LINGUIST List 2.56

Friday, 1 March 1991

Disc: Cognitive Linguistics

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  1. Vicki Fromkin, Re: Cognitive Linguistics
  2. Arild Hestvik, Cognitive Linguistics
  3. "don l. f. nilsen", Lakoff-Chomsky Debate on Cognitive Linguistics

Message 1: Re: Cognitive Linguistics

Date: Mon, 25 Feb 91 16:09 PST
From: Vicki Fromkin <>
Subject: Re: Cognitive Linguistics
I am glad to have generated such a storm of protest. Nothing is duller than
working in a field where there are no passionate upholders of 'truth' and
'beauty'. I will of course reply but it will take too much time at the
moment to do justice to the points made by my antagonists and I am
trying to finish three papers, revise my text book, prepare a new
course and redo a kitchen. So keep your eyes glued to this spot in the
not too far distant future to a few returning barbs and arrows.

Incidentally -- when I referred to cognitive scientists who do accept
the autonomy view of language vis a vis other cognitive systems, I was not
simply referring to 'generative linguists' but more to the neurologists,
neuropsychologists, aphasiologists, philosophers at Iowa Medical School,
Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, Cambrdige, Johns Hopkins, etc etc with whom
I work.

I would welcome any reprints on the other side. And I do believe debate
and criticism from both sides should be encouraged. Vicki Fromkin
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Message 2: Cognitive Linguistics

Date: 24 Feb 91 17:40 +0100
From: Arild Hestvik <>
Subject: Cognitive Linguistics
Another futile arm-chair debate about general intelligence vs. innate
linguistic knowledge is raising its head--let's instead have the real
arguments and *research* decide whether there is an innate language faculty
or not. In the end that's the important thing and not whether cognitive
linguistics is a brand-name reserved for people who a priori have made up
their mind one way or the other.

-Arild Hestvik Sun Feb 24 17:40
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Message 3: Lakoff-Chomsky Debate on Cognitive Linguistics

Date: Wed, 27 Feb 91 08:46:10 MST
Subject: Lakoff-Chomsky Debate on Cognitive Linguistics
 It's interesting to note that Lakoff and Chomsky have taken such
opposite positions re "Cognitive Linguistics" when they are both
trying to do the same thing--use linguistic information to investigate
the properties of the human mind.
 Lakoff's and Chomsky's metaphors are probably much more compatible
with each other than either one of them would like to admit. I quote
from Kakoff and Johnson's METAPHORS WE LIVE BY:
 We often take the myths of our own culture as truths. The myth of
 objectivism is particularly insidious in this way. Not only does
 it purport not to be a myth, but it makes both myths and metaphors
 objects of belittlement and scorn."
In my own field of humor research we say that the difference between
tragedy and comedy is the difference between a participant and a spectator.
In fact, there is a three-way distinction--TRAGEDY-NEUTRALITY-COMEDY.
 What both Lakoff and Chomsky need is more distance. With more
distance they can concentrate on the compatibilities of their
metaphors rather than the incompatibilities.
Don Nilsen
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