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Ronald Langacker

These lectures provide a basic introduction to the linguistic theory known as Cognitive Grammar. It is argued that a conceptualist semantics, well motivated in its own terms, provides the basis for a symbolic view of grammar. Consisting in the structuring and symbolization of conceptual content, grammar is inherently meaningful, and basic grammatical notions have conceptual characterizations. An account is given of grammatical categories, markings, and constructions. A number of central topics are examined in detail, including subjects, possessives, locatives, voice, and impersonals.
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Ronald Langacker

This book reviews the basic claims and descriptive constructs of Cognitive Grammar, outlines major themes in its ongoing development, and applies these notions to central problems in grammatical analysis. The initial review covers conceptual semantics, the conceptual characterization of grammatical categories, grammatical constructions, and the architecture of a unified theory of language structure. Main themes in the framework’s development include the dynamicity of language structure, grammar as the implementation of semantic functions, systems of opposing elements to serve those functions, and organization in strata representing successive elaborations of a baseline structure. The descriptive application of these notions centers on nominal and clausal structure, with special emphasis on nominal grounding.
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Ronald W. Langacker

Metaphor is pervasive at all levels of the linguistic enterprise: from the conception of particular phenomena, to the formulation of theories, to “world views” such as the “formalist” and “functionalist” perspectives. Metaphor is not just unavoidable but essential to the enterprise, a source of insight and creativity. But since all metaphors are inappropriate in some respect, they can lead to spurious questions, conceptual confusion, misconception of the target, and pointless arguments. These points are illustrated in regard to several metaphors pertaining to lexicon and lexical meaning. Further illustration is provided by an extended case study comparing the network and exemplar models of categorization. When the actual models proposed are distinguished from their metaphorical descriptions, there is no fundamental conflict.