Cognitive Linguistics and Second Language Learning: Theoretical Basics and Experimental Evidence

Cognitive Linguistics and Second Language Learning
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Forceville, Charles. Creative visual duality in comics balloons. Stylistics and comics. In Michael Burke ed.

Language acquisition

Text-image relations in cartoons. A case study of image schematic metaphors. Kennedy, John M. Metaphor in pictures. Perception 11 5 , — Miodrag, Hannah. Saraceni, Mario. The Language of Comics. London: Routledge. Metaphoricity of Conventionalized Diegetic Images in Comics.

A Study in Multimodal Cognitive Linguistics. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Waugh, Coulton. The Comics. Hubbard ; Dirven ; Taylor ; Hubbard While in each sphere a considerable progress can be observed, in each of them there are still new and exciting territories that need exploration. That is why we invite abstracts for presentations that address any of the above and other pedagogical applications of cognitive linguistics. References: Achard, M. Niemeier eds.

Language and Cognition Interaction Neural Mechanisms

Boers, F. Lindstromberg Cognitive Linguistic approaches to second or foreign language instruction: Rationale, proposals and evaluation. Kristaensen, R. Dirven, M. Achard, Ruiz-Mendoza eds. Lindstromberg eds. Byrnes, H.

ykoketomel.mlvskaya: Cognitive Linguistics in Second Language Acquisition

Weger-Guntharp, K. Sprang eds. Constructs, Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment. Washington, D. De Knopp, S. De Rycker eds. Cognitive Approaches to Pedagogical Grammar. Dirven, R. Cognitive linguistics and pedagogic grammar. Graustein, G. Leitner eds. Reference grammars and modern linguistic theory Holme, R. Cognitive Linguistics and Language Teaching.

Great Britain: Palgrave Macmillan. Hubbard, P. Understanding English modals through space grammar. Non-transformational theories of grammar: implications for language teaching. Odlin ed. Perspectives on Pedagogical Grammar Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Idioms: A View from Cognitive Semantics. Applied Linguistics 17 3 : Phrases are composed of words, and larger chunks of text from smaller chunks of texts can be learned similarly to learning above situations models composed of objects. Grammar rules, syntax, and morphology are learned using markers as discussed above. Lower layer models may require continuous parametric models, like laryngeal models of phonemes [ 57 ].

These can be learned from language sounds using parametric models [ 58 — 69 ] similar to a preceding section on perception. Do we use phrases to label situations that we already have understood or the other way around, and do we just talk with words without understanding any cognitive meanings? It is obvious that different people have different cognitive and linguistic abilities and may tend to different poles in the cognitive-language continuum, while most people are somewhere in the middle in using cognition to help with language, and vice versa.

What are the neural mechanisms that enable this flexibility? How do we learn which words and objects come together? If there is no specific language module, as assumed by cognitive linguists, why do kids learn a language by 5 or 7 but do not think like adults? And why there is no animals thinking like humans but without human language? Little is known about neural mechanisms for integrating language and cognition.

Other Titles by Andrea Tyler

Here, we propose a computational model that potentially can answer the above questions, and that is computationally tractable, it does not lead to combinatorial complexity. Also it implies relatively simple neural mechanisms, and explains why human language and human cognition are inextricably linked.

It suggests that human language and cognition have evolved jointly. Whereas Chomskyan linguists could not explain how language and cognition interact, cognitive linguists could not explain why kids learn language by 5 but cannot think like adults; neither theory can overcome combinatorial complexity. Consider first how is it possible to learn which words correspond to which objects? But this is mathematically impossible. The number of combinations among words and objects is larger than all elementary particle interactions in the Universe.

Combinations of 30, words and objects are practically infinite. No experience would be sufficient to learn associations. No mathematical theory of language offers any solution. Every mental representation consists of a pair of models, or two model aspects, cognitive and language. This dual-model equation suggests that the connection between language and cognitive models is inborn. In a newborn mind, both types of models are vague placeholders for future cognitive and language contents. But the neural connections between the two types of models are inborn; therefore, the brain does not have to learn associations between words and objects; which concrete word goes with which concrete object.

1. Linguistics and Mathematical Models

Models acquire specific contents in the process of growing up and learning, and linguistic and cognitive contents are always staying properly connected. Zillions of combinations need not be considered. Initial implementations of these ideas lead to encouraging results [ 73 — 78 ]. Consider language hierarchy higher up from words, Figure 4. Phrases are made up from words similar to situations made up from objects.

Because of linear structure, language actually is simpler than situations; rules of syntax can be learned similar to learning objects and relations using markers, as described in the previous section. The reason computers do not talk English used to be the fundamental problem of combinatorial complexity. Parallel hierarchies of language and cognition consist of lower-level concepts like situations consist of objects.

A set of objects or lower-level concepts relevant to a situation or higher-level concept should be learned among practically infinite number of possible random subsets as discussed, larger than the Universe. No amount of experience would be sufficient for learning useful subsets from random ones. The previous section overcame combinatorial complexity of learning , given that the sufficient information is present. However, theories of mathematical linguistics offer no explanation where this information would come from. Now, that the fundamental problem is solved, learning language will be solved in due course.

Practically, significant effort will be required to build machines learning language. However, the principal difficulty has been solved in the previous section. Mathematical model of learning situations, considered in the previous section, is similar to learning how phrases are composed from words. Syntax can be learned similar to relations between objects [ 55 , 71 , 79 ]. The next step beyond current mathematical linguistics is modeling interaction between language and cognition.

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Cognitive Linguistics and Second Language Learning: Theoretical Basics and Experimental Theoretical Basics and Experimental Evidence, 1st Edition. Download Citation on ResearchGate | Cognitive linguistics and second language learning: Theoretical basics and experimental evidence | This book illustrates.

It is fundamental because cognition cannot be learned without language. Consider a widely held belief that cognition can be learned from experience in the world. The reason is that abstract concepts representations consist of a set of relevant bottom-up signals, which should be learned among practically infinite number of possible random subsets as discussed larger than the Universe. The previous section overcame combinatorial complexity of learning, given that the sufficient information is present. However, mathematical linguistic theories offer no explanation where this information would come from.

This is the reason why no animal without human-type language can achieve human-level cognition. This is the reason why humans learn language early in life, but learning cognition making cognitive representations models as crisp and conscious as language ones takes a lifetime. Information for learning language is coming from the surrounding language at all levels of the hierarchy. For this reason, language models become less vague and more specific by 5 years of age, much faster than the corresponding cognitive models for the reason that they are acquired ready-made from the surrounding language.

While language models are acquired ready-made from the surrounding language, cognitive models remain vague and gradually acquire more concrete contents throughout life guided by experience and language. Human learning of cognitive models continues through the lifetime and is guided by language models. If we imagine a familiar object with closed eyes, this imagination is not as clear and conscious as perception with opened eyes. With opened eyes, it is virtually impossible to remember imaginations.

Language plays a role of eyes for abstract thoughts. When talking about an abstract topic, one might think that the thought is clear and conscious in the mind. But the above discussion suggests that we are conscious about the language models of the dual hierarchy. The cognitive models in most cases may remain vague and unconscious. The higher up in the hierarchy, the vaguer are the contents of abstract cognitive representations, while due to crispness of language models, we may remain convinced that these are our own clear conscious thoughts. Animal vocalizations are inseparable from instinctual needs and emotional functioning.

The Dual model has enabled separation of semantic and emotional contents, which made possible deliberate thinking. Yet operations of the Dual model, connecting sounds and meanings, require motivation. Motivation in language is carried by sounds [ 80 ]. Future research will have to address remaining emotionality of human languages, mechanisms involved, emotional differences among languages, and effects of language emotionalities on cultures. Evolution of the language ability required rewiring of human brain. Animal brains cannot develop ability for deliberate discussions because conceptual representations, emotional evaluations, and behavior including vocalization are unified, undifferentiated states of the mind.

Language required freeing vocalization from emotions, at least partially [ 80 , 81 ]. This process led to evolution of ability for music [ 81 , 81 — 83 ]; this is a separate research direction not addressed in this paper. Another mystery of human cognition, which is not addressed by current mathematical linguistics, is basic human irrationality. This has been widely discussed and experimentally demonstrated following discoveries of Tversky and Kahneman [ 84 ], leading to the Nobel Prize.

Language is crisp and conscious in the human brain, while cognition might be vague. Yet, collective wisdom accumulated in language may not be properly adapted to one's personal circumstances and, therefore, be irrational in a concrete situation. In the 12th c. The Dual model also suggests that the inborn neural connection between cognitive brain modules and language brain modules is sufficient to set humans on an evolutionary path separating us from the animal kingdom. The combination of NMF-DL and the dual hierarchy introduces new mechanisms of language and its interaction with cognition.

These mechanisms suggest solutions to a number of psycholinguistic mysteries, which have not been addressed by existing theories. These include fundamental cognitive interaction between cognition and language; similarities and differences between these two mechanisms; word-object associations; why children learn language early in life, but cognition is acquired much later; why animals without human language cannot think like humans.

The mathematical mechanisms of NMF-DL-Dual model are relatively simple 2 through 4 , also see details in the given references. These mathematical mechanisms correspond to the known structure and experimental data about the brain-mind.

Inactive Modal

In real brain-mind, learning and recognition of situations proceed in parallel with perception of objects. Verbs and times. Amsterdam: Elsevier. Logic and Computational Complexity Computer intelligence cannot compete with animals [ 20 ]. Supreme Court in the case Gerald Lynn Bostock v.

In addition to conceptual mechanisms of cognition, they also describe emotional mechanisms and their fundamental role in cognition and world understanding, including role of aesthetic emotions, beautiful, sublime, and musical emotions [ 80 , 82 , 83 ]. An experimental indication in support of the Dual model has appeared in [ 86 ]. That publication has demonstrated that the categorical perception of color in prelinguistic infants is based in the right brain hemisphere.

When language is learned and access to lexical color codes becomes more automatic, categorical perception of color moves to the left hemisphere between two and five years , and adult's categorical perception of color is only based in the left hemisphere. This provides evidence for neural connections between perception and language, a foundation of the Dual model. It supports another aspect of the Dual model: The crisp and conscious language part of the model hides from our consciousness, the vaguer cognitive part of the model.

This is similar to what we observed in the close-open eye experiment: With opened eyes, we are not conscious about vague imaginations. In humans, primates, and some other social animals, there are neurons that are excited when manipulating objects, and the same neurons are excited, when observing another animal making similar gestures.

MNS involves areas of brain near Broca area, where today resides human language ability. Every complex functioning neural mechanism requires motivation, correspondingly, functioning of the Dual model, and requires motivations or emotions, connecting language and cognitive sides of the Dual model, as illustrated in Figure 5. Developing meanings by connecting language and cognition requires motivation, in other words, emotions. If language emotionality is too weak, language is disconnected from the world, meanings are lost, and cultures disintegrate. If language emotionality is too strong, connections could not evolve and cultures stagnate.

Is it possible to keep the balance? Emotionality of languages resides in their sounds, like the sound of music moves us emotionally. Animal voicing is fused with emotions; animals lack volunteer control over voice muscles and therefore cannot develop language. Evolution of language required rewiring the brain, so that automatic connection of voice and emotions severed. Language and voice started separating from ancient emotional centers possibly millions of years ago. Nevertheless, emotions are present in language. Most of these emotions originate in cortex and are controllable aesthetic emotions.

Emotional centers in cortex are neurally connected to old emotional limbic centers, so both influences, new and old, are present. Emotionality of languages is carried in language sounds, what linguists call prosody or melody of speech. This ability of human voice to affect us emotionally is most pronounced in songs [ 81 ]. Emotionality of everyday speech is low, unless affectivity is specifically intended. If language parts of models were highly emotional, any discourse would immediately resort to fights and there would be no room for language development as among primates.

If language parts of models were nonemotional at all, there would be no motivational force to engage into conversations, to develop the Dual model. Dual model is fundamental for developing representations of situations and higher cognition [ 22 , 37 , 55 , 56 , 70 ]. The motivation for developing higher cognitive models would be reduced. Primordial fused language-cognition-emotional models, as discussed, have been differentiated long ago.

The involuntary connections between voice-emotion-cognition have dissolved with emergence of language. They have been replaced with habitual connections. Sounds of all languages have changed in history, and sound-emotion-meaning connections in languages could have severed. However, if the sounds of a language change slowly, the connections between sounds and meanings persist and consequently the emotion-meaning connections persist.

This persistence is a foundation of meanings because meanings imply motivations. If the sounds of a language change too fast, the cognitive models are severed from motivations, and meanings disappear.

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If the sounds change too slowly the meanings are nailed emotionally to the old ways, and culture stagnates. These arguments suggest that an important step toward understanding cultural evolution is to identify mechanisms determining changes of the language sounds.

These changes are controlled by grammar. In inflectional languages, affixes, endings, fusion, and other inflectional devices are fused with sounds of word roots. Pronunciation sounds of affixes and other inflections are controlled by few rules, which persist over thousands of words. These few rules are manifest in every phrase. Therefore, every child learns to pronounce them correctly. Positions of vocal tract and mouth muscles for pronunciation of inflections are fixed throughout population and are conserved throughout generations. Correspondingly, pronunciation of whole words cannot vary too much, and language sound changes slowly.

When inflections disappear, this anchor is no more and nothing prevents the sounds of language to become fluid and change with every generation. This has happened with English language after transition from Middle English to Modern English [ 92 ]; most of inflections have disappeared and sound of the language started changing within each generation, and this process continues today.

English evolved into a powerful tool of cognition unencumbered by excessive emotionality. English language spreads democracy, science, and technology around the world. This has been made possible by conceptual differentiation empowered by language, not constrained by emotional mechanisms. But the loss of emotionality has also led to ambiguity of meanings and values. Current English language cultures face internal crises, uncertainty about meanings and purposes. Many people cannot cope with diversity of life. Future research in psycholinguistics, anthropology, history, historical and comparative linguistics, and cultural studies will examine interactions between languages and cultures.

Initial experimental evidence suggests emotional differences among languages consistent with this hypothesis [ 93 , 94 ]. Semitic languages and in particular Arabic language are highly inflected. Inflection mechanism called fusion affects the entire word sounds, and the meaning of the word changes with changing sounds; also suffixes control verbs and moods.

Therefore, sounds are closely fused with meanings. This strong connection between sounds and meanings contributes to beauty and affectivity of Classical Arabic texts including Quran. On the other hand, creation of new meanings in Classical Arabic is difficult because of this strong connections, remaining unchanged for centuries, and also because of religious restrictions.

Arabic language leads to a culture, where meanings and values are strong, but conceptual culture development is slow. There are significant differences between Classical Arabic and street Arabic languages; however, this topic requires separate study. Neural mechanisms of grammar, language sound, related emotions-motivations, and meanings hold a key to connecting neural mechanisms in the individual brains to evolution of cultures.

Language and Cognition Interaction Neural Mechanisms

Studying them experimentally is a challenge for future research. It is not even so much a challenge, because experimental methodologies are at hand; they just should be applied to these issues. The following sections develop mathematical models based on existing evidence that can guide this future research. The Dual model implies a relatively minimal neural change from the animal to the human mind. It could emerge through combined cultural and genetic evolution, and this cultural evolution might continue today.

DL resolves a long-standing mystery of how human language, thinking, and culture could have evolved in a seemingly single big step, too large for an evolutionary mutation, too fast, and involving too many advances in language, thinking, and culture, happening almost momentarily around 50, years ago [ 95 , 96 ]. DL along with the Dual model explains how changes, which seem to involve improbable steps according to logical intuition, actually occur through continuous dynamics. The proposed theory provides a mathematical basis for the concurrent emergence of hierarchical human language and cognition.

Solutions to several principled mathematical problems have been suggested, involving combinatorial complexity. Initial neuroimaging evidence supports the DL mechanism proposed in this paper, and still much remains unknown. DL was experimentally demonstrated for the visual perception; these experiments should be extended to language and interaction of language and cognition.

Evolution of languages can be studied using the developed theory and societies of intelligent agents [ 97 ]. Mathematical models of some of the mechanisms of evolving languages and cultures have been discussed in [ 43 , 44 , 46 , 58 , 70 , 71 , 79 , 80 ]. Future research should address evolutionary separation of cognition from direct emotional-motivational control and immediate behavioral connections. Remaining emotionalities of different languages and their effects on cultural evolution shall be addressed.

The author is thankful to M. Alexander, M. Bar, R. Brockett, M. Cabanac, R. Deming, F. Lin, J. Gleason, R. Kozma, D. Levine, A. Ovsich, and B. Sjogren and D. Cochran for supporting part of this research, and to the paper reviewers for valuable suggestions.

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Published online Aug Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Received May 7; Accepted Jun This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract How language and cognition interact in thinking? Linguistics and Mathematical Models How do language interacts with cognition is unknown. Cognition: A Mathematical Model 2. Top-Down and Bottom-Up Neural Signals Important properties of perception and cognition are revealed by a simple experiment, properties ignored by most theories [ 15 ].

Logic and Computational Complexity Computer intelligence cannot compete with animals [ 20 ]. Neural Modeling Field Theory The mind has an approximately hierarchical structure from sensory signals at the bottom to representations of the highest concepts at top [ 16 , 34 ]. Perception Example Below in Figure 1 , DL is illustrated with an example described in more details in [ 44 , 45 ], which demonstrates that DL can find complex process patterns below the noise at about times better than previous algorithms in terms of signal-to-noise ratio [ 21 , 46 ].

Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Brand new: lowest price The lowest-priced brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging where packaging is applicable. The first part of the book introduces the basics of cognitive linguistic theory in a way that is geared toward second language teachers and researchers. See details. See all 2 brand new listings. Buy It Now. Add to cart. Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Product Information This book illustrates the ways that cognitive linguistics, a relatively new paradigm in language studies, can illuminate and facilitate language research and teaching.

The second part of the book provides experimental evidence of the usefulness of applying cognitive linguistics to the teaching of English. Included is a thorough review of the existing literature on cognitive linguistic applications to teaching and cognitive linguistic-based experiments. Three chapters report original experiments which focus on teaching modals, prepositions and syntactic constructions, elements of English that learners tend to find challenging.