Cognitive linguistics as a part of cognitive science
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №4 - 2012
Satbayeva Lira, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
Yelakov Vladimir, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan
linguistics as being part of cognitive science deals with techniques
considering the work of mental processes. Mental mechanisms of human mind are
studied by cognitive science. Taking into account all mental processes,
principles of information processing, and the connection to other psychic and
neurological spheres cognitive scientists believe that they are closely
interconnected and have a profound effect on each other. However, looking at
cognitivism from a more precise prospect the core interaction of mental
processes can reveal more subtle aspects of mind work such as culture and mentality.
Yet, there are still a number of contradictions in cognitivism that cannot be researched
without consideration of a number of disciplines where linguistics is a centre
of cognitive science.
is the study of psychology where the mind of a person is studied as an
information processing system and the behavior of a person should be described
and explained according to his/her internal state. These states are physically
determined, observable and interpreted as a receipt, processing, storage and,
therefore, mobilization of information for the rational decision of reasonably
formed tasks. As the decision of these tasks is directly interconnected with
the use of language, it is quite reasonable that language is in the centre of
concept of cognitivism through centuries it has been drastically modified
during this period. The usage of the term "cognition" as a key direction
has led to considerable discourses in definition and application of this
notion. The initial meaning of cognition was always represented as perception,
mind, or intelligentia. Nowadays cognitivism differs from its previous notion
by its wide use of information select metaphors and characters. Cognition for
cognitive scientists is procedures connected with acquisition, usage, storage,
transition and production of knowledge [A. Hautamäki 1988, p. 11].
in its notion can be defined as [M. Richelle 1987, p. 181]:
program of human "thinking process" [J.-F. Le Ny 1989, p. 9];
style over human nature mental phenomena (where cognitivism is close to
hypothesis that the subject is a source and originator of its actions;
of research area when cognition being perception, communication act, memory,
and imagination confronts emotions that are not considered in the primary
the models of "inner processing" cognitive scientists describe mental
events in mental terms [W. Bechtel 1988, p. 13]. Basically, cognitive work is
to determine the reasons that evoke certain thoughts. There are at least two
more approaches such as behaviorism and neuropsychology that are connected to
mental activity. Behaviorism characterizes behavior in terms of skills,
motives, and reactions. Neuropsychology explains the behavioral process in
terms of neuronal process [W. Bechtel 1988, p. 3-4]. Unlike these approaches,
cognitive scientists aim to form their own hypothesis in terms of mental
processes without studying motives, reactions, and cellular interaction. The
main objective is to identify mental states functionally in terms of their interaction
and deviate from material actualization in mind.
in "cognitive theory of individual" it is necessary to focus not on
the phase of personal perception but on what follows this process. This
preceding phase is called "information process". Such
"processing" is characterized as "schemes",
"frames", "script". According to the concept of
"parallel distributed processing" (PDP), some "processing"
that is smaller and have microlevel features are determined as "micro
sign" functioning in terms of interconnected systems [D.E. Rumelhart et
al. 1986, p. 7]. The cognitive aim of the theory is to consider closeness of a
certain researching phenomenon to consciousness [H. Thomae 1988, p. 16].
Therefore, one of the cognitive objectives is to display cognition in external
behavior [Lycan 1990, p. 1].
number of questions that arouse in cognitive theory it is inevitable to connect
this science to mathematical principles. Such issues as the effect of cognitive
processes, metaphors and characters produced in human mind are studied only by
mathematics. Algebra as an art to solve certain equations had conceptually
existed before current formal mechanisms existence. However, initially it is
closely connected to the systems that generate the methods of solving sophisticated
types of tasks. Cognitivism concerns a serial or even "technical"
task solving in human mind causing a serial of new problems every time.
science is a science that researches intelligence and intelligent systems where
intelligent behavior is considered as a determinant [Simon, Kaplan 1989, p. 1].
It differs from previous approaches to cognition by its level of idea
perception and "determination" techniques. The latter is not of
arithmetical mean but as an operation analogue produced by a computer [Z.W.
Pylyshyn 1989, p. 51].
It is evident
that such a discipline is complex. For example, it can be described as a
"federation" of sciences that are not interconnected by strict and
set relations. There is artificial intellect (or "applied philosophy"),
linguistics, psychology and neurology [M.A. Arbib 1985, p. 28] (another type of
administrative decision is physiology, psycholinguistics and mathematics [G.
Kegel 1986, p. 28]) in this "federation". Artificial intellect is
aimed to imitate human intellect with the help of a computer to solve tasks.
"Cognitive linguistics" is a branch of cognitive science that uses a
set of language information processing to create models that imitate external
human behavior demonstration when solving intellectual tasks. Neurology, or
theory of brain, explains the behavior of a person or animal through its
interconnection with nervous system elements.
consequence of such a complex cognitive science is to build models of knowledge
and intellect to produce them in computer. Thus, the object of research is
human cognition (interaction of perception system, information representation
and production) and its "technological presentation" [G. Kegel 1986,
cognitive psychology demonstrated the possibilities of information select
approach to human mentality and the possibilities of new scientific metalanguage.
The concept of information processing taken from the information theory where
it was applied to physical systems of information transmission was applied to a
person. A general idea was transformed into the following conception: organisms
use internal perception (representations) and make evaluation operations over
these perceptions. Now cognition is an object, which regulates human perception
according to the manipulation rule of computers.
theoretical experiment that detected the flexibility of a new scientific
metalanguage in description of psychic processes was the background for the creation
of cognition approach to objects and research results in allied subjects. This
approach is the most applicable in linguistics as in all complexes of sciences
about a human being. Hence, the relation between language and other human
activities and processes takes the leading part. It is language but not culture
or society that gives cognitive scientists a key to human behavior [W. Croft
1991, p. 273].
cognitive current, the science was mostly focused on the general logical laws
applicable to all biological species, materials, centuries and stages of knowledge
in contrast to their content [H. Gardner, Wolf 1987, p. 306]. Nowadays main
principles are connected to human cognition. Scientists that worked in this
sphere are J. Bruner, G. Miller, U. Neisser, J. Piaget, A. Newell, G. Simon and
others during 1956-1972 [G.A. Miller 1979]. According to the theoretical and
personal characteristics, cognitivism is comparable to behaviorism in
psychology from 1940 to 1950. It is interdisciplinary of this period that
determined axioms of cognitivism [H. Gardner, Wolf 1987, p. 117]:
actions (such as products) are not only to be researched but also their mental
perception, symbols, strategies, and other invisible processes and abilities of
a person (that cause actions).
these processes a reasonable aspect of actions and processes are under
consideration but not an external analysis of behavior.
forms a person, an individual is always under the influence of his/ her
No matter how
many contradictions were between different currents, cognitive scientists were
aimed to return the concept "mind" to the human science. They did not
try to modify behaviorism but dispel it as a methodology of scientific research
[J.S. Bruner 1990, p. 3-4].
By the middle
of the 1950s, the explanation of mental processes through "rules of
modification of mental perception" had appeared that are comparable to the
transformational rules in the first versions of generative grammar. These rules
were being formed during the observation of language learning by children [S.
Pinker 1984, p. 1]. It was found that children master their native language in
an equal way and that this universal "algorithm" of mastering
language consists of accepting new rules into the internal grammar of a child.
Thus, it was concluded that these rules resemble all aspects that also direct
nonspeech types of activities and provide them with productivity and sometimes
look like reflexive type of activity or uncontrolled behavior reflecting on the
structure of perception, memory and even on emotions [Fodor, Bever, Garrett
1974, p. 6-7].
Based on such
kind of arguments, cognitive methodology is close to linguistic activity.
Interpreting a text a linguist analyzes the correctness and meaning of
sentences (on the basis of subject consulting and/or explaining the meaning
using his/her knowledge) using hypothetico-deductive structures [A.I. Goldman
1987, p. 539]. The research on how a person operates the symbols around him/her
conceiving the world and his/her place in the world demonstrates an inevitable
connection of linguistics with other disciplines, which study a person and
society interpreting their interconnection.
science displayed one of the general tendencies of interpreting approach in
different disciplines. This objective to determine mechanisms of human
interpretation of the world and his/her place in the world is considerably displayed
in linguistic "interpretivism" ("interpreting semantics"),
in philosophical and juridical hermeneutics, in literary studies of reader
criticism. However, cognitivism does not cover as many aspects as
interpretivism but it does not have limit in its size.
science as a project of human cognition research is of interest and practical
importance. However, it has inevitable contradictions. There are some typical
issues in cognition concepts:
confusion between the terms "meaning" and "information",
"consciousness" and "information processing" which are
connected to contemporary features of describing technological analysis model.
Actually, meaning and information are completely different notions. Meaning can
be applicable even to non-informal items. The important concept, which is to be
considered, is that an item is informative, that it has its own code of
information in contrast to other types of items. When considering a certain
informative item it already has its own set of predefined possible choice.
Hence, beyond this choice it is impossible to consider the information processing
in terms of basic operations that function in fixed and optional items. In
contrast to the meaning system, the information system does not imply indeterminacy,
polysemy, metaphor and connotation [J.S. Bruner 1990, p. 4].
Considering cognitivism in its profound notion it appears to be closely
interconnected to a technological rather than human aspect. However, cognition
has hardly anything common with mirror reflection in its classical aspect,
which functions according to information selection paradigm. Human perception
(as well as language, myth, and art) is not a mirror that reflects the external
and/or internal nature of objects, which had its own structure before our act
of perception. Human perception is more like a source of light that creates
conditions for human perception. The stronger the light the stronger the source
the clearer we see an object [E. Cassirer 1923, p. 26]. According to Cassirer,
any perception is set up to find a single principle that unifies different
observations in one complete unit. One item cannot be single, it must be applied
to a certain category where it must be represented as an element of either
logical or cause-and-effect structure [E. Cassirer 1923, p. 8].
3. A human being
cannot be only referred to information category as the main feature of human
intellect is will. Intellect is will and cognition (there can be more aspects).
Considering only manipulating symbols cognition deviates from intentionality
[H.-H. Lieb 1987, p. 11]. Hence, if intention and will are included in cognition,
then there is no cognition according to its core nature; therefore, cognitivism
cannot manipulate intellect. In both cases, it is difficult to define the term
"cognition" in information select sense.
symbols that cognitive scientists are often limited to cannot reflect the mentality
of a person as people think semantically [J.R. Searle 1984, p. 43-55].
As a result
of a number of contradictions, many issues of cognitivism are under
consideration. There is no one but several unified cognitive theories that are
interconnected trying to adapt but not replace each other. In this case of
interaction, one can see the feature of human interpreting process trying to
explain everything that attracts his/her attention [A. Newell 1990, p. 503].
linguistics" is a scientific current that centers language as a combined
focus of cognitive science is a "mental" basis of speech understanding
and production in relation to the way the structures of language perception are
represented and work during the information processing. The issue put from this
concept is what representation of knowledge and procedures of its processing
can be expected. It is considered that representation and similar processes are
organized modularly so that they are dependant to different principles of
organization [D. Wunderlich, Kaufmann 1990, p. 223].
to other disciplines of cognitive course, those cognitive structures and
processes are only considered that are typical to homo loquens. In the first
stage is the system description and explanation of human mechanisms of learning
language and the principle of structuring of these mechanisms. However, there
are certain issues during these procedures [Felix, Kanngiesser, Rickheit 1990,
Considering the representation of mental mechanisms of learning language and
principles of their structuring, the number of mechanism representations, the
principle of mechanisms interaction and their inner construction are arguable.
Considering production, it is disputable whether production and perception are
based on the same system units or they have different mechanisms. It is also
questionable whether the time processes that make speech production go parallel
or sequentially, whether we build a general sample of sentence and only then
provide it with lexical material or these processes go at the same time, how it
happens, what substructures (for example, syntaxes, semantic, conceptual etc.)
function in speech production and how they are set up.
in cognitive course is researched more actively than speech production, which
characterizes interpretivism. Considering perception, a number of issues are
under consideration, such as what kind of procedures regulate and structure
language perception, what experience evokes these procedures, what is the
organization of semantic memory and the role of this memory in the speech perception
acceptable in cognitive linguistics that mental processes are not only based on
the representations but they correspond to certain procedures such as
"cognitive estimation" [C. Eschenbach et al. 1990, p. 37-38]. For
other cognitive disciplines (especially for cognitive psychology) the
implication of cognitive linguistic is valuable when they allow to determine
the mechanisms of these cognitive estimation [G. Lakoff 1982, p. 141].
In such an
information select principle the central objective of cognitive linguistic is
determined as the description and explanation of inner cognitive structures and
the dynamics of a speaker and hearer [S.W. Felix, Kanngiesser, Rickheit 1990à, p. 5]. A
speaker and hearer are considered as a system of information processing that
consists of a final number of independent components (modules) and distributes
language information in different levels. The aim of cognitive linguistics is
to research such system and set up its main principles but not only to
represent systematic language phenomena. For cognitive scientists it is
necessary to understand what mental representation of language knowledge should
be and how this knowledge is cognitively processed. Adequacy and relevancy of
linguistic statements are determined according to this concept and explain the
following notions [S.W. Felix, Kanngiesser, Rickheit 1990a, p. 6]:
Understanding is considered to be a type of mental representation that should
be accessible for learning. (The issue is what is accessible for learning and
what is not accessible).
is an act of process between a presenter and presentee that can be processed by
means of the program of a quite proper analyzer (in computer). The check of
grammar models with methods of computer linguistics is an example for
Thus, it is
essential to consider cognitive mechanism in all linguistic activities as it
deals with all principles of perception, processing, and output of information.
Language cognition can be defined as interpretation process that controls all
language processes, especially speech. Internal world is interpreted through
speech. A universal cognitive strategy is set up in human cognition. A person
can collect information and use these strategies to monitor his/her knowledge.
According to Lieberman [Lieberman 1984, c. VII] the universal strategies set up
in human mind programmed by biological structures are similar to computer work.
Knowledge accumulated throughout the life of a person is monitored by these
strategies and makes a person think and learn according to this knowledge.
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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №4 - 2012