This book "asserts that the origin and spread of languages must be examined primarily through the time-tested techniques of linguistic analysis, rather than those of evolutionary biology" and "defends traditional practices in historical linguistics while remaining open to new techniques, including computational methods" and "will appeal to readers interested in world history and world geography."
Frame-shifting and conceptual blending in meaning construction
Semantic Leaps explores how people combine knowledge from different domains in order to understand and express new ideas. Concentrating on dynamic aspects of online meaning construction, Coulson identifies two related sets of processes: frame-shifting and conceptual blending. Frame-shifting is semantic reanalysis in which existing elements in the contextual representation are reorganized into a new frame. Conceptual blending is a set of cognitive operations for combining partial cognitive models. By addressing linguistic phenomena often ignored in traditional meaning research, Coulson explains how processes of cross-domain mapping, frame-shifting and conceptual blending enhance the explanatory adequacy of traditional frame-based systems for natural language processing. The focus is on how the constructive processes speakers use to assemble, link and adapt simple cognitive models underlie a broad range of productive language behaviour.