What are the major principles of Cognitive Grammar? Examine, analyse and conclude.

The major principles of Cognitive Grammar by Langacker are as follows: convention: shared images, language-specific (no Universal Grammar) no independent syntax: grammar is symbolic and therefore a combination of semantic and phonological structures meaning is important: therefore syntax is not more important than vocabulary (lexicon) figurative sense: is supported by this theory, because it’s meaning can be unveiled (if it can be understood; convention is important) and then be analysed Meaning is represented by concepts in the mind A linguistic unit is a conventional/shared image or word You can define grammar by just using these three things: Semantic, phonological and symbolic units unit creation: Coding (linguistic expression for a semantic concept), Usage event (a specific situation in which the target structure is used for a particular purpose), Target Structure (symbolic structure in a usage event) Degree of conventionality/ability to be understood: conventional units (sanctioning structure) decide wether the target structure is well used. If it is well used it is called full sanction, if not partial sanction. The process is called categorizing judgment (with full/ partial sanction) grammatical constructions can also be analysed using these techniques: Grammatical constructions have more than one symbolic unit which integrate with each other to form a composite structure. Again, a categorizing judgment takes place to judge about the well formedness of the composite structure. Idioms: an idiom is a conventional unit, therefore it has a meaning that is understood and therefore can be analysed in both, literal and figurative, senses. It needs a lot of coding ability of speaker and hearer and it can be more difficult to achieve a categorizing judgment with full sanction, because idioms have two senses and are only used in special circumstances (usage event)

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Because the meaning is central for Langacker a universal approach on grammar cannot be made. Grammar is always language-specific, but similar images in different languages can be compared to analyse how they were produced. To represent meaning and convention Langacker invented the term symbolic unit (and also the terms phonological and semantic units). These three structures explain the creation and use of a particular language. Because they are simple and based on meaning those structures can be analysed in grammatical constructions and, further more, idioms. Cognitive Grammar is similar to Construction Grammar, because syntax is basically constructions (form-meaning parings) clipped together. But like Chomsky’s approach, Construction Grammar still thinks syntax independent.