Cognitive Linguistics as a Cognitive Science

This speech, delivered at the Bi-Directional Perspectives in the Cognitive Sciences Symposium in 2009, touches on a key relationship: the connection between the cognitive sciences, and cognitive linguistics.

In this lecture, Stefanowitsch discusses the routes of data synthesis and analysis as relating to cognitive linguistics, as well as cognitive linguistic’s current inherent reliance on the basic cognitive sciences for new information. The most important quote, which I leave here for further reference, discusses the future necessities of cognitive linguistics as a scientific field:

“…it must become more linguistic: it must rediscover a focus on detailed linguistic analysis, aided by the most advanced corpus-based methods available;

it must become more scientific: it must ensure that its basic concepts can be operationalized and that its claims can be phrased as falsifiable hypotheses; 

it must become more methodologically aware: it must adopt strict observational and experimental protocols and state-of-the-art statistical methods;

it must become less theoretically ambitious: as we become more linguistic, more scientific and more methodologically aware, we will have to restrict ourselves more strictly than we currently do to linguistic constructs that can be operationalized and research hypotheses that can be falsified.

This will place large parts of our current models outside of the scope of a cognitive linguistic research program.”

Overall this was a forthright, analytic piece which helped me to understand through the eyes of an expert how the field of cognitive linguistics is going to go through developments in the next decade.


Stefanowitsch, Anatol. Bi-Directional Perspectives In The Cognitive Sciences. Feb 26-28, 2009, Marburg. PDF.


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