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Linguistic meaning construal

Associate teachers


ECTS credits


Number of hours: Lectures + Seminars + Exercises

15 / 15 / 0

Course objectives

The aim of this course is to familiarize students with the various aspects of linguistic meaning construal and the ways language codes general cognitive processes.

The students will analyze various language structures and learn how to recognize relationships in the triad consisting of experience, language and cognition, explain the continuum of lexicon and grammar, and the role of phenomena such as iconicity, conceptual motivation and conceptual integration.

They will unpack the complexities of figurative language by analyzing idioms, humor, irony, etc. as well as the mechanisms and processes responsible for their activation and creation.

Finally, the students will address the relationship between language and embodied and extended cognition as well as selected aspects of multimodal meaning construal.

Enrolment requirements and/or entry competences required for the course


Learning outcomes at the level of the programme to which the course contributes

  • Apply theoretical knowledge of the fundamentals of the six core disciplines and their relationship within cognitive science.
  • Apply specific knowledge and skills from selected disciplines constituting cognitive science.
  • Apply interdisciplinary approach in examining phenomena pertaining to cognition.
  • Build communication channels and enable the flow of innovative ideas towards professionals employed in related scientific disciplines and industry.
  • Employ diverse disciplinary tools in exploring and describing the nature of cognitive processes.
  • Plan and track personal professional growth.

Course content (syllabus)

  • Introduction: content, structure and goals of the course. Students' interests and linguistic knowledge.
  • Relationships in the triad: experience, language, cognition.
  • General cognitive processes as aspects of construal.
  • Cognitive motivation vs. arbitrariness.
  • Language and embodied cognition.
  • Selection of seminar/project topics and discussion on the selected topics.
  • Characteristics of figurative language.
  • Meaning construal and conceptual integration.
  • Iconicity and meaning construal.
  • Language and extended cognition.
  • Presentation of seminar/project topics and discussion.
  • Multimodal meaning construal.
  • How are languages different? What are their universals?
  • Consolidation and students' special interests.
  • Students' special interests.

Student responsibilities

Students are required to attend classes and submit their seminar papers or present project proposal before taking their written exam.

Required literature

  • Croft, W. & Cruse, D. A. (2004). Cognitive Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge Univesity Press. (selected chapters)
  • Langacker, R. 2001. The English Present Tense, 2: 251-272. 5 Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/S1360674301000235
  • Clark, A. (ed.) (2008). Supersizing the Mind: Embodiment, Action, and Cognitive Extension. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Radden, G. & Panther, K.-U. (eds.) (2004). Studies in Linguistic Motivation. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. (selected chapters)
  • Fauconnier, G. & Turner, M. (2002). The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities. NY: Basic Books. (selected chapters)
  • Fauconnier, G.& Turner, M. (2003). “Polysemy and Conceptual Blending.” In Polysemy: Flexible Patterns of Meaning in Mind and Language. Edited by Brigitte Nerlich, Vimala Herman, Zazie Todd, and David Clarke. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Pages 79-94. A volume in the series Trends in Linguistics.

Optional literature

  • Gibbs, W. R. (2006). Embodiment and Cognitive Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought. NY: Basic Books.
  • Radden, G. & Dirven, R. (2007). Cognitive English Grammar. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins.