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Review of  Applied Cognitive Linguistics

Reviewer: Svetlana Kurteš
Book Title: Applied Cognitive Linguistics
Book Author: René Dirven Susanne Niemeier Martin Pütz
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Cognitive Science
Issue Number: 13.1144

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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

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

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

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).

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

We are quite convinced that the target audience will
sincerely appreciate the appearance of the present
volume, which we recommend unreservedly and

Gries, Stefan T 1997. Particle movement: a cognitive
and functional approach, MA thesis, Hamburg

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 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.