What I tell When I tell you Language

 I research cognitive linguistics in keio university. Japan.

I found research of linguistics very interesting and it leads me to the world I can be excited forever.
In this article, I write the basic things of cognitaive linguistics. I hope you enjoy this article very much.

Cognitive linguistics is founded around 1980’s in America.
Its founders include George Lakoff, Ronald Langacker, Leonard Talmy and so on. Until then, the majority of linguists are supporter of universal grammar, which is founded by Norm Chomsky. He is still alive.

The basic notion of universal grammar is thst “Human beings naturally have L1-use ability”. This is not the thing we deny. However, Chomsky thought of language as system and regarded like a hard ware algorithm.

The notion of cognitive linguistics is opposite of that. The stance of cognitive linguistics is that the language is the result of our perceiving things and it is reflected in the language. As an example. Let me explain what you know if you know the word “have”.

The word “have” has many meanings and some grammatical rules.
If you know the meaning of the word, then you know the knowledge of semantic perspective of “have”.
If you know grammatical use of the word, the you know the grammatical perspective of “have”.
If you know how to use have in (for example) conversational settings, then you know the pragmatic perspective of “have”.
Although the pragmatic accout of cognitive linguistics is widespread, its name-cognitive pragmatics-is not standing as one academic field.

The word “have” is said to be so-called “polysemy”.
Do you know the definition of polysemy linguistically?
Polysemy is a word made by human.
So its definition differs from researcher to researcher.

But in the last several decades, the understanding and definition of polysemy are integrated. According to Goddard(1991), the paper defines polysemy as having more than meaning with related senses. That “with related senses” is distinguished from homonymy, which is defined as solely “having more than one meaning”. In the above section, I wrote “I research cognitive linguisitics”, To tell you the truth, I research polysemy from the domain of cognitive linguistics. Polysemy study is so-called the study of meaning. So my research theme is included in cognitive semantics.

Cognitive semantics is said to be founded by Goerge Lakoff. His main book is “women, fire and dangerous things”(Lakoff, 1987), “Metaphors We Live By”(Lakoff and Johnson ,1980). In the former book, the study of the spatial word “over” is investigated over many pages. At the beginning of the study of pokysemy, researcher’s interest was in meaning extension from core meaning. Lakoff thought that the number of meaning should as many as possible if the place of trajector and landmark differs according to the context the polysemy is used.

But..this is not good for English learners(Especially English as Foreign lanLguage learne : EFL learners).
If the number of the meanings are too many, learners have to remember too many meanings. The oldest research of “over” is Brugman(1981).
Following the research, Lakoff began to research. At that time, the number of meaning is not thought as important things.
In the research of Tyler and Evans(2001), the number of meanings is beginning to regarded as essential thing when researching polysemy and the notion of “core” meanings is beginning to emerge.

In the above, I wrote the definition of polysemy “having more than one meaning with related senses”. Although this research is popular around the world, this definition is not so clear that we researchers must consider it.

The first problem of the definition of polysemy is that how to decide the number of meaning.
The number of meanings differ from dictionary to dictionary and categorization of it also differs.
Some words are categorized into polysemy and others are into homonymy. And this is decided by dictionary editors.
The one of the most important works in cognitive linguistics is Elenor Rosch’s work of categorization and Taylor(2002) uses categorization in order to explain his study of polysemy.

Let me turn to the topic, categorization is not decided clearly to one things. The way of categorization is decided by each human beings.

The second problem of the definition of polysemy is that how we decide “related senses”. The categorization of meanings is differ from dictionary to dictionary. But is clear standard of relation of meaning exists? The answer may be “NO”. The linguistical definition of polysemy has mainly two problems. This definitional problem is called “polysemy paradoxes”(Taylor,2003)

Until then, some solution to polysemy paradox is written on the paper. In Ravin & Leacock(2000), Goddard is writing titled “The definition of polysemy” and it dealt with polysemy paradox.

In Taylor(2003), the review paper titled “Polysemy Paradoxes” is posted on the Journal “Language Sciences”.

In 2018, Ingrid Lossius Falkum wrote polysemy paradox from pragmatics account as a doctoral dissertation. She now works at University of Oslo.

In this blog article, I explained what cognitive linguistics is, study of polysemy and polysemy paradoxes.

In this account I will introduce you the research of language. In it I mainly wrote the theoretical account of the study of language. But, I want to write the practical aspect of the language research.

For example, application of language into educational settings and so on is called applied linguistics. This kind of linguistics is the practical aspect of language study. My English may be a little difficult, but I will write the blog article as easy as possible. I hope you enjoy the findings of language and find the language interesting.

Then, Let us see in next article!!