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Motivating the Symbolic

Towards a Cognitive Theory of the Linguistic Sign

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Hubert Kowalewski

The book outlines a new approach to the study of motivation in language, which is firmly rooted in the paradigm of cognitive linguistics, but it is developed in critical (and constructive) dialogue with classical theories in semiotics: Ferdinand de Saussure’s structural linguistics and Charles S. Peirce’s model of the sign. The author’s proposal hinges upon the Peircean distinction between iconic, indexical, and symbolic signs, but the classical typology is reinterpreted within the framework of cognitive linguistics. The approach does not seek to "categorize" different linguistic expressions into one of the three Peircean types, but attempts to capture the dynamicity of meanings in terms of iconicity, indexicality, and conventionality. The book presents an analysis of selected vocabulary and morphosyntactic structures of English.

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Table of Contents

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Acknowledgements .................................................................................................5 Typographic conventions....................................................................................11 Introduction .............................................................................................................13 Chapter 1. Cognitive Linguistics: Language vs. Reality ..........................19 1.1 Basic assumptions ..............................................................................................20 1.1.1 Cognitive vs. generative grammar .......................................................20 1.1.2 Symbolic units ........................................................................................25 1.2 Categorization ....................................................................................................34 1.2.1 Aristotelian vs. prototype models of categorization ..........................35 1.2.1.1 Early research into prototype categorization .......................37 1.2.1.2 Family resemblance and encyclopedic knowledge ..............42 1.2.1.3 Taxonomies of categories ........................................................47 1.2.2 Alternative models of categorization ...................................................48 1.3 Metaphor and metonymy .................................................................................51 1.3.1 Metaphor – linguistic or conceptual? ..................................................51 1.3.2 Systematicity and partiality of metaphorical mappings ....................54 1.3.3 Grounding of metaphors and embodiment ........................................56 1.3.4 Metonymy as a conceptual device ........................................................59 1.3.5 Metonymy: between reference and signification ...............................62 1.4 Subjectification ...................................................................................................65 Chapter 2. Dyads, tryads, and tetrads: the major models of the sign ......................................................69 2.1 Ferdinand Saussure ...........................................................................................70 2.1.1 Langage, langue, parole ..........................................................................70 82.1.2 The linguistic sign ..................................................................................73 2.1.3 Language as a system .............................................................................76 2.1.4 Arbitrariness and motivation ...............................................................84 2.2 Charles Sanders Peirce ......................................................................................88 2.2.1 Firstness, Secondness, Thirdness .........................................................89 2.2.2 Sign ...........................................................................................................91 2.3 The sign in cognitive linguistics .................................................................... 104 2.3.1 Partial autonomy of phonological and conceptual structures ....... 104 2.3.2 Plunging into the depth: from semiotic dyad to semiotic tetrad ....................................................................... 110 Chapter 3. Towards a theory of motivation ............................................. 117 3.1 Another look at Saussure and Peirce ............................................................ 118 3.2 Towards a definition ....................................................................................... 122 3.2.1 What counts as motivation? ............................................................... 123 3.2.2 Reasons for redefining naturalness ................................................... 127 3.2.3 Untying the Gordian knot (of terminology) ................................... 131 3.3 Factors of motivation ..................................................................................... 134 3.3.1 Conceptualized similarity .................................................................. 136 3.3.2 Conceptualized contiguity ................................................................. 142 3.3.3 Conventionality ................................................................................... 146 3.3.4 Concerted motivation ......................................................................... 150 3.4 Subjectifying the...

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