Conceptualizations and Mental Processing in Language by Richard A. Geiger, Brygida Rudzka-Ostyn

By Richard A. Geiger, Brygida Rudzka-Ostyn

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Cambridge, 6-9 April 1987. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 497-517. Parti The cognitive paradigm: Goals, frameworks, implications The alphabet of human thoughts Anna Wierzbicka 1. Introduction Over the last thirty years, linguistics has achieved glamour and prestige that it had never dreamed of before. And yet, to quote Langacker (1983: 31), there is an "amazing lack of consensus among serious scholars about the proper characterization of even the simplest or most fundamental linguistic phenomena". As he points out: A central reason for these shortcomings is that linguistic theory has been built on inadequate conceptual foundations.

Introduction Over the last thirty years, linguistics has achieved glamour and prestige that it had never dreamed of before. And yet, to quote Langacker (1983: 31), there is an "amazing lack of consensus among serious scholars about the proper characterization of even the simplest or most fundamental linguistic phenomena". As he points out: A central reason for these shortcomings is that linguistic theory has been built on inadequate conceptual foundations. Surprisingly, little effort goes into the critical examination of deeply ingrained assumptions; into tracking down the source of apparent dilemmas, which are usually indicative of underlying conceptual confusion; or into cultivating radically new modes of thought that might enable us to break out of some of the circles we seem to keep going around in.

I owe a special word of thanks to Dick Geiger for his very helpful comments and suggestions. The differences also involve, of course, views on the nature of the linguistic inquiry itself. For discussion of the points of departure from mainstream linguistics see Lakoff (1982, 1987, 1988), Langacker (1982, 1987,1990a,b), and several articles in Rudzka-Ostyn (1988). g. K. Halliday, Simon Dik, T. Givon, the Columbia School or the Prague School. Cf. g. Wierzbicka (1988). The relevant experiments are reviewed in Kelly (1985).

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