. These examples illustrate just a few of the meanings of Perfective and Imper-

How theory informs teaching and how teaching informs theory


fective that are isomorphic to parameters of physical matter; a fuller inventory can be found in Janda 2004a. 4.2.2. Pedagogical applications for aspect meaning In order to make the metaphorical model of Russian aspect accessible to teachers and learners of Russian I wrote an article for pedagogues (Janda 2003), and I got funding from the National Science Foundation to create an interactive media module (OL; note that starred items are under construction, completed items are the Introduction and, under Chapter 2, Module 1, sections headed ‘‘shape’’ and ‘‘convertibility’’). The Aspect in Russian media module combines text, audio, graphics, and animations to show users the relevant parameters of physical matter and how they correspond to the behaviors of Perfective and Imperfective verbs. Users can conduct virtual experiments on solid objects and fluid substances and compare the results with the uses of aspect in Russian. Key concepts can be reviewed, various interactive activities exercise the concepts, and all of the materials are illustrated with authentic natural language examples, with options to view translations and a choice of native speakers (male and female) o¤ering models for pronunciation. The site encourages users to search the internet for further examples for analysis. The Aspect in Russian media module has been integrated into the Russian language curriculum at over two dozen institutions across the US and Europe. 4.2.3. Further research on aspect meaning inspired by applications As we saw with case meaning, work on a comprehensive pedagogical presentation of the model led me back to basic research and ultimately led me to start a new cycle too. Among the new things I worked on was an outline of how the matter metaphor di¤ers in its extension across Slavic (Janda 2006). I also noticed that verbs showed various behaviors in terms of morphological derivation of Perfectives from Imperfectives and viceversa, and this initiated the idea of aspectual clusters. Furthermore, I began to realize that some similar metaphors were at work in determining what kinds of aspectual relations there were between verbs within a cluster (Janda 2008b). Thus my next move was to explore aspectual relationships among verbs built from the same lexical item, what I call clusters. 4.3. Aspectual clusters of verbs Traditionally it has been assumed in Slavic that the relationship between Perfective and Imperfective verbs built from the same lexical item was


Laura A. Janda

that of an aspectual ‘‘pair’’ containing a single Imperfective verb and its Perfective aspectual partner. The process of collecting data and illustrative examples for the metaphorical model of aspect gave me the insight that there could be an alternative to the pair model, a model that would comport better with the messy reality of aspectual relationships among Russian verbs. This is how the cluster model came into being. Given that there are aspectual relationships between Perfective and Imperfective verbs, there is no necessity to assume that they are paired in a one-to-one relationship. Other relationships, namely one-to-many relationships, could also account for the phenomena traditionally described as pairs, and I found that Russian actually has di¤erent types of Perfectives. My proposal is that aspectual ‘‘pairs’’ represent only a portion of a system where an Imperfective verb can be related to a number of Perfectives. 4.3.1. Primary research on aspectual clusters I first worked out the cluster model by taking a multiply stratified sample of the morphological types of Russian verbs. This means that I included all verbs from all non-productive classes, plus samples of productive classes. In other words, I used linguistic criteria to build this database, in order to assure that I had accounted for all morphological types of verbs. This meant that all paradigm types were included regardless of their type frequency. My database contains 283 clusters and approximately 2,000 verbs. Research on this database made it possible to discover the four types of Perfectives and the implicational hierarchy that determines how these elements can be combined in aspectual clusters of Russian verbs (Janda 2007). It is possible to distinguish four types of Perfectives in Russian. There is a Natural Perfective which describes the culmination of a completable activity, and it is usually this Perfective that is considered the aspectual partner in the pair model. So Russian has two verbs for ‘write’: one, pisat’, is Imperfective and describes the activity, and one, napisat’, that describes the completion of a document. In addition, there are Specialized Perfectives that give a specific path and goal to the action, and thus provide enough new lexical information to motivate the derivation of secondary imperfectives. Adding a prefix to pisat’ ‘write’ gives a Specialized Perfective such as perepisat’ ‘rewrite’ which can furthermore be su‰xed to give a secondary Imperfective, perepisyvat’ with the same meaning used to describe a process or repeated action. There are also Complex Act Perfec-

How theory informs teaching and how teaching informs theory


tives which take an atelic action and give it temporal boundaries, usually expressing action that lasts a certain time or begins or ends, in all cases without result. An example of a Complex Act Perfective is popisat’, ‘write for a while without result’. Finally, with some verbs it is possible to form a Single Act Perfective which removes a single cycle from a repeated atelic ˇ ˇ action, such as cixat’ ‘sneeze’, which has a Single Act Perfective cixnut’ used to describe a single sneeze. An aspectual cluster can contain zero, one, two, three or all four types of Perfectives, but there are strict constraints on what combinations are possible. In fact most theoretically possible combinations are not attested, and those that are attested follow an implicational hierarchy, described in detail in Janda 2007. The cluster model o¤ers several advantages over the traditional pair model. Firstly, the cluster model accounts for more aspectual relations among verbs, giving a more accurate picture of the aspectual system in Russian. Secondly, the pair model is often used to incorrectly identify Complex Act and Single Act Perfectives as the Perfective ‘‘partners’’ of Imperfective verbs, especially in clusters that lack Natural Perfectives. 4.3.2. Pedagogical applications for aspectual clusters The pair model is just as inadequate in language teaching as it is as a linguistic model. To remedy this situation, John Korba and I built a second database with the aim of providing a resource for instructors and learners. This database contains the 266 clusters of the verbs listed in the vocabularies for a first-year and a second-year textbook of Russian. This pedagogical database was designed to represent high-frequency verbs most useful for learners, regardless of morphological class (i.e., token frequency). There was some overlap in the linguistic and pedagogical databases and the databases were approximately the same size. The results of the pedagogical project were much more interesting than I had anticipated. On the one hand, the cluster model was perfectly confirmed by the pedagogical database. The pedagogical database showed the same four types of Perfectives, and the same implicational hierarchy, giving the same range of possible cluster structures. However the distribution of the cluster types was not identical in the two databases. Figure 1 compares the frequencies of the four most important cluster structures in the two databases. Whereas the linguistic database gave an order of cluster structures that seems rather arbitrary (A þ NP þ SP þ CA then A þ NP þ SP then A þ NP þ SP þ CA þ SA, then A þ NP), the pedagogical database gives


Laura A. Janda

Figure 1.

an order that directly follows the implicational hierarchy, namely A þ NP then A þ NP þ SP then A þ NP þ SP þ CA, then A þ NP þ SP þ CA þ SA. This means that high-frequency verbs showed that the implicational hierarchy was more than just a predictor of possible structures in the system, but also a predictor of how frequent they were. This discovery has a valuable pedagogical implication, since given this distribution it makes sense to teach students the implicational hierarchy, so that they can predict cluster structures and variants. On the basis of this discovery, we composed an article o¤ering suggested instructional strategies and exercises (Janda and Korba 2008). We also published to a website the pedagogical database (OL), which makes it possible for instructors and learners to look up the aspectual clusters of given verbs or to find groupings of verbs according to cluster structure. 4.3.3. Further research on aspectual clusters inspired by applications Several further projects have been inspired by the work done on pedagogical applications of the cluster model. These projects involve groups

How theory informs teaching and how teaching informs theory


of verbs traditionally considered to be aspectually anomalous and the so-called ‘‘empty’’ prefixes. There are two types of verbs that are often considered to be aspectually anomalous, the first are the motion verbs, and the second are the biaspectual verbs. The motion verbs make an additional distinction within Imperfective between travel to a destination and other kinds of motion, and are notoriously hard to learn. Work on the pedagogical database confirmed that the motion verbs are not anomalous, but actually prototypical, for they serve as the metaphorical motivation for the types of Perfectives that can be formed (Janda 2008b). All completable (telic) verbs are understood as metaphorical directed motion verbs, where an activity is leading to a result, and all non-completable (atelic) verbs are understood as metaphorical non-directed motion verbs, where activity is not leading to a result. Furthermore, motion verbs display the maximal cluster structure; all other cluster structures can be arrived at by removing types of Perfectives from the structure associated with motion verbs. The biaspectual verbs use only one form to express both aspects (always disambiguated by context). These verbs were considered anomalous because they violated the one-to-one correspondence expectations of the aspectual pair model. However, within the cluster model we find many form-meaning correspondences other than one-to-one within aspectual clusters, and indeed the biaspectual verbs are not so unusual after all (Janda forthcoming). The cluster model also made a prediction about the cluster structures that would be possible for bi-aspectual verbs, namely that bi-aspectual verbs should be negatively correlated with the formation of Complex Act Perfectives, a prediction that was confirmed in an empirical study (Janda 2007b). It has been traditionally assumed that the prefixes used to form Natural Perfectives are semantically ‘‘empty’’. There are numerous theoretical problems with the notion of the ‘‘empty’’ prefix, among them the fact that there are over a dozen such ‘‘empty’’ prefixes, so why would Russian need di¤erent ones for di¤erent verbs, and also the fact that the same prefixes can be used to form the other kinds of Perfectives, in which instances (especially in the case of Specialized Perfectives) it is clear that they have semantic content, so why would the prefixes be sometimes empty and sometimes not? In a future project I hope to prove that what we have is conceptual overlap, not semantic emptiness. The cluster model o¤ers a principled way to distinguish among the various types of Perfectives, and there may be a correlation between cluster structure, verb semantics, and prefixal semantics.


Laura A. Janda

5. Conclusions The bibliography usually plays only a supporting role in an article, but I would like to use it to make a point. The bibliography that follows has been arranged under several subheadings: Primary Research, Applications, Research Inspired by Applications, and Other Works Cited. Comparison of the volume of output shows that the bulk of publications came in round three, the Research Inspired by Applications, when the wealth of both the primary research and the applications provided a knowledge base to build upon. When I look at this distribution, I realize that building applications for instructors and learners is not just something I did to be altruistic. It turns out that the resources that I created for others also forced me to take a comprehensive, big-picture look at phenomena, and that has brought very tangible benefits to my own research agenda.

Works Cited, Part 1: Primary Research
Janda, Laura A. 1988 Pragmatic vs. semantic uses of case. In: Diane Brentari, Gary Larson and Lynne MacLeod (eds.), Chicago Linguistic Society 24-I: Papers from the Twenty-Fourth Regional Meeting, 189– 202. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Janda, Laura A. 1993 A Geography of Case Semantics: The Czech Dative and the Russian Instrumental. (Cognitive Linguistics Research 4). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Janda, Laura A. 1999 Peircean semiotics and cognitive linguistics: a case study of the Russian genitive. In: Michael Shapiro (ed.), The Peirce Seminar Papers, 441–466. New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books. Janda, Laura A. 2000 A cognitive model of the Russian accusative case. In: Rodmonga K. Potapova, Valery D. Solov’ev and Vladimir N. Poljakov (eds.), ˇ Trudy mezdunarodnoj konferencii Kognitivnoe modelirovanie, No. 4, part I, 20–43. Moscow: MISIS. Janda, Laura A. 2004a A metaphor in search of a source domain: the categories of Slavic aspect. In: Cognitive Linguistics 15(4): 471–527. Janda, Laura A. 2007a Aspectual clusters of Russian verbs. In: Studies in Language 31(3): 607–648.

How theory informs teaching and how teaching informs theory


Works Cited, Part 2: Applications publications
Janda, Laura A. 2003 A user-friendly conceptualization of Aspect. In: Slavic and East European Journal 47(2): 251–281. Janda, Laura A. and Steven J. Clancy 2002 The Case Book for Russian. Bloomington, IN: Slavica. Funding sources: Chancellor’s Award for Instructional Technology, Title VI Dept of Education Grant for the Joint Duke-UNC Slavic and East European Language Resource Center. Janda, Laura A. and Steven J. Clancy 2006 The Case Book for Czech. Bloomington, IN: Slavica. Funding source: Title VI Dept of Education Grant for the Joint DukeUNC Slavic and East European Language Resource Center. Janda, Laura A. and John J. Korba 2008 Beyond the pair: Aspectual clusters for learners of Russian. Slavic and East European Journal 25(2): 254–270. Janda, Laura A. and Charles E. Townsend 2000 Czech (¼ Languages of the World/Materials 125. Munich/ Newcastle: lincom europa.

Internet resources
Aspect in Russian Media Module: Funding sources: Title VI Dept of Education Grant for the Joint Duke-UNC Slavic and East European Language Resource Center, NSF Proposal #0341628 for Curriculum, Laboratory and Instructional Material Development, NSF Proposal #0550129 supplemental award; collaborators: Catherine Macallister, Donald Lofland, Kerry O’Sullivan, Eleonora Magomedova, Yuri Panov. Cluster Types for Russian Verbs: Funding source: Title VI Dept of Education Grant for the Joint Duke-UNC Slavic and East European Language Resource Center; collaborators: Miroslav Styblo, John J. Korba.

Works Cited, Part 3: Research inspired by applications
Clancy, Steven J. 2006 The topology of Slavic case: semantic maps and multidimensional scaling. In: Glossos 6, at Divjak, Dagmar and Laura A. Janda 2008 Ways of attenuating agency in Russian. In: Anna Siewierska (ed.), Impersonal Constructions in Grammatical Theory, a special issue of Transactions of the Philological Society (v. 106), 138– 179.


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Janda, Laura A. ´ ´ ˚ ˇ ˇ ˇ ´ ´ ´ 2002a Semantika padu v cestine. In: Alena Krausova, Marketa Sleza´ ˇ ´ ´nı ˇ ˇ kova and Zdenka Svobodova (eds.), Setka ´ s Cestinou, 29–35. ´ ˇ ´ Prague: Ustav pro jazyk cesky. Janda, Laura A. 2002b Cases in collision, cases in collusion: the semantic space of case in Czech and Russian. In: Laura A. Janda, Steven Franks and Ronald Feldstein (eds.), Where One’s Tongue Rules Well: A Festschrift for Charles E. Townsend, 43–61. Columbus, Ohio: Slavica. Janda, Laura A. 2002c Cognitive hot spots in the Russian case system. In: Michael Shapiro (ed.), Peircean Semiotics: The State of the Art (¼ The Peirce Seminar Papers 5), 165–188. New York: Berghahn Books. Janda, Laura A. 2002d The conceptualization of events and their relationship to time in Russian. In: Glossos 2 at Janda, Laura A. 2002e The case for competing conceptual systems. In: Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk and Kamila Turewicz (eds.), Cognitive ´ ´ Linguistics Today (¼ Łodz Studies in Language 6), 355–374. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. Janda, Laura A. 2002f Concepts of case and time in Slavic. In: Glossos 3 at http:// Janda, Laura A. 2004b Border zones in the Russian case system. In: Ju. D. Apresjan (ed.), Sokrovennye Smysly (a festschrift for Nina D. Arutjunova), 378–398. Moscow: Jazyki slavjanskoj kul’tury. Janda, Laura A. 2004c The dative case in Czech: what it means and how si fits in. In: the ˇ published proceedings of the annual meeting of the Spolecnost ˇ ˇ ´ pro vedy a umenı 2003, published in 2004 at: Janda, Laura A. 2006 A metaphor for aspect in Slavic. In: Henrik Birnbaum in Memoriam (¼ International Journal of Slavic Linguistics and Poetics), 44–45, 249–260. Janda, Laura A. 2007b What makes Russian bi-aspectual verbs Special. In: Dagmar Divjak and Agata Kochanska (eds.), Cognitive Paths into the Slavic Domain. (Cognitive Linguistics Research). Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 83–109. Janda, Laura A. 2008a From Cognitive Linguistics to Cultural Linguistics. Slovo a smysl/Word and Sense 8, 48–68.

How theory informs teaching and how teaching informs theory


Janda, Laura A. 2008b Semantic motivations for aspectual clusters of Russian verbs. In: Christina Y. Bethin, ed. American Contributions to the 14th International Congress of Slavists, Ohrid, September 2008. Bloomington, IN: Slavica Publishers, 181–196. Janda, Laura A. 2008c Transitivity in Russian from a Cognitive Perspective. In: Galina ˇ ˇ Kustova (ed.), Dinamiceskie Modeli: Slovo. Predlozenie. Tekst. ˇ ˇ Sbornik statej v cest’ E. V. Paducevoj Moscow: Jazyki slavjanskoj kul’tury, 970–988. Janda, Laura A. 2009 Totally normal chaos: The aspectual behavior of Russian motion verbs. In: a festschrift for Michael S. Flier (Harvard Ukrainian Studies 28), 183–193. Janda, Laura A. Forthcoming Mesto dvuvidovyx glagolov v modeli vidovyx gnezd. In: Marina ˇ Ju. Certkova (ed.). Moscow State University. Janda, Laura A. and Valery D. Solovyev 2009 What Constructional Profiles Reveal About Synonymy: A Case Study of Russian Words for sadness and happiness. Cognitive Linguistics 20: 2, 367–393.

Works Cited, Part 4: Other Works Cited
Sabine de Knop and Teun de Rycker (eds.) 2008 Cognitive Approaches to Pedagogical Grammar. (Applications of Cognitive Linguistics 9.) Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Goldberg, Adele 1995 Constructions: A Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure. Chicago: Chicago University Press. Goldberg, Adele 2006 Constructions at Work: The Nature of Generalizations in Language. Oxford: Oxford U Press. ´ Kovecses, Zoltan ¨ 2001 Metaphor and Emotion: Language, Culture, and Body in Human Feeling. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wierzbicka, Anna 1999 Emotions across Languages and Cultures: Diversity and Universals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Part II.

The context for prototypes

Why not? Prototypes and blocking of language change in Russian verbs* Tore Nesset
This paper explores the relevance of prototypes for morphological change. Traditionally, historical linguistics has described what happens in language change and tried to explain why. However, what about the changes that do not take place? Can we explain them? Are prototypes relevant? I will discuss three cases where an ongoing language change in Russian verbs that I call ‘‘su‰x shift’’ has been blocked. Three factors pertaining to prototypes are shown to be relevant: simplification, target consistency and product-oriented generalizations. Although when viewed in isolation, none of the factors is su‰cient to explain why su‰x shift is blocked, I will argue that in concert they provide a reasonable account of why su‰x shift did not take place. In addition to accounting for blocking, this paper has implications for future change. Although su‰x shift has been blocked for fricative-final roots so far, verbs of this type are shown to be in a more vulnerable position than the other verbs that display blocking in present-day Russian. If su‰x shift spreads to new classes of verbs, the proposed analysis predicts that fricative-final roots are most likely to be a¤ected, and that these roots will undergo su‰x shift first. The implications of the present study go beyond Russian and Slavic linguistics. First, it is shown that blocking is a fruitful area of research in historical linguistics and that simplification, target consistency and product-oriented generalizations are relevant for blocking of language change in other languages. Second, this study emphasizes the importance of the target category in language change; all the hypotheses in this paper refer to the target category. Third, the investigation of target consistency demonstrates how important the sizes of morphological classes are for language change. More specifically, the proposed analysis suggests that a category needs to be about three times as large as a competing category
* I would like to thank my employer, the University of Tromsø, for financial support and L. Janda, V. Plungjan, E. Romanova, P. Iosad, E. Tabakowska ´ and audiences in Krakow and Copenhagen for comments on earlier versions of this article.


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in order to ‘‘steal’’ members from it. Last but not least, the account of blocked su‰x shift in this article provides evidence in favor of linguistic frameworks like Cognitive Linguistics, which accommodate productoriented generalizations and prototypes. Section 1 o¤ers an overview of su‰x shift in Russian verbs. In sections 2 through 4, I consider simplification, target consistency and productoriented generalizations for prototypes, before the contribution of the paper is summarized in section 5.

1. Su‰x shift in Russian verbs In the overwhelming majority of Russian verbs, the root is followed by a verbal su‰x. Five of these su‰xes, /aj/, /ej/, /ova/, /i/ and semelfactive /nu/, form productive verb classes, while the remaining patterns are nonproductive.1 In situations like this, the historical linguist would expect migration of verbs from non-productive to productive patterns. This prediction is indeed borne out. As is well known in Slavic linguistics, many verbs replace the non-productive verbal su‰x /a/ with the productive /aj/. It is not hard to understand why. The two su‰xes are homophonous in the infinitive and past tense. In these forms, where the verbal su‰x is followed by a consonant-initial inflectional ending, both su‰xes have the shape /a/. On the basis of infinitives like delat’ ‘do’ and kapat’ ‘drip’ and past tense forms like delal and kapal, there is no way to infer that delat’ has the /aj/ su‰x, whereas kapat’ belongs to the non-productive pattern /a/-verbs. Apparently, the homophony in the infinitive and past tense has formed the basis for a diachronic change, whereby the productive su‰x supplants its non-productive ‘‘competitor’’ in the remaining verb forms. In the terminology of Andersen (1973), this is an example of abductive change. Based on the ambiguous evidence of the infinitive and past tense forms, the speakers make the ‘‘wrong’’ inference about the su‰x in the present tense and imperative. As a result of this, su‰x shift takes place.

1. According to standard practice, I use slashes for examples in phonemic transcription. For the convenience of the reader, I place a hyphen between a root and a derivational su‰x and a plus sign before an inflectional ending: /d’el-aj þ ut/ ‘(they) do’. When the sound shape of an example is not essential the example is cited in transliterated orthography, indicated by italics.

Prototypes and blocking of language change in Russian verbs


By way of illustration, consider the following examples both representing 3 pl present tense forms of the verb kapat’ ‘drip’:2 ˇ ˇ (1) Slezy kapljut odna za drugoj na klavisi. (Goncarov 1859, with /a/ su‰x) ‘Tears are dripping one after another onto the keyboard.’ ˇˇ (2) Slezy v sci kapajut. (Bitov 1969, with /aj/ su‰x) ‘Tears are dripping into the cabbage soup.’ The form kapljut in (1) represents the original, non-productive pattern. According to the (morpho-)phonological rules of Russian, the /a/ su‰x is truncated before a vowel-initial ending so as to avoid hiatus. Example (2), on the other hand, includes the innovative /aj/ su‰x. We are dealing with ongoing language change that has created a situation where the /aj/ and /a/ su‰xes compete for a number of verbs. As observed by Henning Andersen, who provides a detailed study of su‰x shift, the synchronic situation of the relevant verbs ‘‘has all the earmarks of a change in progress’’ (Andersen 1980: 297). In the case of kapat’ ‘drip’, Zaliznjak (1977) considers both the conservative forms in (1) and the innovative forms in (2) acceptable in Contemporary Standard Russian. However, when kapat’ is used as a transitive verb, Zaliznjak (1977) accepts only the /aj/ su‰x. Su‰x shift in Russian verbs is well attested from numerous studies of language change, language acquisition, psycholinguistics, stylistic variation, sociolinguistics and dialectology (cf., e.g., Andersen 1980; Gagarina 2003; Gor and Chernigovskaya 2001, 2003a, 2003b, 2003c; Kiebzak-Mandera, Smoczynska and Protassova 1997; Krysin 1974; Tkachenko and Chernigovskaya 2006 and references therein). In order to shed light on the phenomenon, I examined all the verbs with the /a/ su‰x listed in the Russian ˇ Academy Grammar (Svedova 1980). I elicited all the examples with these verbs in the Russian National Corpus and created a database of about 20,000 examples. This database makes it possible to investigate the factors that facilitate su‰x shift, but also the factors that inhibit or block su‰x shift, which is the topic of the present article. It is interesting to notice that blocking has been outside the focus of previous research on su‰x shift in Russian verbs; the emphasis has been on factors that facilitate
2. The examples are elicited from the Russian National Corpus available at


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Table 1. Su‰x shift in Russian /a/-verbs 3 Root type a) Syllabic, final velar b) Syllabic, final labial c) Syllabic, final dental plosive d) Syllabic, final dental fricative e) Syllabic, final /j/ f ) Non-syllabic Su‰x shift 2 (17) of 20 verbs 4 (7) of 9 verbs 2 (10) of 31 verbs not attested: 0 (0) of 12 verbs not attested: 0 (0) of 20 verbs not attested: 0 (0) of 13 verbs Example /dv’ig-a þ t’/ ‘move’ /kap-a þ t’/ ‘drip’ /pr’at-a þ t’/ ‘hide’ /maz-a þ t’/ ‘smear’ /laj-a þ t’/ ‘bark’ /br-a þ t’/ ‘take’

su‰x shift. Table 1, which reports some of the results in the database, shows that the shape of the verb root is relevant for blocking. For syllabic roots, su‰x shift is frequent if the root ends in a labial or velar consonant, or if the root-final consonant is a dental plosive. However, for verbs with a root-final dental fricative or /j/, su‰x shift is blocked. Blocking furthermore occurs for non-syllabic roots. The question is why. Why is the /aj/ su‰x incompatible with categories (d)–(f ) in Table 1, which, for ease of reference, I will refer to as ‘‘fricative-final’’, ‘‘/j/-final’’ and ‘‘non-syllabic’’? Why are conceivable verb forms like */maz-aj þ ut/ from mazat’ ‘smear’ unattested? Why do /j/-final roots not combine with /aj/ to form conceivable, but unattested, present tense forms like */laj-aj þ ut/ from lajat’ ‘bark’? Why do present tense forms like */br-aj þ ut/ not compete with

3. The investigation was based on the verbs listed in the Russian Academy ˇ Grammar (Svedova 1980: 653–655). The numbers in the table include only non-prefixed verbs without the postfix -sja. The numbers show how many purported /a/-verbs in each category display su‰x shift in actual usage (as reflected in my database). Statements on the form ‘‘X (Y) of Z verbs’’ indicate that X of a total of Y verbs display su‰x shift in 50% or more of the elicited examples. The number in parentheses reflects the number of verbs where su‰x shift was attested at all. Notice that the two isolated verbs stonat’ ‘moan’ and sosat’ ‘suck’ were not included in the investigation. Also omitted were the ˇˇ verbs kloxtat’ ‘cluck’, krapat’ ‘spatter’, scepat’ ‘chip’ and svistat’ ‘whistle’, for which there were less than 10 examples each available in the Russian National Corpus (

Prototypes and blocking of language change in Russian verbs


/b’er þ ut/ for verbs with non-syllabic roots like brat’ ‘take’? In sections 2 through 4, I will discuss three hypotheses. As we will see, they all relate to prototype theory.

2. Blocking and simplification The fact that fricative-final, /j/-final and non-syllabic roots do not undergo su‰x shift suggests that verbs with such roots lack the factors that motivate this diachronic process. What would this motivation be? A possible answer would be that language change involves simplification. Following this line of reasoning, we would not expect language change to take place unless the result is simplification: (3) Simplification hypothesis: Su‰x shift occurs only if it involves simplification. It is probably not the case that language change always leads to simplification of (a component of ) the grammar (cf. e.g. Lass 1997: 252–257), and it is furthermore not clear exactly what counts as simple. However, in-depth discussion of these questions is beyond the scope of the present study. For our purposes it is su‰cient to notice that a very widespread way for language change to simplify grammars is analogical leveling of morphophonological alternations. This is sometimes referred to as ´ ‘‘Manczak’s second tendency’’, because it was stated explicitly in an ´ influential paper by the Polish linguist Witold Manczak (1963): ´ (4) Manczak’s second tendency: Alternations within paradigms are more often abolished than introduced (cited after McMahon 1994: 79).4 Characteristic for the inflection of /a/-verbs is a family of morphophonological alternations traditionally labeled ‘‘softening’’.5 In the present tense and imperative forms, where the inflectional ending is vowel-initial, the /a/ su‰x is truncated, and the root-final consonant undergoes softening. For instance, kapat’ ‘drip’ displays the softening alternation /p/ P /pl’/
´ 4. Manczak’s (1963: 22) original statement was: ‘‘L’alternance du radical est plus souvent abolie qu’introduite.’’ 5. A full overview of softening in Russian is beyond the scope of this study. The ˇ ˇ reader is referred to grammars (e.g. Svedova 1980; Isacenko 1982; Timberlake 2004). For a detailed study with particular emphasis on the paradigmatic dimension of softening, see Andersen 1995.


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(cf. 3 pl present tense /kapl’ þ ut/), and murlykat’ ‘purr’ has an alternation ˇ ˇ /k/ P /c/ (cf. 3 pl present tense /murlic þ ut/). Verbs with the /aj/ su‰x, on the other hand, do not display softening. The verbal su‰x is not truncated before vowel-initial endings, and the root-final consonant does not alternate, as shown by innovative present tense forms like /kap-aj þ ut/ and /murlik-aj þ ut/ where the roots are intact. In other words, su‰x shift eliminates the softening alternation, and in that sense this process involves a simplification of Russian conjugation. However, there is one exception. The /j/-final roots do not have a softening alternation, since /j/ does not alternate. In lajat’ ‘bark’, for instance, the root is /laj/ in past tense forms like /laj-a þ l/ and present tense forms like /laj þ ut/. If we adopt hypothesis (3), we would expect su‰x shift to take place only to the extent that it involves simplification. For /j/-roots we expect blocking, because these verbs do not display the softening alternation and hence there is no potential for simplification in su‰x shift. This prediction is borne out by the facts. As we saw in section 2, su‰x shift is consistently blocked for /j/-final roots. What about non-syllabic roots and fricative-final roots? Verbs with the /a/ su‰x and non-syllabic or fricative-final roots display softening alternations, so su‰x shift would indeed simplify their conjugation. The conceivable, but unattested present tense forms */br-aj þ ot/ ‘(they) take’ and */maz-aj þ ot/ ‘(they) smear’ do not involve softening and are therefore ˇ simpler than the corresponding attested forms /b’er’ þ ot/ and /maz þ ot/. Nevertheless, su‰x shift is not attested. Since this cannot be explained by the simplification hypothesis in (3), we are left with two options. Either we can revise the hypothesis so as to cover non-syllabic and fricative-final roots, or we can come up with additional explanations for these groups of verbs. I propose pursuing both strategies. In the remainder of this section, I will discuss a relativized version of the simplification hypothesis, before we turn to additional hypotheses in later sections. The idea I pursue is simple. The softening alternations di¤er in complexity, and this may have an impact on su‰x shift. Consider the relativized hypothesis, which is sensitive to di¤erent degrees of complexity: (5) Relativized simplification hypothesis: Su‰x shift is more likely to occur if it involves a high degree of simplification. The hypothesis in (5) is a relativized version of (3), insofar as (5) acknowledges di¤erent degrees of simplification. In order to evaluate the implications of (5), we need to consider some subtypes of the softening alternation in Russian verbs. There are two main types, which are traditionally known

Prototypes and blocking of language change in Russian verbs


as ‘‘substitutive’’ (or ‘‘transitive’’) and ‘‘plain’’ softening. Examples of the ˇ ˇ substitutive type are /t/ P /c/ and /s/ P /s /, while /t/ P /t’/ and /s/ P /s’/ illustrate plain softening. It seems fair to say that plain softening is simpler than substitutive softening. Plain softening involves only the addition of a secondary place of articulation. For instance /s/ and /s’/ are identical except that the latter is palatalized, i.e. is articulated with a secondary palatal place of articulation in addition to the dental (alveolar) primary place. For substitutive softening, the change of the consonant is more drastic insofar as the primary place is changed. More features are changed, and hence the alternation is more complex. However, not all versions of ˇ substitutive softening are equally complex. While alternations like /s/ P /s/ ˇ only involve change of the place of articulation, /t/ P /c / also concerns manner features, insofar as a plosive alternates with an a¤ricate.6 In ˇ ˇ traditional terms, /s/ P /s / involves palatalization only, while /t/ P /c / represents a combination of palatalization and lenition.7 I submit that alternations involving only palatalization are less complex than alternations that combine palatalization with lenition. I propose the following hierarchy of complexity: Before we discuss the ramifications of this hierarchy, a remark on labial sounds is in order. As can be seen from Table 2, I have placed them at the highest level of complexity, i.e. in the same slot as plosives that display palatalization and lenition. The claim that alternations like /p/ P /pl’/ involve palatalization does not need substantiation, since /l’/ is palatalized. But is /p/ P /pl’/ an example of lenition? In part, at least, this is a matter of definition. However, the similarities are evident. The sequence /pl’/ ˇ resembles a¤ricates like /c/ in that it starts with a plosive and ends with a continuant. In other words, alternations like /p/ P /pl’/ involve changes in both place and manner features, and are therefore placed at the top of the hierarchy.

ˇ ˇ 6. Voiced lingual plosives alternate with fricatives, e.g. /d/ P /z/ and /g/ P /z/. Since fricatives are more di¤erent from plosives than a¤ricates are, voiced plosives arguably display more complex alternations than voiceless plosives. However, for the purpose of the present study, it is not necessary to distinguish between the softening alternations of voiced and voiceless plosives. 7. I use ‘‘palatalization’’ in a wide sense to denote alternations with a palatal, palatalized or post-alveolar consonant. Lenition (weakening) may be defined as a process, which ‘‘increases the permeability of the vocal tract to airflow’’ (Lass 1984: 177). Notice that I consider a¤rication an example of lenition. For evidence, see Bybee (2001: 80).


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Table 2. Degrees of complexity Complexity 3. 2. 1. 0. Softening type substitutive softening (plosives/labials) substitutive softening (fricatives) plain softening no softening alternation Feature change primary place/manner primary place secondary place none Examples ˇ t P c, p P pl’ ˇ sPs s P s’ jPj

The hierarchy in Table 2 enables us to evaluate the implications of the relativized simplification hypothesis in (5), which correlates su‰x shift and a high degree of complexity. This means that we would expect su‰x shift to take place at the top end of the hierarchy, but not at the bottom. This prediction is indeed borne out by the facts. Su‰x shift is attested for verbs with complexity degree 3, but blocked for fricative-final roots (complexity degree 2), for monosyllabic roots (complexity degree 1), and for /j/-final roots with complexity degree 0 (no alternation at all). How does the relativized simplification hypothesis relate to prototypes? Since the majority of Russian verbs do not display consonant alternations, the absence of such alternations is prototypical. In terms of the relativized simplification hypothesis, the less complex the alternation, the more prototypical the verb is. Viewed from this angle, the relativized simplification hypothesis is a special case of the general hypothesis that peripheral subcategories are prone to analogical leveling, while prototypes tend to resist change. To the extent the data surveyed in this section support the relativized simplification hypothesis, they lend support to prototype theory.

3. Blocking and Target Consistency Since su‰x shift transforms /a/-verbs into /aj/-verbs, we may call /a/-verbs the ‘‘source’’ category and /aj/-verbs the ‘‘target’’ of su‰x shift. The previous section illustrated the importance of the target category insofar as su‰x shift occurs whenever the target category involves a simplification compared to the source category. In this section, we turn to an additional hypothesis which also focuses on the target category:

Prototypes and blocking of language change in Russian verbs


(6) Target consistency hypothesis: Su‰x shift occurs only if it is consistent with the target category. The idea in (6) is that su‰x shift only takes place as long as it creates verbs that fit into the target category. In other words, su‰x shift is blocked whenever it would produce verbs of a type that is not attested in the /aj/-verb category. Let us consider non-syllabic roots first. As mentioned in section 1, /aj/verbs represent a productive pattern that literally comprises thousands of verbs. However, the /aj/-verbs have syllabic roots. For non-syllabic roots, su‰x shift is therefore not target consistent. In other words, the hypothesis in (6) correctly predicts blocking of su‰x shift for non-syllabic roots. What about /j/-final roots and target consistency? Although the /aj/ category contains a large number of verbs, verbs with root-final /j/ are very few. Zaliznjak (1977) lists only the following: ´ ´ (7) /aj/-verbs with root-final /j/: obajat’ ‘fascinate’, vajat’ ‘sculpture’, ´ ´ ´ ´ pajat’ ‘solder’, zijat’ ‘gape’, vlijat’ ‘influence’, sijat’ ‘shine’, ´ obujat’ ‘seize’ Notice that for all these verbs the stress is on the verbal su‰x. The combination of /j/-final root and root stress is not attested in the target category. In the source category, on the other hand, 17 out of 20 verbs have root stress: ´ ´ ´ (8) /a/-verbs with root-final /j/: bajat’ ‘talk’, blejat’ ‘bleat’, vejat’ ´ ´ ´ ‘winnow’, grajat’ ‘call (of crows)’, zatejat’ ‘undertake’, kajat’sja ´ ´ ´ ´ ‘repent’, lajat’ ‘bark’, lelejat’ ‘coddle’, majat’sja ‘toil’, nadejat’sja ´ ´ ´ ´ ´ ‘hope’, rejat’ ‘soar’, sejat’ ‘sow’, smejat’sja ‘laugh’, tajat’ ‘melt’, xajat’ ˇ´ ˇ´ ´ ‘play down’, cajat’ ‘think’, cujat’ ‘scent’, vozlijat’ ‘pour, make ´ ´ libations’, vopijat’ ‘cry out’, dejat’sja ‘happen’. For verbs with root stress, su‰x shift would create an unattested pattern, viz. /aj/-verbs with /j/-final root and stress on the root. In other words, for root-stressed verbs su‰x shift is target inconsistent. The hypothesis in (6) correctly predicts blocking of su‰x shift for stressed /j/-final roots, but ´ ´ ´ leaves the three verbs smejat’sja, vozlijat’ and vopijat’ unaccounted for. As it stands, the hypothesis in (6) gives correct predictions for nonsyllabic roots and is partially successful in explaining the blocking for /j/final roots. However, target consistency does not help us explain why fricative-final roots do not undergo su‰x shift. Fricative-final roots are not very common among /aj/-verbs, but Zaliznjak (1977) lists 28 verbs,


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so we cannot consider su‰x-shift to be inconsistent with the target. Is it possible to revise the hypothesis? Consider the following: (9) Relativized target consistency hypothesis: Su‰x shift is the more likely to occur when a root type has more strength in the target category than in the source category. Behind this somewhat cumbersome statement is a simple idea. Instead of only considering the target category, we compare the target and source categories. If a given root type is strong in the target category and weak in the source category, su‰x shift is likely to take place. If, on the other hand, a root type is weak in the target and strong in the source category, su‰x shift is likely to be blocked. I propose measuring ‘‘strength’’ as type frequency. In other words, classes that contain many verbs are strong, while classes with few members are weak. The relevance of type frequency for morphological categories is fairly uncontroversial (cf., e.g., Wurzel 1984, 1989; Bybee 1985, 2001). What about token frequency? It seems likely that verbs with very low token frequency contribute little to the strength of a category, since such verbs are not often activated in the speakers’ mental grammar. However, it is also well known that high token frequency correlates with rote learning. Verbs that are rote-learned as unanalyzed wholes are activated directly in the mental grammar, i.e. without invoking a category. In the following, I will not consider token frequency. As we will see, type frequency provides a su‰ciently precise picture. Table 3 compares the strength of various root types in the source and target categories. The numbers were arrived at in the following way. I elicited all forms from the Russian National Corpus (http:// of all /a/-verbs listed in the Russian Academy Gram-

Table 3. Relative strength in source and target categories Root type Syllabic, final velar Syllabic, final labial Syllabic, final dental plosive Syllabic, final dental fricative Syllabic, final /j/ Non-syllabic /aj/-verbs 195 53 92 28 6 1 /a/-verbs 18 5 29 12 20 13 /aj/ : /a/ 10.8 10.6 3.2 2,3 0,3 0,1

Prototypes and blocking of language change in Russian verbs


Figure 1. Relative strength ratio for di¤erent root types

ˇ mar (Svedova 1980: 653–655). As mentioned in section 1, this resulted in a database of approximately 20,000 examples. For the purposes of table 3, verbs with less than 50% /aj/-forms in the database were classified as /a/-verbs. The numbers of /a/-verbs of various root types are given in the second column from the right. Verbs that showed 50% /aj/-forms or more in the database were classified as /aj/-verbs. The column for /aj/-verbs in Table 3 contains all these verbs plus all the /aj/-verbs listed in Zaliznjak (1977). The rightmost column represents the proportion target: source category, i.e. the type frequency for the target category divided by the type frequency for the source category. Let us call this the ‘‘relative strength ratio’’. If the ratio is high, the prediction from hypothesis (9) is that su‰x shift is likely to occur. If, on the other hand, the ratio is low, blocking of su‰x shift is a likely outcome. The reader can compare the ratios for the root types that show blocking with those that display su‰x shift in Figure 1. Table 3 and Figure 1 show a fairly good correlation between su‰x shift and relative strength ratio. For syllabic roots in labials and velars, the ratio is high. We therefore correctly predict su‰x shift. For non-syllabic and /j/-final roots, the ratio is very low, so here we predict blocking – once again correctly. Fricative-final roots have the third lowest ratio, so in sum the table o¤ers support for the idea that relativized target consistency facilitates blocking of su‰x shift.


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A closer look at syllabic roots in dental plosives and fricatives is required. A priori, one might think that a target category would start attracting new members if it is larger than the source category. However, the data in Table 3 suggest that the critical mass is closer to three times the size of the source category. To be sure, the numbers in Table 3 are so small that it would be premature to draw firm conclusions at this point, especially since my data material does not allow us to control for the impact of other factors such as simplification discussed in section 2. These qualifications notwithstanding, my investigation of relative strength in the source and target categories yields a clear implication for future research. In order to occasion language change, target categories need to be about three times larger than the source category. Another observation deserves mention at this point. As can be seen from the table, the relative strength ratio for the fricative-final roots is quite close to that of the roots in dental plosives (which show su‰x shift). At the same time, fricative-final roots have a ratio that is much higher than that of the other root types that show blocking, i.e. /j/-final and monosyllabic roots. A prediction from this is that su‰x shift is more likely to spread to fricative-final roots than to /j/-final and monosyllabic roots. Linguists of the future will have the opportunity to test this prediction. At this point, we can only conclude that su‰x shift in Russian verbs o¤ers some evidence for the relevance of (relativized) target consistency for language change. The target consistency hypothesis furthermore yields implications for future research. Before we close the discussion of target consistency and relative strength, we must ask how these concepts relate to prototype theory. The strength of a subcategory can be considered a measure of this subcategory’s degree of prototypicality; the stronger it is, the closer it is to the prototype. Relative strength reflects the interplay between the prototypes of the source and target categories. If a verb class has a high ‘‘relative strength ratio’’, this means that it is close to the prototype of the target category, but not so close to the prototype of the source category. As we have seen, this state of a¤airs correlates with su‰x shift. If, on the other hand, the ‘‘relative strength ratio’’ is low, this indicates proximity to the prototype in the source category, but a lesser degree of prototypicality in the target category. The data cited in this section indicate that this state of a¤airs yields blocking. In summary, this section shows that prototype e¤ects do not always involve the relationship to one prototype. The case discussed above involves two prototypes, and it is certainly possible to imagine more complex cases involving the interaction of several prototypes.

Prototypes and blocking of language change in Russian verbs


4. Blocking and Product-Oriented Generalizations for Prototypes The notion of ‘‘product-oriented generalization’’ is related to target consistency insofar as the focus is on the target category. In order to explain what product-oriented generalizations are, it is useful to take a traditional linguistic rule of the form A ! B as our point of departure. This rule picks out an input (the ‘‘source’’) with the property A and changes A to B. Rules of this sort capture source-oriented generalizations. Product-oriented generalizations, on the other hand, characterize the output, i.e. B, without specifying whether it has been created from A or not. Bybee and Slobin (1982) show that product-oriented generalizations are relevant for language change. English has a class of strong verbs of the type spin – spun and string – strung, which has attracted quite a few new members since Old English. A case in point is hang which has developed the innovative past tense form hung. This verb was clearly not attracted to the strong verbs on the basis of the present tense form (the source), because hang has a di¤erent vowel in the present tense than spin and string. Instead, Bybee and Slobin (1982) argue that speakers entertain a product-oriented generalization about prototypical past tense forms specifying that the relevant class of strong verbs have a certain vowel followed by a velar and/or nasal consonant. It is possible to formulate product-oriented generalizations for Russian present tense forms, which are the target category in the context of the present study: (10) Russian present tense forms have the structure /. . .Vj þ V. . ./. The capital V represents any vowel and þ the morpheme boundary between stem and inflectional ending, so the product-oriented generalization in (10) says that the forms in question have a vowel-j sequence that is followed by a vowel-initial ending. Although this schema does not cover all Russian verbs, it accounts for an impressive range of verbs including three of the five productive classes. The statement in (10) therefore represents the prototypical present tense form of Russian verbs. Verbs with the productive /aj/, /ej/ and /ova/ su‰xes form present tense forms with the specifications in (10). This is shown in Table 4 where the relevant string of segments is boldfaced. However, Table 4 furthermore shows that the product-oriented generalization in (10) covers /j/-final roots with the /a/ su‰x as well. Verbs like lajat’ ‘bark’ have present tense forms like /laj þ ut/, which display a vowel-j sequence followed by a vowel-initial inflectional ending. This fact


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Table 4. Verb classes with /. . .Vj þ V. . ./ in the present tense Su‰x /aj/ /ej/ /ova/ /a/ (/j/-final root) Infinitive /d’el-a þ t’/ /krasn’-e þ t’/ /obraz-ova-t’/ /laj-a þ t’/ 3 pl present tense /d’el-aj þ ut/ /krasn’-ej þ ut/ /obraz-uj þ ut/ /laj þ ut/ Gloss ‘do’ ‘redden’ ‘form’ ‘bark’

may help us explain why su‰x shift is blocked for /j/-final roots. Consider the following hypothesis: (11) Product-oriented hypothesis: Su‰x shift occurs only if a productoriented generalization about the target category is not already satisfied. This is a version of the general principle ‘‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’’. In other words, don’t add a /j/ if you already have one. Since, as we have seen, /j/-final roots like lajat’ already have a vowel plus /j/ before a vowel-initial ending, there is no need to undergo su‰x shift. The hypothesis in (11) predicts that su‰x shift will be blocked for /j/-final roots – a prediction that is borne out by the facts. At this point we must ask whether the hypothesis in (11) is relevant for non-syllabic and fricative-final roots too. Attested present tense forms like berut ‘(they) take’ and lgut ‘(they) lie’ from non-syllabic brat’ and lgat’ do not conform to the product-oriented generalization in (10), so there is nothing to prevent su‰x shift from taking place for non-syllabic roots. In ˇ the same way, present tense forms like mazut ‘(they) smear’ of fricativefinal mazat’ are at variance with the prototype in (10). I hasten to add that this does not indicate that we must reject the hypothesis in (11). It only means that in the case of monosyllabic and fricative-final roots su‰x shift must be blocked for other reasons than product-oriented generalizations. The hypothesis in (11) has implications for linguistic theory insofar as not all theoretical frameworks accommodate product-oriented generalizations. A classical example is the SPE model of Chomsky and Halle (1968), which employs rewrite rules of the A ! B type. As pointed out above, such rules capture source-oriented generalizations. They pick out a source and characterize procedures that apply to this source.

Prototypes and blocking of language change in Russian verbs


Figure 2. Category network for present tense forms

A framework that facilitates a principled account of product-oriented generalizations is Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 2004). Markedness constraints like Onset, i.e. the requirement that syllables begin with a consonant, represent wellformedness conditions on surface structures. Constraints of this type characterize an output (a ‘‘product’’) without specifying how it can be formed from a source. Another theory that provides a straightforward account of productoriented generalizations is Cognitive Linguistics. Consider Figure 1, which is based on the variety of cognitive linguistics that Langacker (1987, 1991) refers to as ‘‘Cognitive Grammar’’. The nodes in the network are schemas, which represent product-oriented generalizations about the present tense forms of Russian verbs. The topmost schema captures the generalization in (10) and therefore represents the prototypical present tense form for Russian verbs. The schemas further down are fully compatible with the topmost schema, but are more specific in that they indicate which vowel precedes /j/. There are three schemas in the second row from the top, since the three vowels /a, e, u/ are attested in the relevant context. Notice that this information could not be incorporated in the topmost schema, since /a, e, u/ do not constitute a natural segment class. The figure enables us to consider an implication concerning /a/-verbs with /j/-final roots. If the product-oriented generalization in (10) is relevant for verbs of this type, we would expect such verbs to display the same vowels before /j/ as other verbs, i.e. /a, e, u/. This prediction is borne out by the facts, as the reader can check for himself/herself by going back to (8). In the lower portion of Figure 1, I provide an example verb for each of the productive su‰xes


Tore Nesset

/aj/, /ej/ and /ova/ (delajut ‘(they) do’, krasnejut ‘(they) redden’ and obrazujut ‘(they) form’), as well as three examples of /a/-verbs with /j/-final roots and the same vowels before /j/, viz. lajut ‘(they) bark’, sejut ‘(they) ˇ sow’ and cujut ‘(they) scent’.

5. Conclusion In this paper, we have seen that Russian /a/-verbs tend to undergo su‰x shift, but that su‰x shift is consistently blocked for /j/-final, monosyllabic and fricative-final roots. How can we account for blocking? We have considered three hypotheses: simplification, target consistency and productoriented generalizations for prototypes. These hypotheses are not mutually exclusive, but rather complement each other. If we adopt one of them, this does not force us to reject the others. For instance, we have seen that the simplification and product-oriented hypotheses account for /j/-final roots, while the target consistency accommodates monosyllabic roots. In conclusion, we need all three hypotheses in order to explain the blocking of su‰x shift in Russian verbs. In order to account for the fricative-final roots, we needed to invoke relativized versions of simplification and target consistency, i.e. consider degrees of simplification and target consistency. We have seen that with regard to both hypotheses the evidence for blocking is less strong for fricative-final roots than for /j/-final and monosyllabic roots. This result suggests that fricative-final roots are in a more vulnerable position compared to /j/-final and monosyllabic roots. If su‰x shift continues to spread to new verbs, the analysis presented in this paper predicts that fricativefinal verbs will be more likely to undergo su‰x shift, and that this class of verbs will undergo su‰x shift before /j/-final and monosyllabic roots. The present paper has implications beyond Russian and Slavic linguistics. First of all, it has been shown that the systematic study of blocking is a rewarding area of historical linguistics that allows us to formulate and test hypotheses about language change. Second, this study emphasizes the importance of the target category in language change insofar as all the hypotheses discussed in this paper refer to the target category. Third, the proposed analysis of target consistency suggests that a target category needs to be two to three times larger than the source category in order to attract members from the source category. This prediction deserves to be tested against larger sets of data where the impact of other factors can be controlled for. Finally, we have seen that all factors explored in this

Prototypes and blocking of language change in Russian verbs


study involve prototypes. Prototype theory helps us understand language change – as well as the blocking of language change.

Andersen, Henning 1973 Abductive and deductive change. Language 49: 765–793. Andersen, Henning 1980 Russian conjugation: acquisition and evolutive change. In: Elizabeth C. Traugott (ed.), Papers from the 4th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, 285–301. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Andersen, Henning 1995 Consonant reduction in Russian. In: Henrik Birnbaum and Michael S. Flier (eds.), The Language and Verse of Russia. In Honor of Dean S. Worth on his Sixty-Fifth Birthday, 19–30. ˇ Moscow: Vostocnaja Literatura. Bybee, Joan 1985 Morphology. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Bybee, Joan 2001 Phonology and Language Use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bybee, Joan and Dan Slobin 1982 Rules and schemas in the development and use of the English past tense. Language 58: 265–289. Chomsky, Noam and Morris Halle 1968 The Sound Pattern of English. New York: Harper and Row. Gagarina, Natalia 2003 The early verb development and demarcation of stages in three Russian-speaking children. In: Dagmar Bittner, Wolfgang U. Dressler and Marianne Kilani-Schoch (eds.), Development of Verb Inflection in First Language Acquisition: A Cross-Linguistic Perspective, 131–170. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Gor, Kira and Tatiana Chernigovskaya 2001 Rules in the processing of Russian verbal morphology. In: Gerhild Zybatow, Uwe Junghanns, Grit Melhorn and Luka Szucsich (eds.), Current Issues in Formal Slavic Linguistics, 528– 536. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Gor, Kira and Tatiana Chernigovskaya 2003a Formal instruction and the acquisition of verbal morphology. In: Alex Housen and Michel Pierrard (eds.), Current Issues in Instructed Second Language Learning, 103–136. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.


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Gor, Kira and Tatiana Chernigovskaya 2003b Mental lexicon structure in L1 and L2 acquisition: Russian evidence. GLOSSOS 4: 1–31. Gor, Kira and Tatiana Chernigovskaya 2003c Generation of Complex Verbal Morphology in First and Second Language Acquisition: Evidence from Russian. Nordlyd 31.6: 819–833. ˇ Isacenko, Aleksandr V. 1982 Die Russische Sprache der Gegenwart. Formenlehre. Munich: Max HueberVerlag. Kiebzak-Mandera, Dorota, Magdalena Smoczynska and Ekaterina Protassova 1997 Acquisition of Russian verb morphology: the early stages. In: Wolfgang U. Dressler (ed.), Studies in Pre- and Protomorphology, 101–114. Wien: Verlag der o ¨sterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Krysin, Leonid Petrovic (ed.) ¸ 1974 Russkij Jazyk po Dannym Massovogo Obsledovanija. Moscow: Nauka. Langacker, Ronald W. 1987 Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. Vol. 1. Theoretical Prerequisites. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Langacker, Ronald W. 1991 Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. Vol. 2. Descriptive Application. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Lass, Roger 1984 Phonology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lass, Roger 1997 Historical Linguistics and Language Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. McMahon, April 1994 Understanding Language Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ´ Manczak, Witold ´ ´ ´ 1963 Tendences generales du developpement morphologique. Lingua 12: 19–38. Nesset, Tore 2000 Iconicity and prototypes: a new perspective on Russian verbs of motion. Scando-Slavica 46: 105–119. Prince, Alan and Paul Smolensky 2004 [1993] Optimality Theory. Constraint Interaction in Generative Grammar. Oxford: Blackwell. ˇ Svedova, Natalija Jul’evna (ed.) 1980 Russkaja Grammatika 1. Moscow: Nauka. Timberlake, Alan 2004 A Reference Grammar of Russian. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Prototypes and blocking of language change in Russian verbs


Tkachenko, Elena and Tatiana Chernigovskaya 2006 Focus on Form in the Acquisition of Inflectional Morphology by L2 Learners: Evidence from Norwegian and Russian. Paper presented at The Second Biennial Conference on Cognitive Science, St. Petersburg, June 9–13, 2006. Wurzel, Wolfgang Ulrich 1984 Flexionsmorphologie und Naturlichkeit. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag. ¨ Wurzel, Wolfgang Ulrich 1989 Inflectional Morphology and Naturalness. Dordrecht, Boston and London: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Zaliznjak, Andrej A. ˇ 1977 Grammaticeskij Slovar’ Russkogo Jazyka. Moscow: Russkij jazyk.

A prototype-based taxonomy of idiomatic expressions1 Esa Penttila ¨
1. Introduction Idiomaticity is a complex, multifaceted and ubiquitous phenomenon, and expressions that can be regarded as idiomatic carry numerous properties, which are not equally weighed and which cluster in various ways. Some of the variation that is possible in idioms can be seen in (1). (1) a. b. The ordinary working-man and his kith and kin, unless he was in trouble, he didn’t want to know you. (BNC2 B24 276) He wanted to confide in O’Hara, to get him on their side, but he didn’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry knowing their business. (BNC2 FNU 2718) Not familiar with the maxim that pride goeth before a fall, Feargal? (BNC2 HGY 3472) ‘‘How do you do,’’ Zambia said silkily. (BNC2 AD9 1592) This grammar took advantage of the limited vocabulary (127 words) and constructions permitted in the domain. (BNC2 HGR 548) ‘‘It’s a doddle you said – we’ll sell up, move down here and do a Peter Mayle you said!’’ (BNC2 BNP 1317) Therefore, in the bleak aftermath of war, he lived a hand-tomouth existence in the less attractive areas of London. (BNC2 CDE 2279) 2

c. d. e.

f. g.

The binomial noun phrase kith and kin (1a) contains archaic isolates rarely used outside idiomatic contexts. The trinomial noun phrase every Tom, Dick and Harry (1b) consists of a determiner and three coordinated proper
1. I would like to thank Elzbieta Tabakowska and two anonymous reviewers for ˙ their valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper. The flaws that still remain are all mine. 2. The examples are taken from the second version of the British National Corpus, BNC2, version 1.00. The idioms in the examples are marked in bold.


Esa Penttila ¨

names. Pride goeth before a fall (1c) is a familiar proverb and a quotation from the Bible. How do you do? (1d) is a pragmatically restricted formula used for greetings. Take advantage of (1e) is a verb phrase, which allows variation in tense and aspect; do a Peter Mayle (1f ) is also a verb phrase, but a special one, since it instantiates a syntactic pattern that allows variation in its object element. Hand-to-mouth (1g) is a restricted adjectival expression and may even be regarded as a complex lexeme. Several of the phrases are also figuratively motivated. These are just some of the attributes that can be related to idioms, but they demonstrate how versatile the phenomenon is. Because of this multiplicity, idioms can be classified in various ways, and idiom researchers have often created their own special taxonomies (see, e.g., Smith 1925; McMordie 1954; Healey 1968; Makkai 1972; Rose 1978; Fernando 1996; Moon 1998). Many of these taxonomies only concern a certain subgroup of idioms or, if they deal with the whole class of idiomatic expressions, appear somewhat random as regards the criteria they are based on. Moreover, the classifications are usually based on principles of classical categorization; in other words, they are based on necessary and su‰cient features which are binary and which produce classes with clear boundaries, where each category member has a more or less equal status (see, e.g., Taylor 2003: 21).3 As a consequence, the resulting taxonomies consist of categories, each of which contains di¤erent types of expression, but the degree of idiomaticity in each category is the same, and there is no clear indication of how or whether the categories relate to each other. This does not seem to do justice to the phenomenon. For some time already, it has been acknowledged that idiomaticity involves degrees and multiple characteristics which are not necessarily interdependent (see, e.g., Fernando and Flavell 1981; Akimoto 1983; Wood 1986; Nunberg, Sag and Wasow 1994). With the introduction of large corpora, this multiplicity has become even more evident (see, e.g., Jackendo¤ 1997b; Moon

3. Although these principles are often referred to as Aristotelian, strictly speaking they are not such. Aristotle (1984: 10–11) does not regard the members of all categories as equally related to one another. For example, of relatives, which is a category of things that are viewed as part of something else or with respect to something else (e.g. a large mountain is large because it is compared to something smaller than itself ), he says that they seem ‘‘to admit of a more or less.’’ Other categories with degrees include quality and doing and being-a¤ected (Aristotle 1984: 17–18).

A prototype-based taxonomy of idiomatic expressions


1998; Stubbs 2001). This would suggest that it would be at least natural, if not necessary, to provide a classification based on prototype theory. This type of classification would di¤er from classical categorization in a few main respects: first, it is not based on a single set of necessary and su‰cient criteria, but on combinations of attributes that produce categories that are structured according to family resemblances; moreover, it does not regard all category members as equally representative but views membership in a category as having di¤erent degrees; and, finally, it views categories as fuzzy and blurred at the edges. It would also be able to account for the constant change and development of the category of idiomatic expressions, since the storage of formulaic expressions is an ever-evolving entity as, as Wray (2002: 101) points out. In a way, this type of approach to categorization would regard it as natural, or even necessary, to approach classification from a usage-based perspective that is so crucial for the framework of cognitive linguistics. Although recent empirical findings would suggest that a prototypeoriented approach would be fruitful for discussing the phenomenon, there has been surprisingly little research on idiomaticity carried out from a prototype-based perspective. Akimoto (1992, 1994), Taylor (1998) and Nenonen (2007) discuss the prototypical properties of idioms, but a detailed and systematic prototype-based classification of idiomatic expressions is still lacking (see also Glaser 1998). ¨ There is an attempt to this e¤ect made by Barkema (1996), whose multidimensional model of idiom classification is closely related to the prototypebased approach, although he does not even once mention the word ‘‘prototype’’ in his text. His model classifies idioms on the basis of four criteria (institutionalization, collocational restriction, idiomatic meaning and transformational deficiency) and thus approaches the problem from various perspectives. The criteria are not necessary and su‰cient, but they are graded; the model makes explicit the relations between di¤erent idiom characteristics and shows some relationships within the internal structure of the category. It can be applied to each expression separately, which means that it is able to reveal di¤erences in the representativeness of the expressions in the category. However, Barkema’s model does not take into account additional properties that, in an essential way, relate to di¤erent idioms and therefore deserve to be recognized in the classification, although some of them are mentioned in his text (see also Glaser ¨ 1998). The present study deals with some of Barkema’s (1996) basic intuitions and develops them further.


Esa Penttila ¨

2. Prototypical characteristics of idiomatic expressions A suitable starting-point for a prototype-based classification of idiomatic expressions is to define the characteristics of a prototypical idiom. At this point, one has to keep in mind that there is a distinction between the notions of idiom and idiomatic expression (see, e.g., Fernando 1996; Stubbs 2001; Wray 2002). The latter is a wider concept covering the full range of expressions that cannot be regarded as idioms in the strict sense but are idiomatic to some extent; they, for example, follow Pawley and Syder’s (1983: 191) idiom choice principle. Since this paper mainly deals with the nature of idiomatic language at large, the proposed taxonomy aims at covering the whole range of idiomatic expressions from lexicalized idioms to proverbs, quotations and idiomatic constructions. Previous studies provide various lists of typical idiom characteristics, the basic definition simply stating that an idiom is an expression whose meaning cannot be deduced from the meanings of its parts (see, e.g., Hockett 1958; Katz and Postal 1963; Weinreich 1969; Wood 1986). However, this seems a much too limited definition for the phenomenon and therefore various other criteria have been added to the definition. Nunberg, Sag and Wasow (1994: 492–493) list six basic idiom properties: conventionality, inflexibility, figuration, proverbiality, informality, and a¤ect. Of these, conventionality 4 is the only one that applies to all idioms obligatorily. Fernando (1996: 3), on the other hand, lists three basic properties: compositeness,5 institutionalization, and semantic opacity. Barkema’s (1996) definition, as mentioned previously, contains four characteristics: institutionalization, collocational restriction, idiomatic meaning and transformational deficiency. As this brief overview indicates, there is no generally accepted list of attributes that are commonly related to idioms, except for the basic idea that idioms are somehow semantically and syntactically special. Because of this, I have provided my own definition based on empirical data and the discussions in research literature (see Penttila 2006). The definition ¨ contains four central criteria (based on syntactic, semantic, pragmatic and sociolinguistic factors) that essentially relate to idioms and an additional meta-condition, which emphasizes the graded nature of the phe4. By conventionality Nunberg, Sag and Wasow (1994: 492) refer to the noncompositional meaning of idiomatic expressions, which cannot be predicted, although one would know the meanings of constituent parts in isolation from one another. 5. Compositeness in this context means multiwordiness.

A prototype-based taxonomy of idiomatic expressions


nomenon and implies that a prototype-based approach is applicable to its description. The definition reads as follows: An idiom is an (I) (i) institutionalized, (ii) noncompositional, (iii) syntactically restricted, (iv) multiword expression.

(II) Moreover, idioms and non-idioms form a continuum in which idiomaticity is a matter of degree rather than a dichotomous notion. This notion of scalarity concerns both the entire class and each idiomaticity criterion separately. The basic criteria in this definition more or less coincide with the basic idiom properties discussed by Barkema (1996). Institutionalization refers to the conventional status that an expression must have in a language community in order to be considered an idiom. According to Bauer (1983: 48), this happens when a word string becomes accepted and recognized ‘‘as a known lexical item’’. An idiom is often, although not necessarily, codified and occurs frequently enough so that it is known to an average native speaker. Institutionalization also helps to distinguish idioms from novel metaphors (see, e.g., Lattey 1986: 219). Noncompositionality refers to the fact that the meaning of an idiom is not a compositional function of the transparent 6 meanings of its constituents; it can be either total or partial. With kick the bucket, for example, noncompositionality is total, since none of the components carry their transparent meanings, but with lose one’s cool, it is partial, since the verb lose in the idiom can be regarded as carrying the same meaning that it has in nonidiomatic contexts. Here it should be pointed out that, although idioms can be regarded as noncompositional in principle, psycholinguistic studies have shown that the meanings of idiom parts still play a significant role in their interpretation (see, e.g., Cacciari and Tabossi 1993; Gibbs 1994; Everaert et al. 1995). Syntactic restrictedness refers to the fact that idioms are not syntactically as flexible as nonidiomatic word combinations (see, e.g., Fraser 1970; Newmeyer 1974; Akimoto 1983; O’Grady 1998; Nenonen 2002). However, this restrictedness is not as strict as is usually claimed (see, e.g., Akimoto 1983; Moon 1998; Nenonen 2002; Fellbaum 2007). An example of the possible flexibility can be seen in (2).
6. Here, transparent refers to the basic meaning that an idiom component has in other, nonidiomatic, contexts.


Esa Penttila ¨

(2) Most popes also sought to control the senate by making the key o‰cials their liegemen and placing reliable men (often their relatives – but sometimes kith rather than kin) in key positions. (BNC2 HPW 279) Multiwordiness is a criterion generally attached to idioms; because of their compositeness, they need to consist of more than one meaning-bearing element. Of course a multimorphemic expression would also count as composite; for example, Katz and Postal (1963) and Weinreich (1969) define idioms as multimorphemic. In the present discussion, multiwordiness is preferred because it helps to distinguish idioms from compounds. Meta-condition (II) defines the nature of each basic criterion of idiomaticity and combines the definition with a prototype-based approach, in which no clear divisions within and without di¤erent classes and subclasses are made. In consequence, since idiom attributes vary independently of one another, the category of idioms is a multidimensional phraseological space with several areas of high degrees of idiomaticity (prototypical idiom peaks), which cannot be predicted. This definition gives the description of the prototypical idiom and provides a working hypothesis for idiomaticity in general. Expressions that completely fulfill the basic criteria of idiomaticity, such as kick the bucket or by and large, can justifiably be regarded as prototypical idioms, while expressions that fulfill the criteria only partly or fulfill only some of them are less prototypical, although they may still be idiomatic. For example, the formulas speaking (used when answering the phone) or cheers (used for toasting) are highly idiomatic and may even be regarded as idioms, although they are not multi-word (see, e.g., Warren 2005: 39). One of the main points of the meta-condition is to emphasize the continuum-like nature of idiomaticity; there are no strict boundaries between di¤erent types of idiomatic expressions. Although there are only four basic criteria in the definition, the attributes related to idioms are not restricted to these properties. On the contrary, there are various other properties which characterize idioms. They include, for example, pragmatic constraints, idiosyncratic syntax, polysemy, semantic constraints, stylistic constraints, figuration, and hypothesized origin. Idioms may also contain isolates, or cranberry forms, which do not occur elsewhere in the language, such as fro in to and fro or shrift in short shrift. Moreover, idiomatic proverbs, in particular, often involve advisory quality or a moral, and aim to educate the audience. Most of such additional properties, however, are fairly sporadic and by no means central to the class. As a consequence, they do not characterize every idiom and are

A prototype-based taxonomy of idiomatic expressions


therefore not regarded as essential for the general definition. However, they do contribute to the rich texture that forms the class of idiomatic expressions by adding further layers to the taxonomy and some of them are so crucial for certain subclasses of idiomatic expressions that they deserve to be included in their defining properties. 3. Taxonomy: some examples Since the characteristics of prototypical idioms, which score high on the four basic criteria of idiomaticity, have been discussed above, the discussion in this section will be directed at some of the less prototypical subcategories in the taxonomy of idiomatic expressions. Although the discussion is not a detailed analysis of various types of idiomatic expressions, it should give an idea of how a prototype-based approach helps in classifying them into subclasses. 3.1. Idiomatic formulas There is a particular class of expressions, called idiomatic formulas, which resemble idioms but are usually not regarded as such. They are preconstructed multi-word phrases which follow the so-called idiom principle in that they are restricted in their choice of words but can still be analyzed into segments on the basis of the so-called open choice principle (see Sinclair 1991: 109–115). Expressions in this class include, for example, certain irreversible binomials,7 most of the sememic idioms discussed by Makkai (1972), many of the recurrent word-combinations discussed by Altenberg (1998) and prefabs discussed by Erman and Warren (2000). An example of such an expression is How do you do? in (1d), and a few further examples are given in (3). (3) a. Few witnesses in court refuse ‘to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ on the grounds that they don’t know what the truth is or how to tell it. (BNC2 FBD 586) ‘If you’re determined to be so pigheadedly stubborn and blind to the truth, so be it.’ (BNC2 JY5 1882) ‘Well, well, well, this is long time no see, soul!’ (BNC2 AD9 3262) And as a matter of fact, she isn’t Harry’s sister. (BNC2 FS1 1686)

b. c. d.

7. For a thorough study on English binomials, see Gustafsson (1975).


Esa Penttila ¨

Because of their formulaic nature, such expressions can be referred to as idiomatic formulas. They fulfill three of the basic idiomaticity criteria. First of all, they are institutionalized expressions known to every native speaker of English. Syntactically, they are restricted, although often not totally frozen, and of course they are multiword. However, semantically these expressions are usually compositional; because of this, they cause no problems to understanding (i.e. they are idioms of encoding, according to Makkai’s (1972) definition). This makes them slightly less idiomatic than prototypical idioms. In addition to their basic idiom attributes, idiomatic formulas may also carry additional properties. The most obvious of these extra features is the fact that they are often pragmatically constrained. This could even be regarded as one of the central properties of idiomatic formulas, and thus something that needs to be part of their definition. For example, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (3a) is restricted to, or at least has connotations with, legal contexts. Some of the formulas are ungrammatical, such as long time no see (3c), but this clearly seems to be a more peripheral characteristic, which is not involved in idiomatic formulas to any larger extent than it is in other idiomatic expressions. 3.2. Quotations and proverbs Example (1c) contains a phrase which is often regarded as idiomatic, although not necessarily an idiom in the strict sense of the word: pride goeth before a fall. Further examples of this type are given in (4). (4) a. Thus his conduct very well illustrates the maxim ‘Look before you leap’; and if his final decision was made when the trend of circumstances was making it harder to leave home, he might well have recalled ‘He who hesitates is lost’. (BNC2 CB1 818) That Shakespeare fellow was right when he said: All the world’s a stage And all the men and women merely players. (BNC2 BN3 876) This is how careers end, Adjudicator: not with a bang, but with a whimper. (BNC2 G1M 563)



Pride goeth before a fall is at the same time both a quotation and a proverb, but as the sentences in (4) indicate, these two types do not necessarily coincide. However, in this classification quotations and proverbs are included in the same subclass because of their similar characteristics; they both usually consist of full sentences and they both also rate similarly with

A prototype-based taxonomy of idiomatic expressions


respect to the four basic criteria of idiomaticity. In terms of institutionalization, syntactic restrictedness, and multi-wordiness, quotations and proverbs are highly idiomatic, whereas in terms of semantics they are not very idiomatic but rather compositional and fairly transparent – although one has to admit that the figuration commonly involved in them often adds an aspect of ambiguity to their meaning. When compared with idiomatic formulas, quotations and proverbs appear no di¤erent, at least in terms of the basic criteria of idiomaticity. However, when additional properties are taken into consideration, di¤erences appear. Both quotations and proverbs are usually based on figuration and consist of a full sentence. This is the case with all examples in (4) as well. These two properties are so important that they seem to be crucial for the definition of the class and distinguish it from, for example, idiomatic formulas. Quotations and proverbs also carry some additional attributes which apply to them in various ways. Proverbs, in particular, carry a moral. For example, look before you leap warns the recipient to avoid unnecessary danger and begs for reconsideration of the risks. Quotations, on the other hand, can usually be traced back to a hypothesized origin. For example, All the world’s a stage And all the men and women merely players comes from Shakespeare’s play As you like it and not with a bang, but with a whimper comes from T. S. Eliot’s poem ‘‘The Hollow Men.’’ Such additional properties show that, although quotations and proverbs can be regarded as a single category within idiomatic language, they each have certain special properties which help to extend this category, on the one hand, towards more quotation-like expressions and, on the other, towards more proverb-like expressions. As a consequence, it is possible to represent the combined class of proverbs and quotations as in Figure 1. 3.3. Idiomatic constructions Idiomatic expressions which have recently received attention in research literature – since the seminal paper by Fillmore, Kay and O’Connor (1988) – are the so-called idiomatic constructions, which employ a syntactic pattern that is partly lexically determined and partly lexically open. Do a Peter Mayle in (1g) illustrates one such construction, and the sentences in (5) illustrate a few more, which are discussed in the literature (see Clark and Gerrig 1983; Michaelis and Lambrecht 1996; Jackendo¤ 1997b; Kay and Fillmore 1999; Penttila 2006). ¨


Esa Penttila ¨

Figure 1. The category of quotations and proverbs with sample sentences. Although there are a number of expressions of either proverbial or quotational character, there are also various expressions which can be classified as both

(5) a.




‘– but what I really wanted to ask you,’ said Patrick O’Sullivan, putting his hands in his jacket pockets, ‘is what is a woman like you doing in a place like this?’ (BNC2 CMJ 2260) Then, unerringly, he found his way to Modigliani, wherever he was, and the two of them would drink the night away until they were unconscious, taken to the police station and beaten up. (BNC2 ANF 1045) I’ve never seen the sort of breathtaking squalor I witnessed there but give them a day when their neighbourhood is shown to be worth the world running through it, gratefully accepting water and candy from them at the roadside, and it’s amazing the way mutual mistrust can disappear. (BNC2 K97 18228) He didn’t think that the US would do a Suez in the Middle East. The more likely prospect was our declining influence. (BNC2 B0H 1033)

Such constructions resemble prototypical idioms in many respects. They are institutionalized to the extent that some instances can even be found in dictionaries, for example, the more the merrier in Ammer’s (1997) The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, and do a Bertie and do a Garbo in Partridge’s (1984) A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English. Their meaning is noncompositional in the same way as the meaning of prototypical idioms. Syntactically, they are restricted and, since they con-

A prototype-based taxonomy of idiomatic expressions


sist of complex syntactic wholes, they are multiword. However, in addition to these attributes, there is an additional attribute which is essential to idiomatic constructions and which separates them from pure prototypical idioms; as opposed to prototypical idioms, idiomatic constructions are always lexically partially open. For example, do a Suez realizes the pattern do þ indefinite article þ a proper noun. In this pattern the position of the proper noun can be taken by any proper noun whatsoever (see Penttila ¨ 2006). Some of this lexical variation can be seen in the following phrases. (6) a. A Science Ministry spokesman said: ‘We are not doing a Dianagate – there is no question of anybody listening in to conversations. It is good housekeeping. We want to see who is making most calls and how costs can be cut.’ (BNC2 CH6 5586)8 Before you think ‘Oh, it’s only Tarrant trying to do an Orson Welles War Of The Worlds on us’, I have to tell you – it’s true. (BNC2 CH2 2042) I hope nobody does an ‘Argentina’ and number their players alphabetically. (BNC2 J1E 506) May the scarf unravel and do an Isadora Duncan on the wretch. (BNC2 G0A 2323)


c. d.

So, although idiomatic constructions resemble prototypical idioms with respect to prototypical idiom attributes, their partial lexical openness can be regarded as an additional crucial property, which justifies their inclusion into a separate subcategory. After all, lexical openness is something that is not available to prototypical lexicalized idioms, at least not to the same extent, although recent corpus-based studies have shown that also prototypical idioms allow much more structural and lexical variation than has traditionally been acknowledged (see, e.g., Fellbaum 2007). In addition to the crucial extra feature, idiomatic constructions may also carry some further attributes, but these are more peripheral and can also be found in prototypical idioms, so they cannot be regarded as distinctive features between these two categories. Such extra attributes include figuration (e.g. the do an Nprop construction is figurative), ungrammaticality (e.g. the so-called Mad Magazine construction illustrated by
8. The phrase do a Dianagate is another do a(n) Nprop phrase in the BNC, in addition to do a Watergate, which productively mixes the eponymous do a(n) Nprop construction and the -gate ending deriving from the Watergate scandal.


Esa Penttila ¨

Him, a doctor? is clearly ungrammatical), and even a hypothesized origin (e.g. the above-mentioned Mad Magazine construction).

4. Conclusion Although the discussion above only deals with some subclasses within the whole range of idiomatic expressions, it shows how a prototype-based approach helps us view the vague and multifarious class of idiomatic expressions and create a taxonomy that takes into account the whole multiplicity and the true nature of the phenomenon. At the same time, it helps us to become aware of the varying relationships between the di¤erent subclasses and to weigh the di¤erent attributes within the subclasses (see, e.g., Geeraerts 1989). A very general illustration of how this works is given in Table 1.

Table 1. Main classes of idiomatic expressions and the attributes related to them.
Prototypical idiom attributes Institutionalization Noncompositionality Syntactic restrictedness Multiwordiness Additional idiom attributes

Prototypical idioms





i) ii) iii) iv) v) vi)

figuration ungrammaticality pragmatic constraints polysemy isolate elements hypothesized origin

Idiomatic formulas Quotations and proverbs





i) pragmatic constraints ii) ungrammaticality i) ii) iii) iv) i) ii) iii) iv) figuration sentence-length hypothesized origin moral partial lexical openness figuration ungrammaticality hypothesized origin





Idiomatic constructions





A prototype-based taxonomy of idiomatic expressions


The four basic criteria of idiomaticity are listed as individual properties in Table 1, and they are each given a value of high or low depending on how well a particular subclass of idiomatic expressions fulfills that criterion. Additional idiom properties related to each subclass are listed separately on the right. Properties crucial for the particular subclass are marked in bold, the others contain no special marking and are not found in all, or even in most, of the representatives of that category. Consequently, Table 1 shows that there are two types of attributes which are essential for each subclass: basic idiom attributes, with which the class scores high, and crucial additional attributes, with respect to which they also score high; all the other attributes are more peripheral and not necessary for the definition of the subclass. It would be easy enough to add further subclasses to this classification. The advantages of this type of multifaceted, prototype-based approach to idiom classification are obvious. It allows us to see the true nature of idiomaticity. Instead of viewing the phenomenon in terms of categorial notions, it helps us see idiomaticity in terms of a continuum, or even several continua, where certain expressions are more or less prototypical of either the whole category or of a certain subcategory. We can also see how di¤erent categories overlap and merge into one another, thus reflecting the internal scalarity of the phenomenon. As a consequence, the whole system of idiomatic expressions can be regarded as radially structured. We can also see more clearly the similarities and the di¤erences between the di¤erent subcategories of idiomatic expressions. In particular, close similarity between prototypical idioms and idiomatic constructions becomes obvious when these classes are analyzed according to these graded criteria. Both classes fulfill the four basic criteria of idiomaticity, but they di¤er from one another in terms of their additional properties; prototypical lexical idioms do not carry any crucial additional properties at all, while it is a crucial property of idiomatic constructions that they are partially open lexically. However, with respect to the prototypical idioms attributes, both classes score high and therefore they can both be located at the idiomatic extreme of the general continuum of idiomaticity, while some of the other subclasses are clearly lower on that scale. The prototype-based approach also indicates that the area of language that can be regarded as non-idiomatic expressions is not necessarily as wide as has been thought traditionally; this in turn suggests that idiomaticity in our language could be a fairly ubiquitous phenomenon, which, in fact, has been indicated by various studies (see, e.g., Pawley and Syder 1983; Nattinger and DeCarrico 1992; Jackendo¤ 1997a; Erman and Warren


Esa Penttila ¨

2000). Moreover, the ubiquity of the phenomenon ties in with Langacker’s (1987) notion of entrenchment, suggesting that frequency of occurrence, with its obvious links to prototypicality, could also be of help in classifying idiomatic expressions. The similarity between prototypical idioms and idiomatic constructions provides a challenge for both dictionary writing and language pedagogy. As mentioned in section 3.3, some instances of idiomatic constructions are listed in dictionaries, but the actual constructions themselves are mainly neglected. This is understandable, since the partial lexical openness of idiomatic constructions makes them appear di¤erent from traditional idioms; however, since they obviously form a natural part of any native speakers’ idiomatic usage, they deserve to be noticed in the dictionaries as well. When the actual resemblance between prototypical idioms and idiomatic constructions is shown with the help of prototype-based analysis, it should encourage dictionary writers in the future to include idiomatic constructions in dictionaries, which would then cover the phenomenon of idiomaticity more extensively. At the same time as the role of idiomatic constructions is acknowledged in idiom dictionaries, it should be reconsidered in foreign language teaching as well. After all, idiomatic language is constantly gaining more importance in foreign language instruction, while the methods of teaching ´ it are being studied and developed further (see, e.g., Kovecses and Szabo ¨ 1996; Schmitt and Carter 2004; Boers and Lindstroemberg 2007). When the general significance of idiomatic language is recognized and the position of idiomatic constructions in the framework of language acknowledged, the role of idiomatic constructions in language education will certainly be enhanced as well.

Akimoto, Minoji 1983 Idiomaticity. Tokyo: Shinozaki Shorin. Akimoto, Minoji 1992 Prototypicality and idiomaticity. The Eighteenth LACUS Forum 1991: 235–245. Akimoto, Minoji 1994 A typological approach to idiomaticity. The Twentieth LACUS Forum 1993: 459–468. Altenberg, Bengt 1998 On the phraseology of spoken English: The evidence of recurrent

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word-combinations. In: Anthony Paul Cowie (ed.), Phraseology: Theory, Analysis, and Applications, 101–122. Clarendon Press: Oxford. Ammer, Christine 1997 The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston and New York: Houghton Mi¿in. Aristotle 1984 The Complete Works of Aristotle: Volume One. The Revised Oxford Translation. Edited by Jonathan Barnes. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Barkema, Henk 1996 Idiomaticity and terminology: A multi-dimensional descriptive model. Studia Linguistica 50: 125–160. Bauer, Laurie 1983 English Word-Formation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Boers, Frank and Seth Lindsroemberg 2007 Cognitive linguistic applications in second or foreign language instruction: rationale, proposals, and evaluation. In: Gitte Kris´ tiansen, Michel Achard, Rene Dirven, and Francisco J. Ruiz ´˜ de Mendoza Ibanez (eds.), Cognitive Linguistics: Current Applications and Future Perspectives, 305–355. Berlin/New York: Mouton. Cacciari, Cristina and Sam Glucksberg 1991 Understanding idiomatic expressions: The contribution of word meanings. In: Greg B. Simpson (ed.), Understanding Word and Sentence, 217–240. Amsterdam: North-Holland. Cacciari, Cristina and Patrizia Tabossi (eds.) 1993 Idioms: Processing, Structure, and Interpretation. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum. Clark, Herbert H. and Richard J. Gerrig 1983 Understanding old words with new meanings. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 22: 591–608. Erman, Britt and Beatrice Warren 2000 The idiom principle and the open choice principle. Text 20: 29– 62. ´ Evereart, Martin, Erik-Jan van der Linden, Andre Schenk and Rob Schreuder (eds.) 1995 Idioms: Structural and Psychological Perspectives. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum. Fellbaum, Christiane (ed.) 2007 Idioms and Collocations: Corpus-based Linguistic and Lexicographic Studies. London: Continuum. Fernando, Chitra 1996 Idioms and Idiomaticity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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Fernando, Chitra and Roger Flavell 1981 On Idiom: Critical Views and Perspectives. Exeter: University of Exeter. Fillmore, Charles J., Paul Kay and Mary Catherine O’Connor 1988 Regularity and idiomaticity in grammatical constructions: The case of let alone. Language 64: 501–538. Fraser, Bruce 1970 Idioms within a transformational grammar. Foundations of Language 6: 22–42. Geeraerts, Dirk 1989 Prospects and problems of prototype theory. Linguistics 27 (4): 587–612. Reprinted in: Dirk Geerarts (ed.) (2006), Cognitive Linguistics: Basic Readings. Berlin/New York: Mouton. 141– 165. Gibbs, Raymond W. Jr. 1994 The Poetics of Mind: Figurative Thought, Language, and Understanding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Glaser, Rosemarie ¨ 1998 The stylistic potential of phraseological units in the light of genre analysis. In: Anthony Paul Cowie (ed.), Phraseology: Theory, Analysis, and Applications, 125–143. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Gustafsson, Marita 1975 Binomial expressions in present-day English: a syntactic and semantic study. Annales Universitatis Turkuensis, Ser. B, Tom. 136. Turku: University of Turku. Healey, Alan 1968 English idioms. Kivung 1: 71–108. Hockett, Charles F. 1958 A Course in Modern Linguistics. New York: MacMillan. Jackendo¤, Ray 1997a The Architecture of the Language Faculty. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Jackendo¤, Ray 1997b Twistin’ the night away. Language 73: 534–559. Katz, Jerrold J. and Paul M. Postal 1963 Semantic interpretation of idioms and sentences containing them. MIT Quarterly Progress Report 70: 275–282. Kay, Paul and Charles J. Fillmore 1999 Grammatical constructions and linguistic generalizations: The What’s X doing Y? construction. Language 75: 1–33. ´ ´ ´ Kovecses, Zoltan and Peter Szabo ¨ 1996 Idioms: A view from cognitive semantics. Applied Linguistics 70: 326–355. Langacker, Ronald 1987 Foundations of Cognitive Grammar, Volume 1: Theoretical Prerequisites. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

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Pragmatic classification of idioms as an aid for the language learner. IRAL 24: 217–233.

Makkai, Adam 1972 Idiom Structure in English. The Hague: Mouton. McMordie, William 1954 English Idioms and How to Use Them. Revised by Raymond C. Go‰n. Third edition. London: Oxford University Press. Michaelis, Laura A. and Knud Lambrecht 1996 Toward a construction-based theory of language function: The case of nominal extraposition. Language 71: 215–247. Moon, Rosamund 1998 Fixed Expressions and Idioms in English: A Corpus-Based Approach. Oxford: Clarendon. Nattinger, James R. and Jeanette S. DeCarrico 1992 Lexical Phrases and language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Nenonen, Marja 2002 Idiomit ja Leksikko: Lausekeidiomien Syntaktisia, Semanttisia ja Morfologisia Piirteita Suomen Kielessa [Idioms and the Lexicon: ¨ ¨ Syntactic, Semantic and Morphological Properties of Phrasal Idioms in Finnish]. Joensuu: Joensuu University Press. Nenonen, Marja 2007 Prototypical idioms: evidence from Finnish. SKY Journal of Linguistics, Vol. 20: 309–330. Newmeyer, Frederick J. 1974 The regularity of idiom behavior. Lingua 34: 327–342. Nunberg, Geo¤rey, Ivan A. Sag and Thomas Wasow 1994 Idioms. Language 70: 491–538. O’Grady, William 1998 The syntax of idioms. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 16: 279–312. Partridge, Eric 1984 A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English: Colloquialisms and Catch-phrases, Fossilised Jokes and Puns, General Nicknames, Vulgarisms and such Americanisms as have been naturalized. Edited by Paul Beale. Eight Edition. London. Routledge. Pawley, Andrew and Frances Hodgetts Syder 1983 Two puzzles for linguistic theory: Nativelike selection and nativelike fluency. In: Jack C. Richards and Richard W. Schmidt (eds.), Language and Communication. London: Longman. 191–226. Penttila, Esa ¨ 2006 It takes an age to do a Chomsky: Idiomaticity and verb phrase constructions in English. Unpublished PhD Thesis. University of Joensuu, Department of Foreign Languages.


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Rose, James H. 1978 Types of idioms. Linguistics 203: 55–62. Schmitt, Norbert and Ronald Carter 2004 Formulaic sequences in action: An introduction. In: Norbert Schmitt (ed.), Formulaic Sequences: Acquisition, Processing, and Use. Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 1–22. Sinclair, John 1991 Corpus, Concordance, Collocation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Smith, Logan Pearsall 1925 Words and Idioms: Studies in the English Language. London: Constable & Company. Stubbs, Michael 2001 Words and Phrases: Corpus Studies of Lexical Semantics. Oxford: Blackwell. Taylor, John R. 1998 Syntactic constructions as prototype categories. In: Michael Tomasello (ed.), The New Psychology of Language, 177–202. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Taylor, John R. 2003 Linguistic Categorization. Third edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Warren, Beatrice 2005 A model for idiomaticity. Nordic Journal of English Studies 4: 35–54. Weinreich, Uriel 1969 Problems in the analysis of idioms. In: Jaan Puhvel (ed.), Substance and Structure of Language: Lectures Delivered Before the Linguistic Institute of the Linguistic Society of America, University of California, Los Angeles, June 17–August 12, 1966, 23–81. Berkeley: University of California Press. Wood, Mary M. 1986 A Definition of Idiom. Bloomington: Indiana University Linguistics Club. Wray, Alison 2002 Formulaic Language and the Lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Part III.

Contexts for Cognitive Grammar

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting Ronald W. Langacker
Introduction Cognition is taken by cognitive linguists to be embodied (Johnson 1987; Lako¤ 1987). While there are many ways of interpreting this notion (Hampe 2005), one common denominator is the rejection of the classic mind/body duality. In this respect cognitive linguistics is non-Cartesian (cf. Chomsky 1966; Lako¤ and Johnson 1999). This is quite consistent, of course, with the mind/body dualism being part of the conceptual system that speakers employ in talking and thinking.1 On the face of it, a dualistic conception is perfectly justified. Mental activity is quite di¤erent from physical activity. Not only do they have a di¤erent locus (the head vs. the body as a whole), but mental e¤ort is qualitatively very di¤erent from physical exertion (thus we speak of brain vs. brawn). They also di¤er in their e¤ect on the ‘‘outside world’’ (thinking vs. doing). In and of itself, thinking has no e¤ect: if we want a box to go on a shelf, we cannot just think about it being there; we actually have to get our body in gear and do something. On the other hand, the mind – unencumbered by physical constraints – can take us far more places than our body can. Ironically, then, the mind/body dualism has a firm experiential basis. It is a natural product of embodied cognition. The duality has many linguistic manifestations, the most obvious being lexical items pertaining to both facets. Some of these, in fact, form opposing pairs with the status of familiar collocations: mind vs. body, mental vs. physical, brain vs. brawn, thought vs. action, knowing vs. doing. Less obvious is the contrast discussed by Sweetser (1990: ch. 4) regarding the use of causal and adversative conjunctions. Thus in (1) the causation coded by because occurs at two di¤erent levels. In (1)(a), the chair’s being poorly

1. Analogously, even physicists use ‘‘naıve physics’’ in casual thought and even ¨ technical writing (Talmy 1988).


Ronald W. Langacker

made is physically responsible for its breaking. By contrast, in (1)(b) the chair’s breaking is responsible for the mental act of concluding that it must have been poorly made. (1) (a) (b) The chair broke because it was poorly made. [e¤ective relationship] The chair was poorly made, because it broke. [epistemic relationship]

I will describe the first relationship as being e¤ective (EF), and the second epistemic (EP). Precisely what I mean by these terms will become apparent (if it does at all) only in the course of the exposition. Basically it reflects the unfortunate fact of life, mentioned previously, that thinking does not itself have any e¤ect on the outside world. The labels thus allude to a basic experiential correlation of physical activity with the causation of events, on the one hand, and of mental activity with knowledge of events, on the other hand. More generally, I will use these labels for a systematic opposition apparent at multiple levels of structure, ranging from single predicates to complex sentences with finite-clause complements. Depending on the level, one of the two component oppositions – either physical vs. mental or causation vs. knowledge – may fail to be fully manifested. In particular, let me note a basic di¤erence between the lowest and the highest levels. Predicates describe events, which occur and can be caused as well as apprehended.2 By contrast, finite clauses represent propositions, which – while they pertain to events – do not themselves occur and cannot be caused; they can only be apprehended and assessed for validity. The actual form assumed by the e¤ective/epistemic opposition is therefore malleable. However, the variation follows in a principled manner from the level of organization. When this is properly taken into account, the opposition emerges as a significant cross-level parallelism.

2. For convenience, I will use the term event in a very general way, to encompass both events (in the narrow sense) and states or situations (i.e. both perfective and imperfective processes). Also, for the role of Event2 in Figure 1(b), I will normally presume the canonical case of physical occurrences. Obviously, though, the events we instigate or apprehend can be of any sort: concrete or abstract; physical, mental, or social; etc. As the ultimate basis of embodied cognition, physical events have a special status and reveal most clearly the rationale for certain aspects of language structure.

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


Figure 1.

In (1), the e¤ective and epistemic relationships expressed by because hold between two potentially separate events, the respective profiles of the clauses it connects. This is roughly sketched in Figure 1(a). The focus here will be on the slightly di¤erent configuration in diagram (b), where one event consists in an e¤ective or epistemic relationship directed at the other. Profiling varies with level of organization. Direct complements My basic order of presentation will be to work up from the smallest structures (single predicates) to the largest. However, I am going to make a brief detour, starting from sentences like those in (2), which have the advantage of showing most fully and explicitly the configurations in Figure 1(b). I refer to these as direct complement constructions because the matrix and complement predicates are directly adjacent, with no intervening ‘‘complementizer’’ like to or that. (2) (a) She {made/let/had} him close the window. [e¤ective] (b) She {saw/heard/watched} him close the window. [epistemic] (c) *He was {made/let/had} close the window. [cf. It was made very crudely.] (d) *He was {seen/heard/watched} close the window. [cf. He was seen there.]

In (2)(a), the matrix verbs describe causation, which may be physical but in this case is more likely e¤ected verbally through social force. In (2)(b),


Ronald W. Langacker

Figure 2.

the perceptual activity does nothing to e¤ect the closing of the window, but it does allow the matrix subject to know about it. Despite pertaining to di¤erent realms of activity, these expressions exhibit a number of semantic and formal similarities. They are of course precisely analogous in terms of their overt form, including word order. Interestingly, they both resist the passive, even though verbs like make and see are transitive and readily passivize in simple sentences. One factor in their non-passivizability may be a common semantic property, indicated by the diagrams in Figure 2.3 Verbs like make and see are ambivalent as to whether the profiled relationship is directed at Event2 – the caused or perceived occurrence – or at its trajector. In (2)(a), we can think of the e¤ective force as being directed at the event’s realization, or else at the person who carries out the action. Likewise, in (2)(b) she perceives both the action and the person engaged in it. In the diagrams, therefore, both the action and its trajector are shown in bold to indicate their joint status as landmark of the matrix predicate. The absence of a single, clear-cut landmark may contribute to the infelicity of a passive.4 The parallelism of these two kinds of expressions is also observed in French, where an additional grammatical property makes it even more evident. As shown in (3)(b), the construction admits of a variant in which the matrix and complement predicates are adjacent (Langacker 1966). In a detailed analysis, Achard (1996) has argued that together they constitute a complex verb construed as designating a single event, with the following nominal as its object.
3. This is not a full explanation, since alternative expressions like the following would seem to represent the same configuration: He was {made/seen} to close the window; He was seen closing the window. 4. Note that I am streamlining diagrams by not including labels for trajector and landmark (primary and secondary focal participants). They can be identified ` by their position vis-a-vis the arrows representing relationships.

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


(3) (a) (b)

´ Elle a {laisse /entendu} les enfants pleurer. ‘She {let/heard} the children cry.’ ´ Elle a {laisse /entendu} pleurer les enfants. ‘She {let/heard} the children cry.’

Since causation and perception are very di¤erent, I have long wondered why these constructions are so similar. I am not sure I fully understand it yet, but at least I now know that it represents a special case of a systematic opposition between e¤ective and epistemic relationships. Of course, we only speak of an opposition between linguistic elements when they are basically the same. We recognize hot and cold as opposites because they have so much in common (as compared, say, to hot and short).

Complex events The sentences in (3)(b) are intermediate between a complement construction and single-clause expressions. Though it consists morphologically of separate verbs, the composite clausal predicate profiles a complex process construed as single event. The construction thus accomplishes by grammatical means what many lexical predicates achieve directly. The verb kill, for example, profiles a complex occurrence involving both causation and the resultant process of dying. Examples like those in (4) have been used to demonstrate that with this lexical verb the causing and the dying constitute a single event, in contrast to an infinitival complement construction, where cause to die involves a sequence of events (Fodor 1970; Wierzbicka 1975).5 (4) (a) By poisoning his tea on Monday, she caused him to die on Friday. (b) *By poisoning his tea on Monday, she killed him on Friday. A verb like kill is sketched in Figure 3(a). It profiles what is conceived as a single event subsuming both causation and the process thereby induced. Predicates di¤er in the extent to which that process is capable of occurring
5. Observe that the direct complement construction with make is intermediate in this regard: ??By poisoning his tea on Monday, she made him die on Friday. As it stands, diagram Figure 2(a) does not capture this subtle contrast with infinitival complements. Nor does Figure 3(a) capture the nuance distinguishing tuer ‘kill’ from faire mourir ‘make die’.


Ronald W. Langacker

Figure 3.

independently or is recognized as a separate process type. In the case of kill the connection with dying is clearly evident despite the lexeme’s total lack of morphological analyzability. With many verbs, for instance drop, the process is clearly recognized because the same verb is used intransitively with a non-causative meaning. Thus diagrams (a) and (b) correspond respectively to (5)(a)–(b). And with some predicates – tickle, for example – the portion corresponding to the inner box is not an independently established concept. (5) (a) (b) (c) (d) He inadvertently dropped his keys in the sewer. His keys dropped into the sewer. He carefully dropped his keys into the sewer. When he heard the shot, he dropped to the floor.

As shown in Figure 3(a), a transitive verb like kill or drop incorporates causation as part of the profiled process. The complex event it designates ` includes an e¤ective relationship vis-a-vis the simplex event represented by the inner box.6 In view of my general thesis, it is reasonable to ask whether there are any comparable predicates which instead incorporate an epistemic relationship, e.g. a verb analogous to kill except that, instead of meaning (roughly) ‘cause to die’, it means something like ‘see die’ or ‘know to die’. While I would not rule this out, examples do not come to mind. Here is a place, evidently, where the analogy between e¤ective and epistemic relationships breaks down. This is not particularly worrisome, for I am not claiming that they are analogous in every conceivable respect – my goal is merely to explore the extent of their parallelism. In the spirit of exploration, suppose we assume that there should indeed be some manifestation at the lexical level of the e¤ective/epistemic opposition. I have in mind something beyond the mere existence of both physical and mental predicates, e.g. die vs. fear or kill vs. frighten. The question is rather whether we can find an epistemic counterpart for the causal component of the latter pair. What might it be? A plausible candidate, I suggest,

6. I refer to the latter as a thematic process (Langacker 1993).

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


is what is usually referred to as ‘‘volition’’. But what does this actually mean? What do we imply by describing an action as volitional? Even when done on purpose, the act of killing someone is not considered epistemic in any narrow sense. That is, it is not an act of knowing or acquiring knowledge. It is however a knowing act – if we do something under volitional control, we do it knowingly, and know that we are doing it. So in a broader sense, volition does have an epistemic component. To simplify a complex issue, we might characterize volitional actions as being under mental control. There are several facets to this notion. First, the actor has to be aware of what is happening (know what is going on). Second, the actor must intend for the action to occur. And third, this apprehension of the action must serve to instigate and guide its execution.7 I will use a dashed arrow to represent this notion of mental control. Thus the diagrams in Figure 3 correspond respectively to the matrix verbs in (5). The transitive drop can be construed as either inadvertent, as in diagram (a), or volitional, as in diagram (c).8 There is also a volitional intransitive sense, as in (d), which is not however obtained just by adding a dashed arrow to diagram (b). It further includes the physical causation inherent in the transitive senses, but is intransitive because the agent and the mover are conflated in a single individual (as indicated by the dotted correspondence line). Volitional control can thus be seen as the analog of (canonically) physical causation at this level of organization. Although it is better described as mental than as epistemic, it does involve a certain kind of knowing. This adjustment to the import of ‘‘epistemic’’ can actually be seen as a consequence of its application to the lexical level: the term ‘‘knowledge’’, in its classic sense, is not really applicable to the internal structure of a single physical action.9 In e¤ect, verbs designating volitional actions compress into one lexical package all the elements shown in Figure 2: the
7. This last factor is meant to capture the willful nature of volitional action. The requisite notion of volition does not include desire – life is such that we often have to carry out actions we really do not want to perform. 8. Diagrams (c) and (d) are misleading by virtue of suggesting that the mental control is directed specifically at the thematic participant (in this case a mover). Cognizance of the theme is only one facet of the control relationship, which is more accurately portrayed as being directed at the causal process as a whole. 9. It does of course apply to facets of mental or communicative predicates (e.g. learn, inform, or know itself ). There, however, the knowledge has a di¤erent role, functioning as the analog of the physical action per se (as opposed to its mental control).


Ronald W. Langacker

e¤ected occurrence (e.g. dying in the case of kill ), its causation (double arrow), and its apprehension (dashed arrow). Moreover, all the participants shown in Figure 2 collapse into a single individual, corresponding to the agent in Figure 3(d), and all the component relationships constitute a single complex event. Hence the type of knowledge involved – corresponding to the dashed arrow in Figure 2(b) – is the type we can expect to find in this compacted environment. And in this context the analogy between the e¤ective and epistemic relationships is even stronger than in Figure 2. Since the latter involves mental control, both relationships are causal in nature.

Grounding Even when describing a series of events, discourse seldom consists in just a sequence of verbs. The basic unit of discourse (if we have to choose one) is a clause, and in particular a finite clause, which has the potential to stand alone as full (non-elliptic) sentence. By itself, a verb (say kill ) does not tell us anything very useful about the world. On the other hand, a finite clause (e.g. Alice killed a rattlesnake) conveys a bit of potentially useful knowledge. One factor enabling it to do so is the specification of event participants (Alice and a rattlesnake). Also essential is an indication of the event’s status in regard to time and reality – whether and when it occurred. A highly grammaticized means of providing this information is what I refer to as clausal grounding (Langacker 1991: ch. 6). Pivotal to English grounding is what I will call the Reality Model. This is the notion that, in our world (which is not just physical, but also has mental and social aspects), things have developed in a particular way, out of all those ways conceivable. There is a certain course of events, whereby some events have occurred, while countless others have not. Reality (R) consists of the events and situations that have occurred up through the present moment. This course of events cannot be changed – what has happened has happened. Reality is thus the established course of events. The future, however, has yet to be determined. As reality continues to evolve through time, there are many future paths it can take, some more likely than others given the world’s essential nature and what has happened so far. Another aspect of this basic cognitive model is that our knowledge of reality is partial and imperfect. Moreover, as shown in Figure 4, every individual has a di¤erent view of it, a di¤erent ‘‘take’’ on reality. As living

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


Figure 4.

and sentient creatures, we are constantly engaged in building up a conception of reality (RC), what we ourselves accept as real. And one thing we accept as real is that there are other conceptualizers engaged in this task, each with their own reality conception. While they overlap, these reality conceptions diverge in what they cover and di¤er in specifics, hence they are subject to negotiation. This is one major reason why we talk. Of course, the Reality Model specifies that reality is the way it is regardless of whether anybody knows it, i.e. it is independent of particular reality conceptions. As indicated in Figure 4, the Reality Model itself incorporates an opposition reasonably labeled e¤ective vs. epistemic. The e¤ective level pertains to the actual occurrence of events, which constitutes reality independently of whether we know about them. Our presumed knowledge of these events constitutes the epistemic level. Another facet of the model is that C is part of RC, for a given conceptualizer. That is, one thing C accepts as real is C’s own existence.10 At its core, the English grounding system consists of two binary oppositions, each with a zero member. The first opposition is what is usually described as ‘‘present’’ vs. ‘‘past’’, but in general is better characterized as immediate vs. non-immediate. Except for third-person singular, where it shows up as -s, the immediate form is zero; the non-immediate form (‘‘past tense’’) of course is variable. The second opposition is the absence (zero) vs. the presence of a modal (may, can, will, shall, or must). Together
10. In the words of Descartes: Je pense, donc je suis.


Ronald W. Langacker

Figure 5.

these specifications serve to locate the profiled clausal process (p) with respect to the ground, i.e. the speech event and the interlocutors. The interlocutors are also conceptualizers who apprehend the profiled process in producing or understanding a finite clause. So in diagrams I will use the label C to represent them – in particular the speaker – in their conceptualizing role. The absence of a modal indicates that the profiled process p is part of C’s conception of reality. Reality being the history of what has happened up through the present moment, in terms of time RC encompasses the past and the present (but not the future). The present, of course, is C’s current temporal location. Immediacy is thus interpreted as immediacy in time (t), so as shown in Figure 5(a), immediate vs. non-immediate translates into present vs. past. But whether present or past, C accepts p as being real. The presence of a modal situates p outside RC, as shown in Figure 5(b). That is, p has not yet been realized – not yet incorporated in C’s conception of reality. Each modal makes a di¤erent kind of epistemic assessment, pertaining to its prospects for realization. For example, may indicates the possibility of p’s realization, whereas will predicts it. For all the modals, p’s incorporation in RC – its acceptance as being real – lies in the future. However p itself does not have any particular temporal location; a sentence like She may be upset describes either a future or a present situation. Modals do not locate p with respect to time, but rather in relation to reality (RC). With modals, therefore, immediacy vs. nonimmediacy does not have temporal import (except as a special case). Instead, it is a matter of whether RC functions as the immediate basis for modal assessment. An immediate form (like may or will ) takes RC itself as

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


the basis for projection. If I say She will be upset, I am basing my prediction on my current conception of reality. By contrast, non-immediate forms (like would and might) indicate that RC does not support the modal assessment – the prediction or the possibility only holds with respect to another, imagined conception of reality (labeled RC 0 ) that in some respect is di¤erent from RC. For instance, both occur in counterfactual conditionals, as in (6)(e). (6) (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) She is upset. She was upset. [immediate reality] [non-immediate reality]

She {may/will} be upset. [immediate non-reality (future or present)] She might be upset. [non-immediate non-reality (future or present)] If you forgot her birthday, she {would/might} be upset.

What most concerns us here is that English modals have both root and epistemic senses. It should be quite apparent that root modals are the e¤ective counterparts of epistemic modals. I have thus far considered only epistemic modals, which pertain to what the speaker purports to know (accept as real). On the other hand, root modal uses are aimed at having some e¤ect – they are meant to influence what happens at the level of reality itself (R), not just the knowledge or conception of reality (RC). Typically the influence is social in nature. Often the speaker directs this force at the hearer, who may be expressed as clausal subject, as in (7)(a). But this is only a special case, as the other examples indicate. In general, all one can say is that a root modal describes some force tending toward the realization of p at the e¤ective level. (7) Examples of root modals (e¤ective level): (a) You must apologize to her. (I demand it.) (b) People should always be polite. (That is a social expectation.) (c) Alcohol may be served at the party. (Permission has been granted.) For the most part, we cannot describe the root/epistemic opposition as physical vs. mental – in and of itself, social influence is exerted via the mind rather than the body. Though abstract, both are viewed by cognitive linguists as being force-dynamic (Sweetser 1982; Talmy 1988; Langacker 1991: §6.3). One way to characterize the di¤erence is that root modals are interactive, whereas epistemic modals express an individual assessment.


Ronald W. Langacker

Figure 6.

Their interactive nature gives root modals the potential to have an e¤ect on what actually happens. With varying degrees of force, they tend to direct the evolution of R (the course of events) along a certain path. And since only its future path can be influenced (reality at any moment being the established course of events), they normally pertain to future occurrences.11 By contrast, the individual nature of epistemic modals renders them noncausal. The modal force inheres in the evolution of RC – C’s knowledge of reality – not that of R itself. It is the force that C experiences in mentally extrapolating RC with the aim of encompassing the profiled process (p). And since only knowledge is at issue, p is not limited to future occurrences.12 In Figure 6, a double dashed arrow represents the modal force, which in all cases is directed at the realization of p. This realization can occur at either the epistemic or the e¤ective level. With an epistemic modal, p is realized by being incorporated in RC, i.e. accepted by C as part of C’s conception of reality. p can either be external to R (usually lying in the future) or a part of R that C does not yet know about (usually a present situation). With a root modal, p is realized by actually occurring, and the modal force is aimed at this result. Something that occurs thereby belongs to reality, which is simply the history of occurrences.
11. An exception is a sentence like You should have been more considerate, where social force is directed at a counterfactual occurrence whose chance for realization has passed. Rather than action, the e¤ect of the force is therefore guilt. 12. For past occurrences, English uses the perfect construction, e.g. She may have been upset. In this case p is actually the present situation of her having been upset (i.e. the trace in the present of the past occurrence).

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


I can mention only in passing what I take to be a manifestation of the e¤ective/epistemic opposition in the domain of nominal grounding (Langacker 2009a). In the nominal realm, the primary issue is not the reality of events, but rather the identification of individuals. As with modals, e¤ective grounding is interactive: it is aimed at directing the hearer’s attention to the intended nominal referent. The various grounding elements (e.g. demonstratives, articles, quantifiers) are alternate means of achieving this objective of joint attentional control, where the referent is momentarily the focus of attention for both interlocutors. If successful, all nominal grounding has this outcome. Roughly, then, the focus of attention is the analog of R in Figure 6(c), with the nominal referent being the analog of p. At the same time, nominal grounding has an epistemic aspect involving the referent’s position in relation to prior knowledge (whether this is preexisting or established through the discourse itself ). This is manifested in the various degrees of definiteness. It is a matter of whether – on the basis of the nominal itself (independently of the clause containing it) – the referent has a specific place in established knowledge and can thus be identified in terms of it. Degrees of definiteness are a reflection of whether this is so for both interlocutors (definite), for the speaker alone (specific indefinite), or for neither (non-specific indefinite). Established knowledge is thus the analog of RC in Figure 6(a)–(b).

Complementation As defined for English, grounding elements profile the grounded thing or process, not the ground or the grounding relationship (Langacker 2002). For instance in (7)(a), You must apologize to her, the profiled relationship is apologize, not the modal must. This is shown in Figure 6, where p is in bold to indicate its status as clausal profile. Despite their importance, both the conceptualizer (C) and the modal force (be it epistemic or e¤ective) are o¤stage and unprofiled (subjectively construed). In terms of profiling, the situation is therefore di¤erent from Figure 2, where a verb like make or see profiles an e¤ective or epistemic relationship. It also contrasts with Figure 3, where both relations are internal to the profiled process. My central point, of course, is that a comparable opposition is manifested at multiple levels of organization, with di¤erences being attributable to the level. As we move to higher levels of structural organization, a question arises concerning C, the conceptualizer invoked by clausal grounding. I have so far equated C with the interlocutors, and with the speaker in


Ronald W. Langacker

particular. That, however, is only valid as a first approximation. It holds for the default-case situation where a finite clause is intended as a statement expressing the actual view of the current speaker. If I say Syntax is autonomous and intend this as a true statement of my actual belief, then I am the conceptualizer whose epistemic judgment is conveyed by the absence of a modal; it is my conception of reality which incorporates the profiled relationship of syntax being autonomous. But obviously, there are many uses of a finite clause, exemplified in (8), where the speaker does not subscribe to the judgment indicated by clausal grounding. Even a qualifying adverb, like perhaps, insulates the speaker from the epistemic judgment. The proposition in question may be explicitly denied, or ascribed to a conceptualizer other than the current speaker. Indeed, there need not be anybody who actually subscribes to it. (8) (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Perhaps syntax is autonomous. It’s not the case that syntax is autonomous. Many linguists believe that syntax is autonomous. Syntax is autonomous? No way! No one is foolish enough to believe that syntax is autonomous.

In general, then, we have to say that the conceptualizer invoked by a grounding element has no particular identity. C is rather a generalized or virtual conceptualizer, i.e. one that is simply imagined as a way of representing the idea of a conceptualizer assessing p with respect to C’s conception of reality (Langacker 1999a). It is natural for the speaker to assume the role of C; this happens when the speaker wishes to describe his own, actual view of reality. But C can also be identified with the hearer, with somebody else, or with no one at all. So as shown in Figure 7(a), use of a finite clause involves at least two conceptualizers and two levels of conception. There is first the actual speaker, the initial conceptualizer, which I will represent as C0. The dashed arrow indicates that the speaker apprehends the clause. As part of

Figure 7.

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


its meaning, this clause invokes a conceptualizer, C, who apprehends the profiled occurrence, p, and adopts some epistemic stance in regard to it; the diagram shows the case where C accepts p as belonging to C’s conception of reality, RC. This much holds for all uses of a finite clause, including those in (8). As a special case, the actual speaker (C0) may identify with C, assuming the role of C in making the judgment expressed by the clausal grounding (Langacker 2004). Showing this identification is the dotted correspondence line in diagram (b). As a result, C0 occupies the role of C in the grounding relationship, so that RC is the reality conception of the actual speaker, labeled RC0 in the third diagram. This happens when the speaker uses the finite clause to make a statement that honestly reflects her own view of reality. I say that a finite clause expresses a proposition (P), defined as a grounded process: P ¼ [G a p]. It consists of both a process (p) and its epistemic assessment by a conceptualizer, as indicated by the grounding element. So when a speaker, C0, uses and apprehends a finite clause, the speaker is conceptualizing not only the profiled process, p, but also the apprehension of that process by another conceptualizer, as shown in Figure 7(a). We may not be aware that there are two conceptualizer roles, either because the speaker identifies with C, as shown in diagrams (b) and (c), or else because C is only a virtual conceptualizer and is left implicit. But there are two roles: only as a special case is the conceptualizer implied by clausal grounding identified with the actual speaker. We can use a finite clause for something other than the direct expression of our own actual view because we recognize the existence of other conceptualizers and other conceptions of reality, as shown in Figure 4. Not only do we recognize their existence, to some extent we apprehend the content of their conceptualization and their epistemic stance in regard to it. Furthermore, since we are able to conceptualize propositions without assuming the role of C, they have a kind of autonomy, being independent of any particular conceptualizer. Thus it is possible for di¤erent conceptualizers to entertain the same proposition, each apprehending it from their own vantage point. One way to deal with this linguistically is by means of ‘‘predicates of propositional attitude’’ taking finite complements. In (9), for example, both Sally and the current speaker adopt an epistemic stance in regard to the proposition he will lose his job. (9) I doubt that he’ll lose his job, even though Sally is sure he will. Complementation is a vast topic that I cannot begin to deal with adequately in the space available. Certain points of analysis pertinent to the


Ronald W. Langacker

e¤ective/epistemic opposition can only be sketched here, not fully justified. As a very general point, I suggest that complementation primarily reflects the interplay of multiple conceptualizers and levels of conception. E¤ective and epistemic relationships have di¤erent manifestations in the various kinds of complement constructions. We can distinguish three basic types of complementation, which – with respect to the total range of possibilities – have a function roughly analogous to that of cardinal vowels. I will refer to these as direct, infinitival, and finite complements, exemplified in (10). In purely formal terms, the predicate of a direct complement bears no marking, whereas an infinitival complement is marked by to. A finite complement di¤ers from both by virtue of being grounded (as a matter of definition) and is often introduced by that. What matters here, though, is the conceptual import of these distinctions. In each case the complement participates in the relationship profiled by the matrix predicate. How it participates – how it interacts with the matrix subject – depends on its semantic nature. So when the same predicate occurs with di¤erent complement types, as in (10), it has subtly di¤erent values which either permit or reflect this usage (cf. Borkin 1973; Postal 1974; Newman 1981; Sweetser 1990). (10) (a) (b) (c) I saw him be abusive toward his wife. [direct complement] I saw him to be abusive toward his wife. [infinitival complement] I saw that he was abusive toward his wife. [finite complement]

With a direct complement, the entity participating in the matrix relationship is the profiled process itself (p). That is the import or e¤ect of zero marking. We saw in (2) and Figure 2 that the matrix predicates involve either causation or perception, for these are precisely the kinds of relationships that bear directly on events per se. By contrast, I propose that an infinitival complement represents an apprehended process (C a p), where the apprehension in question is not just perceptual but mental in a restricted sense.13 In addition to p, it thus invokes a conceptualizer (C) who apprehends this process, and since conception cannot be directly perceived, the matrix predicate is non-perceptual. So although the judgment
13. This is a non-obvious claim that I cannot justify here in any detail. The following discussion should at least make it plausible, however.

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


Figure 8.

in (10)(b) may well be based on perceptual evidence, see is used there primarily as a mental predicate. The connection with vision is more tenuous in (10)(c), where see is essentially just a predicate of propositional attitude, roughly equivalent to ascertain or know. A finite complement expresses a proposition, which is not just an apprehended process but a grounded process (G a p). The di¤erence is that the conceptualizer invoked by grounding, despite its virtual or generalized nature, is still conceived as an interlocutor in an imagined speech event. The complement thus ex` presses an epistemic stance vis-a-vis the profiled process, and defines a virtual deictic center which is actualized when the clause is used by an actual speaker in an actual speech event. I show these di¤erences in Figure 8, where the outer box represents the composite semantic structure of the complex sentence, and the heavy-line box represents the complement. Within the complement, I use C vs. G to indicate the di¤erence between mere apprehension of p and the particular kind of apprehension implied by the grounding of p. C and G are internal to the complement. In a complement construction, the complement itself is apprehended by an external conceptualizer, given as C1. Often (but not invariably) its apprehension by C1 constitutes (or at least is part of ) the relationship profiled by the matrix predicate. The diagrams correspond to the special case where this is so and where C1 functions as the matrix subject, as in (10). I am claiming, then, that both infinitival and finite complementation imply the apprehension of p at the mental – not just the perceptual – level. This is not always obvious, since the conceptualizer is often not explicit or even identified with a particular individual (instead being virtual or construed in generalized fashion). Since grounding involves an epistemic stance, the claim that p is mentally apprehended seems fairly straightforward in the case of finite complements. It is less so in the case of infinitival complements, if only because its apprehension has no separate realization. Note the correspondence lines in Figure 8(b). With infinitival complements, it is usual for C and C’s apprehension of p to be identified


Ronald W. Langacker

with C1 and the matrix relationship. Thus in (10)(b), C and C’s apprehension of his being abusive are simply those expressed by the matrix subject and predicate (I saw). This overlap between the matrix and complement clauses is the basic reason why an infinitival clause – as opposed to a finite clause – cannot stand alone as a complete and independent sentence. Unlike grounding, infinitival to implies that p’s epistemic status has to be determined in the context of a larger construction. With respect to conceptualizers and conceptualizer roles, the three kinds of complementation di¤er as exemplified in (11). In each case we can distinguish between the speaker, C0, and a conceptualizing matrix subject, C1; only as a special case do they happen to be the same (e.g. in (10). For direct complements these are the two basic conceptualizing roles. The other two types involve a third conceptualizer, C, the one who apprehends the complement process. With infinitives C and C1 are the same, so there is only one conceptualizer other than the speaker. C’s apprehension of the bomb sitting in the attic is simply that of Harvey imagining it. But with finite complements the three conceptualizers are in principle distinct, and in (11)(c) only C – the virtual conceptualizer implied by clausal grounding – accepts the complement process as real. Harvey merely suspects that a bomb is sitting in the attic (he does not know it), and the speaker takes no position on the matter. (11) (a) Harvey saw a bomb sitting in his attic. [C0 A C1] (b) Harvey imagines a bomb to be sitting in his attic. [C0 A C1 ¼ C] (c) Harvey suspects that a bomb is sitting in his attic. [C0 A C1 A C]

The progression in Figure 8 leads from something potentially physical (an event) to something necessarily abstract (a proposition). Thus in global terms it entails a progression from the e¤ective level, which primarily involves the occurrence of events, to the epistemic level, which primarily involves the knowledge of propositions. Events occur; they can be caused. Strictly speaking, however, a proposition cannot be caused – it can only be apprehended and assessed for its validity. Hence this global progression is one manifestation of the e¤ective/epistemic opposition. We have seen, though, that direct complementation itself manifests an e¤ective/epistemic opposition, hinging on whether the matrix predicate is causal or perceptual. Local oppositions of this sort can also be discerned with both infini-

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


tival and finite complementation. These will be our main concern in what follows. The overall progression correlates with degrees of directness or immediacy in how C1 interacts with p via the matrix relationship. We can relate this to the meanings of the markings borne by the complement, usually referred to as ‘‘complementizers’’. These are often considered meaningless, but we of course know better. This is not however the place for comprehensive semantic descriptions or extensive justification for adopting them. I will merely give a brief sketch of what I take their meanings to be, as useful background for the following discussion. With zero marking of the complement, the matrix relationship can either be causal or perceptual. If causal, it may be purely physical, as in (12)(a). More commonly, though, the causation is e¤ected through social or verbal means, as in (12)(b). So even when the resulting action is physical, the matrix predicate generally has a mental component. Perception, of course, has an intermediate status. The receptor organs are external to the brain, and they are only sensitive to physical stimulation. At the same time, the brain is responsible for perceptual processing and interpretation, which result in mental awareness. Consequently, with either type of direct complementation there is usually a conceptualizer (C1) who apprehends the complement process (p), as shown in Figure 9(a). (12) (a) (b) (c) (d) The weight of the boxes made the table sag. She made them take their shoes o¤. She saw them take their shoes o¤. She saw them taking their shoes o¤.

As one facet of its directness, direct complementation involves temporal immediacy between the matrix and complement events. With perception predicates this immediacy translates into temporal coincidence. Given the nature of perception, the time of perceiving an event coincides exactly

Figure 9.


Ronald W. Langacker

with the time of the event itself. Their coincidence is represented in Figure 9(a) by the two boxes (for the matrix and complement predicates) being coextensive along the time arrow. This corresponds to a sentence like (12)(c) – she can only see them take their shoes o¤ as they take their shoes o¤. With causal predicates, temporal immediacy is interpreted more flexibly. It may involve temporal coincidence, as in (12)(a), but since cause precedes e¤ect (in functional terms), there may be some temporal o¤set between the matrix and complement processes. But while the order to take their shoes o¤ precedes the actual event in (12)(b), the causation and the action may still be coincident in the sense that the social force is in e¤ect (and continues to be e¤ective) throughout the action’s execution. An alternative available with perception predicates is for the complement to be marked by -ing, as in (12)(d). In this case the temporal relationship is still direct (immediate) but not precisely coincident. Instead, as shown in Figure 9(b), the perception subtends only a portion of the complement event (Kirsner and Thompson 1976; Langacker 1995a).14 The Ø/-ing contrast is not just one of timing, however. In some small measure, using -ing gives greater play to C1’s activity at the mental level. It does so because, even though just a portion of p is actually perceived, it is nonetheless apprehended as a portion of p (cf. Langacker: 2009b). Hence the scope of C1’s conception encompasses more than what is perceptually experienced. In terms of the overall progression from physical/e¤ective relationships to mental/epistemic relations, -ing represents one small step in the direction of the latter. Complementation with -ing is still direct, but less so than with zero, since only a portion of p is directly apprehended by C1. On its other flank, -ing alternates with infinitival to. The to/-ing alternation is of course a much studied problem of great complexity (cf. Wierzbicka 1988: ch. 1; Egan 2003). I cannot even attempt to deal with it here. I mention -ing only by way of indicating its position in the complement system, as intermediate between direct and infinitival complementation. At least prototypically, -ing and to exhibit the temporal contrast shown in Figure 9: whereas -ing implies temporal overlap between the matrix and complement processes, with to there is temporal separation. It most typically appears with matrix predicates involving C1’s apprehension of a future occurrence: want, intend, expect, plan, decide, etc. We thus have
14. Thus temporal coincidence is indicated by zero marking, as in the case of the English present tense, while -ing has essentially the same import as in the progressive.

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


the contrast in (13)(a)–(b), where try picking up the baby implies that the baby was indeed picked up, while try to pick up the baby implicates that it wasn’t.15 But this temporal separation is just the most obvious manifestation of a certain indirectness in how C1 connects with the complement process via the matrix relationship. As shown in Figure 8(b), it is not the direct connection a¤orded by perception. Rather, since the complement represents an apprehended process, C1’s connection with p is mediated by the mental act of apprehension – if we distinguish between the two, perception is a more direct relationship than conception. Another way to put it is that the mental nature of the relationship serves to insulate C1 from direct contact with p. For instance, in contrast to try picking up the baby, which focuses on the experience engendered by picking it up, try to pick up the baby instead emphasizes the intention of picking it up, a mental act prior to actual execution. Similarly, the contrast in (13)(c) between like to run and like running is one of mental attitude vs. direct experience in regard to the complement process. (13) (a) (b) (c) She tried picking up the baby, but that didn’t stop its crying. She tried to pick up the baby, but she couldn’t manage to lift it. I like to run a marathon each month, but I don’t like actually running them.

I am not claiming that predicates taking -ing complements are never mental, nor that mental activity is always central to predicates taking infinitival complements. We are dealing here with complex categories comprising elaborate networks of variants established by conventional usage (Langacker 2000). It is rather a matter of these networks being anchored by di¤erent prototypes, and a strong tendency for minimal pairs like (13)(a)–(b) to contrast in ways reflecting these di¤erent centers of gravity. I suspect that infinitival complements can indeed be characterized schematically as representing apprehended processes, but the specific import of such a claim, for the full range of cases, is less than obvious. Here I am only claiming that infinitival complement constructions occupy an intermediate position with respect to the global progression from physical/e¤ective to mental/epistemic relationships.

15. At least I take these to be the default interpretations. By extension, try Ving is also used for situations where the e¤ort (or in this case the baby) never gets o¤ the ground.


Ronald W. Langacker

Being ungrounded, an infinitival complement lacks a deictic anchor (even a virtual one). Thus it does not have the potential to stand alone as a proposition making a useful specification about the world. It indicates only that p is apprehended, leaving any details about its apprehension and its status to the larger grammatical context. It is thus dependent on the matrix clause both grammatically and for its full semantic interpretation.16 By contrast, a finite complement has greater autonomy, expressing a proposition which can be apprehended by di¤erent conceptualizers, each with their own vantage point and epistemic stance in regard to it. The e¤ect of including that, I suggest, is precisely to underscore a complement’s autonomous status as an object of conception independent of any particular conceptualizer or conceptualizing relationship. In Figure 9(d), P’s role as an object of conception is indicated by the large circle containing it. The appearance of that is thus encouraged by factors serving to ‘‘distance’’ P from C1 or C0 (the speaker) – factors like complexity, formality, etc. I note in this regard that it occurs obligatorily when the complement accompanies a noun like fact, claim, idea, or theory, which explicitly portrays it as an abstract object, as in (14)(a). That is also obligatory for complements which function as matrix subjects, as in (14)(b). In my view, this reflects the role of a subject complement as matrix trajector, i.e. primary focal participant in the profiled relationship. As the onstage focus of attention, its status as an object of conception is maximized. (14) (a) (b) Bush disputes the { fact/claim/idea/theory} that birds evolved from dinosaurs. That birds evolved from dinosaurs is indisputable.

Viewed in global terms, the distinction between infinitival and finite complements is one manifestation of the e¤ective/epistemic opposition. With infinitival complements, what is primarily at issue is the occurrence of events. Among the predicates taking infinitival complements are causal predicates like force, induce, and cause itself, where the matrix subject e¤ects the complement event’s occurrence. But as noted previously, a proposition per se cannot be caused – it can only be apprehended or assessed for validity. Finite complements thus occupy the epistemic end
16. Typically, C is identified with the matrix conceptualizer, C1, and C’s apprehension of p with the matrix process. So in (11)(b), C’s apprehension of p is nothing other than Harvey’s imagining it. It is also possible for C to remain virtual as a generalized conceptualizer (It’s always bad to tell a lie), to be contextually identified (It was necessary to tell a lie), or – as a special case of this – to be identified with the speaker (To be young again!).

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


of the scale, knowledge of propositions being primarily at issue. We have seen, though, that the e¤ective/epistemic opposition is malleable, with varied manifestations depending on level of organization. In the following sections, I propose that it is also manifested locally, within each class of complement constructions. As in the case of direct complements, with both infinitival and finite complement constructions we can discern a contrast reasonably described as e¤ective vs. epistemic.

Infinitival complements I have o¤ered two basic characterizations of infinitival complement constructions: first, that they are broadly e¤ective in nature; and second, that an infinitival complement represents an apprehended process. By e¤ective, I mean that they are primarily concerned with the realization of events and situations.17 Thus they are not limited to causation in any narrow sense, as in the case of direct complementation. Nor does apprehension of the complement process imply that the matrix predicate profiles a specifically mental relationship, or that the conceptualizer has to be a specific, explicitly mentioned individual. Obviously, we are dealing with an immense family of constructions that di¤er greatly with respect to numerous parameters. Their center of gravity does however appear to lie with matrix predicates describing sentient states or activities that somehow contribute to the complement event’s realization. In (15), I describe and illustrate what might be called the ‘‘main sequence’’ for e¤ective matrix predicates where C1 is the subject. The seven phases represent a natural sequence, though clearly some could be grouped together or further divided. The lists of predicates in (16) do not purport to be complete. While they do not all invariably take personal or sentient subjects, this is certainly the norm for most of them. Even the aspectual predicates (start, begin, continue, cease) com monly refer to willful acts (Perlmutter 1970).18 (15) (a) potential > inclination > decision > intention > preparation > execution > result (b) He {knew how/wanted/decided/intended/was ready/tried/ ´ managed} to cook a sou¿e.

17. As shorthand locutions, I speak of the occurrence of events, or just occurrences. 18. Naturally, many predicates have multiple senses and can thus be listed in more than one category.


Ronald W. Langacker

(16) (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f ) (g)

Potential: know how, able, qualified, equipped Inclination: want, hope, willing, inclined, eager, prefer, would like, afraid, hesitant Decision: decide, opt, resolve Intention: intend, expect, plan Preparation: ready, set, prepared, primed Execution: try, attempt, remember, forget, start, begin, continue, cease Result: manage, able, fail

Also part of the ‘‘main sequence’’ are transitive predicates where the object generally functions as C1. The phases in (17) represent the outcomes of the profiled actions. For instance, if you teach someone to do something, then that person knows how to do it. If you persuade someone to do something, then that person decides and intends to do it. (17) E¤ective with respect to the object (e.g. She taught him to cook a ´ sou¿e ): (a) Potential: teach, enable, qualify, equip (b) Inclination: tell, order, beg, exhort, encourage (c) Decision/Intention: persuade, convince (d) Preparation: get . . . ready, prepare, prime (e) Execution/Result: cause, force, allow, permit, induce, get, help, remind, prompt We can further note impersonal constructions, where the subject is either it or the infinitival clause itself. Here the conceptualizer is usually left implicit and construed in generalized fashion, though it can be expressed periphrastically. The basic import of these constructions is that something about the overall circumstances, or the nature of the complement event itself, has an influence on the event’s realization. ´ (18) Impersonals (e.g. It’s possible [for him] to cook a sou¿e ): (a) Potential: possible, impossible, feasible, permissible, legal, allowable (b) Inclination: important, essential, crucial, advisable, proper, appropriate (c) Execution: easy, hard, di‰cult, tough, a breeze

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


At the very least, predicates like these have a substantial presence among those taking infinitival complements. While only a few are specifically causal, they are all e¤ective in the narrow sense that the relationship they designate has some role in the realization of the complement event – in one way or another it subserves the function of e¤ecting events.19 But this is not the only kind of relationship that pertains to events per se (as opposed to propositions concerning them). Many other relations are e¤ective in the broader sense of involving the realization of events even if they do not contribute to it. For example, numerous predicates designate emotive or a¤ective rela` tionships vis-a-vis the infinitival process.20 These can be either personal or impersonal. The a¤ective reaction can be prompted by either the event’s occurrence or else the prospect of its occurrence. Irrespective of these di¤erences, all these predicates invoke a conceptualizer (if only in generalized fashion) who apprehends the complement process and has a certain a¤ective experience in regard to it. Hence they do involve a kind of ‘‘knowledge’’ concerning the complement event – the experiencer ‘‘knows of ’’ the event in the sense of being aware of either its actual or prospective realization. But since these predicates merely presuppose this awareness, rather than profiling it, they are not essentially epistemic in nature. Moreover, the ‘‘knowledge’’ and a¤ect in question pertain to the event itself, not to a full-fledged proposition (event cum epistemic stance) concerning it. This is the crucial feature distinguishing complementation at the e¤ective and epistemic levels. (19) Emotive/A¤ective relationships (e.g. I’m afraid to watch; It’s amusing to watch them): (a) Personal: happy, sad, glad, delighted, sorry, afraid, anxious, reluctant, hate, like, love, surprised, shocked, amazed, astounded, amused, embarrassed (b) Impersonal: good, bad, nice, sad, tragic, terrible, horrible, fun, encouraging, daunting, frightening, surprising, shocking, amazing, astounding, amusing, embarrassing What other kinds of relationships engage events? One kind consists of purely aspectual relationships, when a verb like begin or continue occurs
19. Of course, some relations are e¤ective in a negative way: forget, fail, impossible, di‰cult, etc. 20. Naturally, there is some overlap with the set of more narrowly e¤ective predicates. We are not dealing with discrete or clear-cut categories.


Ronald W. Langacker

with a non-sentient subject. A number of impersonal predicates give indications of normativity, with respect to either general expectations or personal impression. Some predicates, like pretend or imagine, intimate that the complement process is other than real. Verbs of commitment, like promise, should perhaps be grouped with e¤ective predicates of decision or intention. Still, they are slightly di¤erent in that the obligation established need not have any actual bearing on the event’s realization (e.g. the promise may be false). But whether or not they contribute to its realization, these various sorts of relationships all concern its realization in one way or another. (20) (a) (b) Aspectual: start, begin, continue, cease (The ice began to melt.) Normative: normal, common, usual, typical, funny, bizarre, strange, odd, peculiar (It’s usual to tip the waiter; It’s strange to be here.) Non-reality: pretend, purport, claim, imagine, fancy (She pretended to sleep; He imagines Martians to be living in his attic.) Commitment: promise, threaten, vow, commit (He promised to stay sober.)



This partial survey should at least make plausible and tangible the notion that predicates taking infinitival complements pertain primarily to event occurrence, while varying as to their degree of e¤ectiveness in this regard. Of special concern here are some which lie at the non-e¤ective end of the spectrum. In the relationships they designate, the conceptualizer engages the complement process only in the minimal sense of knowing about it or projecting its realization. These predicates are, in a word, epistemic. They accomplish through lexical means something comparable to what is done in grammar through the presence or absence of a modal. Though relatively small in number, these predicates are not infrequent or insignificant. In conjunction with predicates representing the main sequence, they amount to an e¤ective/epistemic opposition at the level of infinitival complementation. One aspect of the e¤ective/epistemic opposition is substantial parallelism between the two poles. These epistemic constructions are indeed parallel to their e¤ective counterparts in several respects. First, some of the same predicates function in both (albeit with slightly di¤erent senses), including promise, threaten, expect, and – if we include them – the aspec-

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


tual predicates. Second, the epistemic predicates involve various phases analogous to those in the e¤ective main sequence. And third, they show a distinction analogous to that between e¤ective predicates centered on the subject and on the object. The predicates in (21) are epistemic with respect to the subject in the sense that their subject is the central participant in the occurrence whose realization is at issue. For example, in the sentence The children are likely to be disappointed, the children are the ones whose disappointment is anticipated. In other words, the matrix subject functions as a kind of topic for the epistemic assessment. The phases indicated in (21) all correspond to phases in (16). Likely is an inclination predicate, i.e. it specifies a certain ‘‘force’’ tending toward realization of the complement occurrence. It is not however an e¤ective force – neither the subject nor the speaker is portrayed as the source of any impetus toward bringing it about. As with the epistemic modals, the force inheres instead in the very process of epistemic judgment, experienced as a conception of reality (RC) is mentally extrapolated to encompass the infinitival process (p). In some cases, the force is such that this reality conception is definitely projected as reaching and incorporating the occurrence. I use the term projection for predicates of this sort. I see these predicates – sure, certain, bound, etc. – as being analogous to the intention predicates in (16). Likewise, in their nonvolitional construal the aspectual predicates can be seen as counterparts to their e¤ective uses, where they represent the execution phase. Finally, verbs like prove and turn out (e.g. He turned out to be incompetent) are analogous to e¤ective result-phase predicates like manage and able. (21) Epistemic with respect to subject (e.g. The children are likely to be disappointed ): (a) Inclination: likely, apt, liable, seem, appear, promise, threaten (b) Projection: sure, certain, bound, destined, guaranteed (c) (d) Execution: start, begin, continue, cease Result: prove, turn out

The predicates in (22) are epistemic with respect to the object in the sense that their object is the central participant in the occurrence whose realization is at issue. In She expects the children to be disappointed, the children – this time expressed as matrix object – are once more the unfortunates whose disappointment is anticipated. With these predicates the matrix subject functions as conceptualizer (C1). Most of these can be classed as inclination predicates; know represents the result phase. Thus


Ronald W. Langacker

in (23)(b) the situation of his being abusive is not definitely accepted as being real, whereas in (23)(c) it is. Along another axis, we can distinguish expect from all the others on the basis of temporal orientation. For the most part, expect pertains to future events; (23)(a) would normally relate to a particular future encounter.21 By contrast, the other predicates relate to present situations. As a special case, this situation can be the ‘‘current relevance’’ of a past event, as expressed by the perfect in (23)(d). (22) Epistemic with respect to the object (e.g. She expects the children to be disappointed ): (a) Inclination: expect, believe, imagine, suppose, suspect (b) Result: know (23) (a) I expect him to be abusive. (b) I believe him to be abusive. [inclination; future-oriented] [inclination; present-oriented]

(c) I know him to be abusive. [result; present-oriented] (d) I know him to have been abusive. [result; present relevance of past event] I mentioned that these predicates accomplish lexically what epistemic modals accomplish grammatically. The analogy with modals is in fact multifaceted. My main point, of course, is that both modals and predicates taking infinitival complements exhibit an e¤ective/epistemic opposition. Moreover, epistemic modals are like the epistemic predicates in being either future- or present-oriented. When used in regard to past events, the modals as well do so via the perfect construction, which describes a current situation: (24) (a) (b) (c) He might be abusive – so be careful. [future event] He may be abusive – we’re not sure. [present situation] He may have been abusive. [present relevance of past event]

In fact, the diagrams in Figure 6, representing the di¤erent kinds of modals, apply as well to e¤ective and epistemic predicates at this level, the only di¤erence being that the predicates profile the e¤ective or epistemic relationship, whereas the modals profile the target process (p).

21. Through metonymy, the anticipated event can also be that of finding out about the ongoing situation of his being abusive.

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


A further similarity is that modals and the epistemic predicates both exhibit the phenomenon commonly known as raising, in which a nominal in the main clause appears to belong – both semantically and grammatically – to the complement. In the transformational era, a rule was posited which ‘‘raised’’ the subject of the complement into its ‘‘surface’’ position in the matrix clause (Postal 1974). Thus in (25)(a)–(b), the existential there which appears in the matrix is part of the there be construction of the complement. As shown in (25)(c), raising applies to modals as well, on the assumption that modals originate as higher-level verbs. (25) (a) (b) (c) I expect [there be a riot] % I expect there [to be a riot] [Subject-to-Object Raising] [there be a riot] is likely % there is likely [to be a riot] [Subject-to-Subject Raising] could [there be a riot] % there could [be a riot] [Subject-to-Subject Raising]

From the standpoint of Cognitive Grammar, there is neither any need nor any possibility of handling such expressions through derivations from underlying structures (Langacker 1995b). These constructions are simply a matter of the ‘‘raised’’ nominal having an extremely limited semantic role in the matrix relationship. Instead of interacting with another matrix participant, or having some e¤ective influence with respect to the complement process, the nominal referent serves only to specify the topic to which the matrix relationship pertains; in The children are likely to be disappointed, the likelihood pertains to the children. Another way to put it is that the nominal stands metonymically for the complement, providing mental access to the complement process, which is what participates directly in the matrix relation (e.g. what is directly assessed for likelihood is the situation of the children being disappointed).22 It is therefore no accident that the ‘‘raising’’ predicates turn out to be the ones most reasonably characterized as epistemic: they designate relationships in which the nominal referent has no e¤ective role. Often this results from a diachronic process of semantic ‘‘bleaching’’ or progressive ‘‘attenuation’’ in degree of agentive control (Traugott 1993; Langacker 1999b; Verhagen 2000). In its basic use, for example, the verb promise is e¤ective in the sense that the subject makes a commitment to carry out
22. Hence the complement process is the active zone for the nominal’s participation in the matrix relationship (Langacker 1984).


Ronald W. Langacker

the complement process. But in other uses, like (26)(b), the subject’s role is largely reduced to it being the topic for a predicted occurrence. Taken to the extreme, this development yields a ‘‘raising’’ predicate, as seen in (26)(c). (26) (a) (b) (c) She promised to study hard. [e¤ective (commitment)] She promises to become a world-famous scientist. [epistemic (prediction)] There promises to be a lot of controversy on this issue. [epistemic (‘‘raising’’)]

The epistemic nature of certain predicates taking infinitival complements indicates that not all knowledge is propositional knowledge. We can be cognizant of an event’s occurrence, or even project its occurrence, without explicitly formulating a proposition concerning it. When we see an event occur, for example, we have direct knowledge of its realization. With grounding as well, the entity apprehended by C – and located with respect to C’s conception of reality – is the profiled occurrence itself (p), not a proposition. It is only through grounding that a proposition concerning p emerges in the first place. The resulting proposition (P) is more complex and more abstract, for it incorporates an epistemic stance in regard to p that a particular conceptualizer may or may not subscribe to. Once formulated, a proposition can thus be assessed for validity or negotiated among di¤erent conceptualizers. The so-called ‘‘predicates of propositional attitude’’ profile various facets of this assessment or negotiation. In this respect, infinitival complementation is intermediate between direct and finite complementation. We observed this in (10), with see as the matrix predicate: I saw him be abusive vs. I saw him to be abusive vs. I saw that he was abusive. As a perceptual predicate, see profiles a relationship that engages the complement process directly. With an infinitival complement, see is mental rather than perceptual, but still engages the process itself.23 When see takes a finite complement the relationship is also mental, but in this case it engages an autonomous proposition, with its own time specification and epistemic stance in regard to the complement process. I take this to be a consistent conceptual di¤erence between infinitival and finite complementation. They are semantically distinct, not just alter23. The apprehension of this process, indicated by to, is identified with that of the matrix predicate, so it is not included in what is seen.

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


nate grammatical forms for expressing the same conceptual content. The di¤erence is usually not noticed (in fact, it is usually denied) because the constructions very often seem interchangeable. For example, the sentence pairs in (27) appear to be synonymous: (27) (a) (i) (ii) (b) (i) (ii) (c) (i) (ii) (d) (i) (ii) I know her to be dependable. I know that she is dependable. She claims to be dependable. She claims that she is dependable. They expect her to be on time. They expect that she will be on time. She is likely to be on time. It is likely that she will be on time.

But despite their being equivalent in practical terms, I would argue that the members of each pair are slightly di¤erent in meaning. There is a subtle but real semantic distinction between, on the one hand, assessing the reality or likelihood of an occurrence, and on the other hand, judging the validity of a proposition which incorporates such an assessment. In (27)(a)(i), for instance, the verb know indicates that C1 accepts as real the situation of her being dependable. By contrast, in sentence (ii) know indicates that C1 accepts the complement proposition as being valid (i.e. as conforming to reality). However, since that proposition (through its grounding) expresses the reality of her being dependable, the practical implications are identical: in both cases, C1 accepts as real the situation of her being dependable. The di¤erence is that sentence (i) describes this acceptance directly, whereas sentence (ii) arrives at it indirectly. It does so by indicating the validity of a proposition where the situation’s acceptance as real is specified by clausal grounding (in particular, the absence of a modal). The matrix clause I know implies that C1 – who happens to be the speaker – identifies with the virtual conceptualizer (C) invoked by the complement’s grounding. As a consequence, C1’s conception of reality (hence the speaker’s as well) is identified with that of C. And C’s conception of reality includes her being dependable. Similarly, both sentences in (27)(d) specify as being probable the event of her arriving on time. Sentence (i) does so directly – the event itself is assessed as being likely. In projecting the future evolution of reality, the implicit conceptualizer ‘‘likes the chances’’ of the event being incorporated. Sentence (ii) also indicates the probability of an occurrence, but not the complement process per se. Instead, what is projected as being


Ronald W. Langacker

realized is a situation associated with the complement process: the situation where the complement proposition is accepted as valid. Through a kind of metonymic shift, the assessment of probability applies to the proposition (P) rather than the process (p) it pertains to. Still, there is no di¤erence in the practical consequences. Projecting the event’s realization is functionally equivalent to projecting the validity of the proposition describing it.24

Finite complements Viewed in global terms, infinitival and finite complementation contrast as e¤ective vs. epistemic: the former concerns the occurrence of events; and the latter, the validity of propositions. Internally, infinitival complementation manifests a local e¤ective/epistemic opposition, since one kind of relationship that engages events consists in knowing of them or projecting their realization. It thus seems reasonable to expect that finite complementation might also exhibit a local e¤ective/epistemic contrast. But since it lies at one extreme of the spectrum based on the mind/body duality – in the mental task of negotiating propositions, it’s hard to see that the body as such has any role – it could well be that e¤ective relationships are either absent at this level or assume a form rather di¤erent from notions of causation.25 To begin with the global contrast, we can first observe the e¤ect of using the same matrix predicate with an infinitival vs. a finite complement. The di¤erence is sometimes quite subtle, as we saw in (27). Often, though, it produces a clear semantic contrast of precisely the sort predicted. The

24. The proposition has to be distinguished from the specific form of the proposition. Right now, when P’s validity is still at issue, it is marked as future because the event has not yet occurred: she will be on time. When the event does occur, so that P’s validity is established, it will be expressed as she is on time. The di¤erence in tense reflects the di¤erence in vantage point. A basic characteristic of propositions is that they can be apprehended by di¤erent conceptualizers and from di¤erent vantage points, yet still count as the ‘‘same’’ proposition. 25. This would be analogous to physical action predicates at the other extreme of the spectrum. There the role of the mind – volitional control – is not the sort of thing usually described as ‘‘knowing’’.

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


sentences in (28) evidence a consistent pattern: with an infinitival complement, the matrix relationship pertains to an event’s occurrence; with a finite complement, it pertains instead to the knowledge and validity of propositions. In (28)(b), for instance, the result of persuasion is intention in sentence (i), but belief in sentence (ii). There is a comparable di¤erence even when the alternatives have the same practical import, as in (28)(d)– (e). For instance, both sentences in (d) describe an attempt to get the speaker to behave, but the attempts are made in very di¤erent ways. The infinitival construction in sentence (i) describes a directive act (some kind of order) aimed at e¤ecting the complement event per se. On the other hand, the act of saying in sentence (ii) is aimed at getting the speaker to accept a proposition. It is through the acceptance of this proposition that they hope to modify the speaker’s behavior. The directive force comes from the proposition itself, inhering in the modal. By accepting the proposition ‘‘I should behave’’, the speaker will presumably acknowledge the social force conveyed by the e¤ective modal should. (28) (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (i) (ii) (i) (ii) (i) (ii) (i) (ii) (i) (ii) She forgot to lock the door. [EF] She forgot that I don’t eat fish. [EP] I persuaded him to hire me. [EF] I persuaded him that I was right. [EP] It’s possible to buy a Ph.D. [EF] It’s possible that she complained. [EP] They told me to behave. [EF] They told me that I should behave. [EP] He decided to resign. [EF] He decided that he would resign. [EP]

Another indication of the contrast is that only finite complements provide a means of directly referring to past events. Like modals, infinitival complements are either future- or present-oriented; past occurrences are described indirectly, via their reflection in the present, as in (23)(d): I know him to have been abusive. But finite complements do not force this detour through the present: instead of resorting to the perfect, we can use the simple past: I know that he was abusive. The ultimate source of this di¤erence, I suggest, is that infinitival and finite complementation are respectively concerned with e¤ecting events and knowledge of events. With the former, the past is of lesser concern, since the previous course of


Ronald W. Langacker

Figure 10.

events has already been established – only the future remains to be determined.26 But we can perfectly well have knowledge of the past. Let me note one further, crucial di¤erence between infinitival and finite complementation. Both levels are reasonably described in terms of conceptions of reality and the process of realization, i.e. something becoming real. We will see that there is in fact a strong analogy between them. They di¤er, however, as to what constitutes reality and hence in the nature of realization. The di¤erence is actually captured by two conventional uses of the English verb realize, as in (29): (29) (a) (b) He realized his ambition to become rich. [e¤ective realization] He realized that he would never become rich. [epistemic realization]

With infinitival complements (as well as grounding), reality is defined as the history of occurrences up through the present moment. An event is therefore realized (becomes real) when it happens, and a situation when it obtains.27 Moreover, as shown in Figure 10(a), the reality conception (RC) is just that: C’s conception of reality, so defined. Thus, from C’s
26. Of course, e¤ecting events is just the prototype. The formal restrictions it motivates carry over as the construction is extended to situations and to epistemic relationships. 27. Thus a result phase predicate, like manage, is coextensive with the complement event’s occurrence.

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


own standpoint, a process (p) incorporated in RC belongs to R as a matter of definition. Finite complementation represents a higher level of conceptual organization, where the target of assessment is not a process (p) per se, but rather a proposition (P) concerning p. At this level a reality conception (RC) consists of a set of propositions. Incorporating a proposition in RC – accepting it as valid – does not imply that p itself is real. We can accept as valid, for instance, a proposition to the e¤ect that p did not occur, that it could never occur, that it might occur in the future, etc. Diagram (b) depicts the situation of a conceptualizer (C1) accepting as valid a proposition of this sort, e.g. in (29)(b). The proposition, to the e¤ect that he would never become rich, is part of C1’s reality conception (RC1), even though the event in question (his becoming rich) is specifically viewed as non-real (external to R).28 In contrast to an event, a proposition is realized when a conceptualizer comes to know it. And what we supposedly know includes not only the established course of events, but how the path it has followed relates to other conceivable paths (both past and future). As in the case of infinitival complementation, with finite complements we can also recognize a core set of matrix predicates as constituting a ‘‘main sequence’’ with various phases. Here, though, the final stage is not an event’s occurrence (e¤ective realization), but rather the acceptance of a proposition as something known (epistemic realization). For our purposes, it su‰ces to indicate five basic phases, exemplified by the predicates in (30). (30) (a) (b) (c) Potential: possible, conceivable, plausible, impossible, inconceivable Assessment: wonder, ponder, consider, ask, unsure, uncertain

Inclination: think, believe, suspect, suppose, imagine, expect, figure, reckon, doubt, seem, appear, likely, probable, dubious, unlikely, improbable (d) Action: learn, decide, realize, figure out, ascertain, recognize, notice, see, discover, observe, find out, calculate, determine (e) Result: know, sure, certain, convinced, persuaded, obvious, clear, definite, true, valid, correct, demonstrable, undeniable, false, incorrect The epistemic potential phase is simply a matter of the (usually tacit) conceptualizer being aware of a proposition as something which cannot be
28. Note the correspondence line: because C1 accepts the proposition, he identifies with the virtual conceptualizer (C) invoked by the grounding of the complement.


Ronald W. Langacker

dismissed out of hand. Recognizing P as being possible or conceivable sets the stage for its actual assessment. Of course, this preliminary phase also includes the negative alternative of P being impossible or inconceivable, i.e. it cannot be valid, so there is no need for further evaluation. In the assessment phase, P is under consideration, but this is prior to any conclusion. A characteristic of this phase, indicative of its nature, is that the complement is marked by whether or another question word. The inclination phase involves a preliminary judgment, whereby C1 is inclined to accept P as valid (or else to reject it, as with doubt) but has not yet actually done so. The action phase is the counterpart of the execution phase with e¤ective predicates. The action consists in admitting P into C1, i.e. accepting it as valid. Finally, the result phase represents the outcome of this overall process of evaluation: P is included in RC1 (or specifically excluded). As with infinitival complementation, there are also matrix predicates beyond those constituting the main sequence. I will mention only the large class of predicates describing emotive/a¤ective relationships, exemplified in (31). These correspond to the result phase, since they accept the validity of the complement proposition. However, instead of profiling this acceptance they merely presuppose it. (31) Emotive/A¤ective: happy, sad, elated, thrilled, disappointed, devastated, regret, pleased, displeased, annoyed, disturbed, o¤ended, appalled, disappointed, shocked, surprised, devastated, like it, love it, hate it, resent it, dislike it, detest it The question remains of whether any predicates taking finite complements might be recognized as e¤ective rather than epistemic. Possible candidates are those in (32), where the matrix relationship clearly bears on the complement event’s realization. Observe, however, that the complements are not really finite, despite being marked by that. What makes a clause finite is not that, but rather its grounding by the tense-modal complex. The complement verb in (32) is not grounded in this fashion. What occurs instead is just the bare, uninflected stem (be). If this be grounding – and I am not averse to thinking about it in this manner – it is grounding of a rather different sort. In lieu of being grounded clause-internally, the status of the complement process (p) in regard to reality is specified by the matrix predicate and the overall construction. There is an evident a‰nity to imperatives, which likewise use the bare stem, as well as to e¤ective (i.e. root) modals. But we can also see this as an alternative kind of infinitival construction, where the subject is overt and freely chosen. We need not feel obliged to choose among these options. In a construction-based frame-

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


work, we can view this particular construction as drawing motivation from all the others mentioned. I incline to place it at the juncture between finite and infinitival complementation (a limiting case of each). (32) (a) She {demanded/required/asked/requested} that I be more cooperative. (b) It is {important/essential/crucial/advisable} that you be more cooperative. The construction in (32) is clearly e¤ective but quasi-finite. Certain other constructions are clearly finite but quasi-e¤ective. Broadly speaking, the predicates in (33) are e¤ective, since they have to do with ensuring the occurrence of events. The relation, however, is indirect – the matrix predicates merely indicate a commitment to bring about the complement event, not any actual e¤ort to do so (let alone causation or success). They contrast in this respect with narrowly e¤ective predicates like make, cause, and try. But neither are verbs like promise, etc. epistemic in the narrow sense of pertaining to propositional knowledge. Observe that the complement, though finite, is not a fully autonomous proposition. For the most part, it can only describe future occurrences that the subject is able to control. With a past event, as in (33)(b), what the subject promises or guarantees is that future knowledge will include the complement occurrence (it will turn out to be the case that she got the award). In this case the predicates do indeed have epistemic import. (33) (a) (b) I {promise/guarantee/vow/am determined} that she will get the award. I {?promise/?guarantee/*vow/*am determined} that she got the award.

A number of other predicates, like those in (34), are biased toward future events. To the extent that the complement is constrained to being future, it does not represent a fully autonomous proposition. This correlates with there being less emphasis on knowledge and more on event occurrence. Certainly this is so for fear and afraid – what is actually feared is the occurrence itself, not the situation of the proposition being valid.29 Even with expect and anticipate, it is more the event than the proposition’s validity that is anticipated. All four predicates do allow a past-tense complement, as in (34)(b), although this usage seems less natural than (34)(a). With the past tense the issue of the event’s occurrence has already been resolved – one way or the other – in actual practice. As a consequence, the
29. The two, of course, are metonymically related. The event is the proposition’s active zone for its participation in the matrix relationship (Langacker 1984).


Ronald W. Langacker

interpretations are more clearly epistemic. What is expected or anticipated is not the event of the judge finding him guilty, but rather that the speaker will come to know of this decision. In the case of fear and afraid, the most likely interpretation involves an additional step in the epistemic direction: what the speaker fears is not the event or even the proposition proving valid, but rather the prospect of having to inform the listener of this news. (34) (a) (b) I {expect/anticipate/fear/am afraid} that the judge will find him guilty. I {expect/?anticipate/?fear/am afraid} that the judge found him guilty.

In short, there are various cases which approximate the situation of finite complementation having e¤ective value, but as expected they are nontypical and less than clear-cut. Control The evident prototype for finite complements is an autonomous proposition capable of being apprehended and independently assessed by multiple conceptualizers. Even when viewed from di¤erent deictic centers, it can be recognized as being the ‘‘same’’ proposition, hence subject to communication and negotiation. Metaphorically, propositions are reified as objects that can be examined, passed around, and accepted or rejected. English deploys a rich array of matrix predicates describing the many nuanced ways we have of dealing with them. But what exactly does it mean to say that a proposition is autonomous? From the linguistic standpoint, we can speak of a complement proposition being autonomous to the extent that one can determine what the proposition is independently of the matrix clause (or conversely, that the matrix clause does not impose significant constraints on it). In this respect, there is a clear contrast between finite and infinitival complementation. It is normal in a finite complement for all the central participants to be overtly specified, with no requirement that they be the same as any matrix participant. On the other hand, it is usual for infinitival complements to lack an overt subject, precisely because a matrix participant fulfills the trajector role. They also lack tense. So, whereas in (35)(a) we know from the complement alone that the emotional state of being upset is predicated of Alice with respect to some earlier time, in (35)(b) we learn these crucial specifications only from the matrix clause. Considered in isolation, the infinitival expression to be upset is not specific enough to be useful or checked for validity.

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


(35) (a) (b)

It appeared that Alice was upset. Alice appeared to be upset.

There are of course intermediate cases. An infinitival subject can be specified periphrastically with a for-phrase: I would like for her to get a good job. The bare-verb complements in (32) have specified subjects but are comparable to infinitival complements in regard to time reference. With a matrix verb like vow in (33)(a), the complement is finite and expresses a full proposition. However, it is less than fully autonomous because vow imposes certain constraints, notably that the complement event has to be future relative to the time the vow is made (*I vow that she got the award ). With a verb like know or say there is no such restriction. Despite these qualifications, the general pattern is clear. An infinitival clause represents an apprehended process but does not, in and of itself, express an independently accessible proposition. Certain key elements that would make it an autonomous proposition are instead determined by the matrix, in particular the temporal location of the profiled occurrence and its central participant (the trajector). We can say that the matrix controls the complement with respect to these factors. And since these factors relate to the complement event itself, being essential to its characterization, we can describe this as e¤ective control. As it pertains to the complement subject, control is a much studied topic. The problem is usually formulated in terms of predicting which matrix participant is understood as being the ‘‘controller’’ (i.e. the one that functions semantically as complement trajector). With the verb persuade, for example, the object is the controller [in (36)(a) it is Bill who takes the vacation], whereas with promise it is usually the subject [in sentence (b) it is Alice who takes the vacation]. ‘‘Control predicates’’ are distinguished from ‘‘raising predicates’’, like expect in (36)(c) and appear in (35)(b), where the matrix nominal does not control the complement subject but actually is the complement subject in underlying structure. I consider this putative distinction between control and raising to be artificial (Newman 1981; Langacker 1995b), and I do not consider the issue of predicting the controller to be very interesting. I cannot pursue these matters here, but merely point out that this notion of control is quite familiar. (36) (a) (b) (c) Alice persuaded Bill to take a vacation. Alice promised Bill to take a vacation. Alice expected Bill to take a vacation. [object control] [subject control] [‘‘raising’’]

I have called it e¤ective control because it pertains to the complement event per se. Might there be something we can reasonably describe as


Ronald W. Langacker

epistemic control, pertaining to propositions rather than events? I believe there is. Epistemic control is what I previously described as identification, in which some external conceptualizer assumes the role of the virtual conceptualizer (C) invoked by clausal grounding. This external conceptualizer can be the current speaker (C0), as shown in Figure 7(c). C0 identifies with C when a finite clause is o¤ered as a genuine statement reflecting what the speaker actually believes. More relevant here is the case where the external conceptualizer is the one implied by the matrix predicate, given as C1 in Figure 10(b). In particular, C1 assumes the role C with result phase predicates (know, sure, convinced, etc.), which specify that C1 accepts the complement proposition as valid (hence part of RC1).30 In short, just as e¤ective control specifies a participant in the complement event, epistemic control specifies the conceptualizer of the complement proposition. And if we view an infinitival complement as corresponding to a proposition, e¤ective control by the matrix serves to indicate what the proposition is. With a finite complement, which specifies the proposition independently, epistemic control serves instead to indicate its epistemic status, i.e. its standing in relation to established knowledge. Conclusion Complementation is extraordinarily complex. In this presentation I have followed a single thread through a number of structural levels. Of course, the threads are not independent but interwoven in a fabric which I have sketched only in the briefest terms. Nonetheless, I hope to have made the case that the e¤ective/epistemic opposition is a basic organizational feature with numerous manifestations in this domain.31 Recognizing this cross-level systematicity makes possible a more unified account of complementation and related phenomena. I see the e¤ective/epistemic opposition as being grounded in the mind/body duality, which can itself be seen (ironically) as a product of embodied cognition. It is hardly surprising that such a fundamental aspect of experience – as we actually experience it – should be pervasively reflected in language structure.

30. Recall that C1 is not invariably an overt matrix participant. It can also be a generalized conceptualizer or the speaker. In the case of ‘‘factive’’ predicates (Kiparsky and Kiparsky 1970), the speaker identifies with C directly, in addition to whatever epistemic stance is ascribed to C1 (Langacker 2004). 31. It is one linguistic example of fractal organization, where the same pattern repeats itself at successive levels.

Control and the mind/body duality: Knowing vs. e¤ecting


Achard, Michel 1996 Two causation/perception constructions in French. Cognitive Linguistics 7: 315–357. Borkin, Ann 1973 To be and not to be. Papers from the Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society 9: 44–56. Chomsky, Noam 1966 Cartesian Linguistics: A Chapter in the History of Rationalist Thought. New York/London: Harper & Row. Egan, Thomas 2003 Distance and Direction: A Usage-Based Study of Infinitive and -ing Complement Clauses in English. (Acta Humaniora 156.) Oslo: Faculty of Arts, University of Oslo. Fodor, Jerry A. 1970 Three reasons for not deriving ‘‘kill’’ from ‘‘cause to die’’. Linguistic Inquiry 1: 429–438. Hampe, Beate (ed.) 2005 From Perception to Meaning: Image Schemas in Cognitive Linguistics. (Cognitive Linguistics Research 29.) Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Johnson, Mark 1987 The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press. Kiparsky, Paul and Carol Kiparsky 1970 Fact. In: Manfred Bierwisch and Karl Erich Heidolph (eds.), Progress in Linguistics, 143–173. The Hague: Mouton. Kirsner, Robert S. and Sandra A. Thompson 1976 The role of pragmatic inference in semantics: a study of sensory verb complements in English. Glossa 10: 200–240. Lako¤, George 1987 Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press. Lako¤, George and Mark Johnson 1999 Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought. New York: Basic Books. Langacker, Ronald W. 1966 Les verbes faire, laisser, voir, etc. Langages 3: 72–89. Langacker, Ronald W. 1984 Active zones. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society 10: 172–188.


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Langacker, Ronald W. 1991 Foundations of Cognitive Grammar, vol. 2, Descriptive Application. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Langacker, Ronald W. 1993 Clause structure in cognitive grammar. Studi Italiani di Linguistica Teorica e Applicata 22: 465–508. Langacker, Ronald W. 1995a Viewing in cognition and grammar. In: Philip W. Davis (ed.), Alternative Linguistics: Descriptive and Theoretical Modes (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 102.), 153–212. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Langacker, Ronald W. 1995b Raising and transparency. Language 71: 1–62. Langacker, Ronald W. 1999a Virtual reality. Studies in the Linguistic Sciences 29 (2): 77–103. Langacker, Ronald W. 1999b Losing control: grammaticization, subjectification, and transparency. In: Andreas Blank and Peter Koch (eds.), Historical Semantics and Cognition (Cognitive Linguistics Research 13), 147–175. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Langacker, Ronald W. 2000 A dynamic usage-based model. In: Michael Barlow and Suzanne Kemmer (eds.), Usage-Based Models of Language, 1–63. Stanford: CSLI Publications. Langacker, Ronald W. 2002 Deixis and subjectivity. In: Frank Brisard (ed.), Grounding: The Epistemic Footing of Deixis and Reference (Cognitive Linguistics Research 21), 1–28. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Langacker, Ronald W. 2004 Aspects of the grammar of finite clauses. In: Michel Achard and Suzanne Kemmer (eds.), Language, Culture and Mind, 535–577. Stanford: CSLI Publications. Langacker, Ronald W. 2009a Enunciating the parallelism of nominal and clausal grounding. In: Ronald W. Langacker, Investigations in Cognitive Grammar, 148–184. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Langacker, Ronald W. 2009b Constructions and constructional meaning. In: Vyvyan Evans ´ and Stephanie Purcel (eds.), New Directions in Cognitive Linguistics, 225–267. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Newman, John 1981 The Semantics of Raising Constructions. Doctoral dissertation. San Diego: University of California. Perlmutter, David M. 1970 The two verbs begin. In: Roderick A. Jacobs and Peter S. Rosen-

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baum (eds.), Readings in English Transformational Grammar, 107–119. Waltham, MA: Ginn. Postal, Paul M. 1974 On Raising: One Rule of English Grammar and Its Theoretical Implications. (Current Studies in Linguistics 5.) Cambridge, MA/London: MIT Press. Sweetser, Eve E. 1982 Root and epistemic modals: causality in two worlds. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society 8: 484– 507. Sweetser, Eve E. 1990 From Etymology to Pragmatics: Metaphorical and Cultural Aspects of Semantic Structure. (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 54.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Talmy, Leonard 1988 Force dynamics in language and cognition. Cognitive Science 12: 49–100. Traugott, Elizabeth C. 1993 The conflict promises/threatens to escalate into war. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society 19: 348–358. Verhagen, Arie 2000 ‘‘The girl that promised to become something’’: an exploration into diachronic subjectification in Dutch. In: Thomas F. Shannon and Johan P. Snapper (eds.), The Berkeley Conference on Dutch Linguistics 1997: The Dutch Language at the Millenium (Publications of the American Association for Netherlandic Studies 12), 197–208. Lanham, NY/Oxford: University Press of America. Wierzbicka, Anna 1975 Why ‘‘kill’’ does not mean ‘‘cause to die’’: the semantics of action sentences. Foundations of Language 13: 491–528. Wierzbicka, Anna 1988 The Semantics of Grammar. (Studies in Language Companion Series 18.) Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions* Peter Willemse
1. Introduction This paper deals with an aspect of the description of nominal referencepoint constructions that has so far received limited attention in the literature, i.e. the way in which these constructions are embedded referentially in the discourse context, and the way in which the reference-point relation may interact with information in the surrounding discourse. The focus will be on the English possessive NP, which was the first construction type described as a reference-point construction by Langacker (1990 and onwards) and was also the focus of Taylor’s (1996) work. Both NPs with a possessive determiner (e.g. their room, its banks) and NPs with a genitive (e.g. the jury’s verdict, the castle’s moat) will be taken into account. This paper will zoom in on one specific, so far neglected, issue in the description of possessive NPs, i.e. the discourse status of possessee referents. Possessive NPs, when used in discourse, refer to two discourse referents: a possessor (the referent of the possessive determiner or the genitive) and a possessee (the referent of the whole possessive NP, which is anchored to the possessor). Whereas the possessor has direct definite or indefinite grounding reflecting its status as given or new in the discourse, the possessee is grounded indirectly, via the possessor. Hence, its discourse status is a more complex issue, which needs to be studied in extensive discourse

* This paper is a slightly adapted version of a paper presented at the 10th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, which was held at the Jagiellonian ´ University of Krakow, Poland, from 15–20 July 2007. I gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Research Council of the University of Leuven (postdoctoral grant PDM/06/078) and of the research unit FEST (Linguistics Department, University of Leuven) for my participation in this conference. The corpus study presented in this article is based on a chapter from my doctoral dissertation (Willemse 2005: 59–136), which was supervised by Kristin Davidse and Liesbet Heyvaert, both of whom I wish to thank for useful comments and suggestions.


Peter Willemse

contexts. Taylor (1996), who opens up a discourse perspective on possessive NPs as reference-point constructions, derives the prototypical discourse status of possessor and possessee referents from the inherent logic of the reference-point relation. It will be shown, on the basis of an analysis of possessive NPs in authentic, extensive discourse contexts, that Taylor’s (1996) predictions about the discourse status of the possessee need to be refined. The structure of this paper is as follows. In section 2, I will review some of the existing claims and assumptions about nominal reference-point constructions. In section 3, I will present a corpus study of the discourse status of possessee referents of possessive NPs, which shows that possessee referents may be embedded in the discourse context in various ways and may enter into various relations with information in the preceding discourse. Finally, I will draw some conclusions concerning the implications of this study for the analysis of nominal reference-point constructions.

2. Nominal reference-point constructions: previous claims and assumptions The concept of a reference-point construction was first defined in relation to nominal possessive determiner constructions by Langacker (1990, 1991, 1993). In general, the notion of a reference point involves identification of one entity (typically a less salient one) through its relation to another (typically more salient) entity. The latter functions in this way as a mental reference point for the former, which is referred to as the target. The relation between a reference point and a target is conceived of as one of ‘‘sequenced mental access’’ (Langacker 2003: 92): mental contact is first made with the reference point (due to its relative cognitive salience) and subsequently with the target that is being linked to it, via the reference point.1

1. The linguistic notion of reference point in this sense reflects a phenomenon that is ubiquitous in our daily experience (Langacker 1993: 5), viz. the fact that it is easier to locate and identify an object in relation to another, more salient, object. For instance, if one is enjoying a panoramic view of a city and wants to locate (or point out to someone else) a specific building, one might resort to locating a more easily visible or recognizable building first and using it as a reference point, by tracing a path from it to the ‘‘target’’ building.

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions


Langacker (1990 and onwards) proposes that possessive NPs should be analyzed as constructions motivated by the reference-point relation. More specifically, within a possessive NP, the possessor (i.e. the referent of the genitive or possessive determiner) functions as a reference point for the possessee (i.e. the referent of the whole possessive NP), which is the target that ultimately needs to be identified. Langacker (1993: 8–9) argues that the relation types that define the prototypes of the category of possession, i.e. ownership relations (e.g. my house), kinship relations (e.g. John’s cousin) and part-whole (especially body part) relations (e.g. her hand ) are ‘‘conceptual archetypes, each of which saliently incorporates a referencepoint relationship’’ (Langacker 1993: 8; 2003: 91–92). In each case, that is, the entity functioning as the possessor is a natural reference point for the possessee – for instance, one normally identifies a body part in relation to its ‘‘owner’’ and a person as a cousin in relation to a certain relative. When a possessive NP is processed, the hearer enters into mental contact with the possessee via the possessor, which (s)he has previously made mental contact with. For example, upon processing the possessive NP Gregg’s suitcase, the hearer will first make mental contact with the possessor, ‘‘Gregg’’, and subsequently identify the ‘‘suitcase’’ which the whole possessive NP ultimately refers to as the one associated with Gregg (e.g. the one he owns or is using). The reference-point analysis can account for the grounding function of genitives and possessive determiners. Langacker (1991: 175) analyzes them as atypical grounding predications that ground an instance indirectly: possessive NPs establish mental contact with the possessee instance via the possessor, which itself has direct (definite or indefinite) grounding. In this way, the possessor functions as a kind of ‘‘anchor’’ grounding the possessee.2 An entity is chosen as a reference point for another when it has ‘‘a certain cognitive salience, either intrinsic or contextually determined’’ (Langacker 1993: 6). The reference-point relation is therefore an asymmetrical one: the reference point starts out as a cognitively salient and accessible entity and provides access to initially less salient and accessible entities. Furthermore, the reference-point relation is dynamic: the reference point is ‘‘activated’’ (i.e. mental contact is made with it) first, but

2. For a more general analysis of possessive NPs as anchoring constructions see, for instance, Rosenbach (2002) and Ariel (2004).


Peter Willemse

once the target has been singled out by the hearer, it in turn becomes the focus of the hearer’s attention, while the original reference point recedes into the background. Once activated, the target may even come to function as a reference point for other entities.3 The inherent logic of the reference-point relation as an asymmetrical construal has led to a number of predictions concerning prototypical properties of reference points and targets in possessive NPs. Langacker’s analysis of possessive NPs as reference-point constructions is strongly focused on the NP-internal relation between reference point and target as a relation of identification. It elucidates the exact way in which possessive NPs anchor entities by linking a less salient and less easily accessible target entity to a cognitively salient and easily accessible reference point. On the basis of this analysis, Langacker (1991: 175) predicts that reference points (i.e. possessor NPs) will overwhelmingly have definite grounding. Although grounding through an indefinite possessor is possible, Langacker argues that it is ‘‘far from optimal’’ (1991: 175), since indefinitely grounded possessors do not involve ‘‘pre-established mental contact with a unique instance of [a] category’’ (1991: 175). Definite possessors, on the other hand, do involve pre-established mental contact with a specific instance, which is consequently eminently suitable for reference-point function, which is to give access to another entity. Because of the focus on the NP-internal reference-point relation, the embedding of (nominal) reference-point constructions in discourse is not explored systematically in Langacker’s account. Taylor (1996), who further develops Langacker’s (1993, 1995) reference-point analysis, specifically in relation to pre-nominal possessives (i.e. NPs with a genitive or possessive determiner), also analyzes prototypical discourse properties of possessive NPs. The possessor (reference point) and possessee (target) are thus also considered as discourse referents, embedded in the discourse context in which the possessive NP is used. Taylor (1996: 210–218) derives a number of prototypical characteristics of possessive NPs from the inherent logic of the reference-point relation. He summarizes this inherent logic as follows:

3. This may even lead to ‘‘reference-point chains’’, in which each target in turn functions as a reference point for the next target, as in the possessive NP Tom’s girlfriend’s cousin’s mother (Langacker 1993: 27; see also Taylor 1996: 230–232).

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions


On the reference-point analysis, the possessor is invoked to facilitate identification of the possessee. It is evident that the reference point, by definition almost, needs to be more easily accessible than the target. Were the target as easily accessible as the reference point, there would be no point in using the reference point for its identification. And if the reference point were less accessible than the target, it would be perverse indeed to invoke a less accessible entity to aid the identification of a more accessible entity. (Taylor 1996: 210)

Taylor further argues (with reference to Chafe 1976) that one way in which the reference point may be an accessible entity, is by being a given entity in the discourse. Discourse-given entities are highly suitable for the reference point function, since they are accessible in the hearer’s consciousness and thus available as ‘‘anchoring points’’. Therefore, entities recently mentioned in the preceding discourse will make good possessors. Discourse-givenness is further associated with other characteristics, such as definiteness, pronominal reference and topicality, which leads Taylor (1996: 212) to predict the following characteristics for possessor NPs: (a) Possessor nominals will refer to entities mentioned in recently preceding text. (b) Discourse, or text topics, will tend to be amongst the preferred referents of possessor nominals. (c) Possessor nominals will be overwhelmingly definite. (d) Pronominal forms will be frequent. (Taylor 1996: 212) On the other hand, Taylor predicts that possessee referents are ‘‘maximally di¤erentiated from possessors’’ (1996: 218) with regard to their prototypical discourse status: they are said to ‘‘overwhelmingly introduce new, previously unnamed entities into the discourse’’ (1996: 217). This also follows from the inherent logic of the reference-point relation, according to which it only makes sense to anchor an entity to a reference point if that entity is not by itself fully accessible. Taylor’s (1996) account is interesting because it opens up a discourse perspective on nominal reference-point constructions by addressing the question of how referents of possessive NPs are (typically) embedded in the discourse context. This discourse perspective is missing in many accounts of possessive NPs, which merely analyze them as definite NPs and leave it at that (cf., e.g., Quirk et al. 1985: 326; Biber et al. 1999: 271; Lyons 1999: 23–26; Huddleston and Pullum 2002: 467). However, Taylor (1996) derives the prototypical characteristics rather aprioristically from the inherent ‘‘asymmetrical’’ logic of the reference-point relation,


Peter Willemse

which dictates that the reference point is normally a mentally accessible entity that serves to give mental access to an initially less accessible entity. This logic is then reinterpreted in relation to the status of the reference point and the target as referents in the discourse. It is predicted that possessors are typically discourse-given (hence more accessible) referents that anchor typically discourse-new (hence less accessible) possessee referents. While this prediction is largely borne out for possessor referents, which are indeed frequently discourse-given and hence referred to by a definite possessor NP (see Taylor 1991, Ariel 2004; cf. also Martin 1992),4 the claim is much more problematic for possessee referents. An analysis of possessive NPs in extensive discourse contexts reveals that the possessee referent is in the majority of cases not a completely new referent, but rather a referent which has a certain degree of givenness or identifiability in the discourse. In the next section, I will therefore present the results of a corpus study5 of the discourse status of possessee referents, based on the analysis of possessive NPs in extensive discourse contexts. This analysis reveals that the possessee referent, rather than being by default a new referent, may be embedded in the discourse in a number of di¤erent ways and frequently maintains a significant relation with (an) element(s) in the preceding discourse context that contributes to its identifiability in a given context.

3. A discourse perspective on possessive NPs Since the possessee referent does not receive direct definite or indefinite grounding, but is only indirectly grounded by the genitive or possessive determiner, its discourse status is a complex matter. In order to uncover it, possessive NPs must be studied in extensive discourse contexts, which make it possible to trace the possessee referent’s givenness or newness throughout the discourse context preceding the possessive NP. For the study presented here, 400 instances of possessive NPs were studied in discourse contexts of around 500 words preceding the mention of the possessive NP. Table 1 details the composition of the data set of 400 instances of possessive NPs that was used in the analysis:
4. At the same time, it has to be recognized that indefinite possessor NPs (i.e. indefinite genitives) are by no means anomalous; see Willemse (2005 and 2007b). 5. The discussion in section 3 is a summary of the study which is presented more elaborately in Willemse (2005) and Willemse, Davidse and Heyvaert (forthcoming).

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions Table 1. Data set NP type Genitive þ N Total Genitive its þ N their þ N my þ N her þ N Total Possessive Det. Total 50 [30] þ [20] 50 50 # of instances 200 Source COBUILD Bank of English (CB)6 200


Lancaster-Oslo-Bergen corpus (LOB)7 [LOB] þ [CB] CB CB 200 400

The aim of the analysis was to examine the referential relations of the possessee referent to the preceding discourse context. This involved analyzing the way in which the possessee referent is embedded in the discourse context as it were ‘‘independently’’ of being linked up to a possessor within the possessive NP. For example, the possessive NP the jury’s verdict in (1) refers to two discourse referents: the possessor, ‘‘jury’’, and the possessee, ‘‘(the jury’s) verdict’’. (1) Mr Ashby, a former name who su¤ered substantial losses at Lloyd’s, had sought damages over an article in January last year alleging that he shared a double bed with another man on holiday in Goa. And when the jury found against him in a majority verdict, he put his head in his hands and wept. [. . .] After the verdict, the newspaper’s solicitor, Alistair Brett, said he would expect the present editor, John Witherow, to see the case as a ‘tragic family problem’ and be sensible about what to do now. [. . .] Senior Tories expressed their determination to help him after the verdict and launched a campaign ‘to keep him buoyant’ that was immediately evident in his reception in the Commons. [. . .] He has 28 days to appeal against the jury’s verdict and it is then likely to take up to nine months for his costs to be determined by taxation proceedings. (CB)
6. The COBUILD Bank of English corpus is jointly owned by HarperCollins Publishers and the University of Birmingham. Examples taken from this corpus will be marked ‘‘(CB)’’ throughout the text. They are reproduced with the kind permission of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. 7. Examples taken from the Lancaster-Oslo-Bergen corpus will be marked ‘‘(LOB)’’ throughout the text.


Peter Willemse

The possessor referent has been mentioned in the preceding discourse context and is hence referred to with the definite genitive the jury’s. The possessee ‘‘verdict’’, i.e. the referent of the whole possessive NP, is linked to this possessor, which serves as a reference point for its identification, within the possessive NP. However, this referent is itself also given in the discourse: it is introduced first by the indefinite NP (in bold) a majority verdict, subsequently taken up again by the definite NP the verdict, and is then referred back to by the underlined possessive NP. Thus, the possessive NP in (1) does not conform to the prototype predicted by Taylor (1996): rather than linking a new possessee to a given possessor, it refers back to a given possessee (and links it to a given possessor). In other words, the possessive NP in (1) is coreferential with another NP in the preceding discourse. As will become clear from the discussion below, in the majority of the cases, the possessee has a certain degree of discourse-givenness, either because it has been mentioned explicitly in the preceding context or because it can be inferred. The possessee is strictly new, i.e. introduced for the first time by the possessive NP, in a relatively small portion of the data. In the cases where it is not strictly new, it is not always fully given, as was the case in example (1). Rather, it may link up with the preceding discourse in a number of di¤erent ways, which involve di¤erent degrees of givenness or identifiability. Thus, the analysis of the data shows not only, against Taylor’s (1996) claims, that possessee referents may be given in discourse, but also that it is important to recognize a variety of discourse statuses in between fully discourse-given (coreferential possessive NP) and fully discourse-new (possessive NP introducing a new referent).8 In other words, the analysis will explore the ‘‘grey area’’ of the cline of discourse statuses between given and new. In total, five categories are distinguished which form a continuum from discourse-given to discourse-new; Table 2 lists these five categories. In the remaining part of this section, I will discuss each category in detail and give the quantitative results.9

8. As opposed to the black-and-white distinction between ‘‘given’’ and ‘‘new’’ which is sometimes found in the literature (cf., e.g., Barker 2000). 9. A small number of tokens in my sets of data were left out of the classification, since the possessive NP in these cases functioned as part of a fixed expression (often a prepositional phrase). This had as a consequence that the referential potential of the possessive NP has not been (fully) actualized, and that the

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions Table 2. Discourse statuses of possessee referents coreferential text reference bridging the possessee referent has been mentioned in the preceding discourse and is referred back to the possessee referent is a text referent which is construed on the basis of the preceding discourse the possessee referent is identifiable based on its association with a preceding referent or with a scenario in the preceding context


anchoring new

the possessee referent is ‘‘anchored’’ to (an) element(s) in the preceding discourse, which reduces its ‘‘newness’’ the possessee referent is newly introduced by the possessive NP

3.1. The possessive NP is COREFERENTIAL with another NP in the preceding discourse This first category was already illustrated by example (1) above, in which the possessive NP the jury’s verdict refers back to a referent which had been introduced in the preceding discourse by another NP, a majority verdict, with which it is, consequently, coreferential. The occurrence of a relatively small, but certainly not insignificant number of such cases clearly indicates that Taylor’s (1996) claim that possessee referents are overwhelmingly new referents can only have validity as a prediction of a tendency. Another example is the following, in which the relation between possessor and possessee is explicitly established in the preceding context (Lawyers acting for dr. Al-Masari) before the two referents are linked in the possessive NP:
entities designated by the NP did not participate in the referential relations that are set up in the discourse. Examples are the following: (i) If Laurie noticed she chose not to comment, but she was curious in her way. (CB) (ii) In a stern reply, he reminded him that ‘Our troops are elated and confident; those on the enemy’s side cannot but be depressed.’ (CB) For each category, the number of data left out of the classification was as follows: genitive (8); its (2); their (4); my (4); her (4). The percentages in the tables are calculated on the basis of the number of tokens included in the classification.


Peter Willemse

(2) Britain’s leading arms manufacturers secretly liaised with ministers, civil servants and the CIA on ways to silence the Saudi opposition leader Muhammed al-Masari, it was claimed last night. [. . .] Lawyers acting for Dr. al-Masari were preparing yesterday to appeal against his removal. [. . .] Dr. al-Masari’s lawyers also allege that the home secretary decided to push ahead with the removal of the dissident in spite of a written pledge by the Home O‰ce that his application to stay in Britain would be considered substantively. (CB) When the possessive NP is coreferential with a preceding NP, the possessee is, in Chafe’s (1994) terminology, an ‘‘active’’ referent, i.e. a referent which is given in the discourse and therefore readily available in the addressee’s consciousness. In addition to the possessor referent, which, in the case of a definite genitive or a possessive pronoun, is explicitly marked as being retrievable10, the possessee may thus be retrievable from the preceding discourse context as well. The possessive NP may even form part of a longer ‘‘reference chain’’ (Martin 1992) in the discourse, i.e. it may be one NP in a sequence of di¤erent NPs referring to the same referent, as was illustrated by example (1) above. Table 3 shows the proportion of coreferential or given possessee referents in my data:
Table 3. Results for the category coreferential data set Genitive [CB] Total Genitive its þ N [LOB] their þ N [LOB] my þ N [CB] her þ N [CB] Total Poss. Det. Grand total # of tokens 28/192 28/192 1/48 4/46 8/46 3/46 16/186 44/378 percentage 14.58% 14.58% 2.08% 8.70% 17.39% 6.52% 8.60% 11.64%

10. Cf. the analysis of definite NPs as ‘‘phoric’’ in Halliday and Hasan’s (1976) and Martin’s (1992) work.

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions


Coreferential possessives do not constitute a very large category; they account for only about 10% of the data. Still, in a comprehensive account of the discourse status of possessive NPs, this coreferential type is a nonnegligible category which evidences the potential of possessive NPs to refer to given referents in the discourse. Most importantly, the fact that possessive NPs may be used coreferentially in discourse has important implications for the reference-point model in its application to possessive constructions, and underlines the importance of studying the discourse context in which possessive NPs, as reference-point constructions, occur, rather than treating them as isolated syntagms. While the reference-point relation motivates the construction at a schematic level, it does not give the entire picture. In actual usage, the reference-point mechanism can be adapted to specific discourse needs and used for particular ‘‘rhetorical’’ purposes. Thus, the use of a possessive NP (i.e. a reference-point construction) to refer to a given referent will usually be motivated by the desire to ensure non-ambiguity of the referent in contexts where there is potential confusion. For example, in (2), the possessive construal makes it clear that reference is to those lawyers acting for al-Masari, and not, for instance, to lawyers working for the opposition. Another type of ‘‘rhetorical’’ use of the reference-point mechanism of possessive NPs is found in coreferential possessives which employ a di¤erent type specification to refer to a given referent. This may be a synonymous type specification or it may (and often does) entail a more or less drastic recategorization of the referent. Such cases are classified as coreferential because, despite the use of a di¤erent type specification (di¤erent lexical realization), they set up a referential identity relation with the surrounding discourse, since the same referent is referred to several times.11 It is interesting to note that when a di¤erent type specification is used, it often incorporates additional contextually specified information about the referent. For instance, in (3) the underwear being referred to is first described as knickers whereas in the possessive NP, the type specification silk panties is used, which incorporates the information that the garment in question is made of silk, as indicated in the preceding context.

` 11. Blanche-Benveniste and Chervel (1966) describe such cases as anaphore infidele ` (‘unfaithful anaphora’), as opposed to anaphore fidele (‘faithful anaphora’), the latter being restricted to cases in which the referent is not recategorized.


Peter Willemse

(3) On Monday, Christie’s in New York is to sell Greta Garbo’s knickers. They are described with proper dignity. ‘A pair of silk, cream-coloured ladies’ briefs (. . .) In fact they are a souvenir of what Christie’s delicately call ‘a night of romance’ between Garbo and the Mexican star Roland Gilbert. (. . .) When they parted, Roland gave Garbo the gold ring he was wearing and was given the actress’s silk panties in exchange. (CB) Such incorporation of contextual information confirms the idea that reference is not only about referring ‘‘back’’ to the previous textual mention of a referent, but rather about activating a mental representation of the referent, which naturally evolves and is enriched as the discourse progresses and new information is added.12 Additionally, the use of a di¤erent type specification to refer to a referent which is already present in the discourse can also be used to categorize that referent according to the subjective evaluation of the speaker. This is the case in the following example, where the referent ‘Bond’ is classified as a cardboard booby: (4) With the Bond books, as his friend Ernest L. Cuneo wrote, Fleming’s ‘objective was the making of money’ and he succeeded. But it wasn’t until after his death in August 1964 that Bondmania erupted and the money really began to flow. Film was responsible. Goldfinger, the third Bond movie, was released in December of that year, and with it was founded an industry that would turn Fleming’s cardboard booby into a product that 30 years later rivals Mickey Mouse in terms of global penetration. (CB) This kind of subjective recategorization by the speaker makes it particularly clear that the reference-point mechanism present in possessive NPs interacts with the surrounding discourse to categorize referents and can serve a variety of rhetorical purposes. 3.2. The possessee referent is a TEXT REFERENT construed from the preceding discourse context Text reference has been described by Halliday and Hasan (1976: 52–53, 66–67) as a special type of reference which can be realized by the pronoun it and by the demonstratives this and that. Text reference involves these
12. See, among others, Emmott (1997: chapter 7) and Brown and Yule (1983: 201–204).

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions


elements referring to ‘‘any identifiable portion of text’’ rather than to ‘‘an entity that is encoded linguistically as a participant’’ (Halliday and Hasan 1976: 52). More specifically, it concerns cases such as the following: (5) [The Queen said:] ‘Curtsey while you’re thinking what to say. It saves time.’ Alice wondered a little at this, but she was too much in awe of the Queen to disbelieve it. (qtd. in Halliday and Hasan 1976: 52) The first pronoun it refers back to curtsey[ing] while you’re thinking what to say, while the second it refers to [the fact] that curtsey[ing] while you’re thinking what to say saves time. Both pronouns refer to a discourse referent which has been ‘‘built up’’ over a stretch of preceding text rather than to a previous nominal mention of a referent; the referent of the first it is a phenomenon in the extralinguistic world, whereas that of the second it is ‘‘metatextual’’13 in the sense that it is a linguistically ‘‘processed’’ version of this phenomenon (as a fact). In contrast to Halliday and Hasan’s (1976) strict definition of text reference, I use the term to denote any kind of reference in which an NP designates a referent which has been ‘‘built up’’ over a stretch of text in the preceding discourse context. Table 4 shows the quantitative results for this category. The number of tokens for this category is relatively small in my corpus. Still, the cases which occur shed an interesting light on possessive NPs, since they reveal their potential to categorize complex referents built up over longer stretches of text. Again, this demonstrates the versatility of possessive NPs as reference-point constructions in interaction with the surrounding discourse. Two types of text reference can be distinguished. On the one hand, there are cases in which the possessive NP contains a metatextual type specification, i.e. in which the possessive NP summarizes and categorizes something which has been described over a stretch of text in the preceding discourse as a semiotic, i.e. a linguistically processed, phenomenon. Possessive NPs containing a metatextual type specification often (but not necessarily) contain typical ‘‘semiotic nouns’’, i.e. nouns which designate linguistically processed phenomena, such as decision, claim, remark, etc. An example of this is the following:
13. In the terminology of Halliday and Hasan (1976), reference to a linguistically processed phenomenon or ‘‘metaphenomenon’’ is extended reference, while the term text reference is limited to reference to extralinguistic phenomena. However, we will use the term text reference in a broad sense, to cover both types of reference.


Peter Willemse

Table 4. Results for the category text reference # of tokens data set Genitive [CB] Total Genitive its þ N [LOB] their þ N [LOB] my þ N [CB] her þ N [CB] Total Poss. Det. Grand total metatextual T.S. 22/192 22/192 0/48 4/46 1/46 5/46 6/186 16/378 summative T.S. 12/192 12/192 0/48 3/46 0/46 1/46 4/186 16/378 Percentage metatextual T.S. 5.21% 5.21% 0% 2.17% 2.17% 8.70% 3.22% 4.23% summative T.S. 6.25% 6.25% 0% 6.52% 0% 2.17% 2.15% 4.23%

(6) Government cuts in housing grants will lead to huge rent rises, causing thousands of Black pensioners to be worse o¤, claims a Labour MP. The Government has called on housing associations to raise more of their funds through the private sector and announced that housing association grants will be cut next year. John Battle, Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, warned that Black pensioners will be badly hit by increasing housing association rents if Government grant cuts go ahead. (. . .) If this report is taken together with the possible threat to funding of smaller housing associations meeting the specific needs of those in the Black community, the e¤ect on Black elders in housing association homes will be catastrophic, Mr Battle said. Mr Battle, who addressed the National Conference on Housing Black and Minority Ethnic Elders last week, said added rents will soar, hitting pensioners already facing huge hikes in their fuel bills as a result of the VAT increases already announced in the Budget. A National Federation of Black Housing Organisations spokeswoman echoed Mr Battle’s sentiments. (CB) The noun sentiments in the possessive NP Mr. Battle’s sentiments refers back to the opinions and ideas of John Battle, which have been repre-

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions


sented explicitly through indirect speech in the preceding discourse. Note that the possessive NP does not only refer back to what has been stated in the text, but also categorizes (parts of ) the preceding text as a text referent. Thus, a possessive NP realizing text reference not only refers back to a preceding stretch of discourse, but also involves the active construal of a text referent in the sense that it categorizes and ‘‘labels’’ the text to which it refers. On the other hand, there are cases in which the possessive NP summarizes and categorizes something which has been described in the preceding discourse as a non-semiotic phenomenon, i.e. as a phenomenon (event, state, activity, etc.) in reality that has not been linguistically processed. In such cases I will speak of a summative type specification (cf. Takahashi 1997: 63). Possessive NPs containing a summative type specification generally require some inferencing on the part of the addressee. An example is the following: (7) One BAE insider said last week that there could be no formal discussions until Daimler and the Dutch government had resolved the problems of Fokker, the ailing short-haul aircraft maker that will collapse unless it receives an emergency cash injection of almost £1.4 billion. (. . .) But Fokker’s crisis is only one contributor to the problems of Daimler-Benz Aerospace, which will this year see a big increase in losses which totalled almost £200 m last year. (CB) The underlined possessive NP in this example refers to a state of a¤airs in the extralinguistic reality (Fokker’s crisis), not to a metatextual label. It summarizes and categorizes what has been described in the preceding discourse. The information that Fokker needs a vital cash injection in order not to collapse is categorized as a crisis (which requires the addressee to make the inference that for a business, such a situation qualifies as a crisis). As has become clear from the examples, text reference involves a fair amount of inferencing on the part of the addressee. It is therefore a separate category in the classification of discourse statuses, distinct from coreferential possessives in which the possessee refers back to a preceding nominal realization of a referent. However, on the continuum of discourse statuses, text reference is right next to coreferential possessives, since it involves a possessee referent corresponding directly (in terms of identification) to a stretch of text in the preceding discourse.


Peter Willemse

3.3. The possessee referent is identifiable through BRIDGING The notion of bridging which I want to use as a starting point to describe this particular discourse status needs some preliminary clarification. It is widely discussed in the literature, where it has received a number of di¤erent interpretations and definitions. It is generally characterized, however, in terms of indirect referent retrieval. Martin (1992: 124), for instance, applies the term bridging14 to NPs which ‘‘presume information that is implied rather than directly retrievable’’. Normally, bridging involves definite reference to a referent which is being introduced (i.e. has not been mentioned before) in the discourse, based on the relation with another referent or element in the preceding discourse context. Bridging is therefore an indirect type of reference: the referent of a bridging NP is identifiable through its specific relation with another element. That other element is usually another referent realized by a preceding NP, as in (8): (8) Peter has bought a new car. There is much more room in the boot than there was in his old car. In this example, the referent ‘‘boot’’ is realized by a definite NP, the boot, and is hence coded as being identifiable. However, assuming that this is a context in which the referent is being mentioned for the first time and cannot be identified in the extralinguistic situation, the identifiability stems from its relation with another referent in the preceding discourse context, viz. the referent of the indefinite NP a new car. In this case, the relation between these two referents is a part-whole relationship (cars generally have boots). Importantly, it is a general (or ‘‘stereotypical’’; Charolles and Kleiber 1999: 307; Charolles 1999: 314–315; Kleiber 2003: 46; Epstein 1999: 55) conceptual relationship between the two entities that motivates bridging: the part-whole relation between ‘‘boot’’ and ‘‘car’’ applies not only to the two specific referents intended here, but holds for boots and cars in general. The ‘processing’ of bridging reference thus requires some

14. The term bridging was coined by Haviland and Clark (1974). Di¤erent authors have used di¤erent terms to describe it, e.g. associative anaphora (Hawkins 1978; Cornish 1986; Kleiber 1999, 2003), inferrables (Prince 1981; Gundel, Hedberg and Zacharski 1993; Gundel 1996), indirect anaphora (Quirk et al. 1985; Erku and Gundel 1987; Epstein 1999) and missing links (Brown ¨ and Yule 1983).

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions


inferencing15 on the part of the addressee, who needs to retrieve the conceptual relation which forms the basis for the identification of the referent from background knowledge (cf. Ariel 1990: 185), while the role of the immediate discourse context is to provide an element which activates this inference (a ‘‘trigger’’, Hawkins 1978: 123). When a bridging relation holds between two referents, it may be motivated by one of several types of conceptual relations. Generally speaking, the basis for bridging is some sort of strong associational relationship between entities, one of which is strong enough to allow identification of one entity on the basis of an earlier mention of the other, associated entity. Part-whole relationships form a strong basis for referent identification, as evidenced by their frequent occurrence as the motivating relation for bridging (see Martin 1992; Kleiber 1996), as illustrated by example (8). However, more general relations of a strong and habitual association between two entities may also motivate bridging (cf., e.g., Du Bois 1980: 236; Brown and Yule 1983: 257; Fraurud 1996: 71–72). In general, it is possible to retrieve the identity of an entity which is closely associated with another, previously mentioned entity, even when the association does not amount to an actual part-whole relationship sensu stricto, as in the following example: (9) He was very interested in buying that old house up the road, but the owner wouldn’t sell. Although an owner is of course not a part of a house, it is an entity typically associated with a house, which can hence be introduced with the definite NP the owner. The application of the notion of bridging to possessive NPs is an extension of its traditional use, since bridging has traditionally been limited to definite reference by means of an NP grounded by a definite article. In the latter case a clear ‘bridging inference’ is involved: the definite article signals that the referent of the NP which it grounds is presumed to be identifiable to the addressee, and for the addressee to identify it, the link with the indirect antecedent needs to be retrieved. The possessive realiza15. Note, however, that the notion of bridging as we use it here is restricted to reference relations in which the (indirect) identifiability of a referent is at stake. It is thus narrower than the more general concept of pragmatic bridging inferences which is found in the literature on inferencing (e.g. Van de Velde 1992).


Peter Willemse

tion, by contrast, makes explicit that there is a link between two entities (i.e. the possessor and the possessee), and is thus in a sense an alternative for bridging reference.16 The notion of bridging can nonetheless be said to be relevant to the analysis of possessives, but in a very specific way, viz. with respect to the way in which the possessee referent may relate to elements outside of the possessive NP, i.e. to other elements in the preceding discourse context. As in non-possessive (i.e. ‘‘classic’’) instances of bridging, a possessive may refer to an entity which is conceptually closely connected with an element in the preceding context and is thus inferable from this element, i.e. identifiable on the basis of the existing conceptual relation. Using Chafe’s (1994) terminology concerning ‘activation states’, such referents can be considered ‘‘semiactive’’ (i.e. neither fully active nor inactive) and accessible to the addressee: ‘‘a referent may be accessible because it is directly associated with information that is or was fully active’’ (Chafe 1994: 87). The information that is or was fully active is in the case of bridging the information which forms the basis for the inference and which is explicitly stated in the preceding discourse. Consider the following example: (10) The Leviathan of Parsonstown, said to be the world’s largest telescope, was built in 1845 by the 3rd Earl of Rosse at Birr Castle, Co O¤aly. It will form the centrepiece of Ireland’s new Historic Science Centre which will be based at the castle. (. . .) The rest of the scientific centre, which will include an exhibition of the astronomical work of the 3rd and 4th Earls and scientific galleries in the castle’s moat, will be completed by the end of the century. (CB) The possessee referent of the possessive NP, ‘‘moat’’, maintains a relation of strong association with the referent ‘‘castle’’ which is mentioned in the preceding context (a castle is very often surrounded by a moat). On the basis of this conceptual relation, it is conceivable that at the moment when the possessive NP refers to ‘‘moat’’, this referent is immediately identifiable, in the sense that it can be inferred from the referent ‘‘castle’’ on the basis of general knowledge of the relation between the two entities. It

16. I am not claiming that there is free variation between the two possible realizations of a referent. Di¤erent semantic and pragmatic restrictions apply to possessives and bridging reference, i.e. many instances of bridging have no possessive alternative and vice versa (see also Willemse 2007a).

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions


is even conceivable that the referent ‘moat’ would be referred to with a definite NP rather than a possessive: (10’) (. . .) an exhibition of the astronomical work of the 3rd and 4th Earls and scientific galleries in the moat (. . .)

The latter point is crucial to the analysis proposed here. I consider definiteness to be a criterion for bridging in general, i.e. for an NP to have bridging reference, it must be definite. The definite article signals that the instance referred to is assumed to be identifiable for the addressee. Indefinite NPs, by contrast, do not code the identity of their referent as recoverable (cf. Langacker 2001: 167). Given that bridging is considered here as a type of reference in which the referent is retrievable from the discourse context (i.e. as a ‘‘phoric’’ relation; cf. Martin 1992: 124), only definite NPs can be analyzed in terms of bridging. An analysis in terms of bridging of a possessee referent is, then, justified when there is reason to believe that this referent can be inferred from an element in the preceding discourse, based on a conceptual connection with that preceding element. For example, in (10) above there is reason to believe that the referent ‘moat’ is identifiable based on the previous mention of the referent ‘castle’, because it is an entity typically associated with the latter. However, the ultimate proof that the referent in question is identifiable lies in the possibility to refer to it by means of an NP grounded with the definite article, since this is normally possible for fully inferable referents. Thus, the criterion used to categorize a possessee referent as identifiable based on bridging boils down to the question: can the referent also be introduced with an NP grounded by a definite article? In the example of the castle’s moat, an analysis in terms of bridging is plausible, since the referent ‘moat’ could also be referred to by means of a definite articleNP (the moat) on account of it being inferable from the referent ‘castle’ in the preceding context. Table 5 shows the quantitative results for this category in the data. A question which immediately springs to mind in this connection is why the speaker chooses to use a possessive NP, rather than an NP grounded by the definite article, to refer to a referent which is inferable from the discourse context. In other words, why choose an explicit ‘‘anchoring’’ of the possessee to its possessor (by means of a possessive NP) when the latter has been mentioned already and in principle allows the possessee to be inferred? There are a number of possible pragmatic factors which motivate the use of a possessive in such contexts. In general, these have to do with the speaker aiming at greater clarity: the inferential


Peter Willemse

Table 5. Results for the category bridging data set Genitive [CB] Total Genitive its þ N [LOB] their þ N [LOB] my þ N [CB] her þ N [CB] Total Poss. Det. Grand total # of tokens 27/192 27/192 23/48 4/46 3/46 1/46 31/186 58/378 percentage 14.06% 14.06% 47.92% 8.70% 6.52% 2.17% 16.67% 15.34%

relation or ‘‘bridge’’ that is there in the discourse is made explicit by the possessive NP (cf. Willemse (2007a) for a detailed discussion). Speakers thus seem to choose the possessive in order to avoid potential confusion about the antecedent, as illustrated by (10), in which there are four clauses between the nearest mention of the referent ‘‘castle’’ and the introduction of the referent ‘‘moat’’, so that the link between ‘‘moat’’ and ‘‘castle’’ might not be su‰ciently salient at the moment when ‘‘moat’’ is mentioned. However, the data show that a clear motivation for the use of a possessive NP to refer to an entity which could have been referred to by bridging is certainly not always present. Consider, for instance, the following example: (11) But even this hardly prepared one for the spectacle that the house itself presented on closer view. It stood, as it were, knee-deep in weeds – like some forlorn prehistoric creature in an edible pasture. Its grey surfaces were flaked and cracked; its woodwork was denuded of paint; many of the lower windows showed tattered curtains pulled awry, and some of the upper ones lacked entire panes of glass. (. . .) If challenged to date it, Appleby would have said 1718; if challenged to the name of the builder, he would have said James Gibbs. But now it spoke either of madness – which, indeed, was what was attributed to its owner – or of penury. (LOB) All of the underlined NPs can be analyzed as realizing bridging reference, since they name parts (surfaces, woodwork, windows) or associated

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions


human referents (builder, owner). However, two of them are anaphorically bridged, i.e. referred to with an NP grounded with the definite article, whereas the others are realized by means of a possessive NP. The antecedent is clear for all of these referents, and no obvious other di¤erences between e.g. lower windows (referred to by means of bridging) and woodwork (referred to with a possessive NP), or between builder (bridging) and owner (possessive), can account for their di¤erent realization. It seems, then, that in many cases the choice of one construal or the other is a matter of personal choice on the part of the speaker. What is the import of the analysis proposed here to the overall analysis of the discourse status of possessee referents? I argue that when the possessee referent is identifiable via bridging, it cannot be analyzed as entirely new to the discourse. For instance, although strictly speaking, the referent ‘‘moat’’ in (10) is being introduced into the discourse (i.e. mentioned for the first time) by the possessive NP, it is identifiable based on its conceptual (part-whole) relation with ‘‘castle’’, which is explicitly mentioned earlier on in the discourse. However, since it has no direct antecedent (i.e. the referent ‘‘moat’’ has itself not been explicitly mentioned before) but only an indirect antecedent, it is not strictly discourse-given (i.e. coreferential) either. Moreover, in the hierarchy of discourse statuses it is below text reference (i.e. closer to ‘‘newness’’ than text reference). The latter type of reference, as was remarked above, involves a referent which directly corresponds to and categorizes a preceding stretch of text. Bridging, by contrast, is essentially indirect: it involves inference of a conceptual relation which holds between two di¤erent referents, between an event or activity and a referent which is involved in it, or between a scenario or frame and a referent which fulfils a role in it. However, since text reference as well as bridging involve some inferencing on the part of the addressee, in order to identify the referent concerned, the boundary between the two categories should not be seen as absolute. Still, ‘‘core cases’’ of text reference (e.g. metatextual type specifications) are quite di¤erent from ‘‘core cases’’ of bridging (e.g. bridging based on part-whole relations between entity referents). The former involve direct correspondence in terms of identification; the latter, by contrast, involve only an indirect link with the preceding discourse, via the conceptual relation which forms the basis for bridging (e.g. the part-whole relation). In any case, the use of possessive NPs to refer to ‘‘bridged’’ entities again shows that the reference-point mechanism is used in interaction with the surrounding discourse and may fulfil di¤erent functions adapted to the specific requirements of the discourse context.


Peter Willemse

3.4. The possessee referent maintains an ANCHORING relation with the preceding discourse This fourth category forms a transitional category between category 3.3 of possessee referents identifiable by bridging and the category 3.5 of new possessee referents that are being introduced in the discourse. It contains cases in which there is partial non-newness of the possessee referent based on an inferential, but non-bridging, relationship with the preceding discourse. In these cases, the use of the definite article to introduce the possessee into the discourse is impossible or only marginally possible, which indicates that the referent cannot be identified to the same extent as for a bridging relationship. Despite this, however, there is undeniably an inferential link with the preceding discourse, so that the possessee referents in these cases cannot be classified as entirely new to the discourse. Specifically, two kinds of inferential relations reduce the newness of the referent based on an earlier mention of another referent: on the one hand, body part-relations with human ‘possessors’ and on the other hand, kinship and other interhuman relations. Table 6 gives an overview of the number of cases in which the possessee maintains a relation of ‘anchoring’ with the discourse context. Firstly, human body parts cannot normally be introduced with a definite article-NP based on the preceding mention of the ‘‘possessor’’ (cf. Du Bois

Table 6. Results for the category anchoring relation
# of tokens data set ‘body part’ 10/192 10/192 0/48 8/46 9/46 15/46 32/186 42/378 ‘inter human’ 11/192 11/192 0/48 2/46 13/46 8/46 23/186 34/378 other 26/192 26/192 14/48 9/46 5/46 3/46 31/186 57/378 ‘body part’ 5.21% 5.21% 0% 17.39% 19.57% 32.61% 17.20% 11.11% percentage ‘inter human’ 5.73% 5.73% 0% 4.34% 28.26% 17.39% 12.37% 8.99% other 13.54% 13.54% 29.17% 19.57% 10.87% 6.52% 16.67% 15.08%

Genitive [CB] Total Genitive its þ N [LOB] their þ N [LOB] my þ N [CB] her þ N [CB] Total Poss. Det. Grand total

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions


1980: 241); realization with a possessive NP is obligatory. This is illustrated by the following example: (12) (a) (b) She is on sick leave because she has broken her leg. *She is on sick leave because she has broken the leg.

However, certain constructions do allow for a body part to be introduced with a definite NP: (13) The burglar hit John on the head with a baseball bat. Of course, in this example, reference to the body part by means of a definite NP involves a considerable degree of idiomaticity. Still, such examples indicate that body part-relations allow for certain inferences to be made. This is not very surprising, since body part-relations are a type of part-whole relation, and part-whole relations frequently motivate inference in bridging reference. Another indication of the inferential potential of body part-relations is that when the ‘possessor’ is non-human, bridging of a body part is possible, as illustrated by the following example: (14) When hounds had run a stag to a standstill, the stag would turn to defend itself. And few dogs fancied first toss on the antlers, so would stand baying for the huntsmen to come in for the kill. (CB) I have therefore analyzed human ‘‘possessors’’ and possessive NPs involving body parts as involving a possessee referent which maintains an anchored relation with the preceding discourse, e.g. (15). On the other hand, I have classified NPs designating body parts of non-human possessors in which realization with a definite NP seems possible as involving a possessee referent which is identifiable through bridging (category 3.3), as in (16). (15) Claire’s fingers tingled. She looked down at her hands and saw the raw red bands around her wrists. (CB) (16) To my great regret, it was not Midas who had laid a finger on the flock, it was the ram who had been touching them up. (. . .) His annual visit to the ewes has more the atmosphere of a slightly randy Saga holiday than the frenzied Club Med experience. (. . .) The theory is that when he covers the ewes, his crayon leaves a mark on the ewe’s rump (. . .). (CB) Kinship and similar interhuman relations are another type of relation which reduces the newness of a referent on its first mention, based on an


Peter Willemse

earlier mention of an associated referent to which it can be ‘‘anchored’’. They are evoked by certain nouns with an inherently relational meaning (see Barker 1991, 2000; Fraurud 1996). Taylor (1989: 675) gives a list of nouns which in addition to kinship nouns ‘‘invoke, in their semantic structure, various other kinds of interpersonal relationships’’, including friend, ´ fiancee, colleague, guest, fellow student, competitor, confidant, etc. Taylor (1989) discusses such relational nouns in terms of how they ‘‘steer’’ the interpretation of the relationship between possessor and possessee by evoking an unprofiled relationship in their semantic structure, an element of which is elaborated by the possessor nominal. Another interesting aspect of such relational nouns which we observed in our data is their potential to be used in di¤erent ways. Either (and most frequently) they are used in a possessive NP in which the possessor nominal elaborates an element of the relation which they evoke, or (and this is a more marginal use) they are grounded by a definite article, when preceded by a mention of the related human referent. The latter use is informal, and mainly found in spoken, colloquial language. An example of this is the following: (17) <ZF1> H h <ZF0> how do you get to the Fab Club? <M01> Well FX c erm <ZF1> the d <ZF0> the daughter comes and picks us up or we get taxis. <F01> Yes. <M01> They order taxis for us one week or we get the bus <F01> Yes. <M01> and er that’s how <tc text ¼ pause> I’m on the bus one week or sometimes I’m on two weeks so it all depending on FX and the daughter like organize it the bus and then we’ve got a transport manager they call him MX. (CB)17 This possibility of realization by means of a definite article-NP is indicative of the ‘‘anchoring’’ potential of kinship nouns and other nouns denoting interhuman relations. 3.5. The possessee referent is a NEW referent The quantitative results for the category of new possessee referents in my data are given in Table 7.

17. The codes in this example are part of the transcription of spoken language used in the COBUILD corpus. <F01> and <M01> indicate the two participants in the dialogue; <ZF1> and <ZF0> indicate a repetition of (parts of ) words, and ‘‘FX’’ and ‘‘MX’’ replace, for privacy reasons, two proper names mentioned in the dialogue.

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions Table 7. Results for the category new data set Genitive [CB] Total Genitive its þ N [LOB] their þ N [LOB] my þ N [CB] her þ N [CB] Total Poss. Det. Grand total # of tokens 68/192 68/192 10/48 15/46 7/46 11/46 43/186 111/378 percentage 35.42% 35.42% 20.83% 32.61% 15.22% 23.92% 23.12% 29.38%


The results of the corpus analysis show that although it is true that possessive NPs newly introduce referents in the discourse in a considerable number of cases (30% of the data set), new referents certainly do not represent the majority of possessee referents. This last category forms one end of the continuum of discourse statuses proposed in this study. This implies not only that the referent in question has not been mentioned as such in the preceding discourse, but also that it cannot be inferred on the basis of elements in the preceding discourse context. In many of these cases, the possessee is realized by a nominalization, as in example (18), or by a noun denoting an action or activity, as in (19): (18) His Turnable Emergency Non-capsizable Triangular System (Tents) will inflate as it is launched, leaving a gap for four people to crawl in before the entrance is sealed by a zip. It can survive punctures in two of its surfaces and still remain afloat. Hunter has produced two prototypes and is in talks with a lifeboat manufacturer that could lead to the system’s launch in the spring of next year. (CB) (19) ‘Chau¤eur held in socialite slaying’ were the headlines and they contained all the nuances of sin and sex that readers ate up. It was the kind of case the papers loved. There were people in high places, a beautiful and almost naked woman, and the possibility that under the bright light of police investigation all sorts of scandals would be uncovered. It was the dream case and editors had spared no pains in their e¤ort to give colour to the facts. (LOB)


Peter Willemse

In these cases, the possessor nominal designates the subject of the action described by the nominalized or deverbal head noun. While the possessor referent typically maintains an anaphoric relation with the preceding discourse, the action designated by the ‘possessee noun’ is not inferable from the preceding text. In some of these cases, there is some sort of a general semantic relation between the possessee referent and the preceding discourse context, but this relation is not strong enough to confer (even partial) givenness on the referent. This is most clearly the case in examples such as (20), in which the possessee referent fits in with the scenario that is being evoked in the context, without being a predictable part of this scenario. That no ‘‘givenness’’ of the possessee referent is present in such cases is confirmed by the fact that an introduction of the referent by means of an NP with the definite article is excluded. (20) Queensland cricket captain Stuart Law yesterday warmed up for this week’s She‰eld Shield battle against New South Wales with a mighty double century for Valley in a XXXX Brisbane club cricket game yesterday. (. . .) In a punishing display, Law smacked 32 boundaries including two sixes, and faced 266 balls. He came to the wicket when the score was eight after opener Michael Ephraims departed, and immediately went on the attack. (. . .) There was little respite for University’s bowling attack which included She‰eld Shield bowlers Michael Kasprowicz and Peter Jackson. (CB) In (20), the context evokes the scenario of a cricket game, in which a ‘‘bowling attack’’ is possible, though by no means necessary; consequently, the scenario does not lead to identifiability of the referent ‘‘bowling attack’’, which is being introduced (for the sake of clarity, the bowling attack referred to is not the attack implied earlier (Law . . . immediately went on the attack), since it is being executed by the team playing against Law’s team). Note that the possessive construction, via the reference-point mechanism, leads to (a certain degree of ) identifiability of the possessee referent. The possessee is being linked as a target to a reference point facilitating mental access to it. However, this is local, ‘‘constructioninternal’’ identifiability, which is not relevant to the external discourse status of possessee referents as analyzed here. Only when the possessee referent maintains a relation (of coreferentiality, text reference, ‘‘independently’’ of the possessive construction, bridging or ‘‘anchoring’’) with the surrounding (particularly the preceding) discourse context is its discourse status a¤ected in the sense that it is not (entirely) new.

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions


4. Conclusions and further research The aim of this paper was to shed some light on the way in which possessive NPs as reference-point constructions are embedded in the discourse context. More specifically, this paper has focused on the underresearched issue of the discourse status of the possessee referent. A corpus study of possessive NPs in extensive discourse contexts has been presented of the way in which possessee referents may interact with previously given information and participate in various referential relations with elements in the preceding context. It has been shown that a binary distinction between (fully) discourse-given and (fully) discourse-new does not su‰ce to capture the status of the possessee referent. Instead, a continuum of discourse statuses, ranging from discourse-given (coreferential) to discourse-new over a number of in-between statuses in which the possessee is given to a certain degree, has been proposed. This analysis has a number of important implications for the description and theory of English nominal reference-point constructions. Reasoning on from the reference-point analysis of possessive NPs to their discourse behaviour, Taylor (1996) had predicted that possessee/target referents are overwhelmingly discourse-new and anchored to a typically discourse-given possessor/reference point. Against this view, it has been shown that in fact fully discourse-new referents represent only a relatively small portion (about 30%) of the data. In the majority of the cases, the possessee has a certain degree of discourse-givenness, either by being given explicitly in the preceding discourse context or by being inferable from it to some extent. It may be retrievable from extended descriptions, quotes or reports in the preceding discourse (text reference), it may be identifiable through bridging from a given referent in the preceding context, or it may be ‘anchored’ to an element in the preceding text, which reduces its newness but does not make it identifiable in a strict sense. Finally, in a small but significant number of cases (about 11% of the data), the possessee was fully given, in the sense of being coreferential with a given discourse referent. Moreover, the study presented in this paper adds a systematic discourse perspective to the theory of nominal reference-point constructions. Claims about the discourse status of reference-point constructions cannot be derived aprioristically from the reference-point model, and possessive NPs, as reference-point constructions, cannot be studied as isolated syntagms, without taking into account the way in which they function and


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are embedded in the discourse context in which they occur. A systematic study of possessive NPs in extensive discourse contexts reveals that the reference-point relation, i.e. one facilitating mental access to and identification of an entity by anchoring it to another entity, may be employed in di¤erent ways in discourse, adapted to specific discourse purposes. While it is true that possessive NPs are always anchoring constructions, the use of the reference-point mechanism is not limited to the ‘‘local’’, NPinternal identification of a referent. Instead, the NP-internal referencepoint relation is used in interaction with explicitly stated and inferable information in the surrounding discourse. The main discourse functions of the possessive NP as a reference-point construction can then be summarized as follows. The possessive NP anchors a target to a reference point in order to facilitate mental access to the target. The target may be a completely discourse-new entity, which is being introduced into the discourse via a more accessible reference point. On the other hand, the target may be an entity having a certain degree of givenness or even a fully given entity in the discourse. When this is the case, the function of the reference point seems to guarantee referential clarity in the unfolding discourse (see also Willemse 2007a). For example, when the possessive NP is coreferential with (an)other NP(s) in the discourse, a possessive NP may be chosen (rather than, say, an NP grounded by the definite article) when there is potential confusion about the antecedent. Anchoring the referent in question to a reference point will in such cases make sure that the hearer picks out the right referent from the preceding discourse. Similarly, when the possessee referent is in principle retrievable through a relation of bridging from a previously given referent, tying it to a reference point in a possessive NP will support the hearer in making the correct inference and identifying the intended referent. In the case of text reference, the possessive NP ‘‘labels’’ for the first time a referent which is given through an extended description in the preceding discourse, and the use of a reference-point construction will support the inference that needs to be drawn by the hearer in order to make the right connection. All of these discourse functions need to be studied in more detail. A particularly interesting question concerns the motivation behind the choice of a possessive NP (i.e. a reference-point construction) to refer to a largely or fully given or identifiable referent. In other words, why do speakers choose to explicitly anchor such a referent to a possessor/reference point, when it should in principle be identifiable by itself, given the information from the preceding discourse?

A discourse perspective to nominal reference-point constructions


Ariel, Mira 1990 Ariel, Mira 2004 Barker, Chris 1991 [1995] Barker, Chris 2000

Accessing Noun-phrase Antecedents. London/New York: Routledge. Accessibility marking: discourse functions, discourse profiles and processing cues. Discourse Processes 37(2): 91–116. Possessive Descriptions. PhD dissertation. University of California Santa Cruz [published, Stanford: CSLI].

Definite possessives and discourse novelty. Theoretical Linguistics 26: 211–227. Biber, Douglas, Stig Johansson, Geo¤rey Leech and Randolph Quirk 1999 Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. London: Longman. ´ Blanche-Benveniste, Claire and Andre Chervel 1966 Recherches sur le syntagme substantif. Cahiers de Lexicologie IX.2: 3–33. Brown, Gillian and George Yule 1983 Discourse Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chafe, Wallace L. 1976 Givenness, contrastiveness, definiteness, subjects and topics. In: Charles N. Li (ed.), Subject and topic, 25–55. New York: Academic Press. Chafe, Wallace L. 1994 Discourse, Consciousness, and Time. Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press. Charolles, Michel 1999 Associative anaphora and its interpretation. Journal of Pragmatics 31: 311–326. Charolles, Michel and Georges Kleiber 1999 Introduction. Journal of Pragmatics 31: 307–310. Cornish, Francis 1986 Anaphoric Relations in English and French: A Discourse Perspective. London: Croom Helm. Du Bois, John W. 1980 Beyond definiteness: the trace of identity in discourse. In: Wallace L. Chafe (ed.), The Pear Stories: cognitive, cultural and linguistic aspects of narrative production, 203–274. Norwood: Ablex. Emmott, Catherine 1997 Narrative Comprehension: A Discourse Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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Epstein, Richard 1999 Roles, frames and definiteness. In: Karen van Hoek, Andrej A. Kibrik and Leo Noordman (eds.), Discourse Studies in Cognitive Linguistics, 53–74. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Erku, Feride and Jeannette K. Gundel ¨ 1987 The pragmatics of indirect anaphors. In: Jef Verschueren and Marcella Bertuccelli-Papi (eds.), The Pragmatic Perspective. Selected Papers from the 1985 International Pragmatics Conference, 533–545. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Fraurud, Kari 1996 Cognitive ontology and NP form. In: Thorstein Fretheim and Jeannette K. Gundel (eds.), Reference and Referent Accessibility, 65–87. Amsterdam/Phildelphia: John Benjamins. Gundel, Jeannette K. 1996 Relevance theory meets the givenness hierarchy. An account of inferrables. In: Thorstein Fretheim and Jeanette K. Gundel (eds.), Reference and Referent Accessibility (Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 38), 141–153. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Gundel, Jeannette K., Nancy Hedberg and Ron Zacharski 1993 Cognitive status and the form of referring expressions in discourse. Language 69: 274–307. Halliday, Michael A.K. and Ruqaiya Hasan 1976 Cohesion in English. London: Longman. Haviland, Susan E. and Herbert H. Clark 1974 What’s new? Acquiring new information as a process in comprehension. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 13: 512–521. Hawkins, John A. 1978 Definiteness and Indefiniteness: A Study in Reference and Grammaticality Prediction. London: Croom Helm. Huddleston, Rodney and Geo¤rey K. Pullum 2002 The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kleiber, Georges ´ ´ ´ ´ 1996 Anaphores associatives meronimiques: definitions et proprietes. In: Peter Blumenthal, Giovanni Rovere and Christoph Schwarze (eds.), Lexikalische Analyse romanischer Sprachen, 51–62. Tu ¨bingen: Niemeyer. Kleiber, Georges 1999 Associative anaphora and the part-whole relationship: the condition of alienation and the principle of ontological congruence. Journal of Pragmatics 31: 339–362. Kleiber, Georges 2003 The possessive via associative anaphor. In: Martine Coene and Yves D’hulst (eds.), From NP to DP, 43–71. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

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Langacker, Ronald W. 1990 Concept, Image, and Symbol. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Langacker, Ronald W. 1991 Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. Volume II: Descriptive Application. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Langacker, Ronald W. 1993 Reference-point constructions. Cognitive Linguistics 4: 1–38. Langacker, Ronald W. 1995 Possession and possessive constructions. In: John R. Taylor and Richard E. MacLaury (eds.), Language and the Cognitive Construal of the World, 51–79. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Langacker, Ronald W. 2001 Discourse in cognitive grammar. Cognitive Linguistics 12(2): 143–188. Langacker, Ronald W. 2003 Conceptual overlap in reference point constructions. In: Masamoto Ukaji, Masayuki Ike-Uchi and Yoshiki Nishimura (eds.), Current Issues in English Linguistics, 87–117. Tokyo: Kaitakusha. Lyons, Christopher 1999 Definiteness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Martin, James R. 1992 English Text: System and Structure. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Prince, Ellen F. 1981 Towards a taxonomy of given-new information. In: Peter Cole (ed.), Radical Pragmatics, 223–255. New York: Academic Press. Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geo¤rey Leech and David Crystal 1985 A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman. Rosenbach, Anette 2002 Genitive Variation in English. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Takahashi, Hidemitsu 1997 Indirect anaphors: definiteness and inference. Leuvense BijdragenLeuven Contributions in Linguistics and Philology 86: 53–80. Taylor, John R. 1989 Possessive genitives in English. Linguistics 27: 663–686. Taylor, John R. 1991 Possessive genitives in English: a discourse perspective. South African Journal of Linguistics 9.3: 59–63. Taylor, John R. 1996 Possessives in English. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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Van de Velde, Roger G. 1992 Text and Thinking. On Some Roles of Thinking in Text Interpretation. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Willemse, Peter 2005 Nominal Reference-point Constructions: Possessive and Esphoric NPs in English. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Leuven. Willemse, Peter 2007a Direct and indirect anaphora and the possessee referent of pos´ sessive NPs in English. In: Antonio Branco, Tony McEnery, ´ Ruslan Mitkov and Fatima Silva (eds.), Proceedings of DAARC 2007, 151–158. Porto: CLUP. Willemse, Peter 2007b Indefinite possessive NPs and the distinction between determining and non-determining genitives in English. English Language and Linguistics 11(3). Willemse, Peter, Kristin Davidse and Liesbet Heyvaert forthcoming English possessives as reference-point constructions and their function in the discourse. In: William B. McGregor (ed.), The Expression of Possession. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs Jari Sivonen
1. Introduction Motion is a phenomenon that is highly important for human existence and cognition. Therefore, it is not surprising that, particularly within the framework of Cognitive Semantics, the importance of linguistic analyses of motion events has been recognized. As Langacker (1987: 166) argues, ‘‘the motion of physical objects through space is fundamental to our experience, so an explicit analysis of its conceptualization is important for linguistic semantics.’’ Consequently, there exist numerous cognitive semantic studies and typologies of motion verbs. These studies have generally looked at the linguistic coding of motion events, namely the Trajector (TR), the Landmark (LM), the path, the manner of the motion and the predicated event itself. In addition to this, commonly found semantic extensions of motion verbs, such as abstract and fictive motion, are another rather well-surveyed area. However, the shape of the path itself has usually gained less attention,1 although it plays an important role in the motion event. There are also too few systematic studies of lexicalized path shapes, although the analysis of Tzeltal by Brown (2006) provides an interesting exception. This is not to say that motion verbs profiling shaped-paths are uninteresting. On the contrary, as captured by Slobin (2004: 238), the path is an obligatory component of motion-event expressions: in fact no motion can be produced

1. One reason why the path’s shape has been largely neglected is probably the fact that the great majority of the well-analyzed motion verbs, with a possible exception of Spanish, comes from the so called Satellite-Framed Languages (Talmy 1985). These languages mostly encode the path into the accompanying particle and not into the verb lexeme itself. The verbs in these languages do not usually specify the shape of the path at all but focus on the manner (e.g. run, walk, limp etc.). However, even then, the path is normally understood as existing and being direct by its shape. This will be discussed in greater detail in section 5.


Jari Sivonen

without a moving entity following a path. Especially, in the spirit of Cognitive Semantics, which underlines the importance of studying a wide range of linguistic phenomena and basing linguistic statements and generalizations on them, as Langacker (1987: 46, 1991: 512–514) notes, it is worth investigating what kind of semantic features are emphasized when the path is actually highlighted, and furthermore, when it has unexpectedly an indirect shape. In this paper, by ‘‘indirect’’ I refer to a path that has one or more explicit lateral movements with regard to the main direction of motion. For example, the English verb outflank, when referring to objective motion, profiles a path that involves marked lateral movement, compared to straight, rectilinear progression. With respect to the lexicon of motion verbs, if a verb profiles the path in general, it specifies an indirect path shape. In Standard Finnish, there are no single verbs which focus on other aspects of the path than the indirectness of its shape.2 This paper supplements previous research in Cognitive Semantics by focusing explicitly on Finnish verbs that lexicalize indirect paths. Moreover, the study sheds light on a little-studied area by providing a systematic and comprehensive analysis of the most frequent verbs that profile an indirect path. As a result, it suggests a typology of ways in which indirect paths have been lexicalized in verbs in Modern Standard Finnish. I have three objectives. First is to present an analysis of these verbs (section 3). It will be shown that Finnish verbs of indirect path (henceforth VIPs) may be classified into five separate subtypes according to their path shapes. My second goal is to explore the cognitive aspects of these path types and to provide answers to such questions as why these particular path shapes should be found in the lexicon (section 4). The suggested answer is anthropocentrism: language encodes the external world from the human perspective and through human conceptualization processes. My third goal is more theoretical. Based on the analysis of Finnish indirect paths, I will return from practice to theory and try to point out how the broadly applied theory of lexicalization patterns, Verb-Framed and Satellite-Framed Languages, as introduced and developed by Leonard Talmy (1985, 1991), could benefit from a more detailed analysis of indirect paths (section 5). It will be demonstrated that the Satellite-Framed Finnish includes a few Verb-Framed motion verbs which profile an indirect path. In a prototypical case, the shape of these paths is based on a mental scanning process
2. The verb suoria, which roughly means ‘to proceed via a straight path’, is the best candidate, but according to recently published dictionary (KS s.v. suoria), it is usually considered to be rare or stylistically coloured.

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs


followed by a metaphorical conceptualization of a verb root’s referent (e.g. risteilla ‘criss-cross’) or, more rarely, on a metaphorization of the ¨ verb root referent’s motion (e.g. sahata ‘move back and forth as a saw does’). The Finnish verb lexemes analyzed in this paper are kaarrella ‘curve, wheel’, kaartaa ‘encircle, curve, corner’, kiemurrella ‘wriggle, wind, curl, coil’, kierrella ‘prowl, tour, swan about, circle’, kiertaa ‘bypass, circle, ¨ ¨¨ circulate, orbit, revolve, skirt, tour’, koukata ‘outflank’, luikerrella ‘wriggle’, luovia ‘tack’, mutkitella ‘meander’, puikkelehtia ‘weave’, pujotella ‘do slalom skiing, zigzag, manoeuvre, snake’, pyortaa ‘curl back to the starting point’, ¨ ¨¨ risteilla ‘criss-cross’, sahata ‘move back and fort like a saw does’ and ¨ sukkuloida ‘shuttle’. These verbs have been chosen, first of all, because they are the most frequently used verbs that in Modern Standard Finnish express motion along an indirect path. The other selection criterion is that the above verbs are stylistically neutral and unmarked, in contrast to verbs like siksakata (‘zigzag’), which are considered not to be part of standard Finnish.

2. Indirectness of path Since my focus is on the indirect path, the definition of path deserves a closer discussion. In Cognitive Semantics, one of the most influential researchers on motion verbs is undoubtedly Leonard Talmy. According to Talmy’s (1975: 181) early work,3 the path can be defined as ‘‘the respect in which one object is considered as moving or located to another object’’ in a motion situation. In other words, the path can be understood as a route along which the TR is moving towards, into, in or with respect to the LM. Talmy (2000a: 149) even asserts that one can concretely see the path of a moving object as having Euclidean specifics, such as an exact shape and size, while the object is in motion. Even if one does not share such a radical statement, since a path is not usually visible in the same sense as ordinary objects, there is no doubt that a path can be extrapolated, or ‘‘sensed’’, as Talmy (2000a: 149) puts it, in a motion event. Thus, from a cognitive perspective, the path definitely exists. As Svorou (1994: 29) points out, conceptualization of the path also presumes a priori
3. Later on Talmy (2000b: 53) postulated three di¤erent components in the path: the Vector, the Conformation and the Deictic. However, this division is ignored here as not necessary for the purposes of the present analysis.


Jari Sivonen

that there is a starting point of the motion as well as an ending point, even though these need not to be profiled by a motion verb or explicated in a sentence referring to a motion event. Indirectness, on the other hand, can be understood as the opposite of directness, since any route or shape which is not direct must be more or less indirect by definition. A common semantic feature of all VIPs is that they do not allow an adverbial modifier expressing an explicit linear path. Therefore it is quite possible to say Vene mutkitteli jarvella ‘A scull was ¨ ¨ meandering on the lake’, but the same sentence with an adverbial modifier profiling the TR’s path as direct, is semantically contradictory and ineligible (*Vene mutkitteli suoraviivaisesti jarvella ‘A scull was meandering ¨ ¨ straightforwardly on the lake’). Theoretically, there is an unlimited number of di¤erent types of indirect paths. What is important, however, is to focus on those indirect shapes of paths that are lexicalized and thus have their own representative verbs in the lexicon of a given language.4 As pointed out by Janda (2008: 3), human sensory perception organs filter out part of the information from our observable environment. In a motion event, only certain aspects of the path are conceptually categorized and stored in the lexicon. These particular forms can be considered cognitively salient in human categorization. The path of an entity moving in a three-dimensional space can naturally be observed from various angles. Dewell (2007: 398–403) discusses the English preposition around and concludes that in a state of a¤airs referred to by around one of four di¤erent vantage points may be chosen for conceptualization: global scope, local scope, LM’s viewpoint and TR’s viewpoint. This applies, in principle, to verbs of motion too. Vantage plays a role in such verbs as kiertaa ‘circle, orbit, revolve’, which resem¨¨ bles semantically the preposition around, since both profile paths that vary from semi-circle to full circle and thus allow di¤erent vantage points. However, di¤erent vantage points become less significant in the discussion of other Finnish VIPs, because circularity is just one type of indirectness of paths lexicalized into verbs of motion. For example, the verb risteilla ¨ ‘criss-cross’ is clearly di¤erent, because the shape of the path it profiles

4. It should be mentioned, of course, that especially in a Satellite-Framed Language like Finnish, the indirectness of the path is mostly expressed by numerous periphrastic constructions, where a verb of motion is accompanied by a path-expressing adverbial modifier, for example menna edestakaisin ‘go ¨ back and forth’.

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs


cannot be easily perceived from the plane of the path, for example from the TR’s or LM’s vantage point, but needs to be observed from above. If it is not observed from above, the sense of the path’s particular shape is lost, because if the path is viewed from the same plane, there is little evidence that would support the path’s self-cutting shape. As observed by Dewell (2007: 404), some vantage points reveal information that others suppress. In order to be able to describe indirect paths profiled by Finnish motion verbs, we need to select a vantage point that is broad enough to cover all lexicalized cases, including paths profiled by verbs like risteilla. It is quite plausible to presume, as acknowledged ¨ by Dewell (2007: 410), that the canonical vantage point of conceiving the path is from above, and that it is the vantage point that should be assumed when making a linguistic description of indirect paths. Therefore, the path shapes are described in this paper as seen by an external conceptualizer: from ‘‘above’’ of the motion situation taking place in a twodimensional space. In other words, the virtual position from which the motion event and the TR’s movement are viewed, which is the vantage point also adopted in Cognitive Grammar (Langacker 1987: 123), is a bird’s-eye view. When we describe indirect paths, it is important to notice that none of these verbs actually determines the shape of the TR’s path in great detail. This means that rather than placing exact restrictions upon the precise shape of the path, each verb provides relatively loose limits and boundaries to the path’s profile. This is illustrated by the verb kaartaa ‘to curve’ in example 1 below.5 (1) Auto kaartaa pihalle. car-nom yard-allat ‘A car is curving into the yard.’6

5. In order to keep the focus on indirect paths, the examples are simplified and usually only the necessary elements (e.g. the TR, the verb, the LM) are included. In a natural context, the sentences may be more complex. 6. The following abbreviations are used in the glosses. acc ¼ accusative elat ¼ elative iness ¼ inessive pl ¼ plural adess ¼ adessive gen ¼ genitive nom ¼ nominative sg ¼ singular allat ¼ allative illat ¼ illative part ¼ partitive imperf ¼ imperfect (preterite)


Jari Sivonen

Figure 1. Di¤erent paths profiled by the verb kaartaa ‘curve’

If we consider the TR’s path in example 1, it is obvious that during the process the TR moves into the LM. This predication specifies that the basic conceptual relation between the TR (auto ‘car’) and the LM ( piha ‘yard’) changes from separation to inclusion. TR also moves along a path that has a kind of sweeping profile and the path begins outside the LM and ends inside it. However, it is important to notice that not all possible aspects of the path are specified in the profile of the predication of kaartaa. For example, neither the distance of the TR from the LM nor the degree of the path’s actual bending is lexicalized. Nor does kaartaa specify the direction from which the TR approaches the LM, and therefore it remains neutral as to the direction of the curve. Figure 1 above illustrates some possible paths profiled by the verb kaartaa when viewed from above (apart from the one represented in example 1). The stick-man represents the TR, the square the LM and the arrow line the TR’s path. As Figure 1 shows, the TR may enter the LM either from the left or from the right (compare paths A vs. B and C). Although Figure 1 does not show this, the TR can move either clockwise or counterclockwise. It is also quite possible for the TR to enter the LM from the front or from the rear (when observed from above in a two-dimensional space), though these paths are not shown in Figure 1. According to Dewell (2007: 411–412), path expressions characteristically [in two-dimensional space] make a distinction in the ‘‘up from down’’ dimension, and not in the ‘‘right-to-left’’ or the ‘‘left-to-right’’ dimension. As shown in Figure 1,

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs


this is also true about the path profiled by kaartaa, since it allows a free choice with respect to lateral movement. However, it would not be natural to use the verb kaartaa if the TR was conceived of as moving in a three-dimensional space and if it entered the LM from the top or from the bottom. There are no specific motion verbs in Finnish that conceptualize such paths. The best candidates are perhaps verbs ylittaa ‘to fly/go over’ and alittaa ‘to fly/go under’, but they do not ¨¨ specify the shape of the path and imply that the TR’s path does not end within the confines of the LM, as the verb kaartaa does, but rather that it continues beyond it. Figure 1 also demonstrates the role of the observer’s orientation in the path analysis. Paths A and B are identical. Only the orientation or the observer’s own positioning in the situation, is opposite.7 In other words, the shape of the path itself remains the same regardless of the viewer’s own position, and only the mutual relation between the TR and the LM changes according to the viewer’s orientation. So, as is shown in Figure 1 (A), the TR’s path goes from left to right. However, if the observer makes a 180-degree turn and thus there is a shift in orientation, the path’s appearance will also change from right to left. Nevertheless, the actual shape of the path itself remains the same. This suggests that in this case the role of the viewer is not significant. However, comparison of paths B and C in Figure 1 reveals the verb’s flexibility in profiling the path, as mentioned earlier. Path B bends more emphatically into the LM, whereas path C is gentler. Both paths still meet the limitations and specifications profiled by the predication of kaartaa and the verb is undoubtedly suitable for referring to both motion events. To sum up the observations made so far, we can argue that VIPs allow certain variation in the exact shape of the path. They also profile certain characteristics which restrict the appearance of actual paths. Langacker (1999: 23, 271) argues that a lexical verb names only the process type while a finite form profiles a (grounded) elaboration of that type. As regards verbs that profile an indirect path, this means that only the concrete instance of a verb, e.g. an utterance where it is used, ultimately specifies the accurate shape of the path. This is illustrated in examples 2 and 3 below. (2) Janis puikkelehtii metsassa. ¨ ¨ ¨ hare-nom weave-3sg forest-iness ‘There is a hare weaving in the forest.’
7. The point at which the TR enters the LM is ignored here.


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(3) Taskuvaras puikkelehtii vakijoukossa. ¨ pickpocket-nom weave-3sg crowd-iness ‘There is a pickpocket weaving in the crowd.’ Although 2 and 3 contain the same verb puikkelehtia ‘to weave’, the precise shape of the TR’s path profiled is likely to be di¤erent. This is due to the physical characteristics of the TR and the LM as well as to other attributes attached to them. One fundamental tenet of the Cognitive Semantic theory is that it acknowledges the importance of encyclopaedic knowledge in the interpretation of linguistic expressions. In the most extreme case this means that everything one knows about a concept forms part of its meaning (see Langacker 1987: 155–158). Thus, linguistic semantics becomes a study of commonsense human experience. Encyclopaedic knowledge about the TR and the LM is therefore an important factor when we consider the semantics of an indirect path, since it guides the way in which the path’s shape is understood. For example in 2, it is possible to imagine that the hare’s general path, despite the sudden to-and-fro manoeuvres, which is characteristic of hares, proceeds in a relatively straightforward manner. The accurate path of the pickpocket in example 3, however, might be more localized since the TR is now an intentional human being, more likely to remain in the same place in order to commit the theft. Moreover, forest provides a broader setting for movement than a concourse of people, which also has an influence on the TR’s path. The path of the thief may therefore have deeper lateral movements with respect to the main direction of motion. However, it should be underlined that the paths of both the hare and the pick-pocket are similar enough to be categorized as the same type of motion and, consequently, to be referred to by the same verb. As examples 2 and 3 suggest, the encyclopaedic knowledge attached to the TR and the LM of a verb predication has important consequences for the description of paths. Consequently, it is not possible, even in theory, to provide detailed descriptions of paths that are profiled by particular verbs. Thus, in the remainder of the paper, I will analyse the most prototypical appearances of paths that characterize and distinguish each verb and base generalizations about the semantics of VIPs on these analyses.

3. Lexical facts: Finnish verbs of indirect path In this section, my aim is to present a typology of indirect paths profiled by Finnish verbs. It builds upon my previous work within the framework

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs


of Cognitive Grammar (Sivonen 2005b). Further down I will analyse the fifteen most important and most frequently used Finnish verbs that profile an indirect path. The data come mainly from newspapers published in the 1990s and they were drawn from the large Modern Standard Finnish corpus called Language Bank of Finland. They consist of almost 20,000 verb tokens in their sentential context. In Modern Standard Finnish, the fifteen most frequent VIPs can be divided into five distinct categories according to the shape of the path.8 These types are, in order of the number of verb lexemes they contain, Paths of Irregular Shape (3.1.), Paths of Regular Shape (3.2.), Paths of Single Turn (3.3.), Paths of Back and Forth Movement (3.4.), and finally Paths of Crossing Movement (3.5.). It should be noted that these fifteen lexemes are highly polysemous and they profile several distinct process types in all kinds of motion (objective, abstract and fictive).9 As a result, some VIPs profile processes which fall into di¤erent path types. For example, the transitive use of the verb kiertaa can have both the meaning of ¨¨ ‘avoidance’, in the sense of avoiding an obstacle (cf. example 4), and the meaning of moving inside a region (cf. example 5). (4) Kierramme aidan ja astelemme ovelle. ¨ circle-1pl fence-gen.acc and pace-1pl door-allat ‘We will go past the fence and pace towards the door.’ (5) Kesalla kierramme Lapissa. ¨ ¨ ¨ summer-add circle-1pl Lapland-iness ‘During the summer, we travel in Lapland.’ Thus, example 4 profiles Path of Single Turn and example 5 Path of Regular Shape. The verb sukkuloida ‘to shuttle’ has some similar characteristics. One process type expressed by sukkuloida belongs to the category Paths of Back and Forth (e.g. Myyntiedustaja sukkuloi Helsingin ja Turun valilla ‘The sales agent shuttled to and fro between Helsinki and ¨ ¨ Turku’), but sukkuloida can also mean that the TR is moving inside a certain region (e.g. Diplomaatti sukkuloi Afrikassa ‘The diplomat shuttles in
8. Various Finnish dialects are likely to have more verbs of indirect path. However, it would be surprising if some of those profiled a di¤erent kind of path than the five types discussed here. 9. Di¤erent types of motion are discussed in detail for example by Langacker (1987: 170–173, 1990: 157–160) and Talmy (2000a: 99–175); for metaphorical extensions of motion verbs see for example Jakel (2003), for detailed analysis ¨ of the polysemy of Finnish verb kierrella see Sivonen (2005a). ¨,


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Africa’). The latter example provides a strong image of several locations scattered inside the LM (Africa), which are visited by the TR. Hence the TR’s path in this case provides a typical example of a crossing movement. Motion verbs are not only polysemous, but the meanings of VIPs overlap in many respects. The verbs in the first two groups, Paths of Irregular Shape and Paths of Regular Shape, resemble each other with respect to the indirect and the direct phase in the path. In both groups, the TR’s path contains both rounded (indirect) and linear (direct) parts, when observed from above in a two-dimensional space. However, in the latter group the paths contain more ‘‘rounded’’ elements, whereas in the first group, circular as well as straight phases are allowed and, therefore, the overall shape of the path is more irregular and ragged. The other three groups are di¤erentiated more easily. In the third group (Paths of Single Turn), the verbs profile a path that contains only a single indirect phase, which forms the overall TR’s route. The verbs in the fourth group (Paths of Back and Forth Movement) profile a path in which the TR moves back and forth, and therefore form a path type of their own. Also the verbs in the final group (Paths of Crossing Movement) profile paths that can be distinguished from all the others, because they emphasize the TR’s iterative crossing of its own route. As is broadly accepted in Cognitive Grammar (cf. Langacker 1988: 10–11), these kinds of lexemes are not semantically identical, i.e. ‘‘synonymous’’, even though they may be used as functional counterparts in certain contexts. However, they all have one common denominator: they profile indirect shapes of the path. 3.1. Irregularly shaped paths, verb roots and derivation Three main characteristics describe the Finnish verbs profiling paths of Irregular Shape. First, the paths contain various kinds of round or arclike phases. Second, these phases are situated in the TR’s path randomly, not in any regular order. Third, the indirect phases do not form any observable or predictable pattern. The verbs which fall into this path type are kaarrella, kierrella, kiemurrella, puikkelehtia and mutkitella. I ¨ will begin by taking a closer look the verb kierrella, which is the most fre¨ quent and prototypical verb profiling irregular shape. Consider example 6. (6) Kiertelin viime syksyna ¨ last autumn-ess ‘I circled in the bear areas last autumn.’ karhualueilla. bear area-pl.adess

In example 6 above, the TR moves inside the LM along a twisted path. The LM is conceived of as an open spatial setting and the TR’s path is

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs


located inside it. The shape of the path is motivated by the meanings of the verb stem and the derivative a‰xes. The verb kierrella has the same ¨ root as the adjective kiero, which means ‘indirect, wrong, twisted’ (Finnish Etymological Dictionary ¼ SSA s.v. kiertaa).10 As pointed out by Pajunen ¨¨ (2001: 78), verb roots are often used to express ‘‘descriptive aspects’’ of events, such as the manner or the path of motion. This is clear in many VIPs which indeed manifest the shape of the paths in the conventional imagery attached to the verb’s root. For example, since the verb kierrella ¨ has an adjective root kiero, the shape of its path is bound to contain at least some phases that can be perceived as being indirect, wrong or twisted. Thus, if a certain path does not have any twisted-like parts, a motion along it certainly cannot be referred to by the verb kierrella. ¨ Kierrella is only one example, but other VIPs, for instance verbs pyortaa ¨ ¨ ¨¨ ‘bend, curl’ and risteilla ‘criss-cross’, manifest the same strategy. ¨ What, then, links together the verb root’s meaning and the shape of the TR’s path? My suggestion is that there is a mental scanning process and metaphorical understanding involved in the event’s conceptualization. As Janda (2008: 8) points out, in Cognitive Linguistics metaphor is seen as a pervasive and necessary component of linguistics meaning. I suggest that in the conceptualization of the VIP the conceptualizer first mentally traces along the TR’s path (scans through it). After that, the conceptualizer discovers that the path shape is similar to the physical shape expressed by the verb root’s referent (or similar to the mental images associated to the root’s meaning). This second part of the conceptualization process fulfils the criteria of metaphorical comparison. For instance, in the case of kierrella, the shape of the TR’s path is compared to the meanings ¨ ‘indirect, wrong, twisted’, i.e. to the semantics of the verb root. This then provides the understanding of the indirectness of the path’s shape. Hence, the shape of the Finnish VIP’s path is basically influenced by a metaphorical conceptualization of the verb root’s referent. If the mental scanning process with subsequent metaphorical conceptualization was not presumed, it would be di‰cult to explain why the roots of these motion verbs represent the same semantic type. These verbs are prototypically derived from nouns and their roots refer to entities with particular shapes. I presume that the scanning procedure is similar to mental processes involved in subjective (fictive) motion, as in the sentence The fence goes from the plateau to the valley (Talmy 2000a: 99). Of course, the above

10. This is true even though kierrella has been derived from the verb kierta ¨ and ¨ ¨a not directly from the original root kiero.


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cases depict an overtly objective indirect path of motion, but the conceptualization strategy may nevertheless be the same. However, the verb root is not the only semantically important element here. Finnish has a very complicated and productive derivation system, and many of its a‰xes are polysemous. Finnish derivational a‰xes appear in di¤erent allomorphs due to the consonant gradation system and other numerous sound alternations. Moreover, the basic form of the Finnish verb, the 1st infinitive, is not necessarily identical to the root to which derivational a‰xes are attached, nor is it necessarily identical to the verb stem, the form to which inflectional a‰xes are attached. As KangasmaaMinn (1993: 16) argues, aspectual meanings, particularly Aktionsart, are often expressed by derivational means in Finnish. This is why derivation greatly influences the shapes of VIPs. Basically, the stem of a VIP consists of a root which is accompanied by a derivational a‰x or by a successive or compound derivational a‰x. The shape of the VIP’s path then emerges from the semantic contribution of both the verb root and the derivational morphemes. For example, the verb kierrella contains the derivative a‰x ¨ -ele-, which has a frequentative meaning in Finnish (Hakulinen 1979: 258). It was suggested by Wiik (1975: 155–157) and later by Kytomaki ¨ ¨ (1992: 247) that derivative a‰xes which have this kind of meaning imply randomness. In this case, what follows is that the meaning of the verb root together with its derivative a‰x constitutes a verb stem which semantically motivates the shape of the path. In other words, the path contains indirect and twisted phases which, in the mental scanning process of the conceptualizer, are conceived of as following each other randomly. This randomness a¤ects the path in two ways. First, short straight (direct) phases are allowed. In other words, the frequentativity expressed by the derivative a‰x influences the root’s semantic content so that indirectness is not a constant feature of the path, but rather a recurring but irregular feature of it. This means that the path does not need to curve all the time. Second, the path may also cross itself, but this is only a possibility that the verb allows, not a compulsory characteristic, as is the case with verbs profiling Paths of Crossing Movement (3.5.). Consequently, at least some paths suitable for kierrella might be characterized as ‘‘looped paths’’, a term ¨ used by Talmy (2000a: 164). Similar features apply to the other verbs expressing Paths of Irregular Shape. As regards the semantic motivation of the path shape, the verb kaarrella is even more transparent than kierrella. Kaarrella is a denominal ¨ verb derived from the noun kaari ‘arc, arch’. The verb includes two derivative a‰xes, -t- and -ele-. The a‰x -t- (originally -ta-) has a meaning of

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs


factivity, a term used by Finnish scholars for derivational a‰xes that roughly mean that the compound stem of a verb profiles an entity expressed by the noun root (Hakulinen 1979: 258, 287–288). In the case of the kaari-based kaarrella, the a‰x adds to the noun root (kaari) the meaning of ‘‘making arcs’’ into the TR’s path. The frequentative a‰x -ele-, once again, expresses the fact that these ‘‘arcs’’ are placed randomly and iteratively. The verb kiemurrella has the same deritative a‰xes (-t- þ -ele-) and the root kiemura, which has a meaning of ‘convolution, twist’ (SSA s.v. kiemura). What is di¤erent here compared to kierrella, ¨ however, is that the root kiemura influences the derived motion verb, so that no straight phases are likely to appear in the TR’s path. Etymological explanations suggest that puikkelehtia is derived from the verb stem pujoa, which roughly means ‘to go through a tight interstice by wriggling one’s body forward’ (SSA s.v. puikkia, pujoa). The verb has a combined derivative (reflexive) a‰x -elehti-, which refers to momentarity and frequentativity (Hakulinen 1979: 274). The joint semantic impact of the verb’s root and derivative elements is that puikkelehtia contains randomly lateral laps, which appear as if they were suddenly poking out when compared to linear progression. The denominal verb mutkitella also has the frequentative a‰x -ele-, which is attached to the a‰x -i- expressing continuity and the causative a‰x -tt- (originally -tta-) (Hakulinen 1979: 260, 268–269, 277). The noun root mutka ‘turn, bend, curve’ has a major contribution to the shape of the TR’s path. When associated with the derivative a‰xes, it is quite understandable that the verb profiles progression which includes a series of curves. However, these curves are placed randomly, and their size and steepness vary a lot. In addition, it is also possible or even likely that the TR’s path contains short direct phases, which are followed by the turns. Because mutkitella allows this much variation in the TR’s path, while at the same time profiling a path that includes observable and distinct indirect phases, turns and corners, it can be considered to be a prototype of all Finnish VIPs. Mutkitella is also suitable for illustrating the appearance of Finnish Paths of Irregular shape, as shown in Figure 2. The path illustrated in Figure 2 is also more or less similar to the paths profiled by the verbs kaarrella, kiemurrella, puikkelehtia and kierrella. ¨ However, it must be emphasized that these paths are not semantically identical. Rather, each verb profiles a di¤erent path so that each path has a distinctive feature of its own. For example, the verb kiemurrella emphasizes that there are small randomly placed convolutions in the path, whereas the verb puikkelehtia profiles sharper lateral transitions.


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Figure 2. The prototypical path of Irregular Shape in Finnish. The picture illustrates characteristics of the path profiled by the verb mutkitella ‘meander’

3.2. Regularly shaped paths, verb roots and derivation Paths of Regular Shape have three main characteristics. First, they contain successive round or arc-like phases. Second, the TR’s lateral movements create a certain observable pattern. And finally, this pattern appears cyclically in the path. In Standard Modern Finnish the verbs kiertaa, ¨¨ luikerrella, luovia and pujotella profile this kind of indirectness. I will first consider the verb luikerrella ‘to wriggle’. Consider example 7. (7) Kaarme luikertelee ruohikolla. ¨¨ snake-nom lawn-adess ‘There is a snake wriggling on the lawn.’ The general path represented in example 7 includes numerous indirect phases that follow one another. This shape is not directly motivated by the meanings of the formal elements of the verb, because the root of the verb luikerrella is neither transparent nor well-known. However, evidence from old Finnish folk dialects supports the idea that the component luik refers to optimal skiing conditions or generally to ‘‘fast motion’’. The prototypical path profiled by luikerrella forms a distinct, observable shape, which may also be called ‘‘circular’’ in Hawking’s (1985: 85) terminology. Figure 3 illustrates the prototypical path profiled by luikerrella. In this case, the path’s shape cannot be explained by the meaning of the verb root. But another motivation can be found. The verb luikerrella is

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs


Figure 3. The prototypical path of Regular Shape in Finnish. The picture illustrates characteristics of the path profiled by the verb luikerrella ‘wriggle’

often used for referring to a snake’s progression on the ground; this is an old meaning of the verb that can be traced to the Baltic-Finnish proto-language that was spoken on the east coast of the Baltic sea approximately two thousand years ago (SSA s.v. luikkia). The circular shape of the path corresponds to the average mental image of, for example, a wriggling snake moving forward on the ground. Consequently, the shape of the TR’s path resembles a typical snake’s path, even though in Modern Finnish the TR does not need to refer to a snake or any other reptile. The verb’s derivative a‰xes, -t(a)- and -ele-, express factivity and continuity (Hakulinen 1979: 258), which can be metaphorically conceptualized as a path with semicircular shapes, similar to a snake’s progression. The other three verbs in this group have similar, but not identical paths. This is because each lexeme specifies its path in a slightly di¤erent way. For instance, when compared to kierrella (discussed in the previous ¨ section), the verb kiertaa has a di¤erent path in the sense that it is com¨¨ posed of semicircles which are attached to each other and which partly overlap. What follows is that the TR’s path does not lead from one place to another as in the paths profiled by the other verbs in this group, but remains in the location expressed by the LM. Certain paths profiled by kiertaa can also be categorized as circumferential, as in the transitive ¨¨ sentence Kierran kaappia ja tutkin sita ‘I am going around the closet and ¨ ¨ inspecting it’. Circumferentiality is a concept used by Svorou (1994: 152)


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to refer to situations where ‘‘the LM is treated as a spherical object, either because of its shape or because of a path a moving entity follows when it starts from a specific point and moves along the boundaries of the LM till it reaches the same point.’’ However, Svorou’s view can perhaps be broadened by suggesting that a path is also circumferential when there is a separation between the TR and the LM, and when the TR makes more than one round. According to this view, a circumferential path requires only that the TR starts and finishes (or passes) its route in the same location, and the LM is an entity which is thus surrounded by the TR’s path. However, during the process the TR does not need to be in constant contact with the LM’s boundaries. With this specification, the concept of circumferential path is also more in line with the idea of a ‘‘Closed Path’’ proposed by Talmy (2000a: 268). The third lexeme profiling Path of Regular Shape in Modern Finnish is luovia. It is an old Indo-European loan word, probably based on the Scandinavian stem lof, which means roughly ‘to sail windward’ (SSA s.v. ¨ luovia). The fact that the stem is part of the shipping and navigation terminology accounts for the path it profiles. The verb has a derivative a‰x -i- containing the meaning of continuity (Hakulinen 1979: 261). If we compare it to luikerrella, we notice that although their paths resemble each other, luikerrella di¤ers in one respect: as is shown in Figure 3, it contains more circular and lateral curves of roughly the same size, which occur one after another. In other words, luovia allows more variation into the TR’s path, and hence, the shape of the path it profiles may contain gentler turns, while the length and the angle of the lateral movements are more random. However, the path still forms an observable and predictable pattern, even though accurate shapes of individual curves are not fixed. The last verb in this group is pujotella, a deverbal verb that has a root pujoa, assumed to be the same as in the verb puikkelehtia. Pujotella has a causative derivation a‰x -tta- (Hakulinen 1979: 277), which is attached to the reflexive-frequentative a‰x -ele- (Hakulinen 1979: 260). The a‰x brings about the meaning of ‘progressing steadily through tight interstices’. These interstices are conceptualized as fictive gates through which the TR jams or makes its way. What is then relevant in the state of a¤airs referred to by verb pujotella is the presence of entities that can plausibly be conceptualized as barriers, or real or fictive gateposts. It is also necessary that these barriers are placed so that the TR needs to take lateral shifts in order to be able to approach each barrier. A prototypical situation which meets these criteria is slalom skiing. A slalom slope provides the TR with

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs


the conditions where progression via a path profiled by pujotella is quite natural. However, it is important to notice that even though slalom skiing is a typical context for the verb pujotella in Modern Finnish, it is certainly not the only one. The TR may, for instance, move in a room filled with chairs or other objects in a way that makes the use of pujotella appropriate. A good example is Mies pujotteli tuolien valista ‘A man navigated ¨ ¨ his way round the chairs’. 3.3. Scope of attention: Focus on global path as a single turn The main characteristics of the paths in this group include two features. First, the paths form only one indirect line. Second, this form comprises the whole path when observed from above in a two-dimensional space. Thus, these paths are inherently di¤erent from all the other path types, since they constitute a sort of ‘‘global curvature’’, a term used by Bohnemeyer (2003: 108–109.) The Finnish verbs kaartaa, kiertaa, koukata and ¨¨ pyortaa belong to this group. Since kaartaa and kiertaa have already ¨ ¨¨ ¨¨ been discussed, I take a closer look at the verbs koukata and pyortaa. ¨ ¨¨ Consider examples 8 and 9. (8) Partio koukkasi vihollisen selustaan. patrol-nom enemy-gen rear-illat ‘The patrol outflanked into the enemy rear.’ (9) Tulijat pyorsivat takaisin kaytavalle. ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ comer-pl.nom go back corridor-allat ‘The comers went back to the corridor.’ The verb koukata is denominal, and its root is the noun koukku ‘hook’. The verb has also a derivative a‰x -a-, which has a translative meaning in Finnish (‘to make into what is expressed by the root’) (Hakulinen 1979: 281). Therefore, the verb koukata can be understood as having the meaning ‘‘transform into a hook’’, which in this case is metaphorically conceptualized as ‘make a path that resembles a shape of a hook’. However, the verb does not specify the details of this virtual hook, which explains why the distinct paths expressed by koukata vary a lot. Nevertheless, a common feature of all the paths of koukata is that the TR makes one sudden and sharp lateral turn and penetrates into a location expressed by the LM. In Cognitive Semantics it is widely acknowledged that conventionalized imagery plays an important role in the emergence of linguistic meanings.


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Langacker (1987: 39, 1991: 294) argues that linguistic structure embodies conventional imagery. This imagery is involved in grammatical structure (e.g. which participant is chosen to act as a syntactic subject) and, it is tempting to say, even more in lexical structure. This explains why the shape of the path profiled by koukata might be considered sharper than any other paths expressed by Finnish VIPs. This is due to the conventional imagery attached to the root koukku ‘hook’. Hooks typically have some sort of a sharp turn in their shape, and it is precisely this shape that makes a hook. It is then quite plausible that the path profiled by the denominal verb koukata gains its shape from the mental image of a concrete, physical hook, and therefore includes this sharp turn. Consequently, koukata can be seen as the most radical Finnish verb of indirect path. This becomes clear when koukata is compared to the verb kaartaa (see above). It is more than likely that the physical shape of any arc is gentler than the shape of any concrete hook. Thus, it makes sense to argue that the shape of the path profiled by hook-based verb koukata is conceived of as being sharper than that of kaartaa. The same is true when koukata is compared to other Finnish VIPs, which supports the status of koukata amongst Finnish VIPs as a verb profiling the sharpest turn. The other verb to be discussed here is pyortaa, which is particularly ¨ ¨¨ interesting because it seems to have no direct equivalent in English. The meaning of pyortaa is roughly ‘curl back to the starting point’. Like ¨ ¨¨ koukata, pyortaa is a denominal verb with the root pyora ‘wheel’. The ¨ ¨¨ ¨ ¨ verb has a derivative a‰x -ta-, which expresses factivity in Finnish ¨ (Hakulinen 1979: 288), and in this case, profiles a wheel-like shape of the TR’s path. In contrast to koukata, which as we saw profiles the most precipitous path, pyortaa seems to profile the gentlest path. This is because ¨ ¨¨ the images attached to its path are based on the shape of a wheel. In Figure 4, the verb pyortaa functions as an example of verbs profiling a ¨ ¨¨ Single Turn. As is shown in Figure 4 by means of the straight broken line, in the process of pyortaa, there is a strong sense that the TR’s original aim is to ¨ ¨¨ progress linearly. It is worth noting that even though forward motion is generally presupposed to be rectilinear and that the meaning of all VIPs can to some extent be associated with this connotation, the profile of the verb pyortaa expresses such presumed forward motion most saliently. ¨ ¨¨ Another important thing to bear in mind is that the TR may turn towards the LM, which expresses the TR’s initial starting point, from both sides, and not necessarily from the right side, as shown in Figure 4. In other words, what is specified then, is only the characteristic round-shape of the

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs


Figure 4. The prototypical path of Single Turn in Finnish. The picture illustrates characteristics of the path profiled by the verb pyortaa ‘curl back to the ¨ ¨¨ starting point’

TR’s path. Similar features characterize the other verbs of this type. In the processes conceptualized as koukata and kiertaa, for example, the TR may ¨¨ turn either left or right. 3.4. Metaphors based on the verb root referent’s movement: Paths of back and forth The paths which exhibit the TR’s back-and-forth movement have three characteristic features. First, they are based on the TR’s motion between two locations. Second, the motion includes several successive and individual legs that are placed between the turning points. Finally, the route between these turning points is more or less identical during all journeys. In Modern Standard Finnish, verbs sahata and sukkuloida specify their paths in this way. Prototypical examples are given in 10 and 11. (10) Mies sahaa makea ylos alas. ¨ ¨ ¨ man-nom ‘‘saw’’ hill-part up down ‘There is a man running up and down the hill.’ (11) Myyntiedustaja sukkuloi Oulun ja Raahen valilla. ¨ ¨ sales agent -nom Oulu-gen and Raahe-gen gap-adess ‘A sales agent is shuttling between Oulu and Raahe.’ The root of the verb sahata is the noun saha ‘saw’. The a‰x -a- has an instrumental meaning (Hakulinen 1979: 287, 290), and the combination of the root and the derivative a‰x give the meaning ‘to saw’. However,


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Figure 5. The prototypical path of Back and Forth in Finnish. The picture illustrates characteristics of the path profiled by the verb sahata ‘move back and fort like a saw’

as a motion verb, it has a di¤erent meaning. For instance, the situation described in example 10 has the TR moving back and forth on a hill between certain locations, which act as the TR’s turning points. Even though there is no need to explicate the turning points (as in example 10), they are no doubt an important part of the predication of the verb sahata. Figure 5 illustrates a TR path that is prototypical for this subtype, and the squares represent the TR’s turning locations. What is interesting here is the conceptualization strategy. As we saw earlier, in many cases, the shape of the TR’s path is motivated by metaphorical conceptualization of the verb root referent’s shape. In other words, the shapes of the paths resemble the shapes of the verb root’s referents. Here the path’s shape is not based on that of any physical saw, but rather on the metaphorical conceptualization of the prototypical motion of a saw, when it is used as a tool for cutting. The TR’s path then resembles the prototypical back-and-forth motion in a process of concrete sawing of, for example, timber. The other verb in this path type is sukkuloida; it has been derived from the noun root sukkula ‘shuttle’ and has the derivative a‰x -i-, which has the meaning of essentiality. The concept of essentiality is used in Fennistics to imply that the TR of a verb process acts as an entity that is expressed in the verb’s noun root. (Hakulinen 1979: 282–283). In this case, this means that the TR acts as a shuttle. Here again the shape of the TR’s path can be understood as a metaphor where the TR’s path is conceived of as motion of the verb root’s referent. This particular meaning of sukkuloida profiles a process where the TR moves between two locations (for example the cities of Oulu and Raahe in example 11), and therefore it belongs to this group of path types.

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs


3.5. Criss-cross and shuttle: Paths of crossing movement The final group of Finnish VIPs includes verbs risteilla ‘criss-cross’ and ¨ 11 These paths have the following three main characsukkuloida ‘shuttle’. teristics. First, the path describes the TR’s motion, prototypically between several locations. Second, these locations are situated at di¤erent places inside the LM. Finally, and most importantly, the TR’s motion forms a jagged path (Talmy 2000a: 164), which crosses itself at least in one junction, but prototypically at many points. Example 12 below illustrates the use of the verb risteilla, which I analyse in more detail. ¨ (12) Vene risteilee jarvella. ¨ ¨ scull-nom lake-adess ‘There is a scull cruising on the lake.’ The verb risteilla has the noun root risti ‘cross’ and the -ile- derivative ¨ a‰x, which has a factive-frequentative meaning (Hakulinen 1979: 294). As regards motion verbs in particular, factive-frequentativity is a concept which means that the verb profiles a process where the TR’s path not only resembles the shape of the entity that the verb’s nominal root expresses but is repeated several times one after the other. In other words, as regards the motion verb risteilla in particular, the TR figuratively makes several ¨ crosses so that the path includes several cross-shaped phases. Figure 6 illustrates a prototypical path of Grossing Shape profiled by risteilla. ¨

Figure 6. The prototypical path of Crossing Movement in Finnish. The picture illustrates characteristics of the path profiled by the verb risteilla ¨ ‘to criss-cross’ 11. The verb sukkuloida is polysemous and profiles both path of Back and Forth and path of Crossing Movement.


Jari Sivonen

In Figure 6, the dotted squares stand for the TR’s turning points. These intermediate stopping points are visited by the TR and specified in the predication of the verb, even though they do not need to be explicated in the verbal context in which risteilla is used, as is the case in example 12, ¨ where only the lake is mentioned. However, in order to be able to use the verb risteilla, these turning points must be located inside the LM in such a ¨ manner that the TR’s progression from one turning point to another forms a path that crosses itself. Furthermore, in a prototypical case, the path is conceived of as crossing itself at a very tight angle, almost 90 degrees, which is due to the conventional imagery attached to the meaning of the verb root risti ‘cross’. What is necessary for any cross is precisely the shape where two bars or sticks are placed more or less perpendicularly to each other. So, the shape of the path profiled by risteilla is once again ¨ motivated by metaphorical conceptualization of the verb root referent’s shape. Another feature of the path of the Crossing Movement is that it is possible, but by no means necessary, that the TR finally returns to its original starting point. For example, if the verb risteilla is used with refer¨ ence to the act of cruising at sea, it is quite possible that the path has a circumferential shape in the sense that it ends in the starting location. However, in the sentence Parvi lintuja risteilee taivaalla (lit.) ‘A flock of birds is criss-crossing in the sky’ no return to the initial starting point is profiled. This is illustrated in Figure 6 by means of the broken arrow line. The verb sukkuloida also falls into this subtype when it refers to motion between several locations, as in Diplomaatti sukkuloi Euroopassa ‘The diplomat is shuttling in Europe’. However, the metaphor that motivates this kind of usage is di¤erent. Here the TR moves from one place to another in a location specified by the LM. Now the shape of the TR’s path is not based on the verb root referent’s physical shape, but rather on the path of the root referent’s (sukkula ‘shuttle’) motion.

4. Cognitive implications Having presented the indirect path types lexicalized into Finnish motion verbs, it is perhaps useful to focus on their cognitive aspects. From the cognitive point of view, it can be argued that things which are salient in culture and in human interaction are also coded in language, both in the lexicon and in the grammar. It is therefore only natural to presume that paths lexicalized into motion verbs can reveal how humans conceptualize the motion event and how they experience it (see also Svorou 1994: 27).

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs


A description of indirect paths characterizes this experience and human conceptualization of the motion event. Languages systematically pay attention to some aspects of the human existence and ignore others (Janda 2008: 26). Consequently, it is important to focus on those facets of the path which are systematically highlighted by lexicalization, because they provide an insight into the way in which we conceive of the world. If we utilize Slobin’s (e.g. 1991: 12) well-known idea of ‘‘thinking for speaking’’, it can be argued that the speakers of Finnish choose such features of indirect-shaped motion that correspond to any of the five di¤erent path shapes lexicalized into Finnish verbs, and only afterwards choose the appropriate verb lexeme. It is interesting to notice that, as the analysis of Finnish VIPs shows, the paths tend to have relatively gentle turns. In other words, sharp curves are rarely lexicalized. There are only three verbs in Standard Finnish (koukata, risteilla, sahata) which profile sharp turns. Another noteworthy ¨ observation is that none of the verbs profiles indirectness in the third dimension, i.e. depth; only 2-dimensional space is considered. I suggest that if there is one single factor which can explain the above observations, it is anthropocentrism. The indirect paths lexicalized into Finnish motion verbs reveal the way in which language encodes the external world from the human perspective. Langacker (1987: 123) concludes that most entities are seen from the canonical viewpoint, i.e. through the eyes of the human observer. The canonical viewpoint is involved not only in the conceptualization of physical objects, such as houses, cars or snakes, but it is also important in conceiving paths. Indirect paths lexicalized into verbs of motion reflect canonical paths of a human TR. I suggest that angular paths are less frequent than gentle paths simply because lexicalized paths are typical for human motion in general. Compared to fish or birds, for example, humans do not tend to make sharp turns when they move forward. However, if the Path contains sharp turns, the TR is likely to refer to a non-human entity. Consider examples 13 and 14 below.12 (13) Muurahaiset risteilevat. ¨ ant-pl.nom criss-cross-3rd-pl ‘Ants are criss-crossing.’

12. Examples 13 and 14 are strongly reduced since only the TR of the process is explicated. However, they form an interesting minimal pair which enables us to focus on the semantic di¤erence based solely on the meanings of the TRs.


Jari Sivonen

(14) Pojat risteilevat. ¨ boy-pl.nom criss-cross-3rd-pl ‘Boys are cruising.’ As is shown in example 13, in Finnish it is possible to say that ants are ‘‘criss-crossing’’. The unmarked reading would be that we are referring, for instance, to a forest where ants are moving along a path which crosses itself and thus forms a shape of a stereotypical cross. Example 13 would thus have a ‘‘literal’’ reading describing the motion of the ants. However, if the TR refers to humans, as in example 14, the sentence is bound to have a figurative reading. In other words, the TR (boys) is understood metonymically and it refers, not literally to the boys themselves, but to a boat or a ship on which they are travelling as passengers. In other words, encyclopaedic knowledge enters into the understanding that ants are likely to follow paths of Crossing Movement, whereas for human TRs a crisscrossing path would not be prototypical and therefore 14 gets a metonymical reading. The fact that only 2-dimensional space is needed for the description of the indirect path is also based on anthropocentrism. For humans, movement forward on a surface is the most natural and unmarked way of progression, rather than movement below or above the surface. Possible lateral movement is also performed on a surface, and it is this movement that is seen as the lexicalized path type. As was argued above, shapes of indirect paths basically reflect the canonical movements of a human TR. An important thing to notice is that all shapes of indirect paths in Finnish are lexicalized not from the human point of view, but rather from above, from a bird eye’s view. Still, it seems to be a fact that humans typically experience paths from the ground level and not from a bird eye’s perspective. The explanation must lie in the human cognitive capacity that enables humans to mentally imagine the TR’s path from above. The reason for this kind of conceptualization is likely to be functional. Dewell (2007: 410) suggests three advantages of the canonical viewpoint from above the path. According to him this perspective provides a neutral standard which is equally accessible to any conceptualizer, regardless of his/her actual location. It also allows the conceptualizer to observe other possible elements of the scene. Finally, the bird’s eye view enables summary-scanning of the situation and thereby an overall view on the whole path. The last reason seems most explanatory. It is very di‰cult to get an overall picture of the shape of a path if one is moving along it (TR’s viewpoint) or if one is observing the path from the vantage point

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs


of the location or from the vantage point of the object of the motion (LM’s viewpoint). On the other hand, it is much easier to get a general perspective of the whole path if one is able to imagine it from above. In Finnish, there are two ways in which indirect paths can be conceived of from the bird’s-eye view. As Talmy (2006: 543–544) argues, the two strategies involve di¤erent ways of locating the point at which one places one’s ‘‘mental eye’’ in relation to the represented scene. One common way to lexicalize the TR’s path is by using a local path. Such a path enables the conceptualizer to focus the ‘‘mental eye’’ on and thus profile only some phases of the path at a time. In other words, this strategy results in observing the TR’s path from a moving proximal perspective point and with a local scope of attention (Talmy 2000a: 269). The local path pattern is used in those Finnish verbs which profile paths of both Irregular and Regular Shape (kaarrella ‘curve’, kiemurrella ‘wriggle’, kierrella ¨ ‘circle’, luikerrella ‘wriggle’, luovia ‘tack’, mutkitella ‘meander’, puikkelehtia ‘weave’, pujotella ‘zigzag’). The second strategy is to use a global path; according to Talmy (2000a: 269, 2006: 544), it involves those cases in which the path is represented from a stationary viewpoint and with a global scope of attention, because in order to discern the shape of the path it needs to be conceived as a whole. The Finnish verbs profiling paths of Single Turn (kaartaa ‘encircle’, kiertaa ‘orbit’, koukata ‘outflank’, pyortaa ‘curl back to the ¨¨ ¨ ¨¨ starting point’), of Back and Forth (sahata ‘move back and fort like a saw does’, sukkuloida ‘shuttle’) and of Crossing Movement (risteilla ¨ ‘criss-cross’, sukkuloida ‘shuttle’) follow this strategy. Another issue that is often emphasised in Cognitive Semantics is the relationship between the lexicon and culture. Evidence from Finnish VIPs suggests that a verb with a particularly-shaped path is introduced into the language if it is needed by the culture. For example, the Finnish sukkuloida (‘shuttle’) is a relatively new verb and it is becoming more and more frequent as the world diminishes and the amount of travel increases: a verb that profiles movement in which the path crosses itself is needed. Moreover, in addition to the path shape, sukkuloida often profiles fast and very purpose-oriented motion, as in the example Diplomaatti sukkuloi Euroopassa ‘The diplomat is shuttling in Europe’. Thus, sukkuloida is suitable for referring to motion which blends crossing path shape, fast speed, and purpose-oriented motion. The need for sukkuloida can easily be seen in Finnish dictionaries. For instance, Nykysuomen sanakirja (‘A Dictionary of Modern Finnish’), a large dictionary from the late 1950s, does not recognize sukkuloida at all, while the most recent dic-


Jari Sivonen

tionary from 2004 lists the verb and gives the meaning ‘movement along an indirect path’ (KS s.v. sukkuloida). Yet it is important to bear in mind that it is not only the human cognitive way of perceiving the world that a¤ects the lexicalized path. Also the cultural environment has an impact on the understanding and conceptualization of lexicalized paths. For instance, we could imagine that the more people live in big cities with straight streets that cut each other at sharp angels (as in square-shaped street plans), the more likely a language spoken in such an environment includes verbs profiling paths that contain sharp curves and crossing shape. 5. What can Cognitive Linguistics learn from indirect paths? It is obvious that the most utilized model to analyze verb lexicalization in Cognitive Semantics is the theory introduced and developed by Leonard Talmy (1985, 1991). In this theory, Talmy presents a typology of lexicalization patterns, which has also influenced path analysis. The main principle in this tenet is that the so-called Satellite-Framed Languages (S-languages) lexicalize Path into a participle attached to the verb and the Verb-Framed Languages (V-languages) encode the Path into the verb root. As Talmy (2000b: 222) claims:
Languages that characteristically map the core schema into the verb will be said to have a framing verb and to be verb-framed languages. On the other hand, languages that characteristically map the core schema onto the satellite will be said to have a framing satellite and to be satellite-framed languages.

Talmy (1985: 62) presents several subtypes within this dichotomy and emphasizes that ‘‘any language uses only one of these types for the verb in its most characteristic expression of Motion’’. Finnish and other Finno-Ugric languages are usually considered to be S-languages (see, e.g., Talmy 1991: 486; Slobin 2004: 249). This is not to say that Finnish does not have verbs (or verb roots) encoding path. As pointed out by Levinson and Wilkins (2006: 18), many languages allow both types of packaging. So it is not surprising that Finnish has some verb lexemes which saliently lexicalize the TR’s path and can be characterized as Motion þ Path-verbs in Talmy’s (2000a: 49) taxonomy. Recently also other languages, such as French (Kopecka 2006: 99) and German (Gehrke 2007: 258), were found to utilise both lexicalization patterns. Furthermore, Pajunen (2001: 79) points out that in a language such

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs


as Finnish, no lexicalization pattern is more emphatic than the other. We can accept that the dichotomy of V- and S-languages is not clear-cut. For example, in English, which is an S-language, some verbs, such as enter, behave like V-verbs. This is explained to be caused by their Latinate roots (see Talmy 2000b: 118). However, there is no etymological di¤erence between Finnish verbs that follow the S-strategy and the V-strategy. Moreover, verbs of both types may be original Finnish words. What Pajunen seems to be missing though is the role of the frequency factor, which is emphasized in Talmy’s (1985: 62) original theory. Regardless of the variation in the lexicalization types of Path expressions in Finnish, in terms of frequency, Finnish has more S-type than V-type path expressions. According to the Frequency Dictionary of Finnish (Saukkonen et al. 1979), the most common motion verbs in Finnish are tulla (‘come’), number 16 on the frequency list of all lexemes, menna (‘go’), number ¨ 68, kayda (‘come’), number 87, lahtea (‘leave’), number 106, and finally ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ kulkea (‘stroll’), number 269. These verbs are of course polysemous and have meanings other than motion. Nevertheless, the point is that when they are used to express motion, they encode the path in the satellite. On the other hand, verbs which profile the path and fall into the V-pattern category are relatively rare. The most common is kiertaa (‘bypass’, ¨¨ ‘circle’, ‘circulate’ etc.), number 763 on the frequency lists. Thus, on the basis of frequency, Talmy’s insight seems to be right, since Finnish is more an S- than a V-language. Nevertheless, as the Finnish examples suggest, it is interesting that an S-language also includes some relatively rare V-verbs which encode the shape of the TR’s path and, furthermore, specify it as indirect. Consider examples 15 and 16 below which are very typical in Finnish. (15) Poika menee pihalle. boy-nom go-3sg yard-allat. ‘A boy is going out.’ (16) Lokki seagull-nom kiertelee circle-2sg taivaalla. sky-adess

‘There is a seagull circling at the sky.’ Example 15 shows the use of the S-strategy in Finnish: the verb menna ¨ ‘to go’ is used to express motion, and the path is expressed by the accompanying adverbial ( pihalle). The example illustrates the use of the SatelliteFramed tactic for expressing the TR’s path. The path is profiled by the LM’s case su‰xes, usually by the illative (15) or the allative, which are


Jari Sivonen

appropriately called the ‘‘movement towards’’ cases (cf. Karlsson 1987: 99). However, the construction in example 15 does not actually make a claim about the shape of the TR’s path, and only the direction (or destination) of the motion is encoded in the satellite expressing the path. In example 16, on the other hand, the V-pattern is used and the verb expresses motion as well as the TR’s path. In addition, the verb specifies a particular kind of indirect path. The LM is in the ‘‘local’’ adessive case and profiles only the location of the TR’s movement and not the path. Another interesting characteristic of some Finnish motion verbs is that the shape of the path in the V-verbs is motivated by meanings of the verb roots and derivational a‰xes. Then what happens is that the verb root lexicalizes the main element for the shape of the path and the derivative a‰x specifies the location of this elementary element in the overall path. It also seems to be the case that when the shape of the path is lexicalized into the verb root, the verb uses the global path strategy. Those verbs which encode repetition of path elements, which is expressed by derivational a‰xes, utilize the local path strategy. For example, in the verb kiertaa, the indirect shape of the path is due to the semantics of the verb’s ¨¨ original root kiero (‘indirect, wrong, twisted’), and the scope of attention is global, whereas in the derived verb kierrella the same root is accompanied ¨ by the derivative a‰x ele, which expresses frequentative meaning. This combination makes the shape of TR’s path random, as if a number of separate indirect or twisted ‘‘phases’’ occurred in a succession along the path. This makes use of the local path strategy. Based on the evidence from Finnish, I argue that the S- and the Vlanguage models can be elaborated by analyzing in more detail verb lexicalization patterns of path in those languages which predominantly rely on the S-strategy, but also make use of the V-strategy for expressing the shape of the TR’s path. The semantic role of both the verb root and the derivational a‰xes, as well the global and local path strategies, also require more detailed analysis.

6. Conclusions In this paper I have presented a cognitive semantic description of verbs that code an indirect path. Although there exist grammatical analyses of the motion event, there are few systematic studies of the paths of motion verbs. I have tried to shed some light on the cognitive aspects of these verbs by arguing that anthropocentrism plays a central, cognitive role in

Lexicalizing indirect path: Focus on Finnish motion verbs


the lexicalization of indirect paths. Finally, I have suggested that Talmy’s theory of Verb-Framed and Satellite-Framed Languages could benefit from a more detailed semantic analysis of VIPs. The present paper focuses on motion verbs in Finnish, and obviously more careful analyses of the shapes of the lexicalized paths in Finnish are required. Moreover, this type of research could be carried out for other languages and from a cross-linguistic perspective. Finally, what still needs to be done, is to investigate in more depth how the analysis of VIPs could enrich the cognitive approach to language, which, I am sure, it would be able to do.

Bohnemeyer, Jurgen ¨ 2003 The unique vector constraint: The impact of direction changes on the linguistic segmentation of motion events. In: Emile van der Zee and Jon Slack (eds.), Representing Direction in Language and Space, 86–110. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Brown, Penelope 2006 A sketch of the grammar of space in Tzeltal. In: Stephen C. Levinson and David P. Wilkins (eds.), Grammars of Space. Explorations in Cognitive Diversity, 230–272. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dewell, Robert B. 2007 Moving around: The role of the conceptualizer in semantic interpretation. Cognitive Linguistics 18(3): 382–415. Gehrke, Berit 2007 Putting path in place. In: Estela Puig-Waldmuller (ed.), Proceed¨ ings of Sinn und Bedeutung 11: 244–260. Barcelona: Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Hakulinen, Lauri 1979 Suomen Kielen Rakenne ja Kehitys. Neljas, Korjattu ja Lisatty ¨ ¨ Painos. Helsinki: Otava. Hawkins, Bruce Wayne 1985 The Semantics of English Spatial Prepositions. Dissertation. Series A Paper no. 142. San Diego: University of California. Janda, Laura 2008 From cognitive linguistics to cultural linguistics. To appear in: Slovo a smysl/Word and Sense (ISSN 1214–7915). http://hum. Read 1.10.2007. Jakel, Olaf ¨ 2003 Motion metaphorized in the economic domain. In: Hubert ´ Cuyckens, Thomas Berg, Rene Dirven and Klaus-Uwe Panther


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(eds.), Motivation in Language. Studies in Honor of Gunter Radden, ¨ 297–318. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Kangasmaa-Minn, Eeva 1993 Aspektista ja sen sukulaisilmioista suomalais-ugrilaisissa kielissa ¨ ¨ ¨. Studia Comparativa Linguarum Orbis Maris Baltici 1. Tutkimuksia Syntaksin ja Pragmasyntaksin Alalta (toim. Valma Yli-Vakkuri), 13–23. Turku: TYSYKLJ 43. Karlsson, Fred 1987 Finnish Grammar. Second edition (translated by Andrew Chesterman). Porvoo: WSOY. Kielitoimiston sanakirja (¼ ‘‘KS’’) 2004 Kotimaisten kielten tutkimuskeskus ja Kielikone Oy. Kotimaisten kielten tutkimuskeskuksen julkaisuja 132. Helsinki. Kopecka, Anette 2006 The semantic structure of motion verbs in French. In: Maya ´ Hickman and Stephane Robert (eds.), Space in Languages. Linguistic Systems and Cognitive Categories, 83–101. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Kytoma Leena ¨ ¨ki, 1992 Suomen Verbiderivaation Kuvaaminen 1600-luvulta nykypaiviin. ¨ Turku: TYSYKLJ 40. Langacker, Ronald W. 1987 Foundations of Cognitive Grammar. Vol. 1. Theoretical Prerequisites. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Langacker, Ronald W. 1988 An overview of cognitive grammar. In: Brygida Rudzka-Ostyn (ed.), Topics in Cognitive Linguistics, 3–48. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Langacker, Ronald W. 1990 Subjectification. Cognitive Linguistics 1: 5–38. Langacker, Ronald W. 1991 Foundations of Cognitive Grammar Vol. II: Descriptive Application. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Langacker, Ronald W. 1999 Grammar and Conceptualization. (Cognitive Linguistics Research 14.) Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Levinson, Stephen C. and Wilkins, David P. 2006 The background to the study of the language of space. In: Stephen C. Levinson and David P. Wilkins (eds.), Grammars of Space. Explorations in Cognitive Diversity, 1–23. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Nykysuomen sanakirja (¼ ‘‘NS’’) 1962–1964 Nykysuomen sanakirja I–VI. Valtion toimeksiannosta teettanyt ¨ Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. Porvoo: WSOY.

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Pajunen, Anneli 2001 Argumenttirakenne. Asiaintilojen luokitus ja verbien kayttayty¨ ¨ minen suomen kielessa. Suomi 187. Helsinki: SKS. ¨ Saukkonen, Pauli, Marjatta Haipus, Antero Niemikorpi, and Helena Sulkala 1979 Suomen kielen taajuussanasto. A frequency dictionary of Finnish. Juva: WSOY. Sivonen, Jari 2005a An Exercise in cognitive lexical semantics: the case of the Finnish motion verb kiertaa. In: SKY Journal of Linguistics 18 (2005): ¨¨ 311–340. Sivonen, Jari 2005b Mutkia Matkassa. Nykysuomen Epasuoraa Reittia Ilmaisevien ¨ ¨ Verbien Kognitiivista Semantiikkaa. Helsinki: SKS. Suomen Sanojen Alkupera (¼ ‘‘SSA’’) ¨ 1992–2000 Suomen sanojen alkupera [The Origin of Finnish Words]: ¨ etymologinen sanakirja I–III. SKST 556. Helsinki: Kotimaisten kielten tutkimuskeskuksen julkaisuja 62. Slobin Dan I. 1991 Learning to think for speaking: Native language, cognition, and rhetorical style. Pragmatics 1: 7–26. Slobin Dan I. 2004 The many ways to search for a frog. linguistic typology and the expressions of motion events. In: Sven Stromqvist and Ludo ¨ Verhoeven (eds.), Relating Events in Narrative: Typological and Contextual Perspectives. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum. Svorou, Soteria 1994 The Grammar of Space. (Typological Studies in Language 25.) Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Talmy, Leonard 1975 Semantics and Syntax of Motion. In: John P. Kimball (ed.), Syntax and Semantics 4, 181–238. New York: Academic Press. Talmy, Leonard 1985 Lexicalization patterns: semantic structure in lexical forms. In: Timothy Shopen (ed.), Language typology and syntactic description III. Grammatical categories and the lexicon, 57–149. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Talmy, Leonard 1991 Path to realization: a typology of event conflation. In: Laurel A. Sutton, Christopher Johnson, and Ruth Shields (eds.), Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, 480–519. Berkeley: Berkeley Linguistics Society. Talmy, Leonard 2000a Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Volume I: Concept Structuring Systems. Cambridge: The MIT Press.


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Talmy, Leonard 2000b Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Volume II: Typology and Process in Concept Structuring. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Talmy, Leonard 2006 Cognitive linguistics. In: Keith Brown (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. 2nd edition. Vol. 2, 542–545. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science. TYSYKLJ ¼ Turun yliopiston suomalaisen ja yleisen kielitieteen laitoksen julkaisuja. Wiik, Kalevi 1975 Suomen frekventatiivi ja kontinuatiivi. Vir (Virittaja. Kotikielen ¨ ¨ Seuran aikakauslehti.) 79: 153–167.

A cognitive approach to parenthetical speech Jaakko Leino
1. Background Generally speaking, there are few propositions in linguistics which may rightfully be considered axiomatic. One candidate for an axiomatic statement in language sciences is that spoken language should be considered primary with regard to written language. This position manifests itself in many ways: spoken language existed first, it is learned first by infants, and so on. Therefore, it is generally accepted without further question that linguistics should take spoken language as the primary object of study (cf., e.g., Saussure 1916). However, in practice, many (if not most) studies, especially in the field of syntax, end up using written language as primary data for their studies, and nearly all theoretical frameworks within the study of syntax and morphosyntax are tuned in to the description of written language, to the extent that they often seem unable to account for spoken data in a fruitful and comprehensive manner. At the same time, the study of dialects (and spoken language more generally) has, for the past hundred years, been practically limited to the study of phonological, morphological, and lexical phenomena. Dialect syntax has been a largely neglected area. Recently, however, interest in dialect syntax has grown rapidly, notably among generativist syntacticians, on the one hand, and language typologists, on the other (cf., e.g., Barbiers, Cornips and van der Kleij 2002; Kortmann 2004a, 2004b). An important reason for this development is the criticism, directed equally at both of these otherwise quite di¤erent approaches to language, which states that also non-standard varieties of languages need to be accounted for in order for the analyses to be fully adequate. What I wish to show in this paper is that cognitive linguistics, and in particular Construction Grammar (henceforth CxG, e.g. Fillmore and ¨ Kay 1996; Fried and Ostman 2005; Goldberg 1995, 2006; Croft 2001), provides useful tools for tackling the problem of bringing together spoken language and syntactic theory. To provide a concrete case in point, or a window to the theoretical ideas in question, I shall analyze (in section


Jaakko Leino

4) two parenthetical expression types which frequently occur in Finnish dialect data. Central to this discussion are not these particular expression types, but rather the notion of construction, the organization of speech, and the role of the former in the latter. 2. Constructions (and how they emerge) The trademark characteristic of CxG as originally developed consists in the insight that language is a repertoire of more or less complex patterns – constructions – that integrate form and meaning in conventionalized and often non-compositional (or non-analyzable) ways. Form in constructions may refer to any combination of syntactic, morphological, or prosodic patterns, and meaning is understood in a broad sense that includes lexical semantics, pragmatics, and discourse structure. In this view, a grammar consists of intricate networks of overlapping and complementary patterns that serve as ‘‘blueprints’’ for encoding and decoding linguistic expressions of all types. CxG is widely seen as a part of the Cognitive Linguistics tradition (cf., ¨ e.g., Ostman and Fried 2005) which subscribes to the usage-based model of language description and acquisition (cf., e.g., Langacker 1988; Barlow and Kemmer 2000). The basic tenet of this model is that linguistic units are shaped, in terms of both form and meaning, specifically by their use and by the contexts in which they are used. In other words, language – like quite a number of other skills which human beings acquire – is learned by making generalizations of situations and phenomena which resemble one another. As an illustration, let us assume that a child is learning Finnish, and hears the following sentences (among others):1

1. I use the following abbreviations in the glosses: pst ¼ past tense (somewhat misleadingly called ‘‘the imperfect tense’’ in traditional Finnish grammars), 1sg ¼ 1st person singular, 2pl ¼ 2nd person plural (etc.), gen ¼ genitive case, acc ¼ accusative case, par ¼ partitive case, ill ¼ Illative case, ela ¼ elative case, ine ¼ inessive case, abl ¼ ablative case, ade ¼ adessive case, tra ¼ translative case, pass ¼ passive voice (or impersonal; for a discussion of ¨ ¨ the interpretation of the form as passive, see Leino and Ostman 2008; Ostman 1981; Shore 1986).

A cognitive approach to parenthetical speech


(1) a.

isa lammitti saunan kuumaksi ¨ ¨ father warmed sauna-acc hot-tra ‘father warmed the sauna hot’ Tom Sawyer maalasi aidan valkoiseksi Tom Sawyer painted fence-acc white-tra ‘Tom Sawyer painted the fence white’ puhui metsat puhtahiksi ¨ blew forest-pl-acc clean-pl-tra jaati jarvet kantaviksi ¨¨ ¨ froze lake-pl-acc bearing-pl-tra ‘[the winter chill] blew forests clean, [and] froze lakes solid’ [i.e. such that the ice bears] (from a children’s song)



Based on these sentences, the child can make the following generalization: in the Finnish language, it is conventional to express a certain (and recognizable) type of situation or event in this manner. By comparing the sentences and the situations that they describe, it is possible to make a rather detailed generalization of the properties of this expression type: – The expression type is composed of four parts or elements which correspond to di¤erent elements of the situation type being described: the first element of the expression type, the subject, expresses the actor; the second element, the verb, is an expression of the deed itself; the third element, the object, expresses the undergoer or patient; and the fourth element expresses the end result of the situation. – In all of the sentences in (1), the second and the fourth element have the same form, respectively: the expression of the deed ends in -i, and the expression of the end result ends in -ksi. In the third element, there are also formal similarities: in two instances, the third element ends in -n, and in two instances in -t. – The expressions themselves vary, however, and none of the four elements of the expression type is constant. These properties characterize this conventional expression type of Finnish, which is known as the resultative construction. This construction was studied within the CxG framework by Palsi (2000), and its counterparts ¨


Jaakko Leino

in other languages by, e.g., Goldberg (1995: 180–198) and Boas (2003). We may present schematically in the following manner:2

Figure 1. The Finnish resultative construction

Figure 1 illustrates a rough characterization of what CxG calls a construction: a model or formula, learned by generalization, which is used as a template for novel expressions. Cognitive Grammar (Langacker 1987, 1991) calls such generalizations constructional schemas, and in more traditional approaches to grammar they are often called e.g. expression types, sentence types, basic sentence types, etc. The basic idea itself is by all means very well-established in the study of language and grammar. One crucial property of the formula in Figure 1 is that it represents certain elements in a certain constellation with one another. Yet, none of those elements is constant (aside from the translative case ending): they all vary. They are not lexically specified, but the language speaker still has some idea of what does and what does not fit in any given slot in the formula. Therefore, the formula can be used both productively and comprehensively: it is productive to the extent that it allows for variation in its lexical instantiations; and it is comprehensible due to the fact that it includes information of what can be expected of each part of the whole, what the relations between the parts are, and what type of situation the structure expresses as a whole.

2. A proper analysis of the Finnish resultative construction would naturally require a significantly more complex description. For a detailed discussion (including an attribute value matrix description), see Palsi (2000). For the pur¨ poses of this paper, however, the characterization in Figure 1 will su‰ce, and a detailed attribute value matrix would be more confusing than helpful.

A cognitive approach to parenthetical speech


3. The spoken language issue As pointed out at the beginning, speech is primary with regard to writing. However, the study of syntax has operated mainly with written language data and invented examples. The flow of speech seems too chaotic and unorganized to be e¤ectively analyzed with theoretical tools created for written language. What I wish to show in what follows is that the notion of construction is useful in this respect, and that the basic mechanisms of CxG are not only applicable to spoken data, but that they also solve what I call the delimitation problem of spoken language syntax. I use the term delimitation problem to refer to the fact that delimiting the object of investigation, i.e. pointing out the relevant units of description and discussion, is often a central problem in the syntactic study of speech. This state of a¤airs is closely connected to the fact that whenever syntactic theories encounter unrestricted spoken language data, they also tend to encounter problems. One of the central methodological challenges in the study of speech in general and spoken language syntax in particular is delimiting the object of study, or the basic unit of description: is it to be a sentence, an utterance, a phrase, a turn, or perhaps something else? If we look at the examples in (1) and the corresponding Figure 1 from the point of view of spoken language, we are instantly confronted with the question as to how actual spoken examples can be fitted together with such expression types or constructions. In written language syntax, one normally takes the clause or sentence to be the basic unit of description. As it happens, the uncomfortable question as to how we can apply syntactic rules to spoken language data (or how we can apply constructions to speech) often emerges in connection with another question related to the delimitation problem: can we use the term sentence to refer to units of spoken language? Roughly speaking, there are two types of standard answers to this question: the yes, but. . . type and the no, but. . . type. What I have chosen to do within the limits of this paper is to dismiss the yes or no part of the answer which I feel is arbitrary, and concentrate on the but part, which I feel is very interesting. I shall illustrate the problem with further examples. I claim that the following utterance contains a resultative structure very similar to that in example (1), but it is di‰cult to observe and point out in the flow of speech – and it would certainly sound far-fetched to claim that what


Jaakko Leino

we have in (2) is a sentence which instantiates the Finnish resultative construction: (2)
se, se imellettiin se, se re. . . ruis, ruis, rukiit teht. . . tehtiim maltaiks it it malt-pass-pst it it re- rye rye rye-pl dodo-pass-pst malt-pl-tra semmottiksi ni- etta ne idatettiij ja jam. . . ste, loylytettiin etta ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ such-pl-tra so that they germinate-pass and and then heat-pass that tuli maltaita ja sittej jauvettii ja ja sitte sittet come-pst-3sg malt-pl-par and then ground-pass-pst and and then then tehtii semmosta sita sita sita, varoa sittes semmosta sittes siitta ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨, do-pass-pst such-ptv it-par it-par it-par wait then such-ptv then it-ill siitta rukiin idatesjauhosta sitt- etta. ¨ ¨ ¨ it-ill rye-gen germinated-flour-ela then that. ‘it was malted, that rye, then, by germinating, and then heated so that it became malts, and then it was ground and then such sort of, wait, such, was made out of the flour of germinated rye.’

Example (2) illustrates a problem which is frustrating for the syntactician interested in spoken language: it does not ‘‘follow the rules’’, there are several repetitions, hesitations, etc. which undoubtedly reveal interesting details about how the sentence is processed by the speaker, but which also blur any syntactic structure – be it in terms of constructions, in terms of constituent structure, or whatever – which the expression may be based on. However, suitably arranged, this expression can be organized in such a manner that its essential structure becomes quite recognizable. This manner of arranging the utterance is inspired by the work of the GARS (Groupe Axois de Recherches en Syntaxe) research team headed by Claire Blanche-Benveniste, based at the University of Provence (cf. Blanche-Benveniste 1997; for an application to Finnish, cf. Duvallon 2006). The basic idea which underlies this approach is simple: all words which correspond to the same position in the overall structure are placed in the same vertical column. As a result, even such rather complex, apparently unstructured and not-very-straightforwardly proceeding expressions as that in (2) organize themselves into wholes which are surprisingly similar to constructions that have been postulated for written language. It thus appears that a Construction Grammar approach to spoken language syntax bridges, or at least greatly narrows, the apparent gap

A cognitive approach to parenthetical speech


Figure 2. Column-by-column representation of example (2)

between spoken and written language: even in very obviously nonstandard dialect speech, we find either the same or at least very similar morphosyntactic structures as those which we find in written language. The main di¤erence is that in speech their syntagmatic structure does not proceed in the same unidirectional and straightforward way as it does in written language. Speech contains repetitions, hesitations, and other processingrelated phenomena which do not show up in writing to an equal degree, but this is not a fundamental qualitative di¤erence of structure. Rather, it is a natural consequence of the fact that speech is necessarily processed in a here-and-now manner whereas writing allows for more planning and processing time. While it is clear that the ‘‘interface’’ between spoken and written language syntax is something that should be looked at in more detail, one can say that it should not be mystified as it often has been. The relationship between spoken and written language syntax is much more straightforward than it may seem, and we can indeed analyze speech with essentially the same machinery that we use for written language, as long as we are not mislead by the repetitions etc. in speech (and, it must be added, as long as we do not try to explain everything in terms of constituent structure).


Jaakko Leino

4. Parenthesis In section 3, I pointed out that we may or may not accept the notion of sentence as an applicable unit of spoken language, but that it is in fact arbitrary to either accept or reject the sentence as a unit of speech. What is crucial for the present discussion is not the yes or no type of answer. Rather, what is of importance is the fact that we should keep apart the notions of construction and sentence type: while all conventional sentence types may at the same time be conventional constructions, not all constructions are sentence types. In order to illustrate this, let us now look at a slightly di¤erent set of constructions – the ones that the title of the present paper refers to. As a starting point for this discussion, it should be noted that the constructions (or expression types) that we encounter in spoken language often include not only syntactic and semantic information but also information of a pragmatic nature: information about the discourse function of the expression type or, more broadly, information about what the expression type is used for. The following example shows an expression type which somewhat resembles the Finnish resultative construction discussed above, and which is pretty frequent especially in dialect interview data. We may call it the [X] was called Y construction.3 (3) se it siell oli, there be-pst-3sg semmonev vanha such old vanaha nuottamies old ‘There was, in Onkamo, he was called old Antti, an old seine fisherman.’ (LA, Salla)

Onkamossa Onkamo-ine

3. The construction is especially frequent in dialect interviews because the interviews tend to contain lengthy passages concerning traditional habits, past events, and the like, in which a lot of traditional names for old tools, habits, and people come up. For the same reason, the construction almost invariably occurs in past tense: it normally refers to names or concepts relevant to past events.

A cognitive approach to parenthetical speech


As example (3) shows, this construction is a piece of explanatory information inserted in the middle of another expression: there was, in a place called Onkamo, they called him ‘‘old Antti’’, an old fisherman. This construction is typically used in a dictionary-like manner for explaining names or words assumed not to be familiar to the hearer. Thus, it has a clear function. Yet, it is seldom a separate utterance or sentence-like unit; rather, it is typically embedded in another expression. Thus, it is a parenthetical structure similar to, for example, those studied by Duvallon and Routarinne (2005).4 At the same time, this expression type is well conventionalized and quite fixed: it is hardly ever broken apart in speech, and very few hesitations or other processing phenomena occur within it. There is little doubt that what example (3) illustrates is a full-fledged construction. However, this construction defies the supposedly ‘‘normal’’ organization of messages into sentences (not that this makes it by any means unique, though). Still, it is a quite typical construction in the sense that it brings together a certain formal structure, a specific meaning, and a conventionalized discourse function, which all combine to form a recognizable pattern or gestalt: this expression type is really very easy to recognize in spoken data. Let us take two more examples of the same construction. Examples (4) and (5) show that, despite the compactness and conventionality of the construction, there is some variation involved.5 First, the verb varies: in most cases, it is the Finnish equivalent of the verb say, i.e. sanoa, but several other communication verbs are used as well. Secondly, the verb usually occurs in the passive form, but this is not always the case. And, thirdly, the number of overt arguments of the verb varies. The object argument is sometimes present in the parenthetical expression, e.g. sita in both exam¨ ple (4) and (5), but more often it is left implicit. And, when the verb is in the passive voice, the subject argument is left out, while in the active voice it may be present, e.g. ne in example (5).

4. In a more traditional line of thought, structures of this kind were also studied by Ravila (1945). His pioneering work on this and related phenomena was a rare case of Finnish spoken language syntax in the mid-20th century, but it lead to little results – largely due to lack of a suitable methodological apparatus for pursuing his ideas. 5. For suggestions on how to cope with variation in the CxG framework, see ¨ Leino and Ostman (2005).


Jaakko Leino

(4) niin sita sellaahella puulo. . . , ¨ so it-par such-ade

jo. . . s- oli, kolomella jalaalla se loukku’hoito ja jo- it be-pst-3sg three-ade leg-ade it brake.thing and sittes siina karentila ja, sittes silla kannella paskitetahan ¨ ¨ ¨ then there and then it-ade lid-ade slam-pass ninku oli nain tallaaset ¨ ¨ ¨¨ like be-pst-3sg like.this such-pl niinku huulet siina loukus ¨ like lip-pl there brake-ine ‘So one would, with such a wood br-, they called it a brake, it stood on three legs that brake thing, and then there was a handle and then one would slam with the lid, it was like this, it had sort of like lips, the brake.’ (LA, Peraseinajoki) ¨ ¨ (5) taekka se tul’ tuolta or it come-pst-3sg there-abl Etela-Suomesta, pae se, Tiitine ¨ ¨ South-Finland-ela around it Tiitinen kun when

enne aekaa ku se ol’ siella Ves’jarvella paen. ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ˚ before time-ill when it be-pst-3sga there-ade Vesijarvi-ade around ¨ ‘Or [perhaps] it came from Southern Finland, this Tiitinen, whom they called ‘‘the old man from Vesijarvi’’ in the old days since it [or he] was ¨ around Vesijarvi.’ (LA, Mikkelin mlk) ¨

6. The Finnish word loukku means both ‘trap’ and ‘flax brake’ (for processing linen).

A cognitive approach to parenthetical speech


We may conclude that the [X] was called Y construction is a parenthetical construction whose function is normally to explicate some part of the utterance, typically a dialect word, a proper name, or some other concept or detail assumed not to be familiar to the hearer. Significantly, it does not neatly correspond to such traditional notions as NP, clause, sentence, etc. In this respect, it is by no means unique as a construction: there are plenty of similar parenthetical expression types in speech, and it is possible to find di¤erent kinds of groups among such expressions. One characteristic group of parenthetical expression types are explicative parenthetical constructions, which explain, o¤er further information, etc. – i.e. constructions by means of which the speaker provides the hearer with an explanation or comment concerning the state of a¤airs under discussion, or constructions by means of which the speaker more generally realigns himself with regard to the hearer or temporarily shifts attention from the universe of discourse to the speech setting. The [X] was called Y construction is naturally one member of this group, but there are other ones as well. Let us take another example. In (6), there is a sequence marked by the word nimittain ‘namely’: ¨ (6) oha be-3sg-clit siina kaloja, ¨ there fish-pl-par nyt tassa ¨ ¨ now here

joka on, nyt on iso jarvi tassa. ¨ ¨ ¨ which be-3sg now be-3sg big lake here. ‘There are fish here now all right, namely in the lake, which is a big lake, here.’ (LA: Joutsa) In Finnish grammars, the word nimittain is traditionally classified as a ¨ subordinating conjunction (if it is considered worth mentioning). On the other hand, Ikola, Palomaki and Koitto (1989: 52) specifically argue that ¨ it should not be considered a conjunction – however, they do not say what exactly it should be called.7 Be that as it may, if we look at how the word
7. Historically, the word is a converb form of the verb nimitta ¨ ‘call’, roughly ¨a meaning ‘by calling [someone/something by a name]’. Synchronically, however, it is more properly analyzed as a grammaticalized connective.


Jaakko Leino

nimittain is used in speech, we find a close connection with the [X] was ¨ called Y construction, and we note that nimittain is used in a rather similar ¨ manner as sanottiin: it typically begins an explanatory parenthetical section. Example (6) also shows a typical property of parentheticals: the word now is repeated both before and after the parenthetical insertion. This phenomenon – repeating some element of the ‘‘surrounding’’ structure – is characteristic of parentheticals, and it may also be found in the [X] was called Y examples above. In fact, these two constructions are so similar that they occasionally even occur together as explanatory parenthetical expressions with both of these markers (i.e. sanottiin and nimittain) being present:8 ¨ (7) kasamaks, sanottiin ¨ ¨ ¨ kasama-tra say-pass-pst ¨ ¨ ¨ tata viarree puuta, ¨ ¨ ¨ this-par twisted-par wood-par

¨ tialla nimitettii nimittai. ¨ ¨ here call-pass-pst nimittain ¨ ‘They called this twisted wood kasama, namely they called it that ¨ ¨ ¨ around here.’ (LA: Kiihtelysvaara) (8) ennev before vanhaan pieti niiko old-ill keep-pass-pst like ja, jota and which-par luttonem luttonen

¨ sanovat luttoseks nimittae. say-3pl luttonen-tra nimittain ¨ ‘In the old times people used to have a luttonen [a device for processing linen], namely they called it luttonen.’ (LA: Konginkangas) Thus, we have two constructions which closely resemble each other. Neither one of the two constitutes a complete sentence (at least not necessarily) or even a sentence-like structure. They are both inserted in the middle of another, more sentence-like structure, and they both provide some sort of an explanation or clarification for some element in the surrounding
8. The co-occurrence of [X] was called Y and nimittain may be thought of as ¨ redundant: if they both function as markers of explicative parentheticals, why use both? It may be the case that nimittain in these cases serves to strengthen ¨ the marking of the parenthetical. This may be due to the fact that the verb form sanottiin ‘was said/called’ is a rather weak marker of parenthesis in terms of cue validity, since the verb sanoa ‘say’ is very frequently used, even in passive voice, also as a regular verb of communication.

piettii keep-pass-pst

A cognitive approach to parenthetical speech


structure. And, all in all, they both show a number of properties which are typically observed in parenthetical expressions. One crucial consequence of the existence of such conventional parenthetical constructions is that we must keep apart the notions of construction and sentence type, as was suggested above: we may with full confidence call the X was called y expression type a construction, but it is not really a sentence type.

5. Constructions and spoken language Let us now consider the consequences of this discussion for the CxG framework and the applicability of the notion of construction. One thing that I have tried to show is that constructions are indeed well suited for the syntactic description of spoken language for several reasons: – They are flexible enough to be practical, i.e. to fit together with actual speech data. – Since constructions combine form, meaning, and function, they are patterns su‰ciently recognizable to be credible and plausible – be it intuitively, psychologically, or in some other sense. – They are su‰ciently explicit to be delimitable and describable in the flow of speech. Importantly for research on the syntax of spoken language, constructions o¤er a tool for delimiting the object of study and the basic unit of description, as I pointed out. Furthermore, they also provide means for pointing out the ‘‘same thing’’, so to say, in two di¤erent language varieties or even two di¤erent languages – such as the resultative construction in, say, Finnish and English, or in standard Finnish and in di¤erent dialects. On the other hand, spoken language is a perfectly plausible object of study for Construction Grammar: we often find the same, or at least essentially similar, constructions in speech as we do in written language (although this may not seem to be the case at first glance). One just needs to acknowledge that, with regard to constructions, speech proceeds through overlaps and repetitions. Another thing that may be pointed out is that the present discussion tells us something about the way that language is processed as we speak. It does not necessarily proceed straightforwardly, one sentence-sized package at a time. Rather, speech winds and turns around and back and forth as is necessary; it contains parentheses and other additions, repetitions and


Jaakko Leino

hesitations, etc. And, of course, one important conclusion is that the way we describe syntax should be able to cope with the fact that this is the way language works by nature: if we accept the claim that speech is primary with regard to writing, then spoken language syntax cannot be a derivative of a more primary written language syntax, and syntactic theories cannot be limited to written language phenomena.

6. Theoretical and methodological implications Let us conclude by briefly considering the role of constructions in speech processing from a di¤erent point of view. What can be said following the above discussion is, of course, merely a set of assumptions and preliminary hypotheses to be looked at in more detail in subsequent research. However, it does seem obvious that constructions, or elements that very closely resemble constructions, play a central role in speech processing. When we start to talk, we apparently have an idea of the overall pattern of the utterance that we are going to produce: a sentence type, a corresponding construction, etc. We then proceed to fill up the open slots in that construction with suitable smaller elements: words and phrases. As was shown in section 3, the same slot can be filled over and over again: this results in overlaps in the same ‘‘column’’, as the examples showed. And we can also interrupt the overall pattern with other constructions which do not fit into the original one: these show up as parenthetical expressions, as discussed in section 4. Essentially the same observation was of course made before in other contexts. The idea of the speaker starting with a plan of the overall pattern that they are going to produce is not very di¤erent from the notion of projection in conversation analysis (CA; cf. e.g. Sacks 1992 a, b; Goodwin and Heritage 1990; Heritage 1995). As Scheglo¤ (1987: 71) puts it, ‘‘the units that turn construction employs (e.g. lexical, phrasal, clausal, sentential constructions) [– –] project, from their beginnings, aspects of their planned shape and type.’’ CA uses a di¤erent terminology (instead of constructions, CA speaks of turn-constructional units) and approaches the phenomenon from a somewhat di¤erent (notably more interactional) point of view, but the main idea is indeed very similar. With regard to cognitive linguistics in general, and CxG in particular, the crucial conclusion is that the online process of generating utterances is organized by constructions (or constructional schemas): conventional, experience-based models of what kinds of expressions and combinations

A cognitive approach to parenthetical speech


we tend to use in our language, and of what kind of meanings we habitually express with a given kind of expression; in other words, what a given construction means and what it is used for. These models, grammatical constructions, are equally useful and significant for the analysis of spoken language as they are for investigating written language. And, to conclude, we may eventually answer the question posed in section 3 by saying that although the notions of clause and sentence may or may not be useful in analyzing the syntactic structure of spoken language, the notion of construction certainly is. References
Barbiers, Sjef, Leonie Cornips and Susanne van der Kleij (eds.) 2002 Syntactic Micro-variation. Amsterdam: SAND. (Available in electronic form at Barlow, Michael and Suzanne Kemmer (eds.) 2000 Usage-Based Models of Language. Stanford: Center for the Study of Language and Information. Blanche-Benveniste, Claire ´ 1997 Approches de la Langue Parlee en Francais. Paris: Ophrys. ¸ Boas, Hans C. 2003 A Constructional Approach to Resultatives. Stanford: Center for the Study of Language and Information. Croft, William 2001 Radical Construction Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Duvallon, Outi 2006 Le Pronom Anaphorique et l’Architecture de l’Oral en Finnois et ´ en Francais. Paris: ADEFO/L’Harmattan. ¸ Duvallon, Outi and Sara Routarinne 2005 Parenthesis as a resource in the grammar of conversation. In: Hakulinen, Auli and Margret Selting (eds.), Syntax and Lexis in Conversation. Studies on the Use of Linguistic Resources in Talkin-Interaction, 45–74. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Fillmore, Charles and Paul Kay 1996 Construction Grammar. CSLI Lecture Notes. Manuscript. Stanford: Center for the Study of Language and Information. ¨ Fried, Mirjam and Jan-Ola Ostman 2005 Construction grammar: A thumbnail sketch. In: Fried, Mirjam ¨ and Jan-Ola Ostman (eds.), Construction Grammar in a CrossLanguage Perspective, 11–86. (Constructional Approaches to Language 2.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Goldberg, Adele E. 1995 Constructions. A Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.


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Goldberg, Adele E. 2006 Constructions at Work. The Nature of Generalization in Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Goodwin, Charles and John Heritage 1990 Conversation analysis. Annual Review of Anthropology 19: 283– 307. Heritage, John 1995 Conversation analysis: Methodological aspects. In: Quastho¤, Uta M. (ed.), Aspects of Oral Communication, 391–418. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Ikola, Osmo, Ulla Palomaki and Anna-Kaisa Koitto ¨ 1989 Suomen Murteiden Lauseoppia ja Tekstikielioppia. Helsinki: SKS. Kortmann, Bernd 2004a Why dialect grammar matters. The European English Messenger XIII: 24–29. Kortmann, Bernd (ed.) 2004b Dialectology Meets Typology. Dialect Grammar from a Crosslinguistic Perspective. (Trends in linguistics. Studies and monographs. Vol. 153). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. LA ¼ Collections of the syntax archive. Computer corpus. Turku: University of Turku, department of Finnish and General Linguistics/Helsinki: Research Institute for the Languages of Finland. Langacker, Ronald W. 1987 Foundations of Cognitive Grammar I: Theoretical Prerequisites. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Langacker, Ronald W. 1988 A Usage-Based Model. In: Rudzka-Ostyn, Brygida (ed.), 1988: Topics in Cognitive Linguistics, 127–161. (Current issues in Linguistic Theory 50.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Langacker, Ronald W. 1991 Foundations of Cognitive Grammar II: Descriptive Application. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ¨ Leino, Jaakko and Jan-Ola Ostman 2005 Constructions and variability. In: Fried, Mirjam and Hans Boas (eds.): Grammatical Constructions: Back to the Roots, 191–213 (Constructional Approaches to Language 4.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins. ¨ Leino, Pentti and Jan-Ola Ostman 2008 Language change, variability, and functional load. Finnish genericity from a constructional point of view. In: Leino, Jaakko (ed.), Constructional Reorganization, 37–54. (Constructional Approaches to Language 5.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins. ¨ Ostman, Jan-Ola 1981 The Finnish ‘passive’ and Relational Grammar. CLS 17: 286– 294.

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¨ Ostman, Jan-Ola and Mirjam Fried (ed.) 2005 Construction Grammars. Cognitive grounding and theoretical extensions. (Constructional approaches to language 3.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Palsi, Marja ¨ 2000 Finnish resultative sentences. SKY Journal of Linguistics 13: 211–250. Ravila, Paavo 1945 Lauseeseen liittyneet irralliset ainekset. Virittaja 49: 1–16. ¨ ¨ Sacks, Harvey 1992a,b Lectures on Conversation. Vol. 1 and 2. Edited by Gail Je¤erson. Oxford: Blackwell. Saussure, Ferdinand de ´ ´ 1916 Cours de Linguistique Generale. Lausanne: Payot. Scheglo¤, Emanuel A. 1987 Recycled turn beginnings: A precise repair mechanism in conversation’s turn-taking organisation. In: Graham Button and John R.E. Lee (eds.), Talk and social organisation, 70–85. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters. Shore, Susanna 1986 Onko Suomessa Passiivia [Is there a passive in Finnish?]. Helsinki: SKS.

Part IV.

The pragmatic context

Using RST to analyze subjectivity in text and talk ´ Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and Jose Sanders
1. Introduction Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST; Mann and Thompson 1988) is an elegant and much used model for the analysis of coherence relations in discourse. It is one of the first approaches to systematically distinguish between object versus subject oriented coherence relations, highlighting the intersubjective character of discourse by defining subjective relations as ‘‘presentational’’, i.e. expressing the particular relation between Speaker and Addressee. In presentational relations, such as Claim-Evidence, the Speaker is foregrounded as the conceptualizing subject in the SpeakerHearer relationship. In this article, we apply this inherently intersubjective RST-model to look for evidence for the conversationalization hypothesis (Fairclough 1994; Fairclough and Wodak 1997) in public discourse. To this end, we compare news texts with spoken discourse using RST to categorize and compare the proportions and characterization of presentational relations in each text type. We start by outlining the conversationalization hypothesis as brought forth by Fairclough c.s. and discussing earlier attempts to provide empirical evidence for this hypothesis. Subsequently we discuss Rhetorical Structure Theory and describe in more detail how the presentational relations in this model provide excellent conceptualizations of subjectivity as the central notion of conversationalization. Then, the RSTmodel is used in a corpus analysis that categorizes and diachronically compares recent news texts and conversations with fifty-year-old news texts. Before presenting our results, we discuss the applicability of RST in the analysis of subjectivity in written and spoken discourse. 2. Conversationalization It has been suggested that ‘‘a major change in discursive practices a¤ecting many public institutions in contemporary society is the ‘conversationalization’ of public discourse [. . .]’’ (Fairclough and Wodak 1997: 265). This change involves ‘‘the modelling of public discourse upon the discursive practices of ordinary life, ‘conversational’ practices in a broad sense’’


´ Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and Jose Sanders

(Fairclough 1994: 253). It entails a change in the style and register of many genres. Conversationalization is an important linguistic mechanism for influencing audiences in public discourse. And even though it may be suggestive of a concomitant shift in authority in favour of the public, Fairclough (1994) argues that the phenomenon is more ambivalent. Conversationalization as a trend in influencing audiences may be seen as a reflection of more equal, democratic discourse relations, which may be the result of cultural changes in the previous century; but it may also be regarded as a reflection of more manipulated (or engineered) relations of communication, which are the result of an increasing technologization of discourse. There is anecdotal evidence of conversationalization for a number of public discourse genres, including doctor-patient interactions, university prospectuses, and media interviews (Fairclough 1992, 1994). Some smallscale studies suggest that there are eminent opportunities for making the notion more precise and productive for the description of linguistic devices used in public communication to influence audiences. A case study of the linguistic reflection of conversationalization as a historical trend in public communication has been performed by Steen (2003) upon a corpus of 85,000 words. A sample of 120 editorials from The Times between 1950 and 2000 exhibited an increase in involvement and persuasion and a decrease in narration. This may be interpreted as a stylistic shift in the direction of conversations, which are typically highly involved and persuasive and relatively unmarked regarding narration (Biber 1988). Similarly, in an analysis of a 37,000-word corpus of 32 party-election broadcasts from 1966 to 1997, Pearce (2005) found an increase in conversationalization, reflected in such linguistic features as a decrease in the use of nominalizations, and an increase in the use of 1st and 2nd person pronouns, and in the use of that-complement clauses. Besides conversationalization, Pearce distinguishes personalization: the construction of a ‘‘personal relationship’’ between the producers and receivers of public discourse. He regards conversationalization and personalization as interrelated subprocesses of the more general process of informalization. It seems then that there is some quantitative evidence for the conversationalization claim at the lexical level. For Dutch, a small quantitative lexical analysis was reported by Van Rooij (2007). In a replication of Pearce’s (2005) research on informalization, Van Rooij investigated the occurrence of a large number of lexical elements signalling conversationalization and personalization in a small corpus of Dutch newspaper texts from 1950 and 2002; she found little evidence for informalization. The research presented here intends to possibly converge evidence by

Using RST to analyze subjectivity in text and talk


studying the conversationalization in Dutch at the text coherence level of discourse. Our study is part of a larger research project, ‘Text, Cognition, and Communication: Mechanisms of Public Discourse’, investigating conversationalization in Dutch public discourse. This particular study deals with conversationalization in subjective features, which is analyzed at three levels: the text, the sentence, and the word (Vis, in preparation). This article discusses the first part of the corpus study, the analysis of subjectivity at the text coherence level. In the analysis presented here we compare the frequency of coherence phenomena that may reflect conversationalization in three di¤erent subcorpora: Dutch national newspapers from 1950, Dutch national newspapers from 2002, and Dutch spontaneous conversations, recorded around the year 2002. The analysis will identify first, to what extent newspaper texts from 2002 reflect present day conversations, and second, whether and how newspaper texts have changed over the years, compared to 1950. 3. Subjectivity When investigating whether newspaper texts are becoming more conversational, the best place to look for changes is in features that are di¤erent between newspapers and conversations. An obvious di¤erence between newspapers and conversations is that the latter have a very clear interactional function. Both sender and receiver are present and the interactive nature of the communication between the two is salient. Speakers address individual listeners who are immediately present and personal. The interactional function of the language of conversation has also been described as expressive, emotive, social expressive or, in terms of systemic functional linguistics, interpersonal. Halliday (e.g. 1985), developer of systemic functional linguistics, describes language as simultaneously realizing three functions of meaning: the ideational (the expression of content or the experiential aspect of meaning), the interpersonal (how the message expresses the social relationships between the relevant interlocutors), and the textual (which realizes meanings via the structure and organization of the message itself ). In spontaneous conversations, the interpersonal function of language predominates, while in newspaper texts the ideational function comes to the fore. The aim of this study is to examine whether, and in what way, characteristics that are typical of spontaneous conversations have spread from conversations to the genre of news texts. If the conversationalization hypothesis is correct, one would expect newspaper texts from 2002 to have more interpersonal characteristics than newspaper texts from 1950.


´ Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and Jose Sanders

Many of the features that have been described as being typically used to express the interpersonal function are lexical elements. Halliday (1985) mentions, amongst others, modal adjuncts, pronouns, and connotative meanings of lexical items. Such lexical items have often been described in terms of subjectivity. From here on, instead of speaking of the interpersonal function of language we will use the term subjectivity. Subjectivity has been analyzed in a number of recent studies, at di¤erent levels: textual, grammatical and lexical. At the textual level, subjectivity can be studied in the relations between sentences, so-called coherence relations. According to many theories of discourse connectedness, coherence relations account for the coherence in the mental representation of a text that a reader constructs whilst processing the text (cf. Hobbs 1979; Mann and Thompson 1986; Sanders and Noordman 2000; Sanders, Spooren and Noordman 1992, 1993). Coherence relations are established by the reader by relating the di¤erent information units in the text. Hence, coherence is a mental phenomenon, rather than a characteristic of the text, spoken or ´ written, itself (Gernsbacher and Givon 1995). The di¤erence in coherence between examples (1) and (2) has been described in terms of subjectivity (Spooren, Sanders, Huiskes, and Degand, in press): (1) Jan is niet thuis omdat hij weg moest. Jan is not at home because he had to leave. (2) Jan is zeker niet thuis, want zijn auto is weg. Jan is definitely not at home, because his car is gone. Example (1) describes the reason for John’s absence: the speaker reports on a causal relation between a reason and its consequence in the real world. Example (2), however, presents a conclusion drawn by the speaker on the basis of an argument; there is no real-world causal relation, but a causal relation originating in the conceptualizer’s (speaker’s) mind. Following Spooren et al. (in press), it can be said, then, that (2) is more subjective than (1). Subjectivity is a notion that is central in cognitive linguistics (Langacker, 1990). As has been illustrated by examples (1) and (2), subjectivity is an important notion with regards to coherence relations as well. In recent years, subjectivity and coherence have been studied intensively by several researchers. Pander Maat and Degand (2001) analyze di¤erences between coherence relations and their linguistic expressions in the form of connectives, in terms of the degree to which an active conceptualizer is responsible for the (causal) connection that these relations express. In a recent overview, Sanders and Spooren (2009) show how causal relations that are

Using RST to analyze subjectivity in text and talk


expressed with the Dutch causal connective WANT (as in example (2)) are typically processed and learned di¤erently than causal relations that are expressed with the Dutch causal connective OMDAT (as in example (1)). They connect this with the distinction that Sweetser (1990) makes between content relations on the one hand, and epistemic and speech act relations on the other. Sanders, Sanders and Sweetser (2009) elaborate on this in their model of causal relations within the Basic Communicative Spaces Network. Content causal relations are construed by an explicit subject of consciousness, for example an actor in the discourse, whereas epistemic and speech act causal relations are construed by the implicit subject of consciousness, i.e. the Speaker, in the deictic center of the communicative situation in which the Addressee is also represented. For the distinction between content and epistemic/speech act relations, in this paper we adopt the distinction that Mann and Thompson (1988) make between subject matter (content) and presentational (epistemic/ speech act) relations in their Rhetorical Structure Theory.

4. Rhetorical Structure Theory At the textual level we will study coherence relations in our corpus, using Rhetorical Structure Theory (Mann and Thompson 1988). RST is a descriptive theory of the structural organization of texts. It characterizes the structure of a text in terms of labelled relations that hold between parts of that text, such as Elaboration, Evaluation, and Evidence. The result of the RST analysis of a coherent text is a tree structure, where the leaves of the tree are the elementary discourse units (typically finite clauses). Most of the RST relations are binary and hypotactic, that is, they consist of two parts where one is considered to be more central (the ‘‘nucleus’’), and the other more peripheral (the ‘‘satellite’’). Some RST relations are multinuclear; they coordinate structures of equal importance, e.g. Contrast and List. Figure 1 presents an example of a hypotactic relation, Evidence, taken from Mann and Thompson (1988). It concerns the paradigm case of a claim followed by the evidence for the claim. The claim is in this case made up by text span 1, the evidence by spans 2 and 3. Span 1 is more essential to the text than spans 2–3, and therefore it is the nucleus in the relation. This is signalled by a vertical line descending down to span 1. Spans 2–3 together form the satellite, which is shown by an arc pointing from this span to the nucleus. RST is the most explicit and most widely used system of coherence


´ Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and Jose Sanders

Figure 1. Example of an Evidence relation (from Mann and Thompson 1988: 251)

relations. The main reasons for using RST in this study are that RST provides a fairly exhaustive list of well-defined relations and that it yields relatively reliable analyses (see Den Ouden 2004; Marcu, Romera and Amorrortu 1999a, 1999b). In RST a distinction is made between subject matter relations and presentational relations. The distinction is based on the e¤ect intended by the text producer. In subject matter relations the text producer’s intention is that the reader recognizes the relation. The focus here is on providing information; compare the ideational (Halliday 1985) or content (Sweetser 1990) relations discussed in section 2. In presentational relations the intended e¤ect is to increase some inclination on the part of the reader (positive regard, belief, or acceptance of the nucleus) (Taboada and Mann 2006a). This distinction is especially useful for the research presented here, because it is approximately equivalent to the distinction between the ideational and interpersonal function (Taboada and Mann 2006a) and between content and pragmatic or speech act/epistemic relations (Sanders, Spooren and Noordman 1992). Hence, to find the interpersonal meaning expressed on a textual level, one needs only to analyze the corpus for the occurrence of presentational relations. However, in our view the relations that have been classified as presentational by Mann and Thompson (1988) do not present us with a satisfactory list. Their class of presentational relations consists of the relations Antithesis, Background, Concession, Enablement, Evidence, Justify and Motivation. Yet, Background does not seem to be presentational in that it does not intend to increase an inclination on the part of the reader. Potter (2007: 123) seems to share this view; he points out that Background and Elaboration are similar, ‘‘the principal distinction being that Background precedes the nucleus and Elaboration follows it’’. According to Mann and Thompson (1988), Elaboration is a subject matter relation. For these reasons, we conclude that Background is not a presentational

Using RST to analyze subjectivity in text and talk Table 1. The subjective relations. Subjective relations Antithesis Description Situation presented in the nucleus comes in contrast with the situation presented in the satellite Situation indicated in the nucleus is contrary to expectation in the light of the information presented in the satellite Satellite and nucleus lead to opposite conclusions Action presented in the satellite increases the chances of the situation in the nucleus being realized Text spans are ordered in a list of arguments Situation presented in satellite assesses the situation presented in the nucleus Satellite provides evidence for the situation presented in the nucleus Situation presented in satellite interprets the situation presented in the nucleus Information in satellite provides writer’s right to express the nucleus Information in satellite increases desire to perform action in nucleus


Intended e¤ect Increase positive regard Increase positive regard Increase positive regard Increase ability


Concessive opposition Enablement

Enumeration Evaluation Evidence Interpretation Justify Motivation

Increase belief Increase belief Increase belief Increase belief Increase acceptance Increase desire

relation. Furthermore, there are relations that are categorized as subject matter relations by Mann and Thompson, while we feel they are presentational. This applies to the relations Evaluation and Interpretation, because they are used to increase a positive belief in the nucleus. Finally, we added two relations to our list because we felt Mann and Thompson’s list was not exhaustive: Concessive (or Argumentative) opposition (following Spooren 1989) and Enumeration. The resulting list of 10 subjective relations, with a short description and their intended e¤ect, is shown in table 1. The di¤erence in subjectivity between example (1) and (2) can now be shown in their RST analyses. The RST-analysis of example (1) shows a


´ Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and Jose Sanders

Figure 2. RST analyses of examples (1) and (2)

Cause-Consequence relation, the analysis of example (2) an Evidence relation. Cause-Consequence is not one of our subjective relations, whereas Evidence is. If newspaper texts are in fact becoming more conversationalized and more subjective, one would expect that the relative amount of subjective relations has increased over time. To test this, we analyze the corpus for the occurrence of subjective relations. 5. Corpus The aim of the research project this study is involved in is to investigate conversationalization in Dutch public discourse. For this purpose, a corpus was compiled, comprising three subcorpora. As public discourse, newspaper texts were chosen from two years: 1950 and 2002. Microfilm copies of the newspapers from 1950 are present at the Royal Library in The Hague and the library of the VU University in Amsterdam, where photocopying facilities are also available. The newspapers from 2002 are available digitally via the library of the VU University in Amsterdam. To identify to what extent texts from 2002 reflect present day conversations, Dutch spontaneous conversations were selected from the Corpus of Spoken Dutch (CGN; Oostdijk 2000). The corpus consists of: – a 50,000-word subcorpus of texts taken from Dutch national newspapers from 2002; 100 texts of 500 words taken from five national newspapers, and spread over di¤erent sections (front page news, domestic and foreign news, cultural news, financial news, sports, science, opinion); – a 30,000-word subcorpus of texts taken from Dutch national newspapers from 1950; 60 texts of 500 words, selected on the basis of the same criteria. The same newspapers were used as for the newspaper

Using RST to analyze subjectivity in text and talk


subcorpus from 2002. As one of the newspapers was not available for 1950, the texts were taken from only four of the five newspapers. The texts were copied from microfilm and typed out by assistants; – a 50,000-word subcorpus of 29 samples of transcribed spontaneous conversations, selected from the Corpus of Spoken Dutch, collected around the year 2002. Selection criteria were sex, age, geographical region, socio-economic class, level of education, number of speakers, and type of relation between the speakers. The samples include the recorded conversations, transcriptions and additional annotations such as part-of-speech tags and lemma information. Several considerations were taken into account when compiling the corpus. Firstly, since RST is devised to explain the organization of a text as a whole, it was necessary to use complete texts. Secondly, it was required that the texts be su‰ciently extensive for subjective relations to be present in a substantive amount. Therefore, ‘‘news flashes’’ (newspaper articles of less than 200 words) were excluded. Thirdly, for the texts to be representative of Dutch newspaper texts on the one hand and Dutch spontaneous conversations on the other, there had to be su‰cient spreading over genres within newspapers and types of conversations and speakers. Both news subcorpora are enriched with part-of-speech and lemma information using the tagger and lemmatiser that were used for the conversations in the CGN (Van den Bosch, Busser, Daelemans, and Canisius 2007). The texts are all available in XML format.

6. Method The RST analysis of the three subcorpora took place in two stages: the segmentation into elementary discourse units and the assignment of RST relations. The three subcorpora were segmented following Marcu’s instructions for annotating RST structures (Marcu 1999). The conversations had already been segmented by the CGN builders. We preserved this segmentation, and sometimes made more segments, when required by Marcu’s instructions. Some adjustments were made to Marcu’s instructions if otherwise possible sites for subjective relations would have been missed. These adjustments were included in a protocol for the annotation of subjective relations. The segmentation stage was followed by the stage of assignment of the RST relations. This stage also includes the decision on nuclearity. The


´ Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and Jose Sanders

assignment of RST relations to a text can be done in two ways: locally or holistically. In the local approach, the annotator tries to build the tree structure in an incremental way as much as possible. In the holistic approach, the annotator builds a structure starting with the text as a whole. Following Marcu’s instructions, we opted for the local approach. With this approach it is possible to draw up a precise protocol for the assignment of RST relations and hence for the analysis of subjective relations. A precise protocol improves the interannotator agreement and yields more reliable analyses. For some texts the local approach did not work. We found that it was not possible to understand these texts when reading and analyzing one sentence at a time. Most often, these apparently complicated texts originated from the subcorpus from 1950. In such cases, it was necessary to read the entire text to understand the writer’s intentions. We then determined the large textual segments holistically and subsequently analyzed these segments locally.

7. RST and conversations RST was originally devised for the analysis of written texts. Its application to the analysis of written texts is still by far the most frequent (see Taboada and Mann 2006b, for an overview). Yet, there have been attempts to use RST to analyze other forms of communication. In her cross-linguistic study of Spanish and English task-related dialogues, Taboada (2004) concludes that it is feasible to use RST to capture the coherence of conversations. In an analysis of the coherence of newsgroups discussions, Potter (2007) reaches similar conclusions. He concludes that a slightly modified form of RST can be used to analyze these discussions. He suggests that of the four structural constraints on RST (uniqueness, adjacency, completeness, and connectedness), only the adjacency condition needs to be relaxed. By implication, Potter claims that ‘‘a coherent discussion is one that is analyzable using RST’’ (2007: 169). The question is to what degree these findings can be generalized to other forms of conversations. Levinson (1979) notes that in di¤erent communicative settings the role of language can vary. In some settings the use of language is constitutive of what Levinson calls the activity type (examples are telephone conversations, job interviews), in other settings language plays only a secondary role (dancing, a football game). The

Using RST to analyze subjectivity in text and talk


types of communication for which an RST analysis seems possible are of the former type. In discourse genres like task-related dialogues and Internet discussions language plays a dominant role. However, in communicative settings where the role of language is diminished, it is much more di‰cult to come up with a coherent RST analysis. The conversations from the CGN corpus vary enormously in the role that language plays, from dinner conversations in which the use of language is manifest, to conversations accompanying board games, where the role of language is much less clear. Transcript (1) is a fragment from a conversation between a mother and a daughter talking about what bus to take.
Transcript (1). Transcription of conversation 1. A mother (1005, 56 years) and daughter (1004, 29 years), talking about what bus to take. 1 1004 (a) en dan gaat (b) moet je daar bus wat is het nou (c) negen (d) klopt dat nou negen (e) ja volgens mij wel (f ) bus negen hebben naar De Laar West (a) and then [it] goes (b) do you have to [take] there bus what is it again (c) nine (d) is that correct nine (e) yes I think it is (f) bus nine to De Laar West 2 1005 (a) ja (b) De Laar West (c) dadelijk even noteren hoor (d) want dat onthoud ik niet (a) yes (b) De Laar West (c) write down immediately (d) because I won’t remember that 3 1004 (a) ja (b) want je hebt een negen die gaat naar Geitenkamp en een negen die gaat naar De Laar (a) yes (b) because there is a nine going to Geitenkamp and a nine going to De Laar 4 1005 oh oh 5 1004 (a) en dus je moet die negen naar De Laar hebben (b) en dan moet je uitstappen bij de halte Winkelcentrum Elderhof (a) and so you must take the nine to De Laar (b) and then you must get o¤ at the stop Shopping Centre Elderhof 6 1005 ja yes


´ Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and Jose Sanders 1004 en nou ja waarschijnlijk herken je het wel als als ie als ie daar is maar je kunt voor de zekerheid even aan aan de chau¤eur vragen of die een seintje geeft and well yes probably you will recognize it if if it gets there but just to be on the safe side you can ask the driver to give you a sign



(a) ja (b) ja (a) yes (b) yes



dat is gewoon daar bij die SNS-Bank zeg maar die halte that is just near that SNS bank you know, that stop



(a) ja (b) ja (c) oh dat s ligt dichtbij (a) yes (b) yes (c) oh that’s close



ja yes



maar dat zie ik wel hoor dat zijn daar toch al een aantal keren geweest but I will see that have been there already a couple of times haven’t we



ja daarom maar goed als je niet weet wanneer je moet drukken of zo maar ja d’r staa stappen daar altijd mensen uit yes that’s why but nevertheless if you don’t know when to push or something like that but yes there are always lots of people getting o¤ there



oh oh



het is ’t is zeg maar de derde halte op op die lange weg op die weg die helemaal door de wijk loopt en daar is ’t de derde halte van it is so to speak the third stop on on that long road on that road that runs all through the quarter and it’s the third stop of that



(a) ja (b) nja (a) yes (b) well yes want d’r zitten vrij veel haltes dicht bij elkaar because there are quite of stops really close together





(a) hum (b) oh (a) hum (b) oh

Using RST to analyze subjectivity in text and talk


Figure 3. RST analysis of transcript (1)


´ Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and Jose Sanders

The analysis shows that it is possible to come up with a more or less complete analysis of the conversation. The basic structure of the fragment is that of sequence: first the mother has to take bus 9 to De Laar West and then she has to get o¤ at a particular stop. The analysis is more or less complete: only two segments are not included in the tree (segments 4 and 14) and these contain backchannel signals (‘‘oh’’). As a consequence, all segments apart from these two are connected to other segments. The analysis is unique in the sense that each segment is involved in one and only one relation (again with the exception of 4 and 14). And, finally, all satellites are adjacent to their nuclei. The following transcript comes from a conversation among three friends (two men and a woman) playing a board game.
Transcript 2. Transcription of conversation 2. Three friends, one woman (1016, 28 years) and two men (1017, 31 years; 1018, 29 years), playing a board game. 1 1018 (a) e¤e nadenken inderdaad (b) dit wordt natuurlijk (c) dit is naadje pit is dit gewoon (d) xxx (a) let me think indeed (b) this is gonna be of course (c) this is crummy this is really (d) xxx 2 1017 (a) hoe (b) ggg (a) how (b) ggg 3 1018 (a) naadje pit (b) dit is niks (c) dit is prut (d) dit is (e) ggg (f ) ik ben groen (a) crummy (b) this is nothing (c) this is lousy (d) this is (e) ggg (f) I’m green 4 1017 ja je bent groen yes you are green ja je bent helemaal niet rood yes you’re not red at all ik ik zi I I’m thi 7 1016 en ook niet geel and not yellow either 8 1018 (a) ’k zit de hele te de ik moet hier ook nog heen (b) ggg (a) all the ti I’m thinking tha I have to get here, too (b) ggg





Using RST to analyze subjectivity in text and talk 9 1016


(a) ggg (b) maar waarom denk je dat xxx (c) je hebt niet eens een transportfiche neergelegd (a) ggg (b) but why do you think that xxx (c) you didn’t even put down a transport token



nee maar i ik zit nog te zoeken waar wil ik heen no but I I’m still searching where do I want to go



waarheen leidt de weg whereto leads the road [sings a line from a well-known Dutch song]



(a) leidt de weg die we moeten gaan (b) ’t slaat allemaal nergens op (a) leads the road that we have to go [continues the song] (b) all of this doesn’t make any sense



ja yes



nee het slaat allemaal nergens op no it doesn’t make any sense at all ja ik weet het goed gemaakt yes I know what to do





xxx xxx



(a) ik ga (b) ja (c) ook dat slaat natuurlijk helemaal nergens op (a) I’m going (b) yes (c) that also doesn’t make any sense at all



nou dit slaat echt nergens op zeg well this really does not make any sense at all



de wolk the cloud



(a) de wolk (b) hatsiekiedee (a) the cloud (b) there we go



´ ` he dat is een goede wolk he hey that’s a good cloud isn’t it ja die wolken die is dat is toch wel yes those clouds that is that really is




´ Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and Jose Sanders

Figure 4. RST analysis of transcript (2)

Using RST to analyze subjectivity in text and talk


Our analysis (figure 4) shows a completely di¤erent picture for this fragment. The analysis is incomplete: a substantial number of segments are not related to other segments. Examples are the segments 1a, 1d, 2a, 3e, 15, and 16. The connectedness requirement also does not hold. It does not seem to be possible to connect the four substructures (fragment 1b– 3e; 3f–10bc; 11–14; and 17–22) to one another. There is at least one case where the uniqueness condition seems to be violated: segment 6,8a is (in our analysis) in a Justify-relation with segment 3f and at the same time in a Concession-relation with 9a,b. Note also the absence of adjacency: on occasions segments in a relation are not adjacent to each other (the List-relation between 5 and 7 is a case in point). This happens for example when there is an interruption by a third party. Of course, interruptions occur in all types of conversations, whether language plays a dominant role or not, which is a reason for Potter (2007) to suggest that the adjacency condition needs to be relaxed. What we see in this type of conversation is that some of the moves in the conversation do not come from the words of the participants but from the game they are involved in. Consider utterance 15. Here after a substantial amount of thinking, speaker 1018 comes up with the conclusion of his thinking, namely that he has decided what move to make. Since RST is essentially capturing the rhetoric of a discourse in terms of relational propositions, it seems not suited to deal with situations in which part of the moves in the discourse are explicitly non-verbal (and hence non-rhetorical). RST does not seem to be suitable to apply to our particular type of object related conversations. This means that we cannot make the comparison between newspaper texts from 2002 and conversations to see to what extent newspaper texts from 2002 reflect present day conversations. We can only compare the discourse coherence in the newspaper texts from 1950 with the discourse coherence in the newspaper texts from 2002 to find out whether and how newspaper texts have changed over the years.

8. Results In our data analysis we compared the number of subjective relations between the two periods, which we related to the size of the subcorpora. For the analysis at the textual level we used a somewhat smaller corpus: 21,033 words from 1950 have been analyzed, and 51,468 words from 2002. In the 1950 corpus we found 226 subjective relations, compared to


´ Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and Jose Sanders

Table 2. Subjective relations in Dutch newspaper texts. Year Size subcorpus 21,033 words 16 60 27 0 9 21 55 34 4 0 226 1950 per 10,000 words 8 29 13 0 4 10 26 16 2 0 50 51,468 words 35 151 42 8 28 33 195 33 1 0 526 2002 per 10,000 words 7 29 8 2 5 6 38 6 0 0 44

Antithesis Concession Concessive opposition Enablement Enumeration Evaluation Evidence Interpretation Justify Motivation Total

526 subjective relations in the texts from 2002 (w2 (1) ¼ 0.40, n.s.). Table 2 shows the absolute number of occurrences for each relation in the two subcorpora, and the number of occurrences per 10,000 words. At the level of individual subjective relations, two important changes were found, one supporting the conversationalization hypothesis: the proportion of Evidence relations is significantly higher in recent texts (1950: 26 per 10,000 words; 2002: 38 per 10,000 words; w2 (1) ¼ 5.97, p < .05). By contrast, the proportion of Interpretation relations has decreased significantly from 1950 to 2002 (1950: 16 per 10,000 words; 2002: 6 per 10,000 words; w2 (1) ¼ 15.37, p < .0001).

9. Discussion From our attempt to use RST to analyze coherence in spontaneous conversations, it has become clear that, although RST has been used to analyze other types of conversations successfully, it is not well-suited for this task. Some of the constraints on RST are too strict to capture the

Using RST to analyze subjectivity in text and talk


coherence in face-to-face spontaneous relations, especially in situations in which part of the moves in the discourse are explicitly non-verbal, as is the case in many of the object-oriented conversations in our corpus. The results of our analysis of the newspapers show some, albeit not much evidence for the conversationalization hypothesis: the total number of subjective relations has not changed. This seems to fit in with the results that Van Rooij (2007) reports on a lexical analysis of a small part of our newspaper texts from 1950 and 2002. However, we did find significant changes for two individual relations: Evidence relations have increased, whereas Interpretation relations have decreased. In several studies on coherence relations (for example Pander Maat and Degand 2001; Pander Maat and Sanders 2001; Pit 2003; Sanders and Spooren 2009; Spooren et al., in press), the Evidence relation is considered as the typical case for subjective relations. The fact that this ultimately subjective relation shows an increase over time can be seen as important evidence for the conversationalization hypothesis. But how can we explain the decrease in Interpretation relations? In their outline of the Rhetorical Structure Theory, Mann and Thompson (1988) did not consider the Interpretation relation as a presentational relation. We decided to include Interpretation in the set of subjective relations because we considered it related to the Evaluation relation, which is clearly subjective in its foregrounding of the Speaker’s subjective judgment. Consider examples (3) and (4) from our corpus, which were coded as Evaluation relations (the satellites in the relations are in bold). (3) Maar Mozart durfde hij nog wel aan, en terecht. But he still felt up to [playing] Mozart, and rightfully so. (NRC Handelsblad, section: culture, July 5, 2002) (4) De laatste tijd heersen er merkwaardige misvattingen over de democratie. Riskant, als ze ook nog eens politiek correct worden. Lately, there have been strange misconceptions about the democracy. Risky, when they even become politically correct. (Trouw, section: opinion, September 6, 2002) In both examples the satellites function to increase the reader’s belief that the situation in the nucleus is evaluated correctly. By contrast, if we look at the examples of Interpretation relations in our corpus, then their subjective nature may not be so straightforward. Consider examples (5) and (6) from our corpus, which were coded as Interpretation relations. In (5), the implication of the statement in the


´ Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and Jose Sanders

note (satellite) is that the prices should not rise too much (nucleus); in (6), the situation in the first part of the sentence (nucleus) is more precisely defined in the interpretative part (satellite). In both cases, the satellite phrases implications of the nucleus, and thereby mainly seems to function to add detail to the description. (5) In de kabelnota van oud-staatssecretaris Van der Ploeg staat dat tot de consument vrij kan kiezen voor een kabelaanbieder het ‘huidige niveau van consumentenbescherming’ gehandhaafd dient te blijven. Ofwel: de prijzen mogen niet te fors stijgen. The note on cable television by former State Secretary Van der Ploeg states that until the consumer is able to freely choose between cable providers, the ‘current level of consumer protection’ must be preserved. In other words: prices should not rise too sharply. (Trouw, section: domestic news, September 6, 2002) (6) Dat de Zweden in deze ploeg zich daarbij volkomen hebben aangepast, ja, daarbij zelfs de toon aangeven, hebben we vandaag gezien. That the Swedes in this team are completely integrated, indeed, even have taken the lead, is what we have seen today. (Trouw, section: sports, March 6, 1950) Comparing examples (3)–(4) with (5)–(6) it appears that the Interpretation relation is more strongly oriented on the content (subject matter) of the coherence than is the case with Evaluation relation, where the presentation of the relation is most important. In other words, the Interpretation relation might not be truly subjective after all. Obviously, this needs further research. The general conclusion from our study is that conversationalization, in the sense of an increase in subjective relations, is not found across the board. Our results show no change over the years in the frequency of occurrence of most subjective relations: coherence relations in which the relation is not present in the real world, but is construed by an implicit subject of consciousness, i.e. the Speaker. Several explanations come to mind. A first explanation is that there is a process of conversationalization in public discourse, but that it occurs only in a restricted way in newspapers texts. The communicative goals of newspapers may be too rigid to show changes in subjective coherence relations. The main goal in news is reporting on what is happening in the real world and not so much focusing on

Using RST to analyze subjectivity in text and talk


the speaker’s, i.e. the journalist’s, conclusions and evaluations of these real-world events. This goal has not changed between 1950 and 2002, and this could explain why subjective relations generally do not occur more often in present day newspaper texts. It may also explain why the Evidence relation did increase, since in this specific relation the Speaker as foregrounded conceptualizer does not so much evaluate a particular object of event, as posit it in a particular alignment in relation to another object or event, thus presenting merely their mutual relationship rather than the Speaker’s personal attitude towards either one. In general, the genre of newspapers may be too rigidly regulated by journalist educators and editors for a change towards a more conversational style. There are certain rules that news reporters must adhere to when writing a news article. Possibly, these rules have remained strict over the years. The validity of this explanation is of course is a matter for further investigation. Another explanation for this lack of conversationalization is that maybe in 2002 journalists have other ways of invoking positive regard and belief. For instance, citing sources in news texts is a method to increase the belief in and acceptance of news facts. Vis, Spooren, and Sanders (2009) show that in Dutch newspapers journalists use more direct citations in 2002 than in 1950. A third possibility is that only particular subgenres of newspaper texts are subject to conversationalization. So far, we have looked at all texts from di¤erent sections together. For instance, it could very well be that there is a di¤erence in conversationalization between opinion news texts or background articles on the one hand and hard news texts from the front page on the other. Sanders (to appear) reports more subjective perspectivization phenomena such as free indirect thought in longer background news articles, which seem to ‘‘fictionalize’’ the reported news facts. The texts in the present study were selected from various sections in the newspaper, hard and softer subgenres alike. At present we have not enough material to analyze di¤erent sections from the newspapers separately. In further research (Vis, in preparation) we will collect more texts from the two periods in order to be able to analyze di¤erences between sections. References
Biber, Douglas 1988

Variation across speech and writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


´ Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and Jose Sanders

Bosch, Antal van den, Bertjan Busser, Walter Daelemans and Sander Canisius 2007 An e‰cient memory-based morphosyntactic tagger and parser for Dutch. In: Frank van Eynde, Peter Dirix, Ineke Schuurman and Vincent Vandeghinste (eds.), Selected Papers of the 17th Computational Linguistics in the Netherlands Meeting, 99–114. Leuven. Fairclough, Norman 1992 Discourse and social change. Cambridge: Polity Press. Fairclough, Norman 1994 Conversationalization of public discourse and the authority of the consumer. In: Russell Keat, Nigel Whitely and Nicholas Abercrombie (eds.), The authority of the consumer, 253–268. London: Routledge. Fairclough, Norman, and Ruth Wodak 1997 Critical discourse analysis. In: Teun van Dijk (ed.), Discourse Studies: A Multidisciplinary Introduction. Volume 2: Discourse as Social Interaction, 258–284. London: Sage. ´ Gernsbacher, Morton Ann, and Talmy Givon (eds.) 1995 Coherence in spontaneous text. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Halliday, Michael 1985 An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Edward Arnold. Hobbs, Jerry 1979 Coherence and coreference. Cognitive Science 3: 67–90. Langacker, Ronald 1990 Subjectification. Cognitive Linguistics 1: 5–38. Levinson, Stephen 1979 Activity types and language. Linguistics 17: 365–399. Mann, William and Sandra Thompson 1986 Relational propositions in discourse. Discourse Processes 9: 57– 90. Mann, William and Sandra Thompson 1988 Rhetorical Structure Theory: Toward a functional theory of text organization. Text 8(3): 243–281. Marcu, Daniel 1999 Instructions for manually annotating the discourse structures of texts. Available at Marcu, Daniel, Magdalena Romera and Estibaliz Amorrortu 1999a Experiments in constructing a corpus of discourse trees. In: Proceedings of ACL Workshop on Standards and Tools for Discourse Tagging, 48–57. College Park, Maryland. Marcu, Daniel, Magdalena Romera and Estibaliz Amorrortu 1999b Experiments in constructing a corpus of discourse trees: Problems, annotation choices, issues. In: Workshop on Levels of Representation in Discourse, 71–78. Edinburgh, UK. Oostdijk, Nelleke 2000 The Spoken Dutch Corpus Project. The ELRA Newsletter 5(2): 4–8.

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Ouden, Hanny den 2004 Prosodic realizations of text structure. Dissertation, University of Tilburg, Tilburg, The Netherlands. Pander Maat, Henk and Liesbeth Degand 2001 Scaling causal relations and connectives in terms of speaker involvement. Cognitive Linguistics 12(3): 211–245. Pander Maat, Henk and Ted Sanders 2001 Subjectivity in causal connectives: An empirical study of language in use. Cognitive Linguistics 12(3): 247–273. Pearce, Michael 2005 Informalization in UK party election broadcasts: 1966–97. Language & Literature 14(1): 65–90. Pit, Mirna 2003 How to Express Yourself with a Causal Connective: Subjectivity and Causal Connectives in Dutch, German and French. Dissertation, Utrecht University. Amsterdam: Rodopi. Potter, Andrew 2007 An investigation of interactional coherence in asynchronous learning environments. Unpublished PhD-dissertation. Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences, Nova Southeastern University. Available at Rooij, Ingrid van 2007 Informalisatie in Nieuwsberichten. Een Linguıstische, Kwantita¨ tieve Vergelijking Tussen 1950 en 2002. [Informalization in newspaper texts. A linguistic, quantitative comparison between 1950 and 2002]. MA Thesis, VU University Amsterdam. ´ Sanders, Jose to appear Intertwined voices. Journalists’ representation modes of source information in journalistic subgenres. English Text Construction. Sanders, Ted and Leo Noordman 2000 The role of coherence relations and their linguistic markers in text processing. Discourse Processes 29: 37–60. ´ Sanders, Ted, Jose Sanders and Eve Sweetser 2009 Causality, cognition and communication: A mental space analysis of subjectivity in causal connectives. In: Ted Sanders and Eve Sweetser (eds.), Linguistic Categories of Causality in Discourse, 21–60. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Sanders, Ted and Wilbert Spooren 2009 Causal categories in discourse – Converging evidence from language use. In: Ted Sanders and Eve Sweetser (eds.), Linguistic Categories of Causality in Discourse, 205–246. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Sanders, Ted, Wilbert Spooren and Leo Noordman 1992 Toward a taxonomy of coherence relations. Discourse Processes 15: 1–35.


´ Kirsten Vis, Wilbert Spooren and Jose Sanders

Sanders, Ted, Wilbert Spooren and Leo Noordman 1993 Coherence relations in a cognitive theory of discourse representation. Cognitive Linguistics 4: 93–133. Spooren, Wilbert 1989 Some Aspects of the Form and Interpretation of Global Contrastive Coherence Relations. Dissertation, K.U. Nijmegen. Spooren, Wilbert, Ted Sanders, Mike Huiskes and Liesbeth Degand in press Subjectivity and causality: A corpus study of spoken language. In: Sally Rice and John Newman (eds.), Empirical and Experimental Methods in Cognitive/Functional Research. Stanford, CA: CSLI/University of Chicago Press. Steen, Gerard 2003 Conversationalization in discourse: Stylistic changes in editorials of The Times between 1950 and 2000. In: Luuk Lagerwerf, Wilbert Spooren and Liesbeth Degand (eds.), Determination of Information and Tenor in Texts: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Discourse 2003, 115–124. Muenster: Nodus Publikationen. Sweetser, Eve 1990 From Etymology to Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Taboada, Maite 2004 Building Coherence and Cohesion: Task-Oriented Dialogue in English and Spanish. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Taboada, Maite and William Mann 2006a Rhetorical Structure Theory: Looking back and moving ahead. Discourse Studies 8(3): 423–459. Taboada, Maite and William Mann 2006b Applications of Rhetorical Structure Theory. Discourse Studies 8(4): 567–588. Vis, Kirsten in preparation Diachronic changes in subjectivity in Dutch news texts. Dissertation, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. ´ Vis, Kirsten, Jose Sanders and Wilbert Spooren 2009 Subjectiviteit door de jaren heen: conversationalisatie in journalistieke teksten [Subjectivity over the years: conversationalization in journalistic texts]. In: Wilbert Spooren, Margreet Onrust, ´ and Jose Sanders (eds.) Studies in Taalbeheersing 3 [Studies in Language Use 3], 405–418. Assen: Van Gorcum.

Typology meets witness narratives and memory: Theory and practice entwined in Cognitive Linguistics1 ´ Luna Filipovic
1. Introduction This paper illustrates how findings from Cognitive Linguistics in general and a cognitive linguistic typology in particular can be used in di¤erent contexts in order to throw a new light onto potential consequences of linguistic diversity in di¤erent communicative situations. In return, theoretical hypotheses can be assessed with respect to their role in applied domains of linguistics and related disciplines while being moulded along the way. The result of this process is making necessary adjustments in order to enhance the predictive power of the theory. I shall explain why approaching translation, interpreting and language-mediated memory of events from a typological angle used in this paper provides novel insights into the interplay between universal and language-specific factors in habitual language use. The necessary exchange of information between linguistic theory and practice is deemed to be of central importance, and this paper is an attempt to advocate further communication between the two, as well as to illustrate the closely-knit relationship between Cognitive Linguistics and related disciplines. The principal aim is to show how typologically di¤erent ways of describing motion events in English and Spanish a¤ect information content in narratives of eyewitnesses and suspects. The central issue of e¤ective meaning transfer in translation is explored in a specific language-related social context (police interviews) in order to check for e¤ects of language
1. The research presented here was funded by the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC), award number: RES-000-27-0143, for which I am grateful. I would also like to express my thanks to my UCL colleagues, Gabriella Vigliocco, David Vinson, Sharon Geva and Sasha Dixon, for advice and assistance in my experimental work discussed here. I would like to use this opportunity to express my utmost gratitude to Dan Slobin for providing insightful comments and generous support over many years.


´ Luna Filipovic

that may go beyond mere di¤erences in the structure of linguistic expressions of events. Upon contrasting descriptions of motion events in original transcripts of verbal interaction between police and witnesses and suspects in Spanish and their o‰cial translation in English I detected discrepancies that could cause the absence of certain information details from the original text and their presence in the translation. Another consequence is the possibility to interpret events di¤erently due to di¤erent lexicalization patterns used to express them. I argue that the reason for this is not necessarily inadequate or imprecise translation but certain crucial typological di¤erences that underlie lexicalization of experiential domains and induce the most natural and spontaneous expressions in the native language of witnesses and interpreters respectively. I present the relevant theoretical prerequisites (section 2) that come in the form of a typology first put forward by Talmy (1985) and then analyze the problems that may arise in the process of translating witness interviews (section 3). Section 4 provides experimental data based on mimicking witness experience of events in laboratory settings in order to assess the role of language in the witnesses’ memory of events. Finally, section 5 provides a discussion of the results of both naturalistic and experimental data and suggests the ways to explore these topics further. 2. Typological issues The typological assumptions that provide the backdrop for this study justify the choice of the languages we contrast here, Spanish and English, because in the latest linguistic typology (Talmy 1985) the two languages represent two polar opposites. Lexicalization of motion events was one of the central features of Talmy’s semantic typology of languages (1985, 2000), because the universality and omnipresence of motion in language and experience represents a solid testing ground for predictions regarding both universal and language-specific features.2 The present analysis also takes into consideration subsequent research that tested the typological hypothesis put forward by Talmy (e.g. Aske 1989; Slobin 1994, 1996, ´ 1997, 2000, 2003; Naigles et al. 1998; Filipovic 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007a, 2008a; Gennari et al. 2002; Malt et al. 2003). Furthermore, relevant typological insights are also combined with the view on constructions expressed in Thompson (2001). Namely, certain habitual patterns used to
2. ‘‘Lexicalization’’ means rendering experiential data into a language (cf. Talmy 1985).

Theory and practice entwined in Cognitive Linguistics


express meanings relevant for a cognitive domain should be regarded as language-specific, possibly lexically highly skewed units, whose frequency and use are confirmed in attested conversational data. This understanding of constructions makes it possible to look for typical and habitual combination of elements into units favoured by native speakers in the expressions of events within a domain (Thompson 2001). In a nutshell, a motion event is defined as a change of location. Talmy singled out the main components of a motion event and the means to express them in languages. In the example The ball rolled down the hill from Talmy (1985), the moving Figure (‘the ball’) moved in a certain Manner (‘rolled’), along a certain Path (‘down’) and against a certain Ground (‘the hill’). Talmy’s typology divides all the languages of the world essentially into two groups: those that express the Manner component in the verb and Path in a particle (and/or prefix/preposition) and those that express the Path in the verb and Manner outside the verb (e.g. in an adjunct). English belongs to the former type, termed satellite-framed languages and Spanish to the latter, verb-framed type. English speakers use one verb (usually a manner verb) with a number of particles in a clause, while Spanish speakers use ‘‘one verb þ one preposition’’ pattern per each section of the Path, the verb in Spanish being usually directional. The di¤erence in the two typological patterns conditions the typical way of referring to motion events, the English pattern being a manner verb and a directional particle and the Spanish pattern a directional verb with an optional manner adjunct. The lexicalization of the key component in an expression of motion, i.e. Path, is underlined in the following examples from Spanish and English: ´ (1) Ella entro en el hotel tambaleandose ayer noche. She enter-PFV.3SG in the hotel staggering REFL yesterday night ‘She staggered into the hotel last night.’ Spanish (and other languages of the same type) seems to operate under a constraint blocking the use of manner verbs with prepositions that express crossing a boundary (cf. Aske 1989; Slobin 1996, 1997). When there is no boundary to be crossed, Spanish speakers may use manner verbs, as in (2): ´ (2) Corrieron para la calle, para la esquina, para la parada del autobus. . . ‘They ran down the street, round the corner, past the bus stop. . .’ Slobin makes a point of saying that, even though there is an option to express manner easily in non-boundary-crossing, on the whole Spanish


´ Luna Filipovic

speakers, as well as speakers of other verb-framed languages, provide significantly fewer and less varied references to manner than English speakers (cf. Slobin 2000, 2006). As a result of habitual patterning, English speakers frequently express manner of motion in their accounts of events whereas Spanish speakers provide scarce reference to manner, usually outside the verb, or omit it altogether (cf. Slobin 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003). As argued in Slobin (1996, 1997), Spanish speakers seem to have dramatically fewer types (and consequently provide fewer tokens) of manner verbs available for expression of motion. The issue at hand is to what extent the source language can accommodate itself to the target language or assimilate the original to its patterns (cf. Slobin 2000). Slobin (2000) found that only 51% of English manner verbs got translated into Spanish. The other half was translated by non-manner verbs or simply omitted. Slobin (2006) also quotes a number of other areas where Spanish and other languages of the same verb-framed type (e.g. Turkish, French, Korean) exhibit di¤erences when compared to languages of the satellite-framed type like English. Slobin claims that satellite-framed languages exhibit stronger manner salience than verb-framed languages on the basis of lexical access, conversational use, child language acquisition, use in creative fiction and translation, metaphoric extension and imagery and understanding of manner verbs (Slobin 2006: 70–71). Most of the research in this field has focused on the verb that is used in describing motion events. The reasons for this are justifiable, as pointed out in Hohenstein and Naigles (1999). The verb is generally ‘‘a central categorizing factor’’ and ‘‘it would be more salient in influencing an individual’s thoughts about motion events than other aspects of the sentence’’. Syntactically, the verb is also of crucial importance, since it is ‘‘a central element in the sentence that may be modified by adverbs, gerunds, or prepositional phrases (e.g., ‘walks slowly’ or ‘enters running’)’’ (Hohenstein and Naigles 1999.). Moreover, the verb is also a semantic focus of the sentence because it provides the listener ‘‘with a way of quickly identifying the gist of the speaker’s intention (e.g., ‘He gallops in’ versus ‘He saunters in’)’’ (Hohenstein and Naigles 1999). The most recent research in cross-linguistic contrasts is shifting from earlier verbocentricity and takes into account information that is realized elsewhere (cf. Slobin 2006). The present research revolves around verbs for data collection, but it also includes manner gerunds and information about the Manner component expressed on the construction level where motion verbs (expressing Path or Manner) are present.

Theory and practice entwined in Cognitive Linguistics


3. Expressing and translating motion events in witness interviews 3.1. Data and methodology The findings reported in Slobin (1996, 1997, 2000) provided the incentive to explore the relevant parameters in the context of verbal interactions between police and witnesses, where the consequences could be potentially more profound, reaching beyond the text itself. The role of language in witnesses’ accounts of events has been examined before from a number of angles.3 Ours is a typological one, and it has not been used in this context before. The starting point in the data analysis was to specify what counts as one motion event in the material. Perceptually and cognitively, if one wants to individuate an event from a chain of events, one is faced with a di‰cult task. This issue has been the subject of much discussion in psychology, linguistics and philosophy (cf. Croft 1990; Bohnemeyer 1999; ´ Higginbotham 2000; Filipovic 2007a). For example, we can say that one motion event begins with the first reference to the Figure’s motion and ends when the Figure stops moving or when the last reference to its motion is given in a description. Here, however, I defined motion events linguistically, based on the presence of verbs þ Ground expression(s), so what counts as one event is one verb þ Ground element(s) related to it.4 According to this definition, a sentence containing information on Figure, Ground and Path with/without Manner is considered to be an expression of one motion event. In practice, this meant that the number of verb phrases (VPs) equals the number of motion events expressed. The database consists of 123 files of transcribed police interviews with witnesses and suspects; the length of the files varies, ranging from approximately 20 to 120 pages, comprising over 74,000 words. They were collected in a number of courts in the counties of San Francisco and San Jose, California, USA. 3.2. Main results I found that in original Spanish texts the number of manner verbs per motion event compared to that of the directional verbs stands in the relation: 21% vs. 79%. The di¤erence in the quantity of manner vs. directional
3. Cf. Berk-Seligson (1990), Morris (1993), Gibbons, (2001), Hale (2004). 4. This definition corresponds to Slobin’s ‘‘verbalized events’’ (cf. Slobin 2000).


´ Luna Filipovic

verbs becomes more conspicuous if we take into consideration that the events described are frequently those referring to very dynamic situations of muggings, robberies, domestic violence, manslaughter, etc., where one could expect a variety of manners of motion. In fact, in great many cases it is the interpreter who o¤ers a manner verb first and only then does the witness use, for instance, the verb correr (‘run’) instead of pasar (‘pass’), entrar caminando (‘enter walking’) as opposed to just entrar (‘enter’), or saltar del coche (‘jump out of the car’) instead of just bajarse del coche (‘get out of the car’). Out of the 457 motion verbs used in the data, only 5 types (caminar ‘walk’, correr ‘run’, bailar ‘dance’, brincar ‘skip’, saltar ‘jump’) and 96 tokens of manner verbs were found, opposed to 8 types (irse ‘go’, venir ‘come’, entrar ‘enter’, salir ‘exit’, bajar ‘go down’, subir ‘go up’, pasar ‘pass’, cruzar ‘cross’) and 361 tokens of directional verbs. Directional verbs are used freely and equally frequently in boundarycrossing and non-boundary crossing situations. Information on manner in general (i.e. verbs and gerunds) is mainly present in non-boundarycrossing situations, while it is conspicuously absent from expressions of boundary-crossing. Out of 96 manner tokens, boundary-crossing has 5 tokens (manner gerunds), non-boundary-crossing – 72 tokens (manner verbs þ manner gerunds), salir corriendo phrase – 19 tokens.5 Thus, once more the scarcity of manner detail in accounts of motion events in Spanish is noticed, not only in the context of literary translations provided by Slobin (1996, 1997), but also in the novel context of witness interviews. Before I turn to discussing the consequences of this finding for witness testimonies, I illustrate typical witness testimony descriptions of a motion event, providing Path but not providing the Manner in which the movements occurred. Interestingly, both excerpts in (3) and (4) come from two very dynamic cases of sexual harassment and knife attack respectively. In both cases information on manner is conspicuously absent throughout the description of events: ´ ´ ´ ´ (3) Me salı de la oficina y me fui. Y el se fue atras de mi, se fue, pero el se ´ ´ fue para alla y yo me vine para alla. ‘I got out of the o‰ce and I left. And he went after me, he left, but he went over there and I came over there.’
5. The reason this construction is singled out is because it is grammaticalized on those occasions: salir and corriendo do not refer to ‘exit’ or ‘running’ respectively, but taken together they form a construction meaning ‘abrupt and speedy movement away from the speaker/scene’.

Theory and practice entwined in Cognitive Linguistics


´ ´ ´ ´ ´ (4) . . . y yo le caı atras, lo vi que traıa la, la, la navaja y le caı atras y ´ ´ ´ cuando le caı atras, muchos le caimos atras para agarrar al que ´ agredio el muchacho . . . ‘. . . and I took o¤ after him, I saw that he had the, the, the knife and I took o¤ after him and when I went after him a lot of us went after him to grab the guy who had attacked the guy . . .’ In practical terms, being aware of pattern di¤erences could lead to the speakers of languages that leave Manner unexpressed (like Spanish) being explicitly encouraged to provide that piece of information during interrogation. On some occasions, the interrogators insist and elicit a response but generally, in continuous, uninterrupted speech of a witness/suspect, a potentially crucial Manner detail remains absent. The descriptions of the two situations in (3) and (4) also seem to lack dynamicity and intensity, which undoubtedly accompanied the reported events. While such descriptions may sound strange in English, they are the most natural and preferred option for Spanish speakers. Just as in the translations of novels from Spanish into English reported in Slobin (1996, 1997, 2000), there are occasions where manner of motion is absent from the Spanish original text but added in the English translation. The consequence of this is an image of the Figure moving in a certain way, whereas the original testimony did not provide that piece of information. The most frequent occurrences are translations of directional verbs in Spanish with an unmarked verb of manner of motion in English (‘walk’), such as: entrar (‘enter’) translated as ‘walk into’, or salir (‘exit’) as ‘walk out/away’. Since walking is the most neutral manner of motion, this addition is not particularly problematic. On the whole, adding manner in English translations is noticeably less frequent than the large percentage of manner additions that Slobin found in literary translations from Spanish into English. This is most likely due to the fact that the context of translating witness interviews keeps the interpreters/translators alert and tuned to more precise translation. However, additions still occur. Spanish witnesses would give one manner item at the beginning of the description of the situation they witnessed and then continue the description with directional verbs. It is true that sometimes the manner of motion could be deduced or implicitly understood because it had been mentioned by the witness earlier in the interview, but the fact that the witness did not specify it on all occasions throughout the description of events still remains. For example, one can imagine a situation where the authorities are looking for witnesses, asking if anyone has seen the suspect run into or out of the


´ Luna Filipovic

restaurant, as in example (6), while the suspect in question may have been running before entering the restaurant but not when entering or exiting (e.g. he started walking to avoid suspicion). In this particular case, the witness mentioned the verb correr (‘run’) only once at the beginning of his description and then continued describing the events for the rest of the 120 pages of the transcribed narrative using only directional verbs. The interpreter translated the motion information in this particular extract – cf. (6) – as ‘ran into’, but this, in e¤ect, is not what the witness had said. Similarly in (5) the additional manner detail implies that the movement was a sneaky one, which the witness did not describe as such. In the case of harassment, from which example (5) was taken, adding this particular manner detail could engender all sorts of further implications as to the intensions of the suspect: ´ ´ (5) El se metio adelante de mi y se cerro la puerta. He REFL put-PFV.3SG in front of me and REFL close-PFV.3SG the door Literal translation: ‘He put himself in front of me (i.e. he entered before me) and the door closed.’ Transcript translation: ‘He slipped in before me and the door closed.’ ´ (6) Pero. . . salio por la puerta detras But. . . exit-PFV.3SG via the door back Literal translation: ‘But . . . he went out through the back door.’ Transcript translation: ‘But he. . . ran out via the back door.’ Consecutive interpreting in particular (i.e. re-telling the witness’s narrative in larger chunks) contains more additional manner information compared to the original testimonies in Spanish. Such occurrences are possibly due to the narrative style (cf. Slobin 1994, 1996, 1997, 2000) that underlies the accounts of events in English, favouring the more dynamic construction of events in the narrative as opposed to the more static scene-setting in Spanish. In other words, Spanish texts locate protagonists at scenes but do not specify how the locations were reached, whereas in English it is continuous motion that is habitually described (i.e. how a location was reached). This di¤erence in narrative style was noticed by Slobin (1996, 1997, 2000) in the context of literary texts and elicited narratives based on a picture story, as well as by Barbara Tversky (personal communication), following an analysis of scripts for Latin American soap operas. This di¤erence was ascribed to typological contrasts between lexicalization patterns in the two languages. For example, the most frequent construc-

Theory and practice entwined in Cognitive Linguistics


´ ´ tion in the Spanish descriptions that I analyzed was se metio, me metı, literally meaning ‘he put himself, I put myself (somewhere)’, and it is rarely specified how the location was reached. This narrative style would sound extremely unnatural if exercised in English, and as a result, dynamic descriptions of motion are used, frequently involving manner verbs. If we just imagine an account of a very dynamic motion event in English, about a hundred pages long, containing plenty of directional verbs but no mention of the manner of motion, it would seem a very odd account indeed. In Spanish, it is the most natural option. A further issue relevant for the points made here is that of agentivity in motion expressions and construction meaning.6 The issue of agentivity in motion expressions bears relevance to the understanding of motion events described by a witness or a suspect. I noticed that descriptions in the Spanish original contained some non-agentive constructions which posed particular di‰culty in translation into English. Pountain (2003) confirms that impersonal, non-agentive constructions are the genus of the Spanish language, and we do indeed have a confirmation of this in the original texts of the witness interviews. It may be the case that suspects were using these constructions to distance themselves purposefully from responsibility (cf. Gibbons 2001), but it may also be the case that the suspect was just using the most typical way of phrasing in his mother tongue applicable to what actually happened. One particular suspect in a homicide case kept ´ repeating se me cayo, meaning (literally) ‘to-me-it-happened-that-she fell’ throughout the interview. The interpreter was constantly translating this phrase as ‘‘I dropped her’’, which could be interpreted as either agentive or non-agentive. In fact, ‘‘I dropped her’’ was o¤ered as an equivalent ´ for the explicitly non-agentive construction se me cayo that the defendant kept using throughout and (once) as an equivalent of the clearly agen´ tive construction la boto, which was introduced in the following way (Q-question, T-translation, S-suspect):
(7) Q: Did she fall or you dropped her on the stairs. . . ´ ´ T: Usted les dijo antes de que ella se cayo. . . o la boto en las gradas? (You said earlier that she REFL fell or her you threw on the stairs?) ´ ´ ´ S: . . . sı, sı se me cayo. (Yes, yes, REFL me-ACC. fell-3SG) T:. . . yes, yes, I dropped her.

As a result, the suspect’s statement was that he dropped her both accidentally and on purpose, judging from the transcript translation in this
´ 6. These points are discussed in more detail in Filipovic (2007b).


´ Luna Filipovic

particular case. In the Spanish original, however, the suspect only expressed his non-agentivity, i.e. that his dropping of the victim was unintentional. It may be the case that the speaker was not telling the truth, but this is not the issue at hand here: it is his words that are in focus not the truth or falsity of his statement. And the content of his statement was a¤ected in translation. More research in this area should show the extent to which these di¤erences and di‰culties are pervasive in cognitive domains other than motion events. Unfortunately, it was not possible to obtain files that would contain original witness testimonies in English and their translations into Spanish, due to the lack of a systematic transcript-producing practice in Spanishspeaking countries (as well as in most other countries apart from the United States). It is necessary to check whether and how often information on manner of motion is omitted in Spanish translations of original witness interviews in English. In this way we would be able to contrast the situation with that in translations of novels, reported in Slobin (1996, 1997), whereby a significant amount of manner information is simply lost in translation from English into Spanish, which, as Slobin argues, is due to the crucial typological di¤erences in lexicalization patterns. This research prospect would represent a natural continuation of the study presented in this paper, which would hopefully throw new light on the actual relevance of the di¤erences in typological patterns and habitual use in various contexts as well as in di¤erent social and interactive environments that inherently involve language. Stephan and Stephan (1986) observe that the increased number of guilty verdicts for defendants who did not testify in English appeared to be due to prejudice and language ethnocentrism, which in essence reflects the belief on the part of the jury that defendants in U.S. courts should speak English. This attitude, together with the fact that even in the US court transcripts (unlike transcripts of police interviews used in this study) are only produced in English, indicate that the number of potential sources of di‰culties can increase drastically when combined with disparities in translation due to lexicalization patterns that condition habitual presence or absence of information. 4. Remembering with and without speaking: experimental check 4.1. Brief overview of previous related work Slobin (2000) introduced ‘‘thinking-for-remembering’’ and ‘‘thinking-fortranslating’’ as an extension of his ‘‘thinking-for-speaking’’ hypothesis. What Slobin was referring to was cognition on-line, as it were, assuming

Theory and practice entwined in Cognitive Linguistics


that the underlying cognitive processes mirror the language patterns of speakers while they are engaged in a language-related activity (e.g. speaking, writing, translating, etc.). Any preemptive language e¤ect on memory is still controversial. Given the nature of memory in general, eyewitness testimony can never be completely accurate and reliable (cf. Cassel 2000). However, it is not unreasonable to assume that certain e¤ects on how events are packaged in memory may come from the ways they are packaged in the expressions used to describe them. For example, Loftus and Palmer (1974) show how the witnesses’ testimonies were influenced by the choice of words by the interrogators. Witnesses estimated the speed of vehicles in a car crash to be higher if the question contained the word ‘‘smash’’ instead of ‘‘hit’’. The use of particular words or phrases is known to influence the understanding of events described, but the issue at hand here is potentially of a more controversial kind: the possibility to use this kind of applied linguistic study in further tests of witness memory. The hypothesis is that Spanish speaking witnesses may provide (and possibly remember) detailed accounts less finely grained manner-wise than their English-speaking peers because of their lexicalization pattern. Even though language e¤ects on cognition in general are the bone of contention still vivaciously discussed in the literature (cf. Gentner and Goldin-Meadow 2003), it seems less controversial to accept the principle of language-as-strategy (cf. Gennari et al. 2002). E¤ects of language-specific lexicalization patterns on cognitive processing of events (e.g. in memory and perceptual similarity) have been studied before (e.g. Finkbeiner et al. 2002; Gennari et al. 2002; Malt et al. 2003). According to Gennari et al. (2002), the e¤ects of language on cognition are said to be limited and largely task-dependent. They found language e¤ects only in a similarity-judgment task that involved prior verbal encoding. Spanish speakers, consistent with their lexicalization pattern, made more Path choices in the naming-first condition (Gennari et al. 2002: 70). Thus, perceptual similarity seems to be manipulated by the presence of linguistic labels (Gennari et al. 2002). Hohenstein and Naigles (1999) present experimental data that support a version of linguistic relativity, because speakers of di¤erent languages behaved di¤erently towards nonlinguistic stimuli in ways that could be predicted by their respective languages. English and Spanish speakers watched a number of videos that depicted motion events. They were shown alternative video clips afterwards and were asked to judge the similarity of those videos with the original ones. The alternative video clips di¤ered from the original ones in either Manner or Path of motion. English speakers pointed to the alternative video clips that matched the original videos in Manner but


´ Luna Filipovic

not in Path significantly more frequently (70% of the time) than Spanish speakers did. Spanish speakers did not show any statistically significant preference for either same-Manner or same-Path pairs of video clips. Similarly, Naigles and Terrazas (1998) showed that English speakers have stronger propensity than Spanish speakers to interpret novel motion verbs as manner verbs and mention the Manner of motion when describing motion events (Naigles and Terrazas 1998: 369). In the field of language acquisition, Hohenstein (2001) found out that the di¤erence in cognitive salience of Manner and Path of motion for English and Spanish speaking children appears when they are aged 7 and above and not in younger children, which indicates that the disparity appears once the linguistic patterns are well and firmly established. We can say that language a¤ects performance in tasks that involve categorization, which need not be controversial. Manner appears to be more salient for English speakers in some tasks, which the typology predicts. The issue at stake here was the possible e¤ect of habitual language practices (such as providing more manner detail by English speakers) on speakers’ memory of witnessed events. On the basis of typological di¤erences between English and Spanish I hypothesized that di¤erent lexicalization patterns may induce speakers of these two languages respectively to pay more attention to those aspects of events that are habitually expressed in their languages. In the case of English speakers, both the Manner and the Path components are lexicalized habitually, so there should be no preferential treatment of one component over the other, whereas Spanish speakers were expected to pay more attention to the Path of motion, since Manner is not obligatorily expressed and frequently omitted from lexicalized motion events (cf. Slobin 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003). The novelty of the current study lies in going beyond the broadly sketched concepts of Manner and Path and establishing potentially universal components below the molar level of lexical concepts in the interaction of verbalization and memory of motion events.7 4.2. Experimental methodology, stimuli and results 4.2.1 Experiment one: similarity judgment In the first experiment, I used a similarity judgment task whereby monolingual native speakers of Spanish and English (20 for each language)
7. In terms of Levinson (2003), the molar level is the level at which the atomic components of meaning combine into complex units and form the meaning of lexical items. The language-specific e¤ects can then be traced at the molar level, where the atomic level is the one at which universality could be demonstrated.

Theory and practice entwined in Cognitive Linguistics


Figure 1. Manner vs. Path in Delay vs. No delay

judged the similarity between the original event (model video) and the modified original event (di¤ering from the original video in either Manner or Path component, but never in both). For example, the original video depicted a man walking into a car park, the Path variation video depicted the same man walking out of the car park, and the Manner variation video depicted a man limping into the car park. All the experimental items were seen only once by each participant and were presented in random order together with an equal number of filler videos that contained non-motion activities (e.g. leafing through a book or putting pearls on a string). The same number of target items was witnessed the same number of times in both delay and non-delay conditions across participants. The delay was 60 seconds, during which time the participants were performing a distractor task, which consisted of finding words in a 25 Â 25 grid of randomized letters. The results for the two experimental conditions (Manner vs. Path and Delay vs. No-delay) are illustrated in Figure 1. I did not find any language e¤ect. Namely, both English and Spanish speakers judged the events that shared the same Path as being more similar than those that shared the same Manner. In other words, the only significant di¤erence found was that between similarity ratings for Manner and Path variants (2 Â 2 Â 2 Â 4 ANOVA; p ¼ 0.006), which meant that


´ Luna Filipovic

Figure 2. Manner-change and Path-change in boundary-crossing and nonboundary-crossing

in both languages the videos with the same Path were rated as more similar than those with the same Manner, regardless of the speakers’ native tongue. Since the delay vs. no delay condition did not generate statistically significant di¤erences in responses, the data from the two conditions were collapsed according to the ratings of boundary-crossing vs. non-boundarycrossing in both Manner and Path conditions. Each subject’s responses were converted to the values of the mean of 0 and standard deviation of 1 to account for inter-subject di¤erences in the way they used the scale (e.g. tending to use one or the other extreme). There is a significant di¤erence between Manner and Path ratings. Manner changes in the variation videos were judged to be more similar to the original videos than Path changes, just as in the previous case (2 Â 2 Â 2 ANOVA: F ¼ 10.748, p ¼ 0.002). Again, there was no main e¤ect of language (F ¼ 2.702; p ¼ 0.108), but the main e¤ect of boundary approached significance (F ¼ 3.921, p ¼ 0.055). Figure 2 indicates that there may be di¤erences between the e¤ects of boundary-crossing within the Manner and Path conditions. The results in Figure 2 represent the similarity ratings when Manner and Path in the variation videos were di¤erent from the ones in the original videos.

Theory and practice entwined in Cognitive Linguistics


The e¤ect of boundary-crossing in Manner-change conditions (MCBC vs. MCNBC) was not significant (t ¼ 0.695). In Path-change condition, however, there was a significant e¤ect of boundary-crossing (PCBC vs. PCNBC; t ¼ 2.413). This result indicates that the di¤erences between a model and its variation video were judged to be more substantial in nonboundary-crossing pairs than in boundary-crossing pairs in the Pathchange condition. This correlation is due to the fact that PNBC condition, which elicited the lowest scale ratings of similarity for both speaker groups, contained videos that involved a change of vector, such as moving left to right in the original video vs. moving away from the observer in the variation video. This drastically lowered the similarity score within this category, and as a result, the overall score for PCNBC situations. It is an indication of the importance that a finely grained analysis like the one employed here has in the process of detecting atomic components of Manner and Path that have significant bearing on the overall rating of those components. Although some previous experiments involved videos with a moving object (e.g. Finkbeiner et al. 2002), and some others used human figures (cf. Malt et al. 2003), they did not discuss the di¤erences that concern the vector change of Path. To my knowledge, the importance of vector change in similarity judgments has not been explicitly recognized. Some previous studies contrasted Path depictions along the same vector (e.g. in vs. out or up vs. down) and as a consequence this could have rendered the Path component less interesting and less striking in similarity judgment tasks. What this experiment showed is that, in human motion, perception is centered around the position of the body, which in the case of motion events involving a faceless object such as a ball is not (or is less) problematic from the point of view of the vectors of motion, especially where a more striking di¤erence in Manner is presented. When a human figure is moving however, the vectors of motion are of crucial importance to the analysis. If the vector of motion is changed the speaker/ viewer sees the back of the head in the original screen, for example, and then the profile in the variation screen. The reason why Manner was more salient overall in one of the experiments in Finkbeiner et al. (2002) may be that its change was just more striking and salient than the Path of the faceless object. The change with respect to which parts of the face and body are seen in the model and the variation video respectively takes precedence over both Manner of motion and same-vector Path of motion (i.e. left-to-right vs. right-to-left) in that it diminishes the similarity between the model and the variation videos. Preserving the vector of motion provided higher judgments of similarity even though the Manner of motion was saliently di¤erent. It is true that observing the Path of


´ Luna Filipovic

motion in its entirety is a task more demanding than observing the Manner, as Gennari et al. (2002) rightfully point out, because it takes longer compared to just a few frames that are su‰cient to perceive Manner. However, the processing demand of Path obviously did not sway the similarity judgments in our task towards Manner preference even in English speakers, who habitually express Manner in the central position of an expression (i.e. the verb). In summary, regardless of lexicalizing preferences, there is a cline of event similarity that this experiment produced depending on the (sub)component that two events di¤er in – from least similar to most similar: Path vector change – Path direction change – Manner change ´ (cf. Filipovic and Geva (in preparation) for a detailed analysis) 4.2.2. Experiment two: recognition task In another experiment I carried out for the purpose of this study I wanted to give initial advantage to English speakers by depicting events in pairs that can be individuated by di¤erent verbs in English but not in Spanish. The contrasting pairs were: running/jogging, walking/strolling, strutting/ striding, scurrying/sprinting, mincing/trudging and skipping/galloping. The participants viewed each pair of videos, whereby one event was depicted in the original video (e.g. walking) and the other member of the pair was the variation video (e.g. strolling). In the recognition stage the participants were asked to state whether or not they had witnessed the same event before (i.e. in the encoding stage). I included verbalization at di¤erent points in this experiment: during encoding only, during recognition only, both at encoding and at recognition, neither at encoding nor at recognition. I counted the number of false alarms (FAs) for both speaker groups. A FA occurs when a speaker says that an event in the variation screen had been witnessed previously, which in e¤ect was not the case. There was no main e¤ect of language: F ¼ 0.09; p > 0.05 or condition: F ¼ 0.492; p > 0.05. However, the items analysis revealed an interesting trend. A by-items analysis was conducted on the data and the GLM repeated measures ANOVA revealed significant di¤erences between the items for English: F ¼ 14.55; p < 0.001 and Spanish speakers: F ¼ 9.42: p < 0.001. In a nutshell, the run/jog manner variant generated the highest mean for FAs for both language groups. The sprint/scurry manner variant produced the smallest number for the English speakers while it was the walk/stroll and skip/gallop variants which produced the fewest FAs for the Spanish speakers. For the English speakers the walk/ stroll and skip/gallop manner variants produced the same mean for FAs

Theory and practice entwined in Cognitive Linguistics Table 1. Mean number (and standard deviation) of false alarms per item for English and Spanish speakers
run/jog walk/ stroll 1 (s ¼ 0) 0.75 (s ¼ 0.5) strut/ stride 2 (s ¼ 0.82) 2.5 (s ¼ 1.29) sprint/ scurry 0 (s ¼ 0) 1.5 (s ¼ 1.73) mince/ trudge 3.75 (s ¼ 1.26) 4 (s ¼ 1.41)


skip/ gallop 1 (s ¼ 1.15) 0.75 (s ¼ 0.96)


4.5 (s ¼ 1) 4 (s ¼ 0.82)


and for the Spanish speakers this happened with the walk/stroll and skip/ gallop videos (cf. Table 1). Further inspection of the data also revealed that failure to make a verbal distinction in manner of motion during verbalization did not reflect recognition memory performance. I observed that, in accordance with the typological prediction, English speakers provided more information on Manner (both in and outside the verb) than Spanish speakers. That is not controversial, and similar findings were reported before.8 The raw scores (32 participants, 8 per condition for each language) are given in Table 2. A pre-test had been conducted to verify that the videos used were indeed di¤erent: a small group of native speaker judges had named each video (randomly) presented, using a single verb. The fact that all judges used di¤erent verbs for each member of the pair indicated that there was a su‰ciently noticeable di¤erence between the manners of motion depicted. The videos were also presented in pairs and another group of judges were asked to say what the di¤erences between the videos were. Naming was accepted to be correct at a threshold of 75% accuracy; all judgments satisfied this criterion, and in some cases exceeded this level of accuracy. We can try to account for the reasons why certain pairs generated significantly more FAs in both English and Spanish than some others. For example, speakers of both languages had significantly more FAs when they had to distinguish between run and jog (18 FAs for English and 16 FAs for Spanish speakers out of the possible total of 32 FA) or mince and trudge than when they had to distinguish between skip and gallop or walk and stroll (4 FAs for English and 3 FAs for Spanish speakers). The di¤erence between run and jog is rather contextual and
8. Cf. Naigles and Terrazas (1998), Slobin (2000), Gennari et al. (2002).


´ Luna Filipovic

Table 2. Number of FAs per condition and per item english speakers Item V/NV NV/V V/V NV/NV Total run/ jog 5 5 3 5 18 walk/ stroll 1 1 1 1 4 strut/ stride 1 2 2 3 8 sprint/ scurry 0 0 0 0 0 mince/ trudge 4 4 5 2 15 skip/ gallop 0 2 2 0 4 Total 11 14 13 11 49/192

spanish speakers Item V/NV NV/V V/V NV/NV Total run/ jog 3 4 4 5 16 walk/ stroll 1 0 1 1 3 strut/ stride 1 2 3 4 10 sprint/ scurry 1 1 0 4 6 mince/ trudge 3 3 6 4 16 skip/ gallop 1 0 0 2 3 Total 10 10 14 18 54/192

also perceptually less salient. They were depicted as movement at the same speed but with di¤erent knee movement (more pronounced in the case of jogging, which looked like less relaxed running, as it were). I have to emphasise that run and jog can be said to be conceptually distinguishable primarily by the intentions of the actor rather than by specific di¤erences in the motion itself. Thus, run may be generally associated with some purpose or goal (as in running a race, running away or running toward) whereas jog may be seen to be a goal in itself (as in jogging for exercise). Further, it might even be said that run is a conceptual superordinate of jog, in which case jog is understood to be a type of run. This would explain the finding that both groups of participants had greater di‰culty distinguishing the run/jog or mince/trudge variants, which are very similar and lack more salient di¤erences such as rhythm or speed. In the case of the latter pair (mince vs. trudge), the movements di¤ered in neither speed nor rhythm but rather in hip movement (coquettish in the case of mince and clumsy and heavy in the case of trudge), and light steps in the case of

Theory and practice entwined in Cognitive Linguistics


mince and heavy steps in the case of trudge. This was much more di‰cult to pin down than the di¤erence in speed, as in walk vs. stroll, or rhythm, as in skipping vs. galloping. It can be claimed that speakers found it easier to distinguish between the two events in a pair if they could clearly detect a component on which they can base their di¤erentiating, such as speed (as in walk vs. stroll ), rhythm (skip vs. gallop), step size (sprint vs. scurry), etc. Thus, these basic components of motion events seem to matter more than the molar, lexical concepts that speakers may or may not resort to, if their native language has them in the first place. This brings us to the potentially essential subcomponents or atomic components of motion events, which perhaps better reflects how events are stored in memory than the view that sees events decomposed into Manner and Path defined in broad terms. The fact that in verbalization conditions English speakers performed similarly to their Spanish peers, using simpler manner verbs and additional paraphrase rather than semantically complex verbs, shows that spontaneous, ordinary language use under the experimental condition of free encoding in this experiment motivates comparable linguistic behaviour, eliciting similar verb choices and frequencies, not conditioned by language-specific or typological restrictions. I did not coerce the participants to provide as much information as possible in the simplest way available (as Gennari et al. (2002) did). Thus we are presented with the intriguing ground where we can search for both language-specific (perhaps contextually-driven) and potentially universal underlying principles of linguistic behaviour. I demonstrated that our search for language e¤ects actually provided us with possible candidates for universal principles in perception and memory in the domain of motion events. This raises an interesting question concerning the validity of the typological di¤erences and the specific circumstances under which they are manifested. It may be that a frequency e¤ect was operating, in that participants chose to use more common English verbs rather than less frequent ones. Certainly, there is a frequency di¤erence between verbs such as walk/run and strut/stride. This e¤ect may have therefore made it less likely that participants would generate these latter verbs spontaneously. Similarly, if words such as strut and stride are less common in everyday usage, it may be that individuals do not possess particularly strong conceptual representations of these manners of motion. At this point we have to make an important remark: in this study, I tested the memory for simple, single motion events. The need to individuate every portion of the Path by using separate directional verbs may a¤ect memory of events in situations where a number of Paths and


´ Luna Filipovic

Manners of motion are depicted in sequence, whereby a motion event is experienced in terms of a journey that Slobin talks about (Slobin 1997). In other words, the di‰culty for Spanish speakers may be possible to detect if more complex continuous motion is being described. This is the occasion where those speakers tend to omit information about Manner, because they do not specify it for each portion of the Path. In Spanish, one cannot use a construction whereby the Manner of motion for the whole Path is specified they way it is done in English (e.g. He limped out of the house, across the street, into the garden, etc.). This is where typological contrasts between the two languages are the most conspicuous in translation from English, for example, whereby each portion of Path is ´ also specified with regard to Manner (cf. Slobin 1997; Filipovic 2007a). It is possible to express Manner for each portion of Path in Spanish with a sentence-initial gerund or by means of a paraphrase that follows the verb, however, in general this is not done, because it would work against language economy, stylistic acceptability and linguistic habits in Spanish. Furthermore, if one has to describe a motion event that consists of a number of Paths and Manners (e.g. He stumbled out of the shop, limped across the street and staggered into the park), the question to ask is how Spanish speakers would cope with expressing such complex events (or journeys) and whether they would register manner of motion for each event segment in verbalization and memory with more di‰culty than English speakers? ´ Filipovic (2008b) provides experimental data that demonstrate the same memory performance by English and Spanish speakers in recognition tasks that require speakers to distinguish between events that are not lexicalizable in a single verb in either language (e.g. limp with a bent leg vs. limp with a sti¤ leg). The assumption was that English speakers may remember events better due to general manner salience in that language even thought they cannot lexicalize the Manner of motion in a single verb. This was not the case. The performance of the two speaker groups was also the same in another recognition task where Manners of motion were lexicalizable in both languages (such as run or skip) even though ´ Spanish speakers express manner comparatively rarely (Filipovic 2008b). However, this experiment (as well as others presented in the recent literature on memory of events) tackled memory of a single change of location in a single manner. Future experimental work should focus on those aspects of communicative situations where lexicalization contrasts are at their most conspicuous (namely, events containing multiple Paths þ single Manner and multiple Paths þ multiple Manners) in order to check for typological di¤erences beyond single instantiations of single Path þ single

Theory and practice entwined in Cognitive Linguistics


´ Manner (Filipovic in progress). Initial evidence indicates that languagespecific e¤ects on memory can be detected with such an increase in memory and lexicalization load whereby speakers of English seem to ´ benefit from the ease of lexicalization of the Manner component (Filipovic in progress).

5. Conclusions I demonstrated how systematic research into lexicalization of cognitive domains can help highlight relevant typological contrasts that a¤ect information processing in general and giving and translating witness statements in particular. Typologically motivated lexicalization patterns appear to be entrenched and they pervade many aspects of language use. Awareness of typological di¤erences could help us understand possible prejudices that may underlie judgments and interpretations of events in legal contexts. My study of witness interviews and their translation enabled us to look at language use from a novel perspective. These findings could be further implemented in education and training of language professionals such as interpreters, translators, language teachers and researchers in the areas of cross-cultural and cross-linguistic communication. I did not find any language-specific e¤ects on memory of motion events in the experiments presented here, which does not have to mean that they ´ may not be found under di¤erent circumstances (cf. Filipovic in progress). What appears to be uncovered on this occasion is a potentially universal mechanism of event identification and decomposition of event components into provisionally termed atomic elements. They are positioned below the molar level of lexicalized concepts of manners of motion. A closer and more detailed look into lexicalized concepts of Manner and Path of motion should reveal more finely grained information about the parameters that matter when people speak and think of motion events, as well as of events in other domains. For example, we may find out that speaker may activate both molar and atomic concepts but in di¤erent instances. This is one prospective route for future experimental investigation. The contrast between Spanish and English stemming from di¤erences in habitual patterns for expressing events in one domain (motion) could be seen as a template for all-encompassing research within other experiential domains (e.g. causation, location, posture, etc.), including the cognitive e¤ects involved and practical use in various social contexts where language is inherently present (e.g. courtroom practices, education,


´ Luna Filipovic

language acquisition, development of communication skills, cross-linguistic information processing, bilingualism, etc.). I hope that this study will inspire further applied cross-linguistic and interdisciplinary research, whereby theory and practice will be mutually informative and advance side by side.

Aske, Jon 1989

Path predicates in English and Spanish: A closer look. In: Proceedings of the Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, 1–14 Berkeley: Berkeley Linguistics Society. Berk-Seligson, Susan 1990 The Bilingual Courtroom: Court Interpreters in Judicial Process. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Bohnemeyer, Jurgen ¨ 1999 Event representation: Some primordial soup for the evolution of a research project on event representation in language and cognition (revised draft 1999). At: profession/bonhem.html. Cassel, Elaine 2000 Behavioral science research leads to Department of Justice guidelines for eyewitness evidence. At: publications/valawyer/feb00/cassel.pdf. Croft, William 1990 Possible verbs and the structure of events. In: Savas L. Tsohatzidis, (ed.), Meanings and Prototypes: Studies in Linguistic Categorisation, 48–73. London: Routledge. ´ Filipovic, Luna 2001 Language-specific expression of motion and its use in narrative ´ texts. In: Alexandre Veiga, Vıctor M. Longa and JoDee Anderson ´ ` (eds.), El Verbo entre el Lexico y la Gramatica, 53–62. Lugo: Tris Tram. ´ Filipovic, Luna 2002 Verbs in Motion Expressions: Structural Perspectives. PhD dissertation. University of Cambridge, UK. ´ Filipovic, Luna 2006 Weaving the web of meaning. Languages in Contrast 6(1): 151– 175. ´ Filipovic, Luna 2007a Talking about Motion: A Cross-linguistic Investigation of Lexicalization Patterns. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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´ Filipovic, Luna 2007b Language as a witness: Insights from cognitive linguistics. Speech, Language and the Law 4(2): 245–267. ´ Filipovic, Luna 2008a Typology in action: Applying insights from typological contrasts. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 18(1): 42–61. ´ Filipovic, Luna 2008b Language e¤ects on memory of events, ms. Department of Psychology, University College London. ´ Filipovic, Luna in progress Bilingual witness report and translation, ms. Department of Linguistics, University of Cambridge. ´ Filipovic, Luna and Sharon Geva in preparation To see, say and remember: Motion events in perception, language and memory. Finkbeiner, Metthew, Janet Nicol, Delia Greth, and Kumiko Nakamura 2002 The role of language in memory for actions. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 31(5): 447–457. Gennari, Silivia P., Steven A. Sloman, Barbara C. Malt, and W. Tecumseh Fitch 2002 Motion events in language and cognition. Cognition 83: 49–79. Gentner, Dedre and Susan Goldin-Meadow 2003 Language in Mind. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. Gibbons, John 2001 Legal transformation in Spanish: An ‘audencia’ in Chile. Forensic Linguistics 8(2): 1350–1771. Hale, Sandra B. 2004 The Discourse of Court Interpreting: Discourse Practices of the Law, the Witness and the Interpreter. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Higginbotham, James 2000 On events in linguistic semantic. In: James Higginbotham, Fabio Pianesi and Achille C. Varzi (eds.), Speaking of Events, 49–81. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Hohenstein, Jill 2001 Motion Event Similarities in English- and Spanish-speaking Children. PhD dissertation. Yale University, USA. Hohenstein, Jill and Letitia Naigles 1999 The development of linguistically-influenced thoughts. Poster presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development. Albuquerque, NM. Levinson, Stephen C. 2003 Space in Language and Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Loftus, Elizabeth F. and John C. Palmer 1974 Reconstruction of automobile destruction: an example of the interaction between language and memory. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behaviour 13: 585–589.


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Malt, Barbara C., Steven A. Sloman and Siliva P. Gennari 2003 Speaking versus thinking about objects and actions. In: Dedre Gentner and Susan Goldin-Meadow (eds.), Language in mind: Advances in the Study of Language and Thought, 81–111. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Morris, Ruth 1993 Images of the Interpreter: Studies of Language-switching in the Legal Process. PhD dissertation, Lancaster University. Naigles, Letitia and Paula Terrazas 1998 Motion-verb generalizations in English and Spanish. Psychological Science 9: 363–369. Naigles, Letitia R., Ann R. Eisenberg, Edward T. Kako, Melissa Highter and Nancy McGraw 1998 Speaking of motion: Verb use in English and Spanish. Language and Cognitive Processes 13: 521–549. Pountain, Christopher 2003 Exploring the Spanish Language. London: Hodder Arnold. Slobin, Dan I. 1994 Crosslinguistic Aspects of Child Language Acquisition (Sophia Linguistica 35). Tokyo: Sophia University. Slobin, Dan I. 1996 Two ways to travel: verbs of motion in English and Spanish. In: Masayoshi Shibatani and Sandra A. Thompson (eds.), Grammatical Constructions – Their Form and Meaning, 195–219. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Slobin, Dan I. 1997 Mind, code, and text. In: Joan Bybee, John Haiman and Sandra Thompson (eds.), Essays on Language Function and Language Type, 437–467. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Slobin, Dan I. 2000 Verbalised events: a dynamic approach to linguistic relativity ´ and determinism. In: Susanne Niemeier and Rene Dirven (eds.), Evidence for Linguistic Relativity, 107–138. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Slobin, Dan I. 2003 Language and thought online: Cognitive consequences of linguistic relativity. In: Dedre Gentner and Susan Goldin-Meadow (eds.), Language in Mind, 157–191. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Slobin, Dan I. 2006 What makes manner of motion salient? Explorations in linguistic typology, discourse and cognition. In: Maya Hickmann and ´ Stephane Robert (eds.), Space in Languages: Linguistic Systems and Cognitive Categories, 59–81. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Stephan, Cookie W. and Walter G. Stephan 1986 Habla Ingles? The e¤ects of language translation on simulated juror decisions. Journal of Applied Psychology 16(7): 1559–1816.

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Talmy, Leonard 1985 Lexicalization patterns: semantic structure in lexical forms. In: Timothy Shopen (ed.), Language Typology and Syntactic Description. Vol. 3, 57–149. Cambridge: CUP. Talmy, Leonard 2000 Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Vol. 2. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Thompson, Sandra 2001 Construction and conversation. Plenary talk at the International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, Santa Barbara, California.

Part V.

The social and cultural contexts for CMT and CI

Cross-cultural variation in idiomatic expression: Insights from Conceptual Metaphor Theory and implications for Translation Studies Diane Ponterotto
1. Introduction This paper addresses an applied aspect of Cognitive Linguistics and will explore the contribution that a knowledge of Conceptual Metaphor Theory1 can make to cross-linguistic analysis and eventually also to translation practice. Through contrastive observation of two languages, English and Italian, the study will explore problems involved in cross-language rendering of idiomatic expressions and concomitantly focus on similarities/di¤erences of their metaphorical conceptualization. It will then draw some practical conclusions for translation strategies. Following initial insights given in Hiraga (1991) concerning cross-cultural similarities/di¤erences in metaphorical expressions and following suggestions given in Barcelona (1997) regarding methodological procedures for the identification of conceptual metaphors, the study will o¤er guidelines thought to be useful when determining figurative equivalences for contrastive analysis. It will also consider constraints imposed on translation practice both by cross-cultural variation in metaphorical conceptualization and by language-specific morphosyntactic structure, text-typology and discourse strategy conventions.

2. The problem The specific problem posed in this paper is ‘‘How can we express the same idiomatic meaning in two di¤erent languages?’’ Can cognitive linguistics, and especially conceptual metaphor theory, provide viable solutions?
1. In this paper the category Conceptual Metaphor is defined according to the theory first given in Lako¤ and Johnson (1980) and extensively developed in subsequent research. See Evans (2007: 33–35 and 136–138) for a concise definition.


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As Kovecses (2003: 314) notes, for cognitive linguists, figurative mean¨ ing cannot be expressed in literal ways. According to Gibbs (1994) to blow one’s stack cannot be rendered by the expression ‘‘to get very angry’’, or one of its equivalents, in English or in other languages. Thus, as an introduction to the problem, we would like to repeat comments made in a previous study (Ponterotto 2007), which posed the question of transfer of idiomatic meaning from English to Italian. Let us take the idiomatic expressions (IE) He kicked the bucket and I flipped my lid. The translation problem derives from the necessity to preserve the figurative nature of the original expression. A translator wishing to render He kicked the bucket into Italian has two options: 1. to use ` a literal expression: All’improvviso e morto ‘Suddenly, he died’, or 2. to search for a comparable equivalent within the repertoire of synonymous options available in Italian. The translator could then decide to choose ` e crepato, ‘He cracked’, ‘He burst’ or ‘He split’, which conveys the connotation of sudden death as well as that of lack of sympathy on the part of the speaker, as in the English expression.2 However, if we look at the other example, I flipped my lid, the solution is not as simple. The translator could opt for a literal utterance mi sono arrabbiato moltissimo ‘I became very angry’ or search for another figurative expression, but in that case, the iconic e¤ect of the original idiom is lost. It is precisely the image of a lid flipping open that conveys the meaning of extreme anger. In fact, the expression I flipped my lid has such a strong iconic coding that, in comic strips, the uncontrollable anger of the character is often accompanied by a visual image of the top of the head flying o¤ (cf. Forceville and Urios-Aparisi 2009). Now, according to Cognitive Linguistics, idiomatic meaning is based on human conceptualization of experience, which is manifest in cognitive mechanisms like metaphor, metonymy and conventionalized shared knowledge (cf. Kovecses 1990: 211). This is also supported by psycholinguistic ¨ research which explores the conceptual and psychological reality of idiomatic knowledge (cf. Gibbs 1990; Gibbs and O’Brian 1990). Thus, in the light of this perspective on idiomatic meaning, the expression I flipped my lid could be said to emerge from a conceptual metaphor (CM) (Lako¤ and Johnson 1980; Kovecses 1990), which represents ¨ emotions as being in a body that is a container (CMs the body is a
2. In fact, the bilingual dictionary (Garzanti/Hazon 2001) gives, as a figurative meaning for ‘‘crepare’’, to croak, or to snu¤ it.

Insights from Conceptual Metaphor Theory and implications


container; emotions are fluids in a container). In this metaphorical frame, when the emotions are excessive, pressure is produced inside the container, causing its lid to pop up or flip o¤. This would be the conceptual motivation for the IE I flipped my lid. It is interpretable because Anglophone speakers conceptualize the emotion according to the cognitive model of a container (Lako¤ and Johnson 1980; Kovecses 1990): ¨ – – – – – the body is a container the body is the seat of emotions emotions are liquids in a container too much liquid causes the pressure in the container to rise when the liquid rises, the container explodes (the lid pops up or flips open; the liquid escapes from the container).

In English, this cognitive model for anger seems to be very productive, since there are many corresponding IEs: I flipped my lid. I I I I blew my top. blew my stack. hit the ceiling. went through the roof.

In Italian, on the other hand, extreme anger does not seem to be equally represented by this CM. In Italian, a person who is extremely angry is usually described as: E’ imbestialito. E’ nero. ´ E’ fuori di se. ‘He is beastly.’ ‘He is black.’ ‘He is out of himself.’

It would seem that for the emotion of anger Italian speakers often use idiomatic expressions from the domain of animals, colours or madness.3 Common CMs for anger in Italian would then be:

3. Only one of the Italian informants suggested an expression assignable to the container metaphor: Sono esploso, ‘‘I exploded’’. The others preferred the other options and the ‘‘beast’’ analogy was the most frequent response. Moreover, an Internet search on the Italian Google site for beast expression variants


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an angry person is a wild animal an angry person is black an angry person is out of control It should be noted that in English along with the container metaphor for anger, anger is a hot fluid in a container, we also find the animal metaphor anger is a dangerous animal (Kovecses 1986: 23). Moreover, ¨ we could also suggest that both cognitive models, container and animal conceptualize anger as the state of being out of control. Thus, translators would have recourse to both cognitive models, container and animal. However, the fact that similar expressions may be available in both languages does not mean that they share the same level of perceptual saliency in speakers’ conceptualizations.4 That is why the closest equivalent for I flipped my lid could rightly be suggested to be Mi sono imbestialito ‘I became beastly’, or Sono diventato una belva ‘I became a wild beast’.5
gave 104,000 hits for sono diventato una bestia (I became a beast), 134,000 hits for mi sono imbestialito (I became beastly/a beast) and 176,000 hits for sono diventato una belva (I became a wild beast). All three expressions have only a figurative decoding related to the emotion of anger. Another figurative option in Italian for extreme anger could be: Ha perso le sta¤e (He lost the stirrups). The word sta¤e (stirrups) also refers, although indirectly, to the semantic field of animals. 4. Again when the Italian informants were asked why they preferred one idio` matic expression over another, the explanation often given was ‘‘perche ha ` piu immediatezza’’ (‘‘it has more immediacy’’). This native speaker intuition would lead us to reflect more attentively on the role of metaphor ‘‘vividness’’ in contrastive and translation analysis. In other words, the question arises as to whether options are selected from similar metaphorical domains or on the basis of either communicative e¤ect or strength of iconic coding (or both). On the role of intuition in cognitive linguistics research, see Geeraerts and Cuyckens (2007: 17–18). 5. I would like to thank the anonymous reviewer who called my attention to the fact that an animal is also a container. Although this may be true, the native speakers of Italian whom I consulted on this point denied conceptualizing the beast as a container from which anger escapes. The conceptualization was, on the other hand, ‘‘running wild’’, and, moreover, considered by the informants to be a permanent state of the beast, having little to do with the sudden explosion of anger characteristic of the container metaphor in English. What is more, I have found that Italian students of L2 English have di‰culty in processing idiomatic expressions motivated by the container metaphor. Only if they are familiar with Conceptual Metaphor Theory are they able to understand what ‘‘flipping a lid’’ has to do with anger.

Insights from Conceptual Metaphor Theory and implications


3. Identifying similarities and di¤erences in conceptual metaphor across languages Following insights given in Hiraga (1991), in Ponterotto (2007) examples were presented of three types of identity relation across languages (similarity, di¤erence or partial similarity) for three conceptual metaphors: time is money; mood is weather and life is a journey, applied to Italian and English. Another example of this type of analysis follows below, applied to the CM: life is gambling, with possible Italian translations: 3.1. CM: LIFE IS GAMBLING: Similarities
English IEs 1. 2. I wouldn’t bet on it if I were you. Thank goodness, you’ve always got an ace up your sleeve. If you play your cards, right, you can do it. Italian translations Se fosse in te, non ci scommetterei. Grazie a Dio, hai sempre un asso nella manica. Se giochi bene le tue carte, ce la farai. English glosses of Italian translations If I were you, I wouldn’t bet on it. Thank God you always have an ace in your sleeve. If you play your cards right, you will do it.


We can see that the idiomatic expressions coincide almost totally. For the communicative situations indicated, both languages refer to the CM: life is gambling, and use similar source domain elements. 3.2. CM: LIFE IS GAMBLING: Di¤erences
English IEs 4. When the chips were down, she realized that she didn’t love him. Do you realize that your job is at stake? The Labour candidate is holding all the aces Italian translations Nel momento cruciale, ` si e resa conto che non lo amava. Ti rendi conti che il tuo ` posto e in pericolo? Il candidato laburista tiene il coltello dalla parte del manico. English glosses of Italian translations In the crucial moment, she realized that she didn’t love him. Do you realize that your job is in danger? The Labour candidate is holding the knife by the end of the handle

5. 6.


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As we can see, source domain elements in the English IEs, chips are down, holding all the aces, at stake, which derive mainly from the card game of poker, do not appear in the Italian equivalents. In examples 4 and 5, a literal paraphrase is suggested. In example 6, a change of metaphor is a possibility. In Italian, Tenere il coltello dalla parte del manico ‘Holding the knife at the end of the handle’ stems from the CM: life is war, implying the advantage of an opponent who is wielding a knife rather than receiving the thrust.6 3.3. CM: LIFE IS GAMBLING: Partial similarities
English IEs 7. He’s been dealt a lousy hand. It’s the luck of the draw Italian translations La fortuna ha smesso di girare dalla sua parte. ` La fortuna e cieca. English glosses of Italian translations Luck has stopped turning his way. Fortune is blind


These last two examples are considered partial similarities, because even if the Italian language selects items which do not refer directly to card games, as in the English expressions luck of the draw or a lousy hand, it may select aspects from the semantic field of chance and fortune. In example 7, the Italian expression refers to the wheel of fortune which turns and favors people at random. In example 8, it refers to the mythological goddess of fortune, who is blindfold and therefore distributes luck randomly.

6. I thank the anonymous reviewer who commented that the Italian ‘‘knife/handle’’ metaphor would not necessarily be the only or most frequent equivalent of holding all the aces. The point here is that for the concept holding all the aces, speakers of Italian do not seem to activate the gambling game metaphor. There may be other options, but the ‘‘knife/handle’’ Italian expression is so common in everyday speech that its suitability for the context (‘‘being too strong to fear opposition’’) is immediately recognized and suggested. The question perhaps is just what is meant by ‘‘equivalent’’. Again, similar options may be available in di¤erent languages, but they may not be equally salient. As will be discussed in subsequent paragraphs, idiomatic choice is contextspecific and constrained by numerous formal and functional variables.

Insights from Conceptual Metaphor Theory and implications


This type of analysis of translation equivalence is based on a search for similar source domains. In fact, of our eight examples for English idiomatic expressions deriving from the CM: life is gambling, we find three examples having similar source domain elements chosen in English and Italian, three examples which do not have the same source domain elements and two examples which are partially similar, as summarized in the following table.

Source domain word of English IE 1 2 3 4 5 6 bet ace up your sleeve play your cards right chips are down job at stake holding all the aces a lousy hand the luck of the draw

Translation of English source domain word scommettere asso nella manica giocare bene le carte nel momento cruciale posto in pericolo tenere il coltello dalla parte del manico fortuna/girare fortuna/cieca

English gloss of Italian translation of English source domain word bet ace in the sleeve play your cards right in the crucial moment job in danger holding the knife at the end of the handle fortune/turns fortune/blind

Similar (S) Di¤erent (D) or Partially Similar (PS) S S S D D D

7 8


4. Other perspectives Firstly, the question arises as to what is exactly meant by ‘‘partial similarity’’. Lako¤ and Johnson (1980) and Kovecses (2002) both refer to the ¨ partial nature of metaphorical structuring. With reference to the CM: theories are buidings, Lako¤ and Johnson (1980: 52) explain that parts of the concept building that are used to represent the concept theory are


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the foundation and the outer shell. This explains expressions like His theory stands on solid ground or His position has no foundation. Other parts of buildings, like the roof, the staircases and the hallways, are not used for the mapping between the two domains, theories and buildings. Similarly, using the example of arguments are buildings, Kovecses (2002) ¨ notes that the metaphor does not select other options within the source domain of buildings like doors, windows or corridors, nor does it activate functional aspects of buildings related to their social, commercial and governmental roles. Thus, two languages can have the same metaphor but select di¤erent source domain elements to represent di¤erent aspects of the target domain. The selection can derive from the possibility of activating other source domain elements within the same semantic field, for example to bring grist to the mill in English and portare l’acqua al mulino ‘to bring water to the mill’ in Italian. It can also depend on cultural specificities within the same common conceptual metaphor. Using another example of the CM: life is gambling, we find I hit the jackpot in English, but Ho fatto tredici ‘I made thirteen’ in Italian, to represent the concept of victory. The Italian idiomatic expression derives from the lottery, famous in Italy, based on weekly football matches. If you rightly guess the results of thirteen matches, you can win a very big lottery sum. Secondly, Kovecses (2003: 313) proposes a slightly di¤erent and more ¨ complex comparative taxonomy for cross-cultural comparison of figurative meaning, which he discusses in relation to English and Hungarian.


Word form

Literal meaning

Figurative meaning

Conceptual metaphor

Conceptual metaphor and metonymy (s/d) (s/d) (s/d) (s/d) no metaphor and metonymy

Conceptual metonymy

1 2 3 4 5

di¤erent di¤erent di¤erent di¤erent di¤erent

same di¤erent di¤erent di¤erent di¤erent

same same same di¤erent same by means of literal meaning

same same di¤erent di¤erent no metaphor

(s/d) (s/d) (s/d) (s/d) no metonymy

To illustrate the applicability of this taxonomy for an English/Italian comparison, we could suggest the following examples:

Insights from Conceptual Metaphor Theory and implications


Example 1 English: I’ve invested a lot of time in this relationship. Italian: Ho investito molto tempo in questo rapporto. ‘I have invested a lot of time in this relationship.’ Both languages activate the CM: time is money in connection with personal relationships.
Comparison of English and Italian Word form Literal meaning Figurative meaning Conceptual metaphor Same (English: invested / Italian: investito ‘invested ’) Same Same Same (time is money)

Example 2 English: What a problem! I don’t know where to start. Italian: Che problema! Non so dove mettere le mani. ‘What a problem! I don’t know where to put my hands.’ Here there is a distinct di¤erence between the two languages. The English language figuratively represents the concept of di‰culty in resolving a problem with the CM: a problem is a journey and its entailment: resolving a problem of life requires knowing where to begin the journey. The Italian option on the other hand expresses the same concept with the CM: a problem is an object and its entailment: resolving a problem of life requires knowing where to grasp the object.
Comparison of English and Italian Word form Literal meaning Figurative meaning Conceptual metaphor di¤erent (English: start / Italian: mani ‘hands’) same same Di¤erent (English: a problem is a journey / Italian: a problem is an object)

Kovecses (2003) comments on an inroad to cross-cultural comparison ¨ which starts from a potential source domain, a concrete noun like hand


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or heart for example, identifies literal expressions for the word in both languages, and then searches for their figurative uses. In his comparative studies of Malay and English, Charteris-Black (2001b, 2002) finds that the same literal expression carries di¤erent figurative meanings in the two languages. As an example for our language comparison, we could suggest beginning with the word mouth (English: mouth / Italian bocca ‘mouth’). We could then identify a literal expression in both English and Italian like to have a big mouth in English and its counterpart in Italian avere la bocca grande ‘to have a big mouth’. In English the expression means ‘to talk too much’; in Italian, however, the same literal expression carries a very di¤erent figurative meaning, which is ‘to eat too much’. Ko ¨vecses (2003: 315) also notes that two languages may apparently have similar conceptual metaphors but reveal ‘‘subtle di¤erences in the culturalideological background in which the conceptual metaphor functions.’’ This has been suggested very forcefully by Charteris-Black (2000, 2001a, 2001b, 2002), who has documented cross-linguistic and cross-cultural di¤erences based on both overt and covert ideological underpinnings.

5. Guidelines for applied comparative CM analysis In Ponterotto (2007), some guidelines were proposed for determining equivalency solutions for figurative expressions in an e¤ort to help applied linguists (foreign language teachers, translators etc.) with decoding and transfer of messages hinging on the figurative plane of the expression. In other words, a reasoning strategy of the following type was proposed: 1. 2. 3. 4. Is the idiomatic expression motivated by a conceptual metaphor (CM) and its potential entailments? Does the CM exist in the other language? Does the CM motivate a similar figurative expression in the other language (i.e. with the same source domain terms)? If it does not, is there an alternative within the same CM?

We can now show how this translation strategy can lead to viable solutions: Example 1 – English IE: We need to help each other; we are all in the same boat. Q. Is the idiomatic expression motivated by a CM or its potential entailments? A. yes, life is a journey

Insights from Conceptual Metaphor Theory and implications


Q. Does that CM exist in Italian? A. Yes Q. Does the CM motivate a similar figurative expression in Italian (i.e. with the same source domain term boat)? A. Yes. Dobbiamo aiutarci; siamo tutti sulla stessa barca. ‘We have to help each other; we are all on the same boat.’ Example 2 – English IE: That’s beside the point. Q. Is the idiomatic expression motivated by a conceptual metaphor and its potential entailments? A. Yes. an argument is a journey a journey defines a path a well-planned argument follows a straight path Q. Does the CM exist in Italian? A. Yes Q. Does it motivate a similar figurative expression in Italian (i.e. with the same source domain terms: beside/point)? A. No Q. If it does not, is there a good alternative within the same CM? A. Perhaps. Quello non c’entra niente ‘that does not enter at all’, which can be said to be motivated by the following CMs: an argument is a journey a journey defines a path a well-planned argument enters the right path Q. Can the figurative e¤ect be better preserved in Italian by selecting a di¤erent idiomatic expression? ` A. Perhaps, in this case: Quello e come mangiare cavolo a merenda. ‘That’s like eating cabbage at snack time.’7
7. As pointed out in Ponterotto (2007), in Italy a great deal of importance is given to which foods are eaten at which times of the day. Italians do not eat ` vegetables at snack times (‘‘merenda’’). That is why an expression like Quello e come mangiare cavolo a merenda ‘That’s like eating cabbage at snack time’ carries a strong emphasis of the meaning: things or ideas that do not go together.


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Q. Does the Italian expression refer to the same conceptual metaphor? A. No, the Italian IE is motivated by the CM: ideas are foods. The strategy outlined in the previous section delineates metaphorical frames from the point of view of the source domains. However, another possibility would be to focus on the target domain. This would entail starting from a target domain and then searching for similarities in source domains in the two languages. For example, starting from a target domain like happiness, if we look for a figurative expression to describe a happy person, we find in English a sunny personality and similarly in Italian una ` personalita solare ‘a sunny personality’. Thus, in order to understand how moods are represented figuratively across the two languages under discussion, we could begin the search from the target domains.

The target domain: moods Courage

English IE

Italian translation

He threw fear to the wind and decided to jump.

Happiness Anger A¤ection Sadness Confusion

What a sunny personality! He came storming into the room They were given a warm welcome. Why are you so gloomy? I haven’t answered his message yet. I’m a bit hazy about what to do.

Ha gettato la paura al vento e ha deciso di saltare. ‘He threw fear to the wind and decided to jump.’ Che carattere solare! ‘What a sunny personality!’ E’ entrato nella stanza come una furia. ‘He entered the room like a fury.’ Hanno avuto un’accoglienza calorosa. ‘They received a warm welcome.’ ` ´ Perche sei cosı cupo? ‘Why are you so dark?’ Ancora non ho risposto al suo messaggio. Oggi sono un po’ confuso sul da farsi. ‘I haven’t answered his message yet. I’m a bit confused about what to do.’

Thus, with this inverse procedure, finding a correspondence of target and source domains is possible.

Insights from Conceptual Metaphor Theory and implications


The target domain: emotion

English source domain elements

Corresponding element in Italian translation

English gloss of Italian translation of English source domain elements

Target/Source mapping: S ¼ similarities D ¼ di¤erent PS ¼ partially similar S S PS S PS D

Courage Happiness Anger A¤ection Sadness Confusion

to the wind sunny storming warm gloomy hazy

al vento solare furia caloroso cupo confuso

to the wind sunny fury warm dark confused

This would mean that the reasoning strategy guiding the translator follows a di¤erent pattern. For example, when translating the English IE: She breezed into the room, starting from the target domain, the following questioning strategy could be used: Example 3 – English IE: She breezed into the room. Q. What target domain does this idiomatic expression represent? A. Happiness Q. What conceptual metaphor mapping is implied in this IE? A. mood ¼ weather (CM: mood is weather) Q. What source domain element is present in the IE? A. breeze Q. What is then the specific target/source domain mapping for the English language? A. happiness ¼ breeze Q. Are there IEs in Italian to convey happiness? A. Yes, many


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Italian idiomatic expressions Sentirsi su Avere il morale alto Non toccare terra dalla gioia Toccare il cielo con un dito Salire alle stelle Andare in orbita

English gloss To feel up To have one’s morale high Not to touch the earth from joy To touch the sky with a finger To go up to the stars To go into orbit

Q. From which conceptual metaphors are the Italian IEs derived? A. They all seem to derive from the CM: happy is up. Q. Should the translation choice in Italian search then within the CM: happy is up, rather than the CM behind the English expression, mood is weather? A. Given the productivity of the CM: happy is up in Italian, the answer would seem to be ‘‘Yes’’. Q. Can one of the Italian expressions be said to be the best solution? A: Probably not. All are potential translation choices. 6. Further considerations: It’s not as simple as all that! Now a serious problem arises in the face of idiomatic expressions which admit transformations. Let us take the case of the IE: to speak one’s mind. To speak one’s mind is motivated by the combination of the container metaphor ideas are in the mind plus the conduit metaphor ideas are sent via words (from one person to another). If we consider the concept mind as a cognitive frame, we can suggest that the frame includes a set of conceptual metaphors and their entailments.8
8. The term ‘‘frame’’ is used here according to the definition given in Evans (2007: 85–86): ‘‘a schematisation of experience (a knowledge structure) which is represented at the conceptual level and is held in long term memory and which relates elements and entities with a particular culturally embedded scene, situation or event from human experience.’’ If, according to Lako¤ and Johnson (1980), metaphor is constitutive of the way we conceptualize and represent the world, then we can see how conceptual metaphors can contribute to the formation of knowledge structures or frame-like schematisations of human experiences.

Insights from Conceptual Metaphor Theory and implications


conceptual metaphor (container): ideas are in the mind conceptual metaphor (conduit): ideas are transmitted via words conceptual metaphor entailment (container þ conduit): Ideas are objects in the mind which are sent via words from one person to another. (cf. Lako¤ and Johnson 1980; Reddy 1979): So, in English we find: to have something in mind to have an empty mind to put something out of your mind to stick in your mind to be full of ideas to be bursting with ideas in my mind it’s all in the mind to send word to someone to send a message to send your love to give someone ideas Let me point out something to you I’ll give you an idea He got that idea across very well The message doesn’t seem to be getting across The Italian translation of the expression to speak one’s mind (according to dictionary entries) is parlare chiaro ‘to speak clearly’. However, the Italian expression parlare chiaro ‘to speak clearly’ can be said to be motivated by a di¤erent CM: understanding is seeing ideas are light-sources discourse is a light-medium (cf: Lako¤ and Johnson 1980: 48) Now, the idiomatic expression, to speak one’s mind can undergo transformations, as in the following cases, cited by Glucksberg (1993: 16):


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1. When drugs are involved it’s time to speak your parental mind. 2. Did he finally speak his mind? 3. As a diverse but purposeful group, you should speak your minds. 4. He spoke his mind 5. The tenants’ association finally spoke their collective minds.

Adjectival modification Adverbial modification Quantification Tense marking All of the above

The following equivalents in Italian can be suggested:9
English 1. When drugs are involved it’s time to speak your parental mind. 2. Did he finally speak his mind? 3. As a diverse but purposeful group, you should speak your minds. 4. He spoke his mind 5. The tenants’ association finally spoke their collective minds. Italian Quando si arriva alla droga, ` e necessario che i genitori prendano una posizione molto chiara e decisa. Ha finalmente parlato chiaro? Essendo un gruppo eterogeneo e risoluto, dovreste parlare tutti in modo chiaro. Ha parlato chiaro. I membri dell’associazione degli inquilini finalmente hanno parlato tutti in unisono e in modo molto chiaro. English gloss of Italian translation When it’s about drugs, it is necessary for parents to assume a very clear and firm position. Did he finally speak clearly? Being a heterogeneous and determined group, you should all speak clearly. He spoke clearly. The members of the tenants’ association finally all spoke in unison and very clearly.

9. Professional translators, teachers of translation and Italian/English bilingual speakers were often consulted about these suggestions. It is interesting to note that where figurative expressions were concerned, rarely did they o¤er the same solutions and rarely were they entirely certain of their suggestions. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Dr. Laura Bocci, Prof. Roberta Falcone and Prof. Jeanne Clegg for their helpful comments.

Insights from Conceptual Metaphor Theory and implications


Now we know that semantically productive operations serve communicative functions. Thus, depending on the context and text-type (cf. MerliniBarberesi 2002; Masi 2007; Tabakowska 2005), a translator may want to (or have to) preserve the communicative force produced by the idiomatic characteristics. And actually he can only do so by imitating the type of transformation involved. Although this is possible for some cases as for (2) Did he finally speak his mind? or for (4) He spoke his mind, it is impossible for (1) When drugs are involved it’s time to speak your parental mind, or for (3) As a diverse but purposeful group, you should speak your minds, given the di¤erences in grammatical structure between the two languages. In (1), the grammatical structure of the English utterance includes a VP (V þ NP) speak your parental mind, whereas the Italian VP structure is verb þ adverb ( parlare chiaro ‘to speak clearly’). The English structure then permits adjectival modification of the noun, giving parental mind. In Italian, the connotation of parental duty can be maintained only by adding the literal paraphrase ( prendere una posizione molto chiara e decisa ‘to assume a very clear and firm position’). In (3), where quantification is involved, the mark of plurality in English is highlighted in the noun of the VP: speak your minds, whereas in Italian it appears inflectionally in the verb (2nd person plural) with the addition of a quantifier tutti ‘all’. As for example (5), which includes all the transformations, the translation requires finding a way to convey the notion of collectivity, collective minds, and a solution could be the addition of an adverb triggering a music metaphor, in unisono ‘in unison’ and further adverbial modification, in modo molto chiaro ‘very clearly’. Thus, whereas the assumption of a conceptual metaphor perspective can be said to be a useful tool for translation practice, as shown above, it may also be the case that the interaction of grammatical patterns with conceptual metaphor will determine a linguistic, contextual and cultural specificity which may be very di‰cult to transfer over to another language. As the last point, I would like to further explore the complexities involved in translating idiomatic expressions triggered by CMs in conversational exchanges. Below is an example taken from Glucksberg (1993: 23): Ken: Don’t worry. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Ann: By that time they will have burnt it down. Obviously the response of Ann implies a complex cognitive operation, which I would define as meta-metaphorical, metalinguistic and metacogni-


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tive. She does not respond to Ken’s message (‘‘I’m going to worry about the problem later’’). She responds to the source domain word, bridge, and by so doing: – – – – acknowledges the metaphorical status of Ken’s utterance recodifies which CM is being activated literalizes the tropological function then in a cooperative mode, re-metaphorizes it in order to remain within the discursive strategy chosen by Ken – and adds an evaluation of Ken’s behaviour through a trope of irony. This is a case where a literal paraphrase will not do, as has been suggested by Gibbs (1994), because that would mean losing too much linguistic content: semantic: loss of the connotative meaning figurative: loss of the tropological form functional: loss of the communicative intent. Thus a figurative solution seems to be necessary. And in Italian, this is possible. Since the Italian language also encodes the life is a journey metaphor, the translation could be: ` Ken: Quando arrivo al ponte, lo attraversero. ‘When I arrive at the bridge, I will cross it.’ ` Ann: A quel punto, l’avranno gia bruciato. ‘By that point, they will have already burned it.’ However, in the case of mind metaphors, where the Italian language does not present a comparable conceptual/idiomatic pattern, the translation strategy is more di‰cult. To stick to our earlier example to speak one’s mind, let me use an exchange from a spontaneous conversation between two speakers of American English. A: I’m going to give him a piece of my mind. B: By the looks of you, that’s going to be a very big piece. Here the metaphorical map regarding mind, which would be: ideas are in the mind ideas are transmitted via words (from one person to another) seems also to acquire:

Insights from Conceptual Metaphor Theory and implications


the mind is an object (which can be divided into parts) Again, the response of interlocutor B implies a complex cognitive operation: meta-metaphorical, metalinguistic and metacognitive. B does not respond to the message of A (‘‘I’m going to tell him bluntly, exactly and unsparingly what I think’’). B responds to the source domain word, piece, and again, by so doing: – – – – acknowledges the metaphorical status of A’s utterance recodifies which CM is being activated literalizes the metaphorical function then in a cooperative mode, re-metaphorizes it in order to remain within the same discursive strategy chosen by A – and adds an evaluation of A’s behaviour through a trope of irony Now here it is very di‰cult to convey the communicative intent of the English exchange in the absence of a comparable metaphor in Italian. The question of the most viable solutions for this exchange was posed to professional translators and teachers of translation. I would like to discuss two of the suggestions given to me: Suggestion 1 A: English: I’m going to give him a piece of my mind. ` Italian: Gli diro esattamente quel che penso. ‘I am going to tell him exactly what I think.’ B: English: By the looks of you, that’s going to be a very big piece. ` Italian: Dallo stato in cui sei, non sara una cosa da poco. ‘Considering the state you are in, it’s not going to be something small.’ With this first solution, there is no transfer of the iconic image triggered by the source domain term piece. Thus, the metacognitive operation along with the tropological passage from metaphor to irony is lost, as is, consequently, the discursive emphasis. Suggestion 2 A: English: I’m going to give him a piece of my mind. ` Italian: Gliene diro quattro. ‘I am going to tell him four.’


Diane Ponterotto

B: English: By the looks of you, that’s going to be a very big piece. ` Italian: Dallo stato in cui sei, sembrerebbe piu come otto. ‘Considering the state you are in, it would seem to be more like eight.’ The second solution seems to preserve the figurative strength of the original IE. In Italian, the IE: dirgli quattro ‘to tell him four’ carries an intention very similar to the English IE: to give him a piece of my mind. We can also note that, both in Italian and in English, ‘‘to have a word with someone’’ means the desire to express disagreement or even slight anger (in English we say, ‘‘I want to have a word with you’’; in Italian, we also say ‘‘avere una parola’’ ‘to have a word’). In Italian, then, to use four words rather than one expresses the intention of communicating anger forcefully. We could hypothesize that the Italian language encodes the conduit metaphor in the concept of transmitting words, and implicitly these words represent ideas in the mind. It does not present, however, the CM: the mind is an object (which can be divided into parts), which accounts for the English a piece of my mind. On the other hand, the Italian language adds the CM: more is stronger (i.e. more words means more anger; more numbers means more strength). With this solution, let us describe exactly what happens. The two languages coincide partially in that their textual representations activate some but not all the possibilities of the conceptual metaphor frame. The following table illustrates these similarities and di¤erences.

English IE Interlocutor A Interlocutor B I’m going to give him a piece of my mind. By the looks of you, that’s going to be a very big piece.

Italian ` Gliene diro quattro ‘I am going to tell him four’ Dallo stato in cui sei, ` sembrerebbe piu come otto. ‘Considering the state you are in, it would seem to be more like eight.’

Same (S) or Di¤erent (D) CM S ideas are in the mind ideas are in the mind

Insights from Conceptual Metaphor Theory and implications CM S


ideas are transmitted via words from one person to another

ideas are transmitted via words from one person to another more is stronger



the mind is an object (which can be divided into parts) piece

Source domain elements: Interlocutor A Source domain elements: Interlocutor B


the number ‘‘four’’


a very big piece

the number ‘‘eight’’

` By choosing this option in Italian (Gliene diro quattro ‘I’m going to tell him four’), the translator is able to partially preserve the metaphorical strength of interlocutor A’s comment by rendering interlocutor B’s response with a greater number, otto ‘eight’ and producing Dallo stato in cui sei, ` sembrerebbe piu come otto ‘Considering the state you are in, it would seem to be more like eight.’ Although the iconic coding of the English source domain (pieces of an idea) to express anger is lost, an equally figurative e¤ect of intense anger remains (numerical quantity of ideas). The communicative force of interlocutor B’s response in commenting on interlocutor A’s agitated state is better preserved because the translation solution manages to respect the shift from the tropological plane of metaphor to that of irony. This is a prime example of how conceptual frames in two languages manifest some similarities and some di¤erences. It is also an example of how, within the possibilities of a conceptual metaphor, translators’ choices are constrained not only by intercultural variation in conceptualization but also by language form, text-type and communicative intentions.


Diane Ponterotto

7. Conclusions On the basis of the assumption that metaphor derives from human experience and conceptualization, it is thought to be characterized by similarity across cultures and sometimes claimed to be ‘‘universal’’. Research on figurativity has revealed, on the other hand, a distinctive presence of crosslinguistic di¤erences (cf. Boers 2003; Kristiansen and Dirven 2008). Research on idiomaticity from the cognitive linguistics viewpoint has identified these di¤erences in the variation of cross-cultural conceptualizations (cf. Kovecses 2002, 2004). This type of research has generated studies in ¨ numerous languages representing widely di¤erent linguistic typologies and cultures (cf. for example Berendt 2008). This fact has significant implications for many fields of application, such as intercultural communication, foreign language learning/teaching and contrastive analysis and translation practice (cf. Kristiansen, Achard, Dirven and Ruiz de Mendoza 2006). As the final point we can stress, along with Deignan and Potter (2004), that, although there has been innovative research on the question of similarity versus di¤erence across languages and cultures, more work needs to be done on the extent to which languages coincide and diverge in their use of conceptual metaphors. It should be emphasized that careful weighting of the quantity and quality of cross-linguistic and cross-cultural di¤erences is an important direction for future research, especially in applied cognitive linguistics. Such a direction would imply study of the formal constraints that individual languages impose on apparently common conceptual metaphors. Moreover, it would imply paying closer attention to how the many and complex variables lying behind metaphorical conceptualization interact to yield idiomatic expressions. Although conceptual metaphor has in a certain sense a ‘‘universal’’ aspect, being grounded in human embodied experience, it is subject to a wide range of variation stemming from cultural di¤erence, language specificity, text-typology and message context. Only through an understanding of the interaction of such variables is it possible to compare conceptual metaphors across cultures. References
Barcelona, Antonio 1997 Clarifying and applying the notions of metaphor and metonymy within cognitive linguistics. Atlantis 19(1): 21–48. Berendt, Eric (ed.) 2008 Metaphors for Learning: Cross-cultural Perspectives. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Insights from Conceptual Metaphor Theory and implications Boers, Frank 2003


Applied linguistics perspectives on cross-cultural variation in conceptual metaphor. Metaphor and Symbol 18(4): 231–238. Charteris-Black, Jonathan 2000 Figuration, lexis and cultural resonance: A corpus based study of Malay. Pragmatics 10: 281–300. Charteris-Black, Jonathan 2001a A comparative study of metaphor in Spanish and English financial reporting. English for Specific Purposes 20: 249–266. Charteris-Black, Jonathan 2001b Cultural resonance in English and Malay figurative phrases: The case of ‘hand’. In: Janet Cotterill and Anne Ife (eds.), Language Across Boundaries (British Studies in Applied Linguistics series), 151–170. London: Continuum. Charteris-Black, Jonathan 2002 Second language figurative proficiency: A comparative study of Malay and English. Applied Linguistics 23: 104–133. Deignan, Alice and Liz Potter 2004 A corpus study of metaphors and metonyms in English and Italian. Journal of Pragmatics 36(7): 1231–1252. Evans, Vyvyan 2007 A Glossary of Cognitive Linguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Forceville, Charles J. and Eduardo Urios-Aparisi (eds.) 2009 Multimodal Metaphor. (Applications of Cognitive Linguistics 11) Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Geeraerts, Dirk and Hubert Cuyckens 2007 Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Garzanti/Hazon 2001 Dizionario Inglese-Italiano/Italiano Inglese. Milan: Garzanti. Gibbs, Raymond W. 1990 Psycholinguistic studies on the conceptual basis of idiomaticity. Cognitive Linguistics 1: 417–451. Gibbs, Raymond W. 1994 The Poetics of Mind: Figurative Thought, Language and Understanding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gibbs, Raymond W. and Jennifer O’Brien 1990 Idioms and mental imagery: The metaphorical motivation of idiomatic meaning. Cognition 36: 35–68. Glucksberg, Sam 1993 Idiom Meanings and allusional content. In: Cristina Cacciari and Patrizia Tabossi (eds.), Idioms: Processing, Structure and Interpretation, 3–26. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.


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Hiraga, Masako 1991 Metaphor and comparative cultures. In: Paul G. Fendos (ed.), Cross-cultural Communication: East and West, vol. II, 149–166. Taiwan: National Cheng-Kung University. ´ Kovecses, Zoltan ¨ 1986 Metaphors of Anger, Pride and Love: A Lexical Approach to the Structure of Concepts. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. ´ Kovecses, Zoltan ¨ 1990 Emotion Concepts. New York: Springer. ´ Kovecses, Zoltan ¨ 2002 Metaphor: A Practical Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ´ Kovecses, Zoltan ¨ 2003 Language, figurative thought and cross-cultural comparison. Metaphor and Symbol 18(4): 311–320. ´ Kovecses, Zoltan ¨ 2004 Metaphor in Culture: Universality and Variation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ´ Kristiansen Gitte, Michel Achard, Rene Dirven and Francisco J. Ruiz de Mendoza (eds.) 2006 Cognitive Linguistics: Current Applications and Future Perspectives. Berlin/New York: Mouton De Gruyter. ´ Kristiansen, Gitte and Rene Dirven (eds.) 2008 Sociolinguistics: Language Variation, Cultural Models, Social Systems. Berlin/New York: Mouton De Gruyter. Lako¤, George and Mark Johnson 1980 Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Masi, Silvia 2007 English and Italian dialogic descriptors across text-types. In: Marcella Bertuccelli-Papi, Gloria Cappelli and Silvia Masi (eds.), Lexical Complexity: Theoretical Assessment and Translational Perspectives, 157–175. Pisa: Plus. Merlini-Barbaresi, Lavinia 2002 Text linguistics and literary translation. In: Alessandra Riccardi (ed.), Translation Studies: Perspectives on an Emerging Discipline, 120–132. Cambridge, UK/New York: Cambridge University Press. Ponterotto, Diane 2007 Translating idiomaticity: a cognitive linguistic viewpoint. In: Annalisa Baicchi (ed.), Voices in Translation: Linguistic, Multimedia and Cognitive Perspectives. R.I.L.A. (Rassegna Italiana di Linguistica Applicata), 317–335. Rome: Bulzoni. Reddy, Michael J. 1979 The Conduit Metaphor: A case of frame conflict in our language about language. In: Andrew Ortony (ed.), Metaphor and Thought, 164–201. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Tabakowska, Elzbieta ˙ 2005 Point of view in languages, texts and translations. In: Annalisa ` Baicchi, Cristiano Broccias and Andrea Sanso (eds.), Modelling Thought and Constructing Meaning: Cognitive Models in Interaction, 198–212. Milan: Franco Angeli.

Mundane Transcendence? Conceptualisations of faith in prosperity theology Małgorzata Pasicka
1. Introduction The purpose of the present paper is to apply some essential elements of the cognitive approach to an analysis of conceptualisations that lie at the very heart of the doctrine known as Faith Movement (FM), a pragmatically oriented branch of Protestantism (briefly discussed in section 2). While Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity in general has received some attention from linguists (cf. e.g. Coleman 1980), FM discourse has not yet – to the best of my knowledge – been subject to linguistic investigation. By deconstructing some syntactically novel structures and metaphorical mappings pervading the discourse, I hope to attract some attention to the potential it o¤ers to a linguist interested in the interplay between language and theology, and in the ways a pragmatic shift in doctrine evinces itself in God-talk. The analysis will mostly draw on blending theory (BT), involving the mental spaces model proposed by Turner and Fauconnier (cf. Turner and Fauconnier 1995; Fauconnier and Turner 1998), and on the conceptual metaphor theory (CMT), involving source domain (SD) to target domain (TD) mappings (cf. Lako¤ and Johnson 1980; Lako¤ and Turner 1989). The mental space model applied in BT has proved useful in analysing syntactic structures as reflections of conceptual constructs (cf. Fauconnier and Turner 1998), and as such it will be applied in the discussion of the syntactic innovations characteristic of FM discourse about faith. An enrichment of CMT, the BT has opened up new possibilities of interpreting complex and novel metaphors, which can hardly be accounted for by simple oneto-one mappings. Researchers working on the application of BT to mental constructs have noted that whereas ‘‘CMT has been primarily concerned with identifying regular, conventional patterns of metaphorical conceptualisation, BT has often explicitly addressed itself to novel and unique examples’’ (Grady, Oakley and Coulson 1999: 5). Since the metaphorical imagery conjured up by FM evangelists is often rather conventional (though outside the theological framework the convention seems totally


Małgorzata Pasicka

unconventional), the application of CMT in our analysis seems justified. Our analysis of the linguistic facet of metaphorical mappings of faith will not flinch from certain uneasy questions some of those images may provoke when viewed in close-up (section 5). Throughout the paper, we will consider examples of conceptual integration and conceptual metaphor drawn from texts published in mainstream FM monthly magazines, Adventures in Faith (AF), Believer’s Voice of Victory (BVV), and The Word of Faith (WF), published in the last few years.

2. Doctrinal background Faith Movement emerged within charismatic/Pentecostal Christianity in America in the 1960s. Its various names, such as ‘‘Health and Wealth,’’ ‘‘Prosperity theology’’ or ‘‘Positive confession theology,’’ reflect the extreme pragmatism of FM: apart from the tenets shared by all charismatics (such as stressing the importance of being born again and experiencing Spirit baptism along with its physical manifestations), its adherents hold a set of quite distinctive beliefs, the main one being that health and prosperity are in fact integral parts of salvation: Christ’s sacrifice annulled not only sin, but every e¤ect of sin, such as poverty and illness. Health and wealth are among the ‘‘blessings’’ enumerated in the Bible and are there for Christians to claim. The Bible is in fact viewed as a set of ‘‘positive’’, i.e. practical, proposals or o¤ers made by God to cover every human need. What you have to do is to ‘‘find scriptures that cover your case’’ (Word of Faith Oct. 2000) and profess your belief in them coming true. The tenet has come to be known as positive confession – the phrase itself literally referring to ‘‘bringing into existence what we state with our mouth, since faith is a confession’’ (Burgess and McGee 1988, s.v. ‘‘Positive Confession Theology’’). How is this made possible? Once a man is ‘‘born again’’, his frame of mind changes in accordance with the Word of God, he himself acquires divine nature and gains the power to constitute a new reality by uttering words, i.e. scriptural passages, with faith, i.e. – in FM terms – by confessing. Persistence in confessing one’s faith in receiving what one hopes to receive (calling those things which be not as though they were, Rom. 4: 17) is usually seen as the key to success. The doctrine of positive confession involves a concept of faith that is not only pragmatic, but mechanistic: no active divine participation seems to be needed for man to draw blessings from the spiritual realm into the

Conceptualisations of faith in prosperity theology


physical world by the power of faith alone. God’s role seems limited to an automatic response to man’s confession of faith.

3. Conceptual blends and syntactic innovation The extreme pragmatism of prosperity theology can be found on the syntactic level in the peculiar use of the verb believe in a distinctive novel collocation: to believe (God) for sth as illustrated by the example below (cf. Pasicka 2006 for a discussion of the expression in the argument structure framework): (1) In my first year as a Bible student at Rhema Bible training Centre, my wife, Phyllis, and I really needed a good used car that would run well and get us from point A to B. So we believed God for it, He worked in response to what we were able to believe Him for, and we got one (BVV). The structure of the phrase to believe (God) for sth is actually analysable into two segments of meaning, reflecting the two steps in the act of faith, where believing God is a prerequisite of believing God for sth. In order to get hold of the desired spiritual or material good, one must first believe in God and believe (i.e. trust) Him and His promises, and only then direct one’s faith towards the promises concerning the particular good. Since God has accomplished His part of the task, and His Word contains practical o¤ers for those who believe it, man’s task consists in finding the right scriptural passages: (2) Whatever you’re praying and endeavouring to believe God for, find scriptures that cover your case. And then stand firm (WF). The above-mentioned segmentation of the concept <believe God for sth> prompts an analysis in terms of a conceptual blend. Notice that the syntax resembles that of a prototypical verb expressing a wish directed to the potential agent able to fulfill the wish (the agent appearing in the role of direct object), such as to ask sb for sth, while carrying over the FM-specific semantics of believing God, which includes both the conviction that whatever is being expected will be granted and the Calvinist belief that material wellbeing is a sign of divine election. The novelty of the structure results from the blending of two concepts: asking God for sth and believing God. The conceptual integration process postulated here can be represented as follows:


Małgorzata Pasicka

Figure 1.

The problem remains how to account for the frequent omission of God in the structure, as in the example below: (3) If you’re believing for restoration in your finances, then become engrossed with Phillipians 4:19: But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ (AF). Seeing that the believe-structure inherits its syntax from the input space ask sb for sth, we can account for the ellipsis of the direct object in the believe-structure exactly as we do in the case of the ask-structure. Of the two participants involved in the event of asking/believing, the addressee (here: God) need not be specified and may be left implicit. Syntax allows

Conceptualisations of faith in prosperity theology


for the direct object in the active construction not to have a linguistic exponent. Such lack of specification is most likely to occur if the participant acting as the direct object is assumed to be known and/or is considered unimportant (cf. Schlesinger 1995: 59). In cognitive terms, we might say that frequent omission of God from the profile is likely to lead to removing the concept <God> from the base as well. Besides the ubiquitous believing (God) for sth, another novel syntactic structure appearing in the context of positive confession at work is to believe sth in. The meaning deduced from linguistic data is ‘to obtain whatever one believes for,’ as in the sentence below: (4) [God to evangelist:] They asked you how did you get this [i.e. car] and you said you believed for it. But whose faith was it that you believed the car in with? (BVV) Again, the novelty of the structure reflects a FM-specific conceptual novelty. The verb believe in this collocation refers to the final stage of the positive confession procedure, whereby ‘‘faith-filled words [uttered by man – M.P.] draw things out of the spiritual realm, where they do exist [. . .] into the natural realm, where they do not exist yet’’ (from a letter sent out by Joyce Meyer Ministries, April 2002). The whole ‘‘faith process’’ encompassed in the believe sth in construction involves an action (here: believing for a car), which brings about a reaction: the desired good (here: a car) materialises. The collocation to believe sth in (with the use of faith as an instrument) strongly resembles the non-prototypical cases of caused-motion constructions analysed by Adele Goldberg (1995) and later discussed by Fauconnier and Turner (1998). All three authors deal with semantically disturbing cases of verbs that do not themselves specify caused motion, but can be used in caused-motion constructions. On Fauconnier and Turner’s analysis, the [NP VP NP PP (directional)] caused-motion structure exemplified by a sentence coined by Goldberg: ‘‘Frank sneezed the napkin o¤ the table’’ can be viewed as a blend integrating the syntax of prototypical caused-motion constructions (e.g. ‘‘He threw the napkin o¤ the table’’) with the conceptually decomposed (i.e. unintegrated) causal sequence: someone sneezes, napkin moves o¤ the table (as a result). The verb sneeze in the blend highlights the causal agent’s action, but verbs in caused-motion constructions may also highlight the object’s motion (e.g. ‘‘Sarge sped the toy car around the Christmas tree’’) or the causation itself (‘‘Sarge let the tank into the compound’’) (cf. Fauconnier and Turner 1998 on-line version: 5). The believe sth in structure is actually analogous to the sneeze sth o¤ structure: in both cases it


Małgorzata Pasicka

Figure 2.

is the causal agent’s action that is being mapped. The mechanism of the conceptual integration involved here can be represented as follows (I use the abbreviations introduced in Fauconnier and Turner 1998, where a stands for agent, o for object, e for causal action and dm for direction of movement). 4. Metaphorical mappings Apart from such innovative syntactic constructions, the mechanistic approach to faith in FM is reflected in metaphorical mappings. In conjuring up images of positive confession at work, FM evangelists often resort to the realm of technology, drawing on the readers’ basic technical knowledge. The following passage, referring to the mechanism of faith healing, contains one of the most striking images:

Conceptualisations of faith in prosperity theology


(5) But when they don’t see results right away, they turn o¤ the switch of faith, and the healing power quits flowing and the recovery stops. Let’s allow God’s healing power to continue by keeping the switch of faith on as we pray according to the Word of God for the healing of the brethren (WF). Expressions such as switch (of faith) and flow (of the healing power) encourage immediate association with an electrical device, where pressing a control button triggers the flow of electricity, which in turn puts the whole mechanism in motion. On the face of it, the image exploited in (5) seems clear: the flow of God’s healing power, conceptualised as electricity, can be activated by switching on faith. On closer examination, however, an uninitiated reader may be struck by the ambiguity of the expression the switch of faith. Is faith itself the control button triggering the flow of healing in the ‘‘electrical circuit’’, or is it part of the current flowing in a more complex circuit, where faith flowing in one direction (i.e. towards God) is automatically converted into healing power flowing in the opposite direction (i.e. towards man)? The following theological explication leaves us in no doubt about how to ‘‘read’’ the metaphor: (6) Faith is something you have but until you release it, it is as though you have none. Faith has to come out of you. It has to become an act of believing. Every kind of power known to man must have a point of contact to release it. With electricity, for example, you flip the light switch to send the power into the bulb which in turn lights the room. In the same way, your point of contact releases (sends) your faith to God which releases His power back into your life (Roberts, undated: 4–5). The image is thus of an electrical device (here: lamp) which requires electricity flow in order to give light and/or warmth in return. The image involves two conceptual metaphors: faith is electricity and healing power is light/warmth, plus a metonymy wherein <electricity> stands for <electrical device>: ‘‘turning on faith’’ is analogous to ‘‘turning on an electrical device’’. The ‘‘switch of faith’’ in (5) refers to the ‘‘point of contact’’ in (6) releasing faith and thus triggering the flow of the healing power in return. FM theology tells us that anything can perform the role of this ‘‘switch’’ (be it prayer, the laying on of hands, Holy Communion, or simply a meaningful encounter), provided that it is accompanied by a decision to profess one’s faith. Recovery begins the moment one consciously starts confessing one’s belief in healing. However, the circuit


Małgorzata Pasicka

only works as long as the switch is turned on. Therefore, in order to receive a full recovery one must keep believing. Though the electricity metaphor may be prevalent in the pragmatically oriented texts, it is by no means the only metaphorical conceptualisation of the ‘‘mechanistic’’ kind. The mental images conjured up by the following sentence may vary: (7) So we’re going to look this month at how to activate faith, or ‘‘how to turn your faith loose’’ (WF). Though the idea of ‘‘activating’’ faith is consistent with the image of a switch operating the flow of electricity in a circuit, the verb to activate, with its meaning ‘to cause something to start working,’ has a more general application and will evoke an image of any kind of machinery. The perception of positive confession in terms of a mechanism controlled by man evinces itself in lexical choices referring to its e‰ciency, especially in the frequent use of the verb to work in connection with faith. Excerpt (8) exemplifies the appearance of the same verb with reference to divine actions, which makes the reader aware of the same mechanistic approach being applied to God himself (cf. example (1), where the VP to work in response reflects the idea of an automatic divine action triggered by a specific action performed by man1). Notice that in example (9) and in the last use in (8) the verb to work applies not to God himself, but to the whole system of man acting and God reacting: (8) ‘‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ’’ (Phil. 4: 19). Since he supplies all my needs, I don’t have any! You see, believing God’s Word like that brings Him to work on my behalf. This [i.e. positive confession] isn’t something that works just in an emergency. This is a life style. This is the way you’re to live (WF). (9) I’m not telling you something I made up. This [i.e. positive confession applied to prayer] works! I have had more prayers answered in my life since 1999 in such a short time frame, and I know that I have tapped into something from God (AF).
1. The approach to faith inherent in the FM doctrine may actually be viewed as a magical procedure. According to some definitions, magic is based on a belief that certain actions performed by man have an immediate e¤ect on the spiritual realm and automatically evoke a predictable response from the deity.

Conceptualisations of faith in prosperity theology


Other manifestations of the mechanistic approach to faith include the perception of the positive confession doctrine in terms of a formula to be applied whenever the situation calls for it. Hence the tendency to stress productivity as well as e¤ectiveness, both of which can be exactly predicted and measured, as illustrated by example (11) below. What we encounter here is the positive confession is a formula metaphor, on the linguistic level rendered directly as principle of faith in (10). Since the common usage of the verb to work covers not only the successful application of mechanical devices (e.g. ‘‘I shook the calculator and it works now’’) but mental operations as well (e.g. ‘‘I tried the di¤erential calculus several times before it finally worked and I got the result given in the key’’), lexical choices such as work (V) and results (N) as manifestations of the SD structure are in compliance with the Invariance Principle: (10) The Bible says, ‘‘. . . whatsoever shall say and shall no doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have WHATSOEVER HE SAITH’’ (Mark 11: 23). [. . .] For instance, notice the same principle of faith in operation in Mark 5: 25–34 in the case of the woman with the issue of blood (WF). (11) Have you ever prayed for something over and over and still you didn’t get results? Have you prayed the ‘‘Prayer of Faith’’ and every other kind of prayer that you knew to pray and it [i.e. positive confession applied to prayer – M.P.] didn’t work? [. . .] This is the secret I want to tell you. Your faith will produce, proportionately speaking, no more than the intensity of your desire (AF). (12) Begin to confess with your mouth the scriptures concerning your situation. There is a verse for everything you’re going through. God covered it all when He wrote the Bible [. . .] your intensity [in confessing – M.P.] will produce results (AF). Example (11) above, apart from assuring the reader of the formulaic character of positive confession, draws on his transactional associations, with the return (here: blessings) being commensurate with the investment (here: faith). It is interesting to note that the same ‘‘transactional’’ approach is typical of FM’s way of talking about the Bible. The e¤ectiveness of the Bible in problem solving largely depends on how accurately the ‘‘formula’’ is applied:


Małgorzata Pasicka

(13) If we go for 100 percent of His Word, we get 100 percent results. If we go for 50 percent of His Word, we get 50 percent results, and so on (BVV). In order to illustrate the input-output relation, FM evangelists often resort to the image of a farmer sowing seeds and reaping crops, where sowing is an investment in the future harvest season. The following excerpt refers to the necessity of practising the Word of God in order to achieve material success guaranteed by the divine covenant. The concepts of <sowing> and <reaping> (‘‘enjoying the harvest season’’ in (14) below) in the harvest metaphor function as source domains mapped onto the target domains <practising the Word> and <having results> (here: material success), respectively. By analogy to growing crops, practising the Word of God is a long-term investment that does not yield results in an instant, but requires patience. Hence the stress on ‘‘reaping in season’’ as a prerequisite of a really fruitful harvest: (14) Everyone is always talking about sowing and reaping in their finances and in other areas. But no one wants to wait for the harvest season. Many people want to sow today and reap tomorrow. But it doesn’t work that way. If you’re going to learn how to reap in season – if you’re going to learn how to enjoy the harvest season – you will have to start practising the Word (WF). The remaining two passages contain a slight modification of the harvest metaphor, wherein faith comes in as an additional element of the investment: (15) You’ve got to practise the Word. Someone might say, ‘‘I’m believing God for my finances.’’ But when the o¤ering plate comes by, he doesn’t put anything in. He is not putting into practice God’s laws of giving and receiving set forth in His Word. Another man who has only a quarter puts that quarter in the o¤ering bucket when it comes by and says, ‘‘Lord, this is all I’ve got, but I’m giving. I’m expecting a return according to the Word of God. Praise the Lord! I’m practising the Word! The Word says, ‘Give and it will be given to me’ [Luke 6: 38].’’ And it’s not very long until this man comes out on top financially (WF).

Conceptualisations of faith in prosperity theology


(16) Then he got hold of the principle of sowing. He laid hold of the principles of prosperity taught by Kenneth Copeland ministries and others. He started sowing and believing, sowing and believing – and God brought him out, totally. God brought him from the bottom to the top. He abounded in the provision of God and in anointings to do the work of God (BVV). The metaphorical structure of (15) and (16) can be rendered in the form of the following series of mappings:
<sowing> (SD) þ <believing> ¼> <reaping> (SD) <practising the Word> (TD) þ <believing> ¼> <having desired results> (TD) <giving> (specification) (TD) þ <believing> ¼> <receiving> (specification) (TD)

Another mundane specification of the harvest metaphor can be found in the following excerpt from a ‘‘praise report’’, i.e. testimony sent by believers in appreciation of evangelists: (17) After talking to my wife, we sowed a $35 seed into your ministry. Right after we sowed our seed, the interviewer called to interview me over the phone. Shortly after that, I received a call informing me that I had gotten the job. We are extremely excited. [. . .] We want to thank you and your ministry from the bottom of our hearts for receiving our gift and for being such great Godly ground to plant into and for your prayers (AF). The ‘‘transactional’’ metaphorical mapping coined by the pragmaticallyminded evangelists involves conceptualising faith as such in terms of financial investment. The passage below is a good instance of the Invariance Principle at work: (18) You need to build your faith. You see, when you were born again, you were given the measure of faith. We have all been given the measure of faith, not a measure, but the measure. What you do with your faith depends on how much your measure grows. [. . .] It’s like when you get paid. For example, when you get paid on Friday, you take your check to the bank and make a deposit. Right? During the week, you make withdrawals on what you’ve deposited. If you only put $200 in your account, and you make a withdrawal of $150, you only have $50 left. If you write a check for $75, then you are overdrawn by $25, and there is a deficit in your account. You don’t have enough. So what do you do? You have to make more deposits to have enough to support


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you. It’s the same way with your faith. You have to make deposits every day. Why? Because you make withdrawals all day long on your faith. How do you make deposits with your faith? By hearing the Word over and over. When you do that, your spirit man will get so built up that you become intense about your breakthrough. (AF) To someone acquainted with the prosperity doctrine any association with money in the context of faith will seem most natural. The image in (18), involving the faith is money concept, probably rather commonplace to FM adherents, to a linguist presents the apex of pragmatism in metaphor.

5. Some conceptual complications The innovative syntactic structures with believe, analysed at the outset of our discussion (section 3), illustrate the Whorfian interrelation between grammatical categories and the way language users perceive the world. That the relation actually works both ways – the way of thinking shapes and transforms grammar and vice versa – has become a linguistic platitude and does not require discussion. In the present case, however, the interrelation results in what is indeed a vicious circle: the omission of the direct object in the believe God for sth structure reflects a theologically suspect shift in religious thinking, which is in turn sanctioned by grammaticalisation. God’s absence from the man-steered ‘‘faith process’’ both justifies the grammar and is justified by it. As we shall see presently, a similar absence of the divine strikes one upon examining some metaphorical mappings of <faith>. All the metaphors discussed so far and the syntactic structures with believe build up into an overall image of faith as something almost tangible, something mundane rather than metaphysical, as a material force to be put to practical use by practical men. This idea is supported by the literal reading of Hebr. 11: 2 (Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen), which is one of FM’s most cherished verses. In the FM tradition, the word substance is not interpreted in metaphysical terms, but is treated literally, in physical terms. On closer scrutiny, however, we encounter some problems in specifying the exact nature of faith basing on those metaphorical mappings. Certain implications of the money metaphor in (18) seem to contradict those following from the electricity metaphor. While the money metaphor suggests that faith is something that runs out and therefore needs constant replenishing,

Conceptualisations of faith in prosperity theology


the electricity metaphor suggests that although faith needs a human trigger (switch) to start flowing in the circuit, it does not diminish and does not need replenishing. Of course, money is an inexhaustible resource when viewed in the context of global market circulation, but the aspect regarded here is that of individual accumulation, investment and spending. Notice that while managing and accumulating funds requires constant human e¤ort, electricity only requires a single action which triggers the flow and no individual management is needed to keep it up. Theoretically, in the electricity model, the faith – healing power exchange could go on indefinitely. Comparing elements of topographies across metaphorical mappings does not seem methodologically justified, since every metaphor has its own set of salient SD features mapped onto TD, what Jakel refers to as ¨ Focusing Hypothesis: ‘‘Metaphors only supply a partial description or explanation of the target domain in question, highlighting certain aspects and hiding others. It is this focusing that makes the di¤erence between alternative metaphors for the same target domain’’ (Jakel 2003: 58). How¨ ever, ours is the case of two metaphorical mappings of the same concept (<faith>) wherein the projection of salient SD features involves the same aspect of physicality, i.e. exhaustibility. Therefore, in this particular situation comparison across mappings seems acceptable, and what we arrive at is a discordance of images: faith appears as both an exhaustible (as in the money metaphor) and inexhaustible resource (as in the electricity metaphor). How can we account for this discrepancy? Jakel discusses ¨ a case of religious imagery where a similar discordance exists within the single metaphor life is a journey, where the figure of Jesus serves both as a guide and a path (Jakel 2003: 77). He then tries to resolve the ¨ paradox by referring to the concept of transcendence: ‘‘[. . .] it may be that the conceptual dissonance is an intended one, the violation of ordinary metaphorical coherence hinting at the metaphysical and indeed supernatural character of the whole enterprise of religious life. This is a question that metaphor analysis will have to leave for theologians to tackle’’ (Jakel 2003: 58). Is that the case of our metaphors of faith in FM, ¨ too? Our knowledge of the pragmatic context in which those metaphors appear would suggest that the discrepancy is a result of an inconsistency in the doctrine. Another possibility is that this particular aspect of faith is simply overlooked because it is considered theologically unimportant. In dealing with such metaphorical mappings and their mutual relations we cannot but encounter problems of an extra-linguistic kind. In the case of the electricity-money juxtaposition our basic knowledge of


Małgorzata Pasicka

facts tells us that the true source of electricity is not at the switch, but at the turbine, which sets the circuit in motion. This discrepancy between the two metaphors seems to have theological implications: while in the electricity metaphor man turns the switch o¤/on, connects himself to the circuit, thus activating faith, but is not its ultimate source (we can assume that it is God who sets / has originally set the turbine in motion), in the money metaphor man is conceived of as the sole manager of his own faith: he can accumulate it (by reading the Scripture) and then replenish it as it runs out, as in the case of financial means. How is this discrepancy to be resolved? Definitely it is not to be resolved at the linguistic level. Linguistic analysis, as the one above, can only point to the existence of a certain fault line in the theology. As for the rest, we can repeat after Jakel: ‘‘this is a question that metaphor analysis will have to leave for ¨ theologians to tackle.’’

6. Conclusion The above analysis of several linguistic facets of the FM doctrine has confirmed the usefulness of BT and CMT as adequate instruments of linguistic deconstruction. This particular research apparatus allowed us to penetrate beneath the surface of some syntactically unconventional constructions, and to move closer to the understanding of FM-specific pragmatism. In analysing some metaphorical mappings of <faith>, we have uncovered an incongruity within the doctrine itself, which might prove theologically challenging. It can be hoped that this research will encourage further linguistic investigation into FM discourse, and foster the use of the cognitive approach towards religious language in general.

Burgess, Stanley M. and Gary B. McGee 1988 Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zonderman. Coleman, Linda 1980 The language of ‘Born-Again’ Christianity. In: Bruce R. Caron, Meredith A. B. Ho¤man, Marilyn Silva and Jeanne Van Oost (eds.), Proceedings of the Sixth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistic Society, 133–142. Berkeley: Berkeley Linguistic Society.

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Fauconnier, Gilles and Mark Turner 1998 Blending as a central process of grammar. In: Adele E. Goldberg (ed.), Conceptual Structure, Discourse, and Language, 113–129. Stanford: Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI) [distributed by Cambridge University Press]; here quoted after: expanded web version at Accessed: 23 June 2008. Goldberg, Adele 1995 Constructions. A Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure. Chicago-London: The University of Chicago Press. Grady, Joseph E., Todd Oakley and Seana Coulson 1999 Blending and metaphor. In: Gerard J. Steen and Raymond W. Gibbs (eds.), Metaphor in Cognitive Linguistics. Philadelphia: John Benjamins; here quoted after CogSci/Grady_99.html. Accessed: 23 June 2008. Jakel, Olaf ¨ 2003 How can a mortal man understand the road he travels? In: Kurt Feyaerts (ed.), The Bible through Metaphor and Translation. A Cognitive Semantic Perspective, 55–86. Oxford/Bern/Bruxelles/ Frankfurt a.M./New York-Wien: Peter Lang. Lako¤, George and Mark Johnson 1980 Metaphors We Live By. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press. Lako¤, George and Mark Turner 1989 More than Cool Reason. A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Pasicka, Małgorzata 2006 You can believe for a car and get it: some linguistic exponents of the pragmatic approach to faith in the religious discourse ´ of faith movement. In: Justyna Lesniewska and Ewa Witalisz (eds.), Language and Identity. English and American Studies in ´ the Age of Globalization, vol. 2, 222–230. Krakow: Jagiellonian University Press. Roberts, Oral undated How to Find Your Point of Contact. Undated leaflet distributed through the post. Schlesinger, Izchak M. 1995 On the semantics of the object. In: Bas Aarts and Charles F. Meyer (eds.), The Verb in Contemporary English. Theory and Description, 54–74. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Turner, Mark and Gilles Fauconnier 1995 Conceptual integration and formal expression. Journal of Metaphor and Symbolic Activity 10(3): 183–203; here quoted after Accessed: 23 June 2008.

From GOD IS A FATHER to GOD IS A FRIEND. Conceptual integration in metaphors for God in Christian discourse Aleksander Gomola
1. Introduction Xenophanes, a Greek philosopher of the 5th century BC, is credited with the following statement: ‘‘If cattle and horses or lions had hands or were able to draw with their hands, and do the works that men can do, horses would draw the forms of their gods like horses, and cattle like cattle; and they would make their bodies such as they each had themselves’’ (Kirk, Raven and Schofield 2002: 169). The Greek sage did not mention embodiment or conceptual integration, yet it would be hard to find a statement encapsulating better what cognitive linguistics says about the mechanisms underlying the process of conceptualization of the domain god in religious language, reminding us constantly of its anthropomorphic character. The aim of my paper is to show these mechanisms at work in traditional and novel metaphors for God deployed in Christian discourse. The theoretical background of the study is conceptual integration theory, very useful with regard to analysis of religious language; the language that by its very nature is imbued with metaphors shaping religious beliefs of speakers as well as their social life and vision of the world as well. I would like to show possible consequences of replacing some well grounded metaphors for God with new ones. Such replacement of conceptual metaphors for God that people have been familiar with throughout the centuries with new ones is not a purely hypothetical situation, as in recent years we have been observing numerous attempts to redefine the domain god in Western Christian theology, which is caused not only by the ever increasing distance between the biblical and the modern vision of the world but also by various social and cultural trends and pressures, the chief one among them being the feminist movement that initiated the development of feminist theology. One of the main goals of the proponents of this new branch of theology is to replace traditional metaphors for God such as


Aleksander Gomola

god is a father, which they perceive as patriarchal and leading to subjugation of women, with new ones such as, for example, god is a friend. The metaphors for God discussed below refer to the God-humans relation and represent the type of conceptual blending defined as a single scope network (Fauconnier and Turner 2002: 126–131; 2006: 344). A single scope network is a type of blending in which one input space (usually labeled as ‘‘source input’’) is projected onto another space (target input), which means that the structure of the blend is organized solely by the source space (Fauconnier and Turner 2006: 344). The basis of each conceptual blend is a generic space, containing the generic structure of the blend (Fauconnier and Turner 2006: 314). The blends presented in this paper may be divided into two categories depending on the character of their generic spaces, and my aim is to show that di¤erent generic spaces and di¤erent relations in input spaces projected onto the God-human relation result in di¤erent blends, which – if adopted by religious discourse – may support various practical solutions concerning morality, theodicy and believers’ vision of the world.

2. Conceptual blends for God with an asymmetric relation in the generic space The first category of blends discussed in the paper are those that have the concept of inequality between God and humanity built into them. Most biblical references for God belong to this category and may be classified as single scope networks with relation of inequality in their generic spaces. Various source inputs may be projected onto the God-humans relation, and as a result we obtain blends that reveal ‘‘the way we think’’ of God. 2.1. GOD IS A FATHER The god is a father blend is the most important conceptual blend for God in Western Christianity. It is omnipresent in Church documents (the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to it 627 times), and is deployed widely in liturgy and religious discourse. Interestingly, it is not as ancient as one might think. Practically unknown in the Hebrew Bible (it appears only 15 times there), it was introduced to religious discourse by Christianity (God as Father is mentioned in the New Testament 184

Conceptual integration in metaphors for God in Christian discourse


times). DesCamp and Sweetser call it a ‘‘culturally entrenched metaphor,’’ i.e. a metaphor that is not the result of our embodiment, but is a derivative of the culture we live in (2005: 217). This may be explained by the fact that Jewish culture was patriarchal in character and, since the conceptual metaphor for humanity is most often that of family, God is most often personified as father of all people (Frank and Susperregi 2001: 147). Because the ‘‘father-child’’ relation, being one of the most common relations experienced by humans, may become a source input of various blends (as shown in Fauconnier and Turner 2002: 144–145), it is obvious that we may find it in metaphors for God. The god is a father blend is the cornerstone of Christian doctrine and ignoring it makes it impossible to understand the Trinity dogma (Barcelona 2003), the concept of salvation (Kovecses 2008) or Christian ¨ discourse in general. DesCamp and Sweetser define God as ‘‘a male progenitor who is more powerful than and nurtures human beings’’ (2005: 221; see Fig. 1). What strikes us in this blend is the category of maleness ascribed to God. A theologian will arguably question it, given the fact that God transcends the category of sex. On the other hand, although unacceptable from the theological point of view, in Judeo-Christian discourse the category of maleness plays an important role in conceptualizations of God. God is depicted as Israel’s husband (Hos 2: 4; Ezk 23), and Christ is the bridegroom of the Church (2 Cor 11: 2–3; Eph 5: 25).1 The problem with the diagram in Figure 1 is the fact that it ascribes maleness to God, ignoring what is more important, namely God’s relation to people. As mentioned earlier, ‘‘father’’ is a part of the ‘‘father-child’’ frame, so whenever we speak of ‘‘a father’’ we must speak of ‘‘a child’’ (Fauconnier and Turner 2002: 140; Taylor 2003: 89); it is then possible to present the god is a father blend as in Figure 2. The asymmetric relation ‘‘parent-child’’ in the generic space presupposes a parent’s dominance over his/her child. In the input space there is

1. Another interesting example of blending is Christ’s maleness. According to Christian theology, Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, also transcends the categories of sex, so He(?) cannot be a male or a female. Yet because Jesus was a male, his maleness is projected by most believers onto Christ as the Second Person of the Trinity.


Aleksander Gomola

Generic Space *Agent *Properties

God *

Father *Male *Progenitor *Provides nurture *More powerful than children Blend: God Is Father God is a male progenitor who is more powerful than and nurtures human beings

God is Father
Figure 1. god is a father according to DesCamp and Sweetser (2005: 221)

a more specific ‘‘father-child’’ relation whose most important features are as follows: – – – – a father is a child’s progenitor; if there is no father, there is no child; a child cannot be conceived or born without father’s involvement; a child is dependent for many years on his/her father; a father provides nourishment, takes care of a child, protects it against various dangers; – a father is the source of morality to a child; – as long as a child remains a child, it cannot be an equal partner for his/ her father.

Conceptual integration in metaphors for God in Christian discourse


Figure 2. god is a father

These features of the ‘‘father-child’’ frame, projected onto the Godhumans relation, became the basis of most fundamental theses of Christian theology: – the most important ontological di¤erence between God and humanity is the fact that God is a necessary being while humans are contingent beings; – humanity came into being only because God wanted it to be (This statement presupposes the conceptual metaphor causation is progeneration (Barcelona 2003: 8); – God constantly supports the world in its existence, which means constant human dependence on God; – God instructs people how to lead a moral life and defines the categories of good and evil; – As human beings are contingent beings, constantly dependent on God and instructed by God, they cannot be equal partners to God.


Aleksander Gomola

The o‰cial Catholic interpretation of the god is a father blend stresses God’s being the origin of everything and God’s transcendent authority.2 A thorough analysis of the New Testament texts reveals that the god is a father blend evokes also such characteristics of God as protection and sustenance, physical control, authority and destructive power to punish (DesCamp and Sweetser 2005: 232). Every act of projection is selective and much depends on which elements of the source space are projected onto the target space and which are ignored (Fauconnier and Turner 2002: 314). This means that the god is a father blend allows for more than one interpretation, depending on how we understand the ‘‘father-child’’ relation and what is our model of ‘‘father’’. Is it going to be somebody who loves us and is very close to us, as an Aramaic term ‘‘abba’’ that appears in the Gospels suggests, or is it going to be the Roman pater familias who may be a tyrant? Christianity tried to cope with this dilemma from the very beginning (Lee 1999: 178– 187). Lako¤ and Johnson, while stressing the role of god is a father metaphor as the foundation of traditional morality, also distinguish its two basic variants depending on the model of the father figure that people adopt. The strict father model results in an oppressive morality that sees God as an ultimate authority over human beings and obedience to God’s commandments as the best way of being ‘‘a good child’’. Those seeing God as a Nurturant parent interpret the god is a father blend and the vision of morality accompanying it di¤erently. The commandments and laws are not what is most important; what matters is love and purity of heart (Lako¤ and Johnson 1999: 315–321). Lako¤ expands the significance of the god is a father blend in social life and claims that the di¤erence between the two models of the father figure within it and the two visions of morality accompanying it are reflected in American social life and may serve as an explanation of main political di¤erences between conservatives and liberals in the USA (Lako¤ 1997, 2006). Whether we agree with this opinion or not, we cannot deny
2. By calling God ‘‘Father’’, the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that He(?) is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood (the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 239 ENG0015/_P17.HTM). ‘‘Father’’ as model of origin is rooted in the Aristotelian biology.

Conceptual integration in metaphors for God in Christian discourse


that this interpretation shows far reaching consequences of the god is a father blend. The god is a father blend conceptualizing God in relation to humans must not be identified with the god is a father blend depicting Trinitarian relationships, as these are two di¤erent blends. A closer analysis of the latter shows that it is one of the most intriguing and complex blends in Christian discourse; therefore, its detailed presentation is not possible here. It is enough to say that depending on whether we wish to present an orthodox (Catholic) or a heretic (for example Arian) version of the blend, we must place in the generic space of the blend, respectively, either the relation of equality or the relation of inequality, as in Catholicism Father and Son as Persons of the Trinity are seen as equal to each other (Augustine, On the Trinity, 1, 3; Saint Augustine 1963: 6), while to Arians Son was inferior to Father. Also the input space should be defined di¤erently in each case: for Arians Son is ‘‘created’’ while for Catholics he is ‘‘begotten’’. That puts serious limitations on the ‘‘father-son’’ frame in the input space in both blends, as most properties of ‘‘father’’ listed above cannot be projected onto the First Person of the Trinity. If such attributes of ‘‘father’’ as a disciplinarian or someone who takes care of a child are absent, what is left? It seems, at least in the Catholic version of the blend, that what remains is only the father’s role as a progenitor. This very narrow understanding of the ‘‘father-child’’ relation found its way into the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed that defines Christ as ‘‘Son of ´ God begotten of the Father’’. It is worth noticing that the Greek gennao (‘to beget’) refers to the male parent only and reflects the Aristotelian biology that is the ‘‘experiential basis’’ of the blend (Lako¤ and Johnson 1980: 19). The role of the Aristotelian biology in traditional blends for God is discussed below. 2.2. GOD IS A MOTHER What will happen if we replace the ‘‘father-child’’ frame in the source space with the ‘‘mother-child’’ frame and project it onto the God-humanity relation? What is the di¤erence between the ‘‘father-child’’ and the ‘‘motherchild’’ relations? Distinguishing between ‘‘mother’’ and ‘‘father’’ domains, Lako¤ stresses the role of mother as somebody who nurtures and raises a child and the role of father as a figure of authority responsible for the discipline (Lako¤ 1987: 74–84; Taylor 2003: 89–90). Therefore, if the father is first of all a disciplinarian, then the ‘‘father-child’’ relationship is that


Aleksander Gomola

of dominance and control; God is perceived first of all as someone who demands obedience, and obedience to God’s will is the ideal of human love to God. In their analysis of various passages of the New Testament, DesCamp and Sweetser also come to the conclusion that the god is a father blend highlights, among others, such features of God as physical control, authority and destructive power to punish (2005: 232). The clear correspondence between father’s role in human life as the source of control and authority and the god is a father blend, in which God plays a similar role, is visible in Matthew 5: 16 and Luke 15: 1 (DesCamp and Sweetser 2005: 230). We may also find other examples in the Bible and Christian discourse confirming the fact that in Christianity the god is a father blend more often than not presupposes obedience and subjugation of people towards God. This presupposition starts with Lord’s Prayer, where Christians pray to Father in Heaven ‘‘Thy will be done’’ and is visible especially in Catholicism, in which the Holy Virgin has become the model of divine nurturance, absent from the blend (Lako¤ and Johnson 1999: 316). Indeed, this strict, patriarchal vision of the god is a father blend, where there is little or no space for God’s loving care, illustrates the fact that blending is always the selective process (Fauconnier and Turner 2006: 339). The feminist theology, looking for a counterbalance to this one-sided vision of God, has been promoting the god is a mother blend, which, according to feminist theologians, remained in obscurity for centuries, overshadowed by the patriarchal vision of God (Pagels 1979: 107–119). In the god is a mother blend (Fig. 3), the ‘‘mother’’ of the ‘‘motherchild’’ relationship in the source input is perceived first of all as one who cares for a child, nurtures it and loves it with unconditional love. Another important feature is greater intimacy between a mother and a child than between a father and a child. According to feminist theologians, God-as-Mother is very di¤erent from God-as-Father. God-as-Mother does not shape moral integrity of an individual by means of norms or regulations and does not demand blind obedience. While God-as-Father as a figure of authority is very close to the Aristotelian model of God as an impassive Being, not concerned about earthly matters, God-as-Mother stoops to people, takes care of them and accompanies them in their struggles. A few subtle examples of the god is a mother blend may be found in the Bible (Mollenkott 1984). Although God is never referred to as mother in biblical texts, yet given the fact that in Jewish culture fathers

Conceptual integration in metaphors for God in Christian discourse


Figure 3. god is a mother

were not interested in taking care of babies (Rops 1965: 122), some biblical passages may be interpreted as stressing motherhood rather than fatherhood of God. Here are some of them: ‘‘It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms’’ (Hos 11: 3); ‘‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!’’ (Is 49: 15); ‘‘But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me’’ (Ps 131: 2). The blend is also strengthened by Hebrew lexis, as in Hebrew the word for woman’s womb and the word for ‘‘compassion’’ are cognates, and are both related to the verb ‘‘to show mercy’’ and to the adjective ‘‘merciful’’ (Johnson 2002: 101; Trible 1978: 31–59.) A unique example of the god is a mother blend in the


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New Testament is Mt 23: 37, where Jesus compares himself to a hen that gathers her children under her wings: ‘‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing’’.3 The god is a mother blend may be also found in writings of Christian theologians and mystics. Anselm of Canterbury addresses his prayers to Jesus-as-Mother (Spearing 1998: xxiii), and Julian of Norwich calls Jesus ‘‘our true Mother’’ and stresses in God the ‘‘motherhood of love, a mother’s love which never leaves us’’ (Colledge and Walsh 1978: 296, 297). Both Anselm and Julian using the god is a mother blend o¤er also a very interesting example of mapping of the source input onto the target input as they see pains of labour as an essential part of motherhood and transfer them onto God. As a result, the blend may be elaborated (Fauconnier and Turner 2006: 315), and we learn that ‘‘as a mother travails to bring forth her children, so Christ travails on the cross to give spiritual birth to those who would be called by his name’’ (Jantzen 1987: 117). As was mentioned earlier, the god is a mother blend was absent from mainstream Christian discourse for centuries. It is virtually never used in o‰cial teaching of the Church4 and Church documents either extend the meaning of the god is a father blend by seeing the father figure not only as a disciplinarian, but a merciful disciplinarian (an example may be the Dives in Misericordia encyclical by John Paul II) or refer to the Holy Virgin as a symbol of love and nurturance (Lako¤ and Johnson 1999: 316). If the blend were to be adopted into the o‰cial Church language, the consequences would be far reaching, not to say revolutionary. Feminist theology proponents are already writing of ‘‘God the Mother who (. . .) freely gives life to all creatures’’ or ‘‘her [God the Mother] creative love [that] is the generating matrix of the universe’’ (Johnson 2002: 179); their promoting this new, radically di¤erent conceptual blend

3. This metaphor gained its visual representation in Christian iconography as the mosaic in the ‘‘Dominus flevit’’ chapel situated on the Olive Mountain near Jerusalem presents a hen symbolizing Jesus, gathering chicks under the wings. 4. There is a short remark in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that reads: ‘‘God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood which emphasizes God’s immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature’’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 239 ENG0015/_P17.HTM).

Conceptual integration in metaphors for God in Christian discourse


for God marks a significant shift in Christian ontology, which had been based for centuries on the god is a father blend. O‰cial recognition of the blend would mean, among other things, the necessity of reformulating of Christian dogmas, including the already mentioned NiceneConstantinopolitan Creed that starts with the words: ‘‘We believe in one God, the Father Almighty’’. Although rather improbable in the nearest future, such extension of Christian discourse is not impossible in the longer perspective. It is worth remembering that many theological terms and categories concerning God which were worked out by Thomism and which still belong to the core of Catholic discourse were not known until the thirteenth century. In the meantime those radical feminist theologians that are too impatient to wait for Christianity to change its language and its metaphors for God, deploy the god is a mother blend to promote a Goddess religion (Christ 2002; Eller 1995). Although di¤erent, both god is a father and god is a mother blends illustrate the role of human experience in the process of conceptualization of abstract ideas. The ‘‘experiential basis’’ (Lako¤ and Johnson 1980: 19) of the former is the Aristotelian biology, according to which it was male seed that carried all the potency for new life (in English a man can still ‘‘father’’ a child). Therefore, God, who is the Life-Giver, is conceptualized in classical theology as father. On the other hand, the god is a mother blend is rooted in modern biology that takes it for granted that a female is not a passive recipient of male seed and that her role as life-giver starting from conception, through pregnancy, to giving birth to a child, is much more significant than that of a male. 2.3. GOD IS A CONTRACTING PARTY As we have seen, both god is a father and god is a mother blends include an asymmetric relation between people in their generic spaces. Two other blends, god is a bridegroom and god is a contracting party, also have asymmetric relations in their generic spaces, but the ‘‘bridegroom–bride’’ frame and the ‘‘agreement–deal’’ frame in the input space of each of them, projected onto the God-humans relation, result in significantly di¤erent conceptualizations of God. The god is the other party blend is undoubtedly the driving force behind the idea of the covenant as the primary conceptualization of the God–Israel relation in Judaism. The ‘‘Book of the Covenant’’ (Ex 20: 22–23: 19), the ‘‘Ark of the Covenant’’, the teaching of the prophets, all prove that biblical Israel did not perceive its relationship with Yahweh


Aleksander Gomola

Figure 4. god is a contracting party

through the prism of a family relation, later on characteristic for Christianity, but conceptualized it as an agreement or even a deal. ‘‘Covenant is to be understood as a relationship between two parties of unequal status’’; the covenant in question was based on Near Eastern suzerainty treatises (von Rad 2001: 129, 131). At Sinai both parties committed themselves to mutual loyalty; the Israelites promised to follow the Ten Commandments, and God promised to protect them and to take care of them (Fig. 4). The idea of a covenant was so strong that it was taken over by Christianity, referred to as ‘‘superior covenant’’: ‘‘But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises’’ (Heb 8: 6; see also Mt 26: 28; Mk 14: 24; Lk 22: 20). Replacing the ‘‘parent-child’’ frame taken from everyday experience of human family life with the treaty frame results in di¤erent values being projected onto the God-humans relation and puts more responsibility on

Conceptual integration in metaphors for God in Christian discourse


people. People cannot expect God’s love, as the treaty has nothing to do with love, a¤ection or altruism on the part of God and they know that to guarantee God’s care and protection for themselves, they must obey the commandments and perform all practices required by Law. The rigorous legalism of ancient Judaism, as manifested in Temple sacrifices and ritual cleansing, clearly shows that our conceptualizations of reality exert direct influence on our lives. The god is a contracting party blend corresponds ideally with morality understood in terms of accounting (Lako¤ and Johnson 1999: 290–335). It seems to dominate over the god is a father blend in these models of Christian theology where eschatology is seen as an act of justice, not mercy, (i.e. whenever salvation is a reward for keeping the deal with God and damnation is the consequence of breaking it), but it cannot explain the fact of innocent su¤ering. Indeed, Judaism, having adopted the god is a contracting party blend into its religious discourse as the primary conceptualization of God, was not able to construct a convincing theodicy, as is shown in the Book of Job, where the questions concerning innocent su¤ering remain unanswered. The Book of Job does not give any satisfying answer to those who perceive the God-humans relation as a covenant and it seems to direct us to the idea of God’s grace as a gift (Johnson 2003: 108–109). It seems that one of the reasons why after more than a millennium of Judaism’s existence a new conceptualization of God as a loving Father, proposed by a teacher from Nazareth, became so attractive to followers of the new religion was the promise of solving the dilemma of innocent su¤ering. Only later did it turn out that any attempts to harmonize di¤erent conceptual blends for God within one religious tradition are futile and lead to either distortion or hidden rejection of some of them (Kolakowski 1998: 3–112). The god is a contracting party blend and the morality is accounting metaphor are the basis of such practices and beliefs of Catholicism as the Sacrament of Penance, the idea of Purgatory as formal paying o¤ our debts to God, the institution of indulgences and, first of all, the idea of eternal Hell. On the other hand, the god is a (loving) father metaphor makes it possible to include into Christianity the idea of apocatastasis, i.e. the final salvation of all beings including Satan. 2.4. GOD IS ISRAELS BRIDEGROOM The god is israel’s bridegroom blend is another conceptual blend that presupposes the relation of inequality between God and humanity, as its ‘‘experiential basis’’ is the patriarchal world of Israel. Used by Ezekiel


Aleksander Gomola

Figure 5. god is israel’s bridegroom

(chapters 16 and 23) and Hosea (chapters 2 and 3), the blend is similar to the god is a father blend in the sense that God as husband (or bridegroom) is depicted as someone who protects his wife (bride) Israel and takes care of her, expecting in return Israel’s loyalty and love. However, in the biblical text this blend is connected with metaphors such as idolatry is adultery/harlotry (Bisshops 2003: 133–136), and the prophets referring to it wish to condemn idolatrous practices among Israelites. Thus the marital relationship is presented as an ill one and all its negative aspects, such as wife’s love a¤airs and husband’s anger about it, are highlighted (see Fig. 5). Christianity took over the god is israel’s bridegroom blend modifying it (Cf. ‘‘I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to

Conceptual integration in metaphors for God in Christian discourse


Figure 6. christ is a bridegroom

him’’ – 2 Cor 11: 2; ‘‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless’’ – Eph 5: 27). The character of the marital relationship in its Christian version is now di¤erent, as it is no longer an ill marital relationship but a healthy one, in which the bridegroom is Christ and the bride is no longer Israel, but the Church. The bridegroom loves his bride so much that he even decides to die for her (‘‘gave himself up for her’’). The bride’s role is to live up to this ideal love by being obedient to Christ’s commandments. The conceptualization is even more distinct in Greek and ´ Latin, as the Greek ‘‘ekklhsı a’’ and the Latin ‘‘ecclesia’’ are both feminine nouns (Fig. 6).


Aleksander Gomola

3. Conceptual blend presupposing relation of equality Almost all traditional Judeo-Christian metaphors for God represent the type of conceptual blend in which the generic mental space is defined by the relation of subordination and inequality between God and humans. Such a blend reflects a ‘‘monarchial’’ idea of God (Lako¤ and Johnson 1999: 564) that stems from the Folk Theory of Natural Order, that is the order of dominance, with God at the top of the hierarchy (Lako¤ and Johnson 1999: 303). In classical Christian theology and philosophy this ‘‘monarchial’’ idea of God is identical with the concept of God as the Supreme Being. It is not di‰cult to answer the question why in all traditional blends referring to God God is seen as superior to people. When these blends were created at the dawn of human history, people could not control nature and often fell victim to its powers, thus human subordination to nature was projected onto subordination to God. Therefore human subordination to nature seems to be the ‘‘experiential basis’’ of these metaphors. The scientific revolution has left its mark on Christian theology, especially with regard to metaphors for God. The Deists of the 17th and 18th centuries perceived God as an author of natural laws but rejected God’s providence, questioning all traditional conceptual blends such as god is a father, a shepherd or a king, as each of them presupposes God’s involvement in human a¤airs. God was still the Prime Mover but ceased to be a help desk. Today human control over nature has become a new ‘‘experiential basis’’ for users of language and encourages new conceptualizations of God, among them the god is a friend blend. 3.1. GOD IS A FRIEND The god is a friend blend is an example of an attempt to redefine the traditional understanding of the relation between God and humans. It appears in the Bible (Matt 11: 19; John 15: 14–15; 1 Cor 3: 9) and in classical theology (Thomas Aquinas Summa Contra Gentiles, 4, 21–22) but it has not gained greater popularity and has not become part of mainstream Christian discourse. In the 20th century it was rediscovered by feminist theology (McFague 1982: 177–193; Johnson 2002: 217–218). The main di¤erence between the blends discussed earlier and the god is a friend blend concerns the relation between elements present in the generic space. While in the earlier blends the relation is always asymmetric, in the god is a friend blend both elements of the relationship are

Conceptual integration in metaphors for God in Christian discourse


Figure 7. god is a friend

equal. There are many examples of such a relation in everyday life: partners in business, neighbours, workmates, etc., yet because the Godhuman relation presupposes intimacy, the only possible relation that may be used in the source input of the blend seems to be friendship (Fig. 7). What is actually projected from the source input onto the target input depends on the model of friendship we adopt; it may be varied, as there is a wide range of friendship models from the classical Aristotelian pattern of ‘‘one soul in two bodies’’ to the Hollywood hit Friends. . . Still, no matter which model of friendship we take into account, none will project onto the God-human relationship physical control, God’s authority or destructive power to punish, attributed to god in the god is a father blend (see 2.1). Instead, the god is a friend blend stresses human maturity


Aleksander Gomola

and independence and minimizes or even downplays human dependence on God. Human moral behaviour is no longer identified with blind obedience to the norms but rests on our judgment and responsibility for our deeds. Morality is not understood in terms of moral accounting, which may be attractive to morally mature people, yet at the same time makes it di‰cult to justify the traditional vision of eschatology, with God’s judgement over an individual as the key element. As a feminist theologian put it, ‘‘God has our attention and devotion by the lure of his goodness rather than by the command of his sovereignty’’ (Page 1982: 189). Interestingly, the god is a friend blend does not stand in conflict with the scientific vision of the world. While ‘‘monarchial’’ metaphors for god, rooted in the top-bottom image schema, were an integral part of the pre-scientific cosmology and were deployed to place God above the ´ universe (Koyre 1968: 8), ‘‘God as friend is not above, apart, over us in an absolute sense, rather, just as friends participate in each other’s lives, so God is part of our being as the source of power, of love, of endurance, of insight (McFague 1982: 188). This non-spatial or at least non-vertical conceptualization of God makes it possible to combine it with panentheism that is nowadays gaining more and more popularity in Christian theology (Clayton and Peacocke 2004). Another property of the blend is its usefulness as the basis of theodicy. We have noticed earlier that each conceptual blend for God provokes questions concerning innocent su¤ering. The god is a friend blend, unlike traditional blends, does not presuppose God’s might or omnipotence and does not make God responsible for su¤ering, thus acquitting God of the charges of cruelty toward the creation. Conversely, it allows for the conceptualization of God not as an Aristotelian impassive being but as somebody who su¤ers with people. Integrating God’s su¤ering, widely discussed in the theology of today (Batut 2003: 386–405), into conceptual blends for God is yet another problem that goes beyond the scope of this paper. It must su‰ce to say that the most radical blend combining conceptualization of God as a friend and as somebody who su¤ers is Whitehead’s definition of God as ‘‘the great companion – the fellow sufferer who understands’’ (Whitehead 1978: 351). The god is a friend blend cannot become part of mainstream Christian discourse as it would mean the necessity of total remodelling of whole Christian theology and would probably result in creating a religion that could no longer be identified with Christianity. However, it may serve as an interesting example of human ability to reconceptualize abstract ideas, following their experiencing the reality in a new way.

Conceptual integration in metaphors for God in Christian discourse


4. Conclusions I have tried to demonstrate the usefulness of the conceptual integration theory as an instrument of linguistic analysis of metaphors for God. I have shown that projecting di¤erent source inputs onto the God-humans relation within the same generic space results in di¤erent blends that lead to various practical solutions if used in religious discourse. I have also tried to point out possible consequences of introducing a new blend, god is a friend, that to some theologians seems better to reflect the current human experience of God. The analysis presented above, far from being exhaustive, should be seen as the first step towards more systematic exploration of metaphors for God, seen through the prism of conceptual integration theory.

Barcelona, Antonio 2003 The metaphorical and metonymic understanding of the trinitarian dogma. International Journal of English Studies 3(1): 1–27. Batut, Jean-Pierre 2003 Does the father su¤er? Communio 30: 386–405. Bisshops, Ralph 2003 Are religious metaphors rooted in experience? On Ezekiel’s wedding metaphor. In: Kurt Feyaerts (ed.), The Bible through Metaphor and Translation, 113–151. Oxford: Peter Lang. Catechism of the Catholic Church, archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM. Christ, Carol 2002 Feminist theology as post traditional theology. In: Susan Frank Parsons (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Feminist Theology, 79–96 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Clayton, Philip and Arthur Peacocke (eds.) 2004 In Whom We Live and Move and Have Our Being: Panentheistic Reflections on God’s Presence in a Scientific World. Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cambridge: Eerdmans Publishing Company. Colledge, Edmund and James Walsh (eds.) 1978 Julian of Norwich. Showings. Mahwah: Paulist Press. DesCamp, Mary Therese and Eve Sweetser 2005 Metaphors for God: why and how do our choices matter for humans? The application of contemporary cognitive linguistic research to the debate on God and metaphor. Pastoral Psychology (53) 3: 207–238.


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Eller, Cynthia (ed.) 1995 Living in the Lap of Goddess. Boston: Beacon Press. Fauconnier, Gilles and Mark Turner 2002 The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities. New York: Basic Books. Fauconnier, Gilles and Mark Turner 2006 Mental spaces. In: Dirk Geeraerts (ed.), Cognitive Linguistics: Basic Readings, 303–371. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Frank, Roslyn and Mikel Susperregi 2001 Conflicting identities: A comparative study of non-commensurate root metaphors in Basque and European image schemata. In: ´ Rene Dirven, Roslyn Frank and Cornelia Ilie (eds.), Language and Ideology. Volume 2: Cognitive Descriptive Approaches, 135– 160. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Jantzen, Grace 1987 Julian of Norwich. London: SPCK. Johnson, Elizabeth 2002 She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company. Johnson, Greg 2003 The economies of grace as gift and moral accounting. In: Kurt Feyaerts (ed.), The Bible through Metaphor and Translation, 87– 111. Oxford: Peter Lang. Kirk, Geo¤rey, John E. Raven and Malcolm Schofield (eds.) 2002 The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History with the Selection of Texts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kolakowski, Leszek 1998 God Owes Us Nothing: A Brief Remark on Pascal’s Religion and on the Spirit of Jansenism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ´ Koyre, Alexander 1968 From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe. London: The John Hopkins Press. Kovecses, Zoltan ¨ 2008 The Biblical Story Retold: Symbols in Action. A Cognitive linguistic perspective. To be published in: Milena Zic Fuchs and Mario Brdar (eds.), Converging and Diverging Tendencies in Cognitive Linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Company. Lako¤, George 1987 Women, Fire and Dangerous Things. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Lako¤, George 1997 Moral politics: What Conservatives Know that Liberals Don’t. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Lako¤, George 2006 Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.

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and Mark Johnson Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. and Mark Johnson Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought. New York: Basic Books. Lee, Dorothy Ann 1999 The symbol of divine fatherhood. Semeia Missoula (85): 177– 187. McFague, Sally 1982 Metaphorical Theology. Philadelphia: Fortress Press. McFague, Sally 1993 The Body of God: An Ecological Theology. Philadelphia: Fortress Press. Mollenkott, Virginia 1984 Divine Feminine: The Biblical Imagery of God as Female. New York: Crossroad Publishers. Page, Ruth 1982 Human liberation and divine transcendence. Theology 85 (1982): 184–190. Pagels, Elaine 1979 What became of God the Mother. In: Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow (eds.), Womanspirit Rising, 107–119. New York: Harper Collins Publishers. Rops, Daniel 1965 Daily Life in Palestine at the Time of Christ. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson. Saint Augustine 1963 The Trinity. Translated by Stephen McKenna. Washington, D. C.: The Catholic University of America Press. Spearing, Elizabeth 1998 Christ as Mother. In: Julian of Norwich: Revelations of Divine Love, xxi–xxvi. London: Penguin Books. Taylor, John R. 2003 Linguistic Categorization. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Trible, Phyllis 1978 God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality. Philadelphia: Fortress Press. Von Rad, Gerhard 2001 Old Testament Theology: The Theology of Israel’s Traditions. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. Whitehead, Alfred North 1978 Process and Reality. Corrected Edition. New York: Free Press. Zuck, Roy, Eugene Merrill and Darrel Bock (eds.) 1991 A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.

Subject index
activation states 226 agonist vs. antagonist 18 anthropocentrism 242, 263, 264, 268 Aristotelian definition of categories 35, 44–45, 146–147 aspect 53, 111–117 automatic sense identification 51 autonomy 14, 35, 72, 77, 78, 81, 178–179 behavioral profile 50 blending 15, 19, 52–55, 81, 82, 371, 373–375, 388–405 bridging 217, 224–231, 234–236 case 103, 106–111 caused-change construction 23–24, 26–29 classical definition of categories (see Aristotelian definition of categories) Cognitive Grammar 13, 18, 19–25, 28, 33, 54, 71, 139, 165, 193–204, 250, 276 cognitive poetics 83 cognitive pragmatics 44 cognitive sociolinguistics 2, 52 coherence/coherence relations 293, 295–297, 309, 311–312 complementation 4, 5, 177, 179–184, 187, 189, 190, 194, 196–204 complementizer 167, 183 Complex Act Perfective 114–115, 117 complex event 169–172 compositionality/noncompositionality 34, 148–149, 153, 156, 274 Conceptual Blending Theory (see blending) conceptual metaphor/Conceptual Metaphor Theory 38–41, 54, 94, 345–366, 371–372, 377, 387, 389, 391 conceptual metonymy/Conceptual Metonymy Theory 38–44, 46, 352 conjunctive metonymy 46 Construction Grammar 13, 22–27, 33, 82, 273, 278, 285 constructional template 45 construal 19–21, 34, 81, 110–112, 191, 212, 223 continuity of grammar and lexicon 14 conversation 85, 286, 293–295, 300– 303, 306, 309–313, 319, 361–362 conversationalization/conversationalization hypothesis 293–295, 300, 310–313 corpus-based/corpus study 49–52, 84, 94, 110 Cost-Benefit cognitive model 44 Critical Discourse Analysis 80, 85 Czech 108–109 definiteness 177, 213, 227 discourse 52–53, 78, 80–83, 85, 89, 111–112, 172, 209–236, 280, 281, 293–301, 303, 309, 312 Domain Availability Principle 42–43 Dutch 50–52, 294–297, 300–313 Embodied Construction Grammar 25 embodiment 3, 36, 37–38, 82, 84, 89, 387, 389 encyclopedic knowledge 14, 43, 49, 51, 53–54, 72, 81 English 18, 27, 31, 50, 54, 110, 137, 172–173, 177, 198, 202, 209, 235, 267, 302, 317–320, 323–329, 332– 338, 346–366, 397 entrenchment 28, 87, 88, 158, 337 event structure 36 experiential realism 35–37 experientialism 36–38 explicature 44 factive 18, 204 factive-frequentative 261 false alarm 332–333


Subject index
mental contact 210–212 Mental Space Theory 52–53 metaphor (see conceptual metaphor) metaphorical motion 18, 30, 117 metonymy (see conceptual metonymy) middle construction 30–32 modal/modality 22, 53, 174–178, 190– 193, 195, 197 modular/modularity 14, 79 monosemy/monosemism 46, 49–50 motion event 18, 21, 241, 243–245, 262–263, 268, 317–322, 325–328, 331, 335–337 motion verb 26–27, 117, 241–269, 320, 322, 328 multiplexity 17 Natural Semantic Metalanguage 45 non-modular 14 objectivism 36–37 objectivist realism 36 oblique complement 22 oblique NP 34 onomasiological/onomasiology 51 open choice principle 151 path 18, 27, 40, 54, 114, 176, 210, 241–269, 319–322, 327–332, 335– 338, 355 perfective event 111–112 personalization 294 phenomenology 35–38 polysemous/polysemy 46, 49–50, 81, 82, 89, 107, 111, 156, 249–250 possessive 50, 209–236 proposition 75, 166, 178–179, 181– 182, 186–187, 179, 194–204 prototype 46, 52, 81, 88, 123, 125, 126, 132, 136–141, 145–151, 156–158, 185, 198, 202, 211, 216, 233, 253 prototype theory 35, 44, 45, 129, 132, 136, 141, 147 prototypical idiom peak 150

family resemblance 46, 147 fictive 18, 21, 30, 241, 249, 251, 256 figure/ground alignment 15, 17, 19– 22, 28, 32, 34, 53, 81–82, 87 Finnish 241–269, 274–285 force dynamics 17–18, 29, 175 Frame Semantics 25 gestalt/Gestalt Psychology 16–17, 19, 26, 32, 82, 87, 281 grounding 30, 53, 82, 172–173, 177– 182, 194–195, 198–200, 204, 209, 211–214 iconic/iconicity 15–16, 346, 348, 363, 365 identification 204, 210, 212–213, 216, 223, 225, 229, 236 idiom/idiomatic expression 23, 25, 44, 49, 82, 145–158, 345–366 illocutionary construction 44 image-schema transformation 50 imperfective event 111–112 impersonal construction 110, 188–190, 325 implicature 44, 78 indexical/indexicality 16 indirect path 241–269 inferencing 42, 223, 225, 229 informalization 294 interpersonal function of language 295–296, 298 Italian 345 – 366 landmark 22, 34, 168, 241 language pedagogy 103, 105, 107–108, 111, 113, 115–117 Lexical Constructional Model 45 lexical openness 155, 156, 158 lexical semantics 44–52, 82, 274 lexicalization 82, 242, 263, 266–269, 318–319, 326–328, 336–337 matrix domain 42–43 meaning potential 49–50

Subject index
proverb 146, 148, 150, 152–154, 156 proximity/distance 14, 16, 40 quantitative analysis 50–52, 94, 216, 221, 227, 232, 294 quotation 146, 148, 152–156 Radical Construction Grammar 24–25, 32–34 raising 193–194, 203 recategorization reference point/reference-point construction 20–21, 209–236 religious discourse 371–384, 387–405 Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) 293, 297–300, 313 Russian 107–108, 110–115, 117, 125–140 satellite-framed language 18, 27, 241–242, 244, 266–269, 319–320 scope of attention 257, 265, 268 semantic network 44, 48–49, 51 semasiological/semasiology 51 sequential order 16 simplex event 170 Single Act Perfective 115 source-in-target metonymy 42


Space Grammar 19 Spanish 18, 241, 304, 317–337, stylistic shift 294 subjective/subjectivity 20–21, 84, 251, 293–302, 309–313 symbolic/symbolicity 15–16, 25, 29, 34 syntactic restrictedness 149, 153 text reference 217, 220–223, 229, 234– 236 trajector 22, 34, 168, 202–203, 241 transformation 193 translation 113, 317–318, 322–326, 336–337 type specification 219–223, 229 usage-based approach 83–86, 89, 90, 94, 274 usage event 50, 83 use potential 50 vantage point 20–21, 196, 244–245, 264–265 vector 243, 331–332 verb-framed language 18, 242, 266, 279, 319–320 witness interview 318, 321–326, 337