By Sari Pietikäinen, Alexandra Jaffe, Helen Kelly-Holmes, Nik Coupland
Sociolinguistics from the Periphery "presents a fascinating book about change: shifting political, economic and cultural conditions; ephemeral, sometimes even seasonal, multilingualism; and altered imaginaries for minority and indigenous languages and their users"
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 2002 04:55:19 -0700 (PDT) From: Svetlana Kurtes Subject: Pütz et al (2001) Applied Cognitive Linguistics II: Language Pedagogy
Svetlana Kurtes, Language Centre, University of Cambridge, UK
The volume consists of a selection of papers originally presented at the 28th International LAUD Symposium ('Ten Years After: Cognitive Linguistics: Second language Acquisition, Language Pedagogy and Linguistic Theory') held in Landau, Germany, from March 27-30 2000. It complements the first volume entitled "Applied Cognitive Linguistics I : Theory and Language Acquisition".
The present volume consists of eight articles grouped in four sections: (1) Bottom-up approaches: phrasal verbs and phraseological expressions; (2) Top-down approaches: metaphor and idiom study; (3) Systematical order instead of chaos in morphology and lexis; and (4) Cultural models in education. It deals with the theoretical and practical issues of language pedagogy, language acquisition and foreign language learning observed from the viewpoint of cognitive linguistics (henceforth CL).
In the Introduction, the editors Martin Pütz, Susanne Niemeier and René Dirven (henceforth Pütz et al) briefly point out the relevance of the theoretical views of CL for various fields of applied linguistics, primarily in the areas of language acquisition, learning and pedagogy. They see the phenomena of second language acquisition and foreign language learning as complementary processes and maintain that CL, observing language as being based on cognition, can contribute significantly to theory and practice of language pedagogy by pointing out the motivation underlying every aspect of language. The editors' main aim has been to make current research findings available to a larger audience, spanning from language teachers and instructors, to grammarians, applied linguists, educators, etc. Pütz et al conclude that "getting the learners to (re-)discover the motivated structures and principles that govern a foreign language may also lead to a greater degree of learner autonomy" (p. xv), suggesting that teachers should also take a more holistic approach to language analysis and learning into account.
The chosen articles primarily observe various aspects of idiomaticity in language, ranging from phrasal verbs, idiomatic expressions and conventional phrases, to metaphorical extensions in lexis, morphology, syntax and text structure and highlight the ways in which CL insights have made the area of idiomaticity more transparent in both linguistics and language pedagogy.
René Dirven's contribution ("English phrasal verbs: theory and didactic application") discusses the theoretical status of the alternation between the two structural possibilities of particle placement with transitive phrasal verbs in English: the post-verb position (e.g. He picked up the pencil) and the post-direct object position (e.g. He picked the pencil up), observing the issue from the CL viewpoint. He maintains that, following Gries 1997, this is essentially "the consciousness principle manifesting itself in the degree of attention needed to set up mental contact with the NP's referent in the direct object" (p.4), concluding that "the alternation between the two structural possibilities applies unproblematically to the prototypical, literal meaning of the particle verb" (p.16), whereas their distribution is far more complex, involving extended, figurative meanings of these verbs. In the second part of his paper, Dirven discusses possible pedagogical applications of the theoretical claims made. In particular, he focuses on some principles of pedagogic grammar applied in Brygida Rudzka-Ostyn's unfinished exercise book "English phrasal verbs: a cognitive approach".
Andrzej Kurtyka's article "Teaching English phrasal verbs: a cognitive approach" complements Dirven's discussion of the idiomatic layers of phrasal verbs and expands it further by presenting results of some of its practical applications. More specifically, Kurtyka maintains that "visualization, i.e. the ability to form mental representation of verbal and non-verbal input, seems to be indispensable in learning" (p.33) and discusses it further in the context of Rudzka-Ostyn's didactic treatment of the semantics of English phrasal verbs, the basic principles of which have been used as supplementary teaching material by eight secondary school teachers of English in Poland. The results of this practical application have been presented and briefly discussed.
In his article "A usage-based approach to modeling and teaching the phrasal lexicon", Kurt Queller discusses yet another intriguing issue of language phraseology, focusing on the question why native speakers differ significantly from non-native speakers in their choice of a particular conventional phrasal pattern. Langacker's (1988) usage-based model is used to analyse some selected parts of the network for the English prepositional and adverbial particle "over". The pedagogical implications of the results have been briefly discussed.
Section 2 opens with Zoltán Kōvecses' article "A cognitive linguistic view of learning idioms in an FLT context". The author discusses the relevance of the CL view to the foreign language teaching, focusing primarily on the linguistic phenomenon of idiomatic expressions. He addresses the issues of what the most common idioms are, how they should be arranged in an "ideal" idiom dictionary, what kinds of meanings they express and how they should be represented, how idioms should be taught in the classroom and, finally, what role the universality and cross-linguistic variation in metaphor plays in idiom-learning. The examples are taken from English and compared with Hungarian.
Antonio Barcelona presents the initial results of the English-Spanish contrastive project examining lexical and grammatical features of basic metaphors in his article "On the systematic contrastive analysis of conceptual metaphors: case studies and proposed methodology". The contrastive project, based at the University of Murcia in Spain, has two main goals: to analyse contrastively the conceptualisation and lexico-grammatical symbolization of four emotional domains (sadness, happiness, anger and romantic love) in English and Spanish and to analyse the conceptualisation and grammatical symbolization of space and movement in English and Spanish, concentrating on a selected set of lexical items and grammatical constructions. After presenting the methodology and theoretical assumptions adopted, Barcelona draws a number of conclusions concerning the criteria that should be applied to the systematic contrastive analysis of metaphors across two languages and the relevance of this kind of analysis for language learning and teaching, lexicography, translation, etc.
Section 3 opens with the article entitled "A conceptual analysis of English -er nominals" by Klaus-Uwe Panther and Linda L Thornburg. In the first part of their article, Panther and Thornburg observe some theoretical and methodological issues for the analysis of -er nominals. The focus of their discussion then shifts onto the CL analysis of various types of -er nominals: (1) the -er nominals with human referent, designating human Agents with reference in the base to their primary occupation (e.g. teacher, dancer, book-seller, etc); (2) the -er nominals with personified agent referent (e.g. grasshopper, creeper, sky-scraper, etc); (3) the -er nominals with non-human object referent (e.g. can-opener, tranquilizer, divider, etc); and (4) the -er nominals with event referent (e.g. thriller, blockbuster, eyeopener, etc). The authors conclude that the -er nominals "form a complex conceptual category with a central sense to which a large number of other senses is more or less directly linked" (p.193). Although the meanings of the -er formation are not always quite predictable, the analysis shows that they are certainly motivated.
Friedrich Ungerer's article "Basicness and conceptual hierarchies in foreign language learning: a corpus-base study" takes into consideration Eleanor Rosch's (Rosch et al 1976) interpretation of levels of conceptualisation and puts it into the context of the corpus-based analysis of pedagogical materials. The analysed corpus comprises German textbooks of English and some newspaper articles taken from "The Sun", "The daily Mirror" and "The Guardian". One of the conclusions the author draws is that vocabulary selection in the preparation of pedagogical materials could make use of the basic/non-basic distinction enabling the learner to take a more active role in acquiring the concepts of the target language and culture.
The volume finishes with Hans-Georg Wolf and Augustin Simo Bobda's article "The African cultural model of community in English language instruction in Cameroon: the need for more systematicity" (Section 4). The authors address the intriguing issue of the choice of a teaching model that can adequately meet the learner's specific needs. When it comes to the field of English as a Second Language, the question of a suitable variety of English, able to reconcile its universal intelligibility with the cultural specificity of a community, becomes hotly disputed. Wolf and Bobda discuss these issues taking the Anglophone part of Cameroon as an example, where cultural presuppositions differ substantially from the Western European ones. The methodological and theoretical framework the authors adopted has been derived from the concept of "cultural model" developed within cognitive anthropology (cf. Holland and Quinn, eds., 1987). They conclude that "[c]onceptual diversity which is realized lexically enriches the English language and learners of it profit most if indigenous cultural elements occur alongside native-English elements" (p.253).
EVALUATION The present volume will no doubt be warmly welcome among a wide spectrum of linguistic and educational scholars and professionals, ranging from cognitive linguists, contrastivists, semanticists, theoreticians of translation, to teaching methodologists, educators, foreign language teachers, as well as professional translators, lexicographers, etc. It brings up a series of intriguing linguistic issues observed and discussed in a theoretically sound and coherent framework, convincingly proving that interdisciplinarity is the right path for 21st century linguistic theory and practice. The editors and individual authors are to be congratulated on presenting a volume with a well-balanced proportion of some purely theoretical considerations and their original practical applications. The topics covered, although tackling a variety of linguistic phenomena, all thematically cluster around the problem of idiomaticity, proposing new and innovative avenues for further research in the field. In spite of the fact that most examples are taken from English, a number of other languages are also taken into consideration, being observed from the contrastive analytical perspective. This approach is best pronounced in Antonio Barcelona's article, superbly exhibiting how principles of traditional contrastive analysis when using CL assumptions as their platform of reference can yield valuable and original results and shed new light onto phenomena that would otherwise remain unnoticed.
We are quite convinced that the target audience will sincerely appreciate the appearance of the present volume, which we recommend unreservedly and wholeheartedly.
REFERENCES Gries, Stefan T 1997. Particle movement: a cognitive and functional approach, MA thesis, Hamburg University.
Holland, Dorothy and Naomi Quinn eds 1987. Cultural models in language and thought. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Langacker, Ronald 1988. A usage-based model. In Brygida Rudzka-Ostyn (ed), Topics in cognitive linguistics, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 127-61.
Rosch, Eleanor et al 1976. Basic objects in natural categories. In Cognitive psychology 8, 382-439.
Rudzka-Ostyn, Brygida (forthcoming; ed by Paul Ostyn). English phrasal verbs: a cognitive approach, unpublished MS.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER Svetlana Kurtes holds a BA in English Philology and an MA in Sociolinguistics from Belgrade University and an MPhil in Applied Linguistics from Cambridge University. She worked as a Lecturer in English at Belgrade University and is currently affiliated to Cambridge University Language Centre. Her research interests involve contrastive linguistics, sociolinguistics, pragmatics/stylistics, translation theory and language pedagogy.