All languages of the world provide their speakers with linguistic means to
express causal relations in discourse. Causal connectives and causative
auxiliaries are among the salient markers of causal construals. Cognitive
scientists and linguists are interested in how much of this causal modeling
is specific to a given culture and language, and how much is characteristic
of general human cognition. Speakers of English, for example, can choose
between because and since or between therefore and so. How different are
these from the choices made by Dutch speakers, who speak a closely related
language, but (unlike English speakers) have a dedicated marker for
non-volitional causality (daardoor)?
The central question in this volume is: What parameters of categorization
shape the use of causal connectives and auxiliary verbs across languages?
The book discusses how differences between even quite closely related
languages (English, Dutch, Polish) can help us to elaborate the typology of
levels and categories of causation represented in language. In addition,
the volume demonstrates convergence of linguistic, corpus-linguistic and
psycholinguistic methodologies in determining cognitive categories of
causality. The basic notion of causality appears to be an ideal linguistic
phenomenon to provide an overview of methods and, perhaps more importantly,
invoke a discussion on the most adequate methodological approaches to study
fundamental issues in language and cognition.