Language and its Structures: Chapters 1-4
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Language and its Structures: Chapters 1-4

About the Book

This book examines linguistic structures from the perspective of Cognitive Grammar.

The first chapter provides a general perspective: language structures are entrenched patterns of behavior (i.e. habits) that allow humans to communicate. Those patterns overlap massively and sanction (i.e. legitimize) the more specific structures that actually get spoken (or written or otherwise used for communication). This only works because patterns so closely similar as to be effectively the same have been established by usage in the minds of those we communicate with. Very little in a language had to be that way (and so language is not predictable), but very often it makes sense for it to be that way (it is reasonable, motivated, non-arbitrary).

The following chapters describe basic cognitive relations such as association, the use of reference points, subjective vs. objective conceptualization, conceptualization that is engaged with the real world vs. what is virtual or fictive, mental spaces (Ch. 2) and especially similarity relations and the categorial structures that are built on them (Ch. 3).

Chapter 4 gives a general panorama of semantic (meaning) structures from this perspective.

Most of the examples in the book come from English, Spanish, or Nahuatl. The appendices (published separately) include an extensive glossary of technical terms used in the book.

The text of these four chapters covers over 150 8½ x 11 pages and contains dozens of diagrams.

This book is a translation into English of Las estructuras del lenguaje: Capítulos 1-4 which was originally written in Spanish.

About the Author

David Tuggy T.
David Tuggy T.

David Tuggy works as a linguist, specializing in Nawatl (Nahuatl). He has been collecting inadvertent blends and other kinds of bloopers since the mid-1980’s. This is the fruit of his arduous labors. (Don’t kid youselves, it’s been too much fun for that!) You can check out on the web if you are interested.

Table of Contents



Abbreviations and conventions   

Part I   General Considerations  

Chapter 1:    The nature of language

1.1    Humans communicate by means of language  

1.2    The nature of the symbolic linkage  

1.3    (The grammar of) a language    1.3.1    Units         1.3.2    Linguistic units       1.3.3    Conventional linguistic units       1.3.4    Gradual parameters       1.3.5    An inventory of conventional linguistic units       1.3.6    A structured inventory   

1.4    The panorama of symbolic structures       1.4.1    Bipolar vs. unipolar complexity    1.4.2    Predominance of lexical structures vs. grammatical patterns      1.4.3    Rigidity vs. flexibility   1.4.4    (Again) Gradual parameters

1.5    A preview: the sanction of complex structures   

1.6    Drawings in representation of meanings

1.7    Summary

Chapter 2:   Basic mechanisms and structures

2.1    Association and point of reference      2.1.1    Association, wholes and parts      2.1.2    Associations in real time and in conceived time       2.1.3    Symbolic linkage       2.1.4    Reference points       2.1.5    Summary  

2.2    Objective, subjective and virtual entities       2.2.1    Objectivity and subjectivity: the Theater metaphor       2.2.2    Mental spaces       2.2.3    Virtuality (fictivity)       2.2.4    Connections among the fictive, the subjective, and the schematic   

2.3    Correspondence   

2.4    Blending or conceptual integration   

2.5    Accommodation and coercion   

2.6    Summary   

Chapter 3:   Schematicity and categorization  

3.1    Schema and elaboration      3.1.1    Comparison and partial correspondence       3.1.2    Schemas and elaborations       3.1.3    Additive, subtractive and contrastive comparisons       3.1.4    Natural prominence of schematic relations       3.1.5    The nature of schematicity       3.1.6    The direccionality of schematicity       3.1.7    Schematicity and the “Content Requirement”   

3.2    Schematic networks       3.2.1    Levels of schematicity       3.2.2    Category overlap; networks of schemas       3.2.3    Differences of prominence       3.2.4    Coherence       3.2.5    Categories at the semantic and phonological poles   

3.3    Classical categories, features and taxonomies       3.3.1    Classes and categories       3.3.2    Classical categories       3.3.3    Features and paradigms       3.3.4    Taxonomies   

3.4    Non-classical categories       3.4.1    Family resemblances       3.4.2    Prototypes       3.4.3    Classical categories revisited       3.4.4    The relevance of the theory of classical categories       3.4.5    Radial categories       3.4.6    The gradation between one and two   

3.5    The imposition of classical structure   

3.6    Other ways to represent schematicity       3.6.1    Schemas within subcases       3.6.2    Subcases within the schema       3.6.3    The mountain range metaphor       3.6.4    Other metaphors: the cloud, the bog, and pogo stick holes       3.6.5    Permanence within variability; natural contours and mountains within clouds       3.6.6    Process metaphors       3.6.7    Mixtures of the metaphors; the cloud including schematicity relations   

3.7    Sanction       3.7.1    (Non-)Productivity and creativity   

3.8    The imputation of structure   

3.9    Incomplete schemas       3.9.1    A schema does not always easily emerge       3.9.2    Factors that promote comparison       3.9.3    Defective schemas   

3.10    The place of schematicity in language   

Chapter 4:    Basic semantic structures   

4.1    Profile and base   

4.2    The universality of semantic structures   

4.3    Encyclopedic semantics and the global network       4.3.1    Expectations and defeasibility       4.3.2    Encyclopedic meaning       4.3.3    The centrality of specifications in an encyclopedic semantics       4.3.4    The problem of duplicate structures, resolved       4.3.5    Windows on the global network       4.3.6    Semantics includes not only what is conceived but also how it is conceived   

4.4    Profile types: The basic syntactic categories       4.4.1    Nouns and other Things       4.4.2    Thing and countable Thing       4.4.3    Thing and relation       4.4.4    Subject and object       4.4.5    The subject as focus of attention: The fish video       4.4.6    Atemporal relation and process; perfective and imperfective       4.4.7    Verbs       4.4.8    Adjectives and adverbs       4.4.9    The panorama of basic syntactic categories       4.4.10    Variable classifications   

4.5    Pronouns, grounding and the communicative base (speech situation)   

4.6    Reference points       4.6.1    Reference points       4.6.2    Chains of reference       4.6.3    Grounding and reference points       4.6.4    Sequences of prominences       4.6.5    The place of the reference point mechanism in language       4.6.6    Possession       4.6.7    Reference points in adpositions and in verbs of location and motion   

4.7    Other basic relations       4.7.1    The causative relation       4.7.2    Complexities of causality       4.7.3    Opposites      

4.8    Summary   

Chapters not yet included (chapters 5 to 8 are well along; the others are not.)

Capítulo 5     Basic Phonological Structures

Capítulo 6     Lexical structures: Roots

Parte II: Bases of Syntax

Capítulo 7     Valence

Capítulo 8     Semi-lexical and Schematic Constructions

Parte III: Panorama of Constructions

Capítulo 9      Morphology

Capítulos 10-14 (TBA)

Appendices (already published separately):

I. Aspects of the Structure of Nahuatl

II. Glossaries of technical terms, diagramming conventions, abbreviations, Spanish-English equivalents, etc.


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