"In this book, Richard Kern explores how technology matters to language and the ways in which we use it. Kern reveals how material, social and individual resources interact in the design of textual meaning, and how that interaction plays out across contexts of communication, different situations of technological mediation, and different moments in time."
AUTHOR: Ruiz de Mendoza Ibañez, Francisco José & Peña Cervel, Maria Sandra (eds.) TITLE: Cognitive Linguistics. SUBTITLE: Internal Dynamics and Interdisciplinary Interaction. SERIES: Cognitive Linguistics Research, 32. PUBLISHER: Mouton de Gruyter YEAR: 2005
Reviewer: Annalisa Baicchi, Department of Linguistics, University of Pavia, Italy.
The book under review ''Cognitive Linguistics, Internal Dynamics and Interdisciplinary Interaction'' edited by Francisco Ruiz de Mendoza and Sandra Peña, the 32nd release in the Cognitive Linguistics Research Series, does justice to its title since it offers detailed and multifaceted accounts of how the theoretical framework of Cognitive Linguistics (hence CL) gathers intra- and interdisciplinary evidence which shed light onto the centrality of the cognitive commitment in current research.
The selection of papers collected in the volume is based on the editors' aim to testify ''to the great tolerance of Cognitive Linguistics towards internal variety and towards external interaction with major linguistic discipline and subdisciplines'' (p.1). To pursue such an aim the editors have collected plenary and key lectures delivered at the 8th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, which took place in Spain in July 2003 at the University of La Rioja under the meaningful title ''Cognitive Linguistics, Functionalism, Discourse Studies: Common Ground and New Directions''. That CL shares common grounds with Functionalism has been well accepted in the scientific community since the inception of the cognitive paradigm in the early eighties. Both frameworks plant their objects of inquiry on language use and both investigate the relationship between language functions and grammatical structures, doing so by resorting to extra-linguistic factors to give evidence to their linguistic analyses. The rationale behind these shared interests and methods has led Langacker (1998: 1) to claim that the ''movement called cognitive linguistics belongs to the functionalist tradition''. Similarly to Functionalism, CL stems from a strong polemical opposition to Chomskyan linguistics and, denying the existence of a mind-independent reality, sees language as ''part of the human cognition which operates in interaction with and on the basis of other cognitive faculties [...] such as bodily and mental experience, image schemas, perception, attention, memory, viewing frames, categorisation, abstract thought, emotion, reasoning inferencing, etc.'' (Dirven, this volume, p.17). From such a perspective, Cognitive Sciences have provided cognitive linguists with guiding principles for their detailed understandings of the mental processes underlying language phenomena. All in all, the first two kinds of interdisciplinary connections featuring CL can be envisaged in Cognitive Sciences on the one side and Functionalism on the other. Nowadays, Cognitive Linguistics is recognised as an outstanding theoretical paradigm of Linguistics that interfaces more and more often with sub-disciplines of Linguistics (hence its Internal Dynamics hinted at in the book's subtitle) as well as with neighbouring disciplines (hence its Interdisciplinary Interaction). The book under review perfectly sums up these two dimensions offering to its readers insightful contributions exemplifying how the paradigm of CL is able to shed fresh light onto manifold areas of inquiry.
In their introduction to the volume (''Introduction: as strong as its foundation, as wide as its scope''), the editors Ruiz de Mendoza and Peña Cervel set the stage by placing the focus upon the 'unity in divergence' characterising CL, a theoretical framework which, since its inception, has been concerned with interdisciplinary issues, first in connection to cognitive sciences and artificial intelligence, and then to other main approaches to language investigation, such as semantics, pragmatics, discourse studies, and sociolinguistics. The edited volume thus shows how CL has undergone a process of dynamic co-evolution with neighbouring disciplines, as its various ramifications may well witness.
The volume collects eleven contributions in a four-section structure, with each session devoted to a specific relationship that Cognitive Linguistics holds with disciplines like Functionalism, Sociolinguistics, Psycholinguistics, and Discourse Studies.
Section 1. Variety in unity: Cognitive-Functional Linguistics and different routes within CL
The section opens with an insightful paper by René Dirven aiming to survey ''Major Strands in Cognitive Linguistics''. The topic of this paper was delivered as the opening plenary lecture at the first International Conference in Cognitive Linguistics ''Modelling Thought and Constructing Meaning. Cognitive Models in Interaction'' held in Italy in 2003 and published in Baicchi et al. (2005). Among the various internal ramifications within CL, Dirven brilliantly discusses some orientations that go from psycholinguistics, discourse studies, sociolinguistics, grammaticalisation theory, cognitive phonology, cognitive poetics, and cognitive applied linguistics. More specifically, Dirven discusses five of the major strands:
(1) A gestalt-psychology-based strand, scouted out by Talmy in a series of papers since 1975 and collected as Talmy 2000. The Strand was worked out in great detail as Cognitive Grammar by Langacker, and applied to diverse grammatical areas by scholars such as Lindner, Achard, Brugman, Rice, Smith, Deane, Kemmer, Taylor, Verhagen. Cognitive Grammar is based upon the idea that large areas of grammar are non-compositional, but gestalt-like patterns or constructions. The view that 'constructions' are meaningful chunks of language is systematically held and explored in Construction Grammar by cognitive linguists such as Goldberg, Michaelis, Croft, and by near-cognitivists such as Fillmore, Kay, Michaelis & Sag.
(2) A phenomenology-based strand, especially inspired by Merleau-Ponty's research and generally referred to as Cognitive Semantics, illustrated from the point of view of the history of science as in Geeraerts and applied to Cognitive Metaphor Theory as in Lakoff & Johnson (1980).
(3) A discourse strand is explored as Discourse Coherence Theory in Europe by a research group around Noordman, with Ted Sanders, José Sanders, Maes, Spooren, and in America as Mental Space Theory as Conceptual Blending Theory by Fauconnier & Turner (1994, 1996), Fauconnier, Oakley, and Coulson, who also claims the primacy of cultural dimensions in language understanding.
(4) A sociolinguistic strand, initiated by Geeraerts, Grondelaers and Bakema (1994), uncovers cultural models and relates them explicitly to a given cultural background. Recently, the description of socio-cognitive cultural models proposes models such as the rationalist vs. romantic models of standard language and dialects (Geeraerts 2003), the social categorization model based on allophonic variation (Kristiansen 2003), the Basque vs. Western world models (Frank & Susperregi 2001).
(5) A psycholinguistics strand, aiming to find evidence for or against the psychological reality of theoretical constructs of Cognitive Linguistics, sees Gibbs as one of its main representatives. Gibbs carries out diverse experiments on image schemas, figurative-language processing, and blending theory. Working on data from language acquisition, Rice (2003) shows that polysemous senses of words and connections between them in radial networks are not supported by child language data and therefore questionable constructs. Bowerman emphasizes important differences in the way the notions of support and containment are linguistically expressed in Dutch, English, Spanish, and Korean. She takes this diversity as evidence against the pre-linguistic image schemas of containment and support advocated by Mandler. Vandeloise claims that linguistic diversity is not incompatible with pre-linguistic concepts having a role in the acquisition of language.
Jan Nuyts addresses the relationship between CL and Functionalism in a thought-provoking paper – Brother in arms? On the relations between Cognitive and Functional Linguistics – which, by discussing the cognitive structure of 'tense-aspect-modality' marking poses the question on how to deal with such phenomenon in language in a cognitively and functionally oriented theoretical model of language. The discussion specifically focuses on the status of a system of 'layered representation' of qualificational categories, arguing for a 'division of labor' between a level of conceptual representation and processing, and levels of linguistic (including linguistic-semantic) representation and processing. Nuyts also offers insightful considerations regarding the nature of representations and processes at these different levels. The specific issue is meant to reflect on the more basic, metatheoretical issue of the relations between cognitive linguistics and more traditional approaches within the field of functional linguistics. The differences Nuyts grasps between CL and Functionalism ''appear to be a matter of taking largely complementary perspectives on or of focusing on different dimensions of the complex and multifaceted phenomenon of language'' (p.96). A complementary perspective is the one which requires linguists to investigate linguistic structures and processes not only from an empirical standpoint, but also taking into serious account the conceptual level and its interplay with the linguistic system as a whole. This procedure would lead functional and cognitive linguists to share their perspectives across their borders. Such a communication would result in a mutual benefit for the two theoretical paradigms, which would allow for a ''coordinated and coherent joint attempt to tackle complexities of language as a cognitive system for communication'' (p.97).
It is tremendously illuminating to read Ronald Langacker's chapter. The author tackles the problematic area within CL where an agreement on the nature of grammar is far from being reached. In his ''Construction Grammars: cognitive, radical, and less so'', Langacker compares three different formulations of 'Construction Grammars' – Croft's Radical Construction Grammar (2001), Goldberg's Construction Grammar (1995), and his own Cognitive Grammar (1987, 1991) with the aim of surfacing main core discrepancies among the three competing models. The label 'Construction Grammars' is taken as a cover term for those schools of thought which stick to the foundational issue that lexicon and grammar are not to be viewed as a bipolar set but as a continuum, whereby grammar consists of an inventory of constructions, defined as form-meaning pairings, which include lexical specifications. The comparison among the three models is carried out by relying upon three crucial aspects: the putative autonomy of syntax, some basic grammatical constructs, and the relation between grammar and lexicon. After illustrating the two notions of weak autonomy (grammar does not emerge from meaning), which is generally accepted by Functional and Cognitive Linguistics, and strong autonomy (grammar is distinct from lexicon and semantics and requires its set of primitives), which is usually rejected, Langacker contrasts his own model of Cognitive Grammar with the two competing ones. Whereas Langacker conceives of grammar as a symbolic structure that resides in the pairings between a semantic structure and a phonological structure, Croft's and Goldberg's models conceive of grammar as a symbolic structure which, besides phonology and semantics, include grammatical form. The point of divergence at this stage of discussion revolves around what is meant by form. In Langacker's model, the form part in a form-meaning pairing points to the phonological structure, along with, he adds, other symbolizing media like writing and gesture. Conversely, in the other two models, the ''form part'' in a form-meaning pairing includes grammatical form. This is not a trivial point since the issue involves directly the very nature of grammar and its relation to meanings. Such an issue seems at the current stage of research to be far from reaching a point of agreement, and Langacker's chapter is an excellent contribution which helps to clarify the central issue of grammar in CL.
Section 2. A usage-based Cognitive Linguistics
The second section hosts two papers on the relationship that CL establishes with Sociolinguistics: Dirk Geeraerts's Lectal variation and empirical data in Cognitive Linguistics, and Enrique Bernardez's Social Cognition: variation, language, and culture in a cognitive linguistic typology. Both contributions place the focus upon the emerging interest among cognitive linguists in the empirical evidence which should support their theoretical assumptions. Sociolinguistics, being the area of investigation in which assumptions follows from usage-based observation, lends itself perfectly to give evidence of the benefit that CL can receive from empirical research methodology.
Dirk Geeraerts' twofold aim in his tremendously brilliant chapter is addressed to show that, for CL to turn towards empirical methodology, it is necessary to incorporate within its range of investigation the issue of social variation, where scientific inquiry unavoidably requires an observational approach through the use of spontaneous, non-elicited language behaviour retrieved from large-scale textual corpora. Empirical methodology has become a standard requirement which is generally accepted and applied in today's enquiry. Moving from this observation, Geeraerts devotes the first part of his chapter to a recent volume by Esa Itkonen (2003), whereby the author, discusses the epistemology of linguistics and explains his firm opinion, supported by years dedicated to research, that a socially-oriented study of language should be planted not on empirical observation but on intuition. This approach resembles the Chomskyan reliance on introspective judgements, with the main difference being that Chomsky relied upon a psychological conception of language, while Itkonen relies upon a social one. But, as Geeraerts clearly argues, if language is, as Itkonen himself suggests, a system of social norms, how can it be studied without embracing an empirical methodology? That this methodology is not only desirable but already utilised is shown by the work of some cognitive linguists who have offered high quality research through the adoption of quantitative, empirical methodology. In the field of social variation, which is the core issue of the chapter, it is worth mentioning the lexicological work by Geeraerts, Grondalaers & Bakema 1994, Speelman, Grondalaers & Geeraerts 2003, Kristiansen 2003, and Berthele 2004. The strength of Geeraerts' argumentation pervades also the second part of his chapter, where the author, moving from an epistemological standpoint, points to the benefit that CL has derived from Sociolinguistics and the interplay between the two disciplines has naturally developed into the well-attested area of Cognitive Sociolinguistics, which can find an area of convergence in the investigation of the interplay between individual and social norms. The author lists three main developments in CL which show a concern in sociolinguistics: (1) an interest in cultural models, represented in Holland & Quinn 1987; Dirven, Frank & Pütz 2003; (2) a strand of research on language attitudes exemplified in the works by Berthele and Geeraerts; (3) a focus on the social nature of language, as shown in Sinha 1999, Zlatev 2001, Harder 2003.
In his challenging chapter Enrique Bernárdez claims that the study of linguistic typology should permeate CL in all its branches of research since only the inquiry of phenomena from a cross-linguistic and cross-cultural typological perspective can enhance the identification, description and explanation of cognitively universal principles and processes. By logical extension, Bernárdez supports also the recourse to a socio-cognitive approach, for it is human activity as a whole that influences cognitive processes. The author gives sound evidence of his claims through a detailed discussion on the relationship between languages and cognition, since the forms of expression in English are too deeply culturally co-determined, as is the case in any other language, to limit investigation on cognitive processes to only one language. Such observation, already made by Enfield & Wierzbicka (2002:2) with reference to the study of emotive language, is cited by Bernárdez who extends its validity to other areas of linguistic analysis like grammar, and alerts on the using of English as a tertium comparationis in language research, since English proves a typologically 'rare' language. The need is therefore suggested for a neutral tertium comparationis, whereby the notion of invariant gives validity to CL inquiry on cognitive processes. On the other side, linguistic typology should take into account not only and not simply linguistic forms, but also their use and usage, which are on a par with any other forms of cognitive activity.
Section 3. A mental-process-oriented Cognitive Linguistics
Stimulating and enriching as anything written by Raymond W. Gibbs Jr., this section opens with a most insightful chapter, Embodied action in thought and language, which is representative of one of the main concerns within CL, i.e. the inextricable connection between thought and language. In the first part of his chapter, Gibbs provides his readers with a detailed discussion on Embodied Cognition, demonstrating how much of our knowledge takes shape through bodily experience, a perspective that enriches those studies within CL which assume bodily experience to contribute to our conceptual representations in the form of image-schematic thinking. As is well known, CL is a theoretical framework which stems from the foundation principle that language is not an autonomous faculty of our mind, but it is closely interwoven with cognition. In the past fifty years, a strong debate on the nature of meaning has brought to the fore the question whether meaning is ''outside the self'' waiting for a mind to grasp it and to store it independently of human experience (Objectivist Realism), or it is a derivative of human experience (Embodied Realism). According to the Objectivist Paradigm, which claims the existence of a mind-independent reality and of an autonomous linguistic module which processes meaning, it is the task of an algorithmically computational mind to collect the data of human experience, to dissect it mechanically, and to store it taxonomically in terms of elemental semantic blocks. The 'autonomy' commitment of such a mathematics-fashioned perspective has progressively received decreasing appeal and reliability since the eighties when the study of mind in the field of cognitive science (Pollio et al. 1977; Lakoff & Johnson 1980; Johnson-Laird 1988; Kelso 1995; Gibbs 2005) demonstrated that language is not ''a self-contained system amenable to algorithmic characterization, with sufficient autonomy to be studied in essential isolation from broader cognitive concerns'' (Langacker 1991); rather, the Embodied Paradigm sees language and thought as highly structured and bound to the physical experience of the self, hence the label 'Embodiment'. Gibbs devotes the second part of his excellent chapter to the description of three psycholinguistic experiments which clearly demonstrate the close correlation between real and imagined bodily actions when they are elicited by the understanding process of metaphorical language. Gibbs clearly shows and explains how human beings make sense of and comprehend metaphorical expressions during the accomplishment of embodied simulation.
Continuing to focus on mental processing in CL, Francisco Ruiz de Mendoza and Sandra Peña (the volume's editors) devote their insightful contribution to the issue of Conceptual integration, cognitive operation, and projection spaces. The chapter develops previous work by Ruiz de Mendoza (1998), where he discussed and implemented Fauconnier's blending theory (1985). Blending theory and Metaphor theory (Lakoff 1987) share many phenomena in their investigation on conceptualization, metaphor and metonymy included, with the basic difference that Blending proposes a theory of meaning construction, whereas Metaphor offers a theory of meaning representation. According to Fauconnier (1985), mental spaces allow for the representation of linguistic and encyclopaedic knowledge frames. They are ''constructs distinct from linguistic structures but built up in any discourse according to the guidelines provided by the linguistic expressions'' (Fauconnier 1985:16), that is, temporary conceptual packets in the working memory where the linguistic expression and the correlated encyclopaedic knowledge are stored for the purpose of performing cognitive operations (Fauconnier 1985, 1994; Fauconnier & Turner 1996). The mappings between mental spaces are part of the organization of thought and the networks of mental spaces give rise to the operation of Conceptual Integration. In other words, mental spaces map onto each other and blend onto new spaces. It is exactly on these conceptual integration networks that the online construction of meaning occurs. According to Fauconnier, the basic scenario of Conceptual Integration operates on two Input Mental Spaces - roughly corresponding to source and target domains in Lakoff & Johnson's (1980) Metaphor Theory - which map onto each other. The cross-space mapping is constructed in a third space, called the Generic Space, which collects more schematic structure common to the two Input Spaces. The fourth space, called the Blend, arises from the two Inputs through the operation of a selective projection, and develops an Emergent Structure, which contains new elements of its own which are absent in the Input Spaces. The issue of emergent structure is one of the main points of weakness that Ruiz de Mendoza & Peña indicate in Fauconnier's model. Emergent structure would give rise to potential irregularities in the mapping process, with the most relevant one being the existence of asymmetries and non-correspondences between source and target. With the aim of offering alternative analyses of some well-known Fauconnier & Turner's examples of metaphor and of showing the inexistence of the above mentioned irregularities, Ruiz de Mendoza (1996; 1998) puts forward the hypothesis - Combined Input Hypothesis (CIH) - that the understanding of metaphorical expressions entails the activation of multiple source inputs that, once integrated together and projected onto one single Combined Source Input, provide correlations with the elements of the metaphorical target (see also Ruiz de Mendoza & Diez 2002). The CIH retains much of Fauconnier & Turner's model as for the notion of mental space, the correlational structure between source and target inputs, and the notions of integration and projection. However, it presents a number of advantages. It substitutes the blend with a projection space, which is the outcome of a cognitive activity and, differently from Fauconnier's model, not the creator of it, a fact that would be counter-intuitive and in total disagreement with the principle of cognitive economy. The notion of projection space resembles the other spaces since it is not a dynamic construct, but it is not the same as the other input spaces ''in that it does not supply information but receives and combines it'' ( p.277). Projection spaces can then become inputs for further cognitive activity. Another strength of Ruiz de Mendoza and Peña's CIH is that the authors claim that the outcome of projection is seen as clearly regulated by a set of dynamic cognitive-pragmatic operations (correlation and contrast, expansion and reduction, completion or saturation, mitigation, strengthening, and counterfactual operations) which are used to draw inferences on the basis of linguistic expressions and their context.
Section 4. A discourse-oriented Cognitive Linguistics
The last section of the volume takes into account the interplay between CL and Discourse Studies.
Gerard Steen illustrates and discusses his on-going research on a theoretical category that he labels the 'basic discourse act'. Similar to utterances as generally defined in linguistics, basic discourse acts are comparable to verbal acts and, as such, entail production and comprehension; furthermore, they are conceptualized through recourse to a discourse-psychological perspective. They allow language users to break a text into segments, which is an operation facilitating cognitive processing. 'Basic discourse acts' can be described as the association of four autonomous levels of representation: an illocutionary act, a proposition, a clause, and an intonation unit in the spoken mode or a punctuation unit in the written mode. Although the four levels may operate simultaneously, they are independent of each other, as is the case, for example, with propositions or clauses, which are independent from intonation units; or clauses, which are independent from propositions. Steen then proceeds by putting forward the typical basic discourse act, which is defined according to the following values: the conceptual dimension has the value of a proposition: the material dimension has the value of an intonation or punctuation unit; the linguistic dimension has the value of a clause; the communicative dimension has the value of an illocutionary act. One of the main advantages of Steen's fine-grained model is that it includes in the representational configuration those psychological and pragmatic features which had been hinted at by Langacker 2001, an approach that Steen himself deems perfectly compatible with his own proposal. Langacker claimed that an utterance is representative of a bipolar model composed of a schematic form on the one pole, and of meaning associations on the other. Steen's model goes a step forward and, besides recognising the multifaceted essence of linguistic forms, it introduces the pragmatic and psychological aspects of processing, which are always at work in any production/comprehension task, as in the tradition of Levelt 1989 and Clark 1996.
With a focus on the multileveled operation of metonymy in grammar and discourse, Antonio Barcelona presents and discusses the results of some case studies which have led him to show how metonymy and metonymic chains function in authentic texts. In the first part of his very detailed chapter, Barcelona expands on the pervasiveness of metonymy and on his own notion of metonymicity. The standard notion of metonymy in CL embraces a number of phenomena: referential metonymies for individuals, referential metonymies with non-individual targets, non-referential metonymies, and less common/more peripheral uses of metonymies. All these types are grouped by Barcelona under a higher order kind of metonymy which allows the capture of all the different facets of the same phenomenon under a unified schematic notion of metonymy. As Barcelona (2002:246) puts it, ''a metonymy is a mapping of a cognitive domain, the source, onto another domain, the target. Source and target are in the same functional domain and are linked by a pragmatic function, so that the target is mentally activated''. In the second part of his chapter, Barcelona goes into detail with a fine-grained analysis of five authentic texts, which, offered in the Appendix to the chapter, comprise a brief conversation, a joke, the initial sentence of a narrative-descriptive text, and a long dialogue from a play. With reference to the applied methodology, Barcelona has followed a series of analytical steps at both levels of meaning and form at each rank of the linguistic organization, from morpheme to sentence. The detailed analyses conducted confirm the ubiquity of metonymy in grammar and discourse. One of the main insights offered by the author is the sound demonstration that instances of metonymy are present at each level of the linguistic hierarchy and at the more comprehensive level of conceptualization. From the perspective of the unfolding of discourse, metonymies have been shown to tend to chain together regularly within the same utterance scope and in the text at the same or different analytical level. Furthermore, metonymic chains, which have been shown to discourse-pragmatic inferencing, are respondent to patterns regulated by criteria of function, directness and crossing of analytical levels. This aspect is deemed as the fundamental function of metonymies.
The previous contribution borders on the focus of Klaus-Uwe Panther's very dense and insightful chapter, where the author scrutinizes ''The role of conceptual metonymy in meaning construction''. In the same vein as Barcelona, Panther points to the pervasiveness of conceptual metonymy in the lexicon, grammar, language use, and conceptual structure, and focuses on the relationship between conceptual metonymy and inferential pragmatics. Panther defines metonymy as a contingent relationship between a source meaning and a target meaning, or, better, ''a process of meaning elaboration, i.e. expansion of a given source content into a more elaborate target content that contains the source content as one of its components'' (p.356). The clear advantage of such a view is that, during online meaning construction, only those subframes needed for the recognition of the target meaning in a specific context are necessary, which is an operation complying with the principle of least cognitive effort. A further point of discussion Panther faces is the so-called view of metonymy as a 'substitution' operation - a 'stand-for' relation – that, the author underlines, leads to assume a neat difference between metonymy and pragmatic implicature, whereby an implicature involves an addition of content. According to Panther, neither substitution nor addition are crucial criteria for metonymy, but rather ''the degree of conceptual prominence of the target meaning'' (p.357). Metonymies are then classified as ''natural inference schemas'' which guide pragmatic inferencing in meaning construction both in instances of explicature and implicature (see also previous studies by Panther & Thornburg 1997, 2003). Under this respect, metonymy configures as an economic automatic means readily accessible by language users in their drawing inferences. Since inferential reasoning is mostly a subconscious process, Panther points to the uselessness of discriminating between inferencing and spreading activation. With this claim in mind, Panther goes further and, after discussing the limits of some modern theories on inferential pragmatics (Levinson 1995, 2000; Horn 1984; Sperber & Wilson 1995, 2002; Jackendoff 1991, 2000) underlines the difficulty faced by any theory to constrain inferential meaning to a group of abstract meta-principles based on Gricean maxims or on Relevance Theory, which allows the avoidance of overgeneralization. Panther then indicates an intermediate level which should be at the same time abstract and specific enough so as to guarantee actual reasoning to the most plausible interpretation. Such level the author envisages in conceptual metonymies, which he defines as ''multipurpose conceptual devices'' in which relations are not limited to language but are utilized by any other semiotic system and thought. In the second part of his thought-provoking chapter, Panther illustrates three pragmatic types of metonymy: besides the generally recognised referential function of metonymy, whereby a metonymy triggers a referential shift in speech acts, Panther advances two other pragmatic functions played by metonymy: predicational, when a metonymic shift triggers an inference; and illocutionary, whereby an attribute of a speech act stands for the whole speech act (see also Panther & Thornburg 1998, 2003). Finally, Panther argues that it is the target concept that is conceptually prominent in prototypical metonymies, which is thus available for further elaboration in discourse. The chapter closes with a detailed proposal for a hierarchical structure of metonymies from more generic, or higher-level, to more specific, or lower-level, metonymies, and the hierarchy of EFFECT-FOR-CAUSE metonymy is exemplified.
The final chapter of the volume hosts Brigitte Nerlich's contribution which explores the Tracking the fate of the metaphor 'silent spring' in British environmental discourse. The metaphor 'silent spring' dates back to the 1962 bestseller by Rachel Carston alerting scientists about the risks to humans and the environment of the indiscriminate use of pesticides. After discussing the meaning of the metaphor 'silent spring' in past and present contexts, Nerlich analyses its argumentative and rhetorical uses in British broadsheets and scientific journals in three types of debates: pesticides and their threads to humans, cattle and birds; genetically-modified crops; foot and mouth disease. After her very detailed discussion, the author draws to the conclusion that metaphors ''are not static entities, but dynamic phenomena that adapt to the discursive needs of those who use them and to the socio-political circumstances in which they are used'' (p.404). Over time new nuances of meanings are added to metaphors, which is an interesting process which enhances a clearer understanding of semantic change and polysemy. This is the case illustrated by Nerlich, who traces the path followed by the metaphor under scrutiny, 'silent spring', which, since its first appearance as a book title, has developed and dissociated from the book and has become productive (e.g. 'nuclear winter', or 'killing fields'), but has retained its link to the original book. This leads Nerlich to make a most interesting hypothesis in favour of what she labels ''evolutionary ecology of metaphor''. This notion is borrowed from the field of study which observes how organisms adapt and co-evolve with the environment they live in (Gibson 1979). Similarly, Nerlich claims, metaphors could be studied by taking into account their contextual uses and verify how they change and develop in their interaction and complementarity with textual and cultural events and with other metaphors. Over time different interpretations of a same metaphor – as has been clearly shown by the author in her punctual analysis of 'silent spring' – can become productive, dissociate from their source meaning, and develop into new interpretations, which, however, never loose their evolutionary links to their original coinage. In her valuable chapter, Nerlich paves the way for a new and productive path worthy of being followed in the field of metaphor analysis.
My review cannot do justice to the wealth of scholarship shown in this insightful book. Each chapter is of tremendous scope and significant depth, and all together they shape a book whose importance extends beyond the truth-value of its specific issues under scrutiny.
It can be claimed without fear of exaggeration that this volume is of extremely high scientific value for, at least, a twofold reason: on the one hand, I hope my succinct description of the contents of each chapter gives a cogent idea of the variety of phenomena dealt with in the four sections of the volume and of their in-depth lines of argumentation; on the other hand, each chapter contributes to gather the multifaceted intra- and inter-relationships that Cognitive Linguistics holds with neighbouring approaches to language, thus playing to the readers' advantage since it provides them with a unified picture of the cognitive commitment in linguistic research.
All in all, this is an impressive, ''must read'' volume that would be appealing to anyone interested in the exploration of fields as varied as theoretical linguistics, cognition, discourse studies, psychology, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, which makes the volume particularly attractive to those scholars from different persuasions who are interested in the relevant connection between CL and other theoretical frameworks. It represents a successful effort at multi-disciplinarity and offers, in a complementary fashion, a rich overview of the many threads of discussion on core issues of the current debate in Linguistics. This book is an excellent contribution in terms of the multiple explanatory ways and eclectic variety of perspectives it takes to shed light upon the panoramic state-of-the-art account of research in Cognitive Linguistics, which, to put it with the editors, is ''as strong as its foundations, as wide as its scope''. This book is a goldmine.
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ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Annalisa Baicchi is Associate Professor of English and English Linguistics at the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics of the University of Pavia (Italy). Her research interests cover the fields of English Linguistics, Cognitive Semantics, and Pragmatics. At present, she teaches several graduate and post-graduate courses on Semantics, EAP, English Linguistics, and Cognitive Translation Studies.