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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter aims to show the reader how social cognition also includes language. Neither cognitive sociology nor cognitive linguistics can logically ignore one another’s perspectives and empirical findings. The chapter aims to introduce cognitive sociologists to leading strands of research in cognitive linguistics that have a bearing on the structure and processes of society. In explaining the cognitive basis of language, linguists are now beginning to recognize its dialogic nature, the importance of dialogue in language acquisition, and thus the dependence of language on early socialization. This design feature enables the many social uses of the human language faculty that are termed “discourse.” There are many approaches to “discourse” but here the focus is on the recently developed cognitive approaches that are able to handle the complexities of grammatical detail as well as lexical meaning, without ignoring pragmatics. These approaches include cognitive frame theory, which describes lexical meaning and phenomena such as grammatically triggered attention shifts. A widely used approach analyzes conceptual metaphor, where “metaphor” is understood as a mental framing device that works by linking different conceptual domains, including image schemata. A third cognitive approach to socially relevant conceptualization emphasizes the role of spatial cognition, in particular containing spaces and the dimensions of direction and distance. In all cases, this overview relates the social and linguistic aspects to cognitive science and neuroscience.

Keywords: language, discourse, society, cognition, emotion, frame, metaphor, space, brain, critical analysis

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