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Conference Information

Full Title: Cognitive Sociolinguistics: Variationist and Interactional Sociolinguistics from a Cognitive Linguistics Point of View

Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Start Date: 23-Jun-2013 - 28-Jun-2013
Contact: Eline Zenner
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Cognitive Sociolinguistics: Variationist and Interactional Sociolinguistics from a Cognitive Linguistics Point of View (ICLC12 Theme Session)


Dirk Geeraerts (KU Leuven, Belgium)
Gitte Kristiansen (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain)
Eline Zenner (KU Leuven, Belgium)


Eline Zenner (

In the past decades, linguistic analyses within Cognitive Linguistics or other cognitively oriented theories were all too often carried out at the level of ‘a general, uniform language’, disregarding the rich and complex patterns of intralingual and communicative variation in that language. Such a shallow level of granularity ultimately amounts to that of a homogeneous and thus idealized speech community, reminiscent of Chomsky’s ideal speaker-hearer. To the extent that Cognitive Linguistics takes its claim of being a usage-based approach to language and cognition seriously, it cannot continue to work with an implicitly assumed conception of language being situated taxonomically at an almost Chomskyan level of abstraction. Cognitive Sociolinguistic research fills this gap in an enriched manner, by combining the CL theoretical framework with the empirical methods used in sociolinguistics and social science at large. Without aiming at a full list of possible themes, the topics covered by Cognitive Sociolinguistics may roughly be said to fall within four thematic areas:

1) General models of social factors in Cognitive Linguistics: the role of social variation in language as a Complex Dynamic System, in a socio-evolutionary view of language, in language as an epigenetic system, in situated embodiment, in an intersubjective view of language

2) Lectal and situational variation of meaning and meaningful constructs: lectal variation of lexical and constructional meaning; social distribution of protoype effects, metaphors and metonymical patterns; cognitive conceptions of meaning (and function) as the basis of the sociolinguistic variable; language-internal variation of cultural models

3) Cognitive representation, perception and processing of language variation: prototype and exemplar-based models of variation; usage-based frequency effects in lectal variation; metaphorical linguistic attitudes; metonymy and stereotyping; cultural models of variation and normativity; cognitive aspects of perception, accommodation, linguistic identities, and the acquisition of lectal competence

4) The interactional dynamics of meaningful variation: the flexible expression of identities in language use; ‘third wave’ cognitive sociolinguistics; situational variation of social meaning

Contributions to any of the four areas are in all cases expected to rely on a firm empirical basis, in the form of advanced corpus-based techniques, experimental methods and survey-based research, or a combination of these.

Additional Information:

A longer, more detailed description of the theme of this session is available at:
Linguistic Subfield: Cognitive Science; Linguistic Theories; Pragmatics; Semantics; Sociolinguistics
LL Issue: 23.3672

This is a session of the following meeting:
12th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference

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