Course Content (Syllabus)
The aim of the course is on the one hand to widen the students’ understanding of the framework of Cognitive Linguistics and on the other hand to deepen into the fact that the semantics associated with various syntactic constructions is directly associated with the construction as a whole rather than with the lexicosemantic structure of individual entities.
What does it mean to take a constructional approach to grammar? Most crucial is the Construction Grammar definition of construction as encompassing all pairings of form and meaning. Words, non-word morphemes, idioms and other grammatical structures are all constructions, because they contribute form and meaning to an utterance (Goldberg 2006: 5).
A construction-based theory of grammar allows us to investigate meaning in non-metaphoric and metaphoric language on the basis of the semantics of grammatical constructions themselves.
Meaning, for most formalist theories of grammar, is contributed by the lexicon and slotted into purely formal syntactic structures. However, all construction grammars assign both form and meaning to constructions. That is, these theories recognize that not all meaning comes from the lexicon, and that grammatical constructions may also contribute meaning to a phrase or sentence.
(see Lakoff 1987; Fillmore, Kay & O’Connor 1988; Goldberg 1995, 2006; Fillmore & Kay 1999; Croft 2001).
Additional bibliography for study
Croft, W. (2001). Radical Construction Grammar: syntactic theory in typological perspective. Oxford: OUP.
Evans, V., B. Bergen, J. Zinken. (2007) The Cognitive Linguistics Reader. Equinox Pub.
Fillmore, Charles J. and Paul Kay. (1999). Grammatical constructions and linguistic generalizations: The What’s X Doing Y? construction. Language 75: 1-33.
Fillmore, Charles J., Paul Kay and Catherine O’Connor. 1988. Regularity and idiomaticity in grammatical constructions: The case of let alone. Language 64: 501-538.
Geeraerts, D. (2006). Cognitive Linguistics: Basic Readings. CLR 34. Mouton de Gruyter.
Geeraerts, D and H. Cuyckens (eds.) (2007). The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics. OUP.
Goldberg, A. E. (1995). Constructions: A construction grammar approach to argument structure. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Goldberg, A. E. (2006). Constructions at work: The nature of generalization in language. Oxford: OUP.
Lakoff, G. (1987). Women, Fire, and dangerous things: What categories reveal about the mind. University of Chicago Press.
Taylor, J. (1995). Linguistic Categorization. OUP.
Ungerer, F. and H.-J. Schmid. (2006). An Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics. Longman.