Instructor: Rick Grush. 105 Busch Hall.
Class meets Tu-Th 11:00am - 12:30 pm. January Hall Rm. 10. Office Hours: TBA
The goal of the course is to explore the phenomenon of language, specifically with respect to an understanding of what knowledge of language amounts to, and how that knowledge is represented cognitively and (perhaps) neurophysiologically. The course will be divided into roughly three segments.
Segment One. The Chomskyan tradition: Government and
In this segment, which should take about 4 weeks, we will look at one answer to the question of the nature of linguistic knowledge, namely that linguistic competence is the manifestation of domain specific and innate modules, the most crucial of which processes syntactic structures. We will explore the latest incarnation of this syntax, Government and Binding theory, and some of the arguments in its favor.
Segment Two. Cognitive Linguistics.
We will then spend about six weeks exploring a radically different and almost completely unknown response to the same questions, which falls under the rubric of Cognitive Linguistics (CL). The CL framework hinges on two strong claims. First, that language, in whole or in major part, consists of form-meaning pairings, where specific vehicle forms (morphemes, words, constructions) are directly associated with meanings, without any intervening autonomous syntax. Second, that the meanings (semantics) thus implicated is not objective, but rather is supported by meaningful cognitive structures whose characterization requires reference to the embodiment, activities, socio-cultural norms and cognitive capacities of the creatures who have them. We will begin by looking at Ronald Langacker's Cognitive Grammar (CG) framework in some detail, and then the work of Lakoff, Goldberg, Talmy, and others, as time permits.
Segment Three. ?????.
The final four to five weeks we will spend on some topic to be chosen according to student and instructor interest. Some possible topics are:
Aphasia studies (with a view towards assessing aphasia-supported arguments in favor of autonomous syntax in light of alternatives supplied by CL)
The neural and psychological representation of semantic structure
Additional topics in formal linguistics (i.e. more GB)
Additional topics in Cognitive Linguistics
Haegeman, L., Introduction to Government and Binding Theory.
Langacker, R., Concept, Image and Symbol. (CIS)
Goldberg, A. (1995). Constructions.
In addition to these texts, a number of articles will be required reading.
Grades will be based on four components:
1. Exercises from the Heageman text.
2. A short paper (4 - 6 pages) due at the end of the tenth week, on a topic of the student's choosing.
3. Intangibles, such as participation in class, class presentations, etc.
4. A final project. This can take a number of forms:
Research paper, of around 15 - 25 pages (perhaps expanding
on the short paper)
Psycholinguistic or neurolinguistic study, such as design and
implementation of a pilot study, perhaps in conjunction with
work in other classes or labs
Additional independent study of some related topic
This is no exact science, but in general, the first three components will be expected to be minor in comparison to the final project. Something like 10 - 15% each for the first three, and 50 - 70% for the final project.
The goal of this part of the course will be to familiarize ourselves with Chomskyan formal syntax. My personal bias is that this research program is hopelessly flawed and dangerously counterproductive. Nonetheless, it is the biggest player on the field, and so anybody taking language seriously should familiarize themselves with it. We will stick with the Heageman text up to Chapter Seven (with a few supplemental readings), or until the class as a whole can't take any more.
1. Introduction to course.
2. Lexicon and sentence structure.
IGBT: Chapter One.
3. Phrase Structure.
IGBT: Chapter Two.
4. Case Theory.
IGBT: Chapter Three.
5. Anaphoric Relations and Overt NPs
IGBT: Chapter Four.
6. Non-overt categories.
IGBT: Chapter Five.
7. Movement. (Two sessions)
IGBT: Chapters Six and Seven.
Cowper, E. Chapter Eight of Concise introduction to syntactic theory
Jackendoff, R. et al. 'Home is subject to Principle A'
In this second part of the class, we will explore a radically different picture of the nature of linguistic competence, Cognitive Linguistics (CL). While research in CL is quite divergent, we will focus, at least initially, on the work of Ronald Langacker. His Cognitive Grammar (CG) framework is certainly the most comprehensive and well-articulated of the CL family. We will then look at the work of other CL researchers, and see how (in most cases) their work can be seen as elaborating substructures of Langacker's CG. This will include the work of Talmy, Lakoff, Goldberg, and perhaps others if time permits.
9. Cognitive Linguistics: Introduction
Langacker FCG Volume I Chapter 1.
CIS: Chapter One
10. Nouns and Verbs. (two sessions)
CIS: Chapter Three
12. Transitivity, case, and grammatical relations. (two
CIS: Chapter Nine
14. Clause structure.
Langacker FCG Volume II Chapter 5.
CIS: Chapter Twelve
16. Raising constructions
Langacker. Raising and Transparency.
17. Pronominal Anaphora
van Hoek, K. Conceptual reference points.
18. Force Dynamics
Talmy, L. 'Force dynamics in language and cognition.'
19. Metaphor and Image Schemas
Lakoff, G. WF&DT . Book II. Chapter Two.
20. Construction Grammar. (three sessions)
Talmy, L. The relation of grammar to cognition.
Filmore, C. The mechanisms of 'Construction Grammar'.
Goldberg, A. Constructions.
23. Linguistics: Formal vs. Cognitive
Langacker FCG II Ch. 12
Chomsky, N. The formal nature of language.
Chomsky, Noam (1968). The formal nature of language. In Chomsky, N. (1968) Language and Mind. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Cowper, Elizabeth (1992). A concise introduction to syntactic theory: A government and binding approach. University of Chicago Press.
Filmore, Charles (1988). The mechanisms of 'Construction Grammar'. Proceedings of the Berkeley Linguistics Society 14:35-55.
Goldberg, Adele (1995). Constructions. University of Chicago Press.
Haegeman, Liliane (1994). Introduction to Government and Binding Theory. Blackwell.
Jackendoff, Ray, Joan Maling and Annie Zaenen (1993). HOME is subject to Principle A. Linguistic Inquiry 24(1):173-177
Lakoff, George (1987). Women, Fire and Dangerous Things. University of Chicago Press.
Langacker, Ronald (1987). Foundations of Cognitive Grammar Volume One: Theoretical Prerequisites. Stanford University Press.
Langacker, Ronald (1990). Concept, Image and Symbol: The Cognitive Basis of Grammar. Mouton de Gruyter.
Langacker, Ronald (1991). Foundations of Cognitive Grammar Volume Two: Descriptive Application. Stanford University Press.
Langacker, Ronald (1993). Reference-point constructions. Cognitive Linguistics 4(1):1-38
Langacker, Ronald (1995). Raising and transparency. Language 71(1):1-62.
Talmy, Leonard (1978). The relation of Grammar to Cognition. In D. Waltz, ed. Proceedings of TINLAP-2 (Theoretical Issues in Natural Language Processing). Association for Computing Machinery, New York.
Talmy, Leonard (1988). Force dynamics in language and cognition. Cognitive Science 12:49-100
van Hoek, Karen (1995). Conceptual reference points: A cognitive grammar account of pronominal anaphora constraints. Language 71(2):310-340.