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Language in Use

Cognitive and Discourse Perspectives on Language and Language Learning

Publication Year: 2005

Language in Use creatively brings together, for the first time, perspectives from cognitive linguistics, language acquisition, discourse analysis, and linguistic anthropology. The physical distance between nations and continents, and the boundaries between different theories and subfields within linguistics have made it difficult to recognize the possibilities of how research from each of these fields can challenge, inform, and enrich the others. This book aims to make those boundaries more transparent and encourages more collaborative research. The unifying theme is studying how language is used in context and explores how language is shaped by the nature of human cognition and social-cultural activity. Language in Use examines language processing and first language learning and illuminates the insights that discourse and usage-based models provide in issues of second language learning. Using a diverse array of methodologies, it examines how speakers employ various discourse-level resources to structure interaction and create meaning. Finally, it addresses issues of language use and creation of social identity. Unique in approach and wide-ranging in application, the contributions in this volume place emphasis on the analysis of actual discourse and the insights that analyses of such data bring to language learning as well as how language shapes and reflects social identityùmaking it an invaluable addition to the library of anyone interested in cutting-edge linguistics.

Published by: Georgetown University Press

Series: Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics series


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pp. v-vi

Figures and Tables

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix

This volume contains a selection of papers from the 2003 Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics, widely known either as GURT or the Round Table. The theme for GURT 2003 was “Language in Use: Cognitive and Discourse Perspectives on Language and Language Learning.” The papers were selected by peer review from among more than 120 presentations and 5 plenary addresses. The...

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pp. xi-xiv

In recent years there has been growing awareness of the importance of studying language and language learning in its context of use. Researchers who identify themselves as taking a cognitive approach (broadly defined) and those who take various discourse perspectives have sounded the theme, often independently of each other, that an accurate understanding of the properties of language requires an understanding of...


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1. Support from Language Processing for a Constructional Approach to Grammar

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pp. 3-18

A key tenet of Construction Grammar (CxG) (e.g., Goldberg 1995; Kay and Fillmore 1999; Michaelis and Lambrecht 1996) is that the basic units of language are learned pairings of form and function: constructions. CxG strives to characterize the knowledge that underlies a native speaker’s capacity to understand and produce an indefinite number of sentences and discriminate between the acceptable and unacceptable sentences...

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2. Homonyms and Functional Mappings in Language Acquisition

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pp. 19-35

Because language is used for communication, we might expect it to exist in and evolve toward a state in which communication is optimally facilitated. Yet there are some aspects of language whose existence contradicts the communicative purpose of language. The case under consideration in this chapter involves mappings between form and meaning. One might expect that sounds and meanings should be mapped to each other...

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3. Little Persuaders: Japanese Children’s Use of Datte (but-because) and Their Developing Theories of Mind

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pp. 36-49

The contribution of language to the development of preschoolers’ theory of mind has begun to attract a great deal of attention in developmental psychology and language acquisition circles. Roughly speaking, the research can be divided into two threads: one that investigates the contribution of language (typically syntax) toward developing representational capacity (Astington and Jenkins 1999; de Villiers and de Villiers 2000; Farrar...

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4. “Because” as a Marker of Collaborative Stance in Preschool Children’s Peer Interactions

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pp. 50-61

In her definitive book on discourse markers, Deborah Schiffrin (1987) documented that particles such as “so,” “because,” “now,” and so forth function at many levels of discourse beyond the level of the sentence and have more than a semantic meaning. With regard to the specific discourse marker “because,” Schiffrin argues that the marker can function at the action level of the talk, at the level of participation frameworks, and...


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5. Contextualizing Interlanguage Pragmatics

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pp. 65-84

In this chapter I consider what we can learn about interlanguage pragmatics by placing it in the broader context of communicative competence. What concerns me is not the theoretical positioning of interlanguage pragmatics vis-à-vis communicative competence— that topic has already been explored by others (e.g., Bachman 1990; Canale 1983; Kasper 1997)—but a practical positioning that influences research design, data collection...

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6. Learning the Discourse of Friendship

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pp. 85-99

This study takes a discourse perspective on language learning to offer a window into a natural process of language socialization that classroom teachers typically never see, with an unexpected focus—by the participants themselves—on cognitive dimensions of a speech activity. This contextualized discourse analysis is part of a case study on the development of a cross-cultural friendship on a university campus in the United States. The...

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7. Applied Cognitive Linguistics and Newer Trends in Foreign Language Teaching Methodology

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pp. 100-111

Research on foreign language teaching methodology is still a relatively recent topic, although we may trace it back to the 1940s. During its brief history, it has been influenced by various linguistic theories and later on by applied linguistics.We have seen, for example, the impact of behaviorism, structural approaches, generative grammar, speech act theory, and others; these models have left their traces in textbooks and teaching...

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8. Language Play and Language Learning: Creating Zones of Proximal Development in a Third-Grade Multilingual Classroom

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pp. 112-122

Many studies attest to the importance of language play in first-language development; few investigations, however, have explored the relationship between language play and second-language (L2) learning, particularly with respect to children. In the study described in this chapter we investigated how language play created zones of proximal development (ZPD) for L2 learning in circumstances in which a Brazilian student with...

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9. Cognates, Cognition, and Writing: An Investigation of the Use of Cognates by University Second-Language Learners

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pp. 123-136

The role of cognates in second-language (L2) teaching has baffled researchers for many years. Many linguists have claimed that cognates are useful to L2 learners, both in comprehension and in production, arguing that cognate knowledge can be mastered easily and can be readily applied by L2 learners. For instance, some researchers have suggested that Spanish learners of English should be able to understand cognates...


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10. Intonation, Mental Representation, and Mutual Knowledge

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pp. 139-149

An important part of the research program in cognitive linguistics involves using linguistic structure as an entry point to better understand cognitive processes. In this chapter, I argue that just as certain lexicogrammatical structures have been claimed to interact with cognitive processes and constructions, certain intonation patterns also interact with cognitive processes and constructions. Therefore, in our search for a better understanding...

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11. Linguistic Variation in the Lexical Episodes of University Classroom Talk

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pp. 150-162

The linguistic characteristics of texts have been researched from two major perspectives over the past three decades: one describing the internal discourse organization of texts and the other focusing on the typical linguistic characteristics of texts and text types. Studies of the first type usually have been qualitative, providing detailed analyses of the discourse patterns in individual texts (e.g., Fox 1987; Mann, Matthieson...

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12. The Unofficial Businesses of Repair Initiation: Vehicles for Affiliation and Disaffiliation

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pp. 163-175

In conversation analysis (CA), repair refers to practices for addressing problems in speaking, hearing, and understanding (Schegloff, Jefferson, and Sacks 1977). The main CA interest in repair has been in its structural properties. For example, repair is composed of trouble source (TS), repair initiation (RI), and repair completion. In the following segment from Schegloff, Jefferson, and Sacks (1977, 364), “Yeah” is the trouble...

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13. Pragmatic Inferencing in Grammaticalization: A Case Study of Directional Verbs in Thai

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pp. 176-187

...These six verbs can occur as single verbs in simple sentences and as initial as well as noninitial verbs in serial verb constructions. It is generally known that directional verbs across languages are likely to grammaticalize into different types of grammatical markers that indicate meanings in spatial, temporal, and attitudinal domains. In this essay we introduce another type of grammaticalized marker that has evolved from...


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14. “Trying on” the Identity of “Big Sister”: Hypothetical Narratives in Parent-Child Discourse

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pp. 191-201

Researchers in a variety of disciplines have suggested that individuals construct identities in interaction by telling narratives of personal experience. Linguists such as Schiffrin (1996, 2000) and psychologists such as Bamberg (1997) have considered identity from this narrative-constructivist perspective, drawing on Davies and Harré’s (1990) discussion of positioning and/or Goffman’s (1981) related concept of footing to do so. Positioning...

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15. The Discourse of Local Identity in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina

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pp. 202-213

Recent investigations in national and ethnic identity have challenged earlier assumptions that such identities are relatively stable constructs, developed out of particular historical and sociopolitical circumstances. In their study of national identity in Austria, Wodak et al. (1999) propose that national identity is a discursive construct, continuously reevaluated through written and spoken narratives of a nation and its culture. In...

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16. Immigration Geographies, Multilingual Immigrants, and the Transmission of Minority Languages: Evidence from the Igbo Brain Drain

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pp. 214-223

This chapter outlines the linguistic repertoire of one migration network to the United States and the six sites in which the repertoire is partially reproduced. An outline of the repertoire and the contexts or sites under which that repertoire is reproduced represent a first step toward trying to take account of the new and changing sociogeographical settlement patterns of multilingual immigrants, such as many African immigrants...

E-ISBN-13: 9781589013568
E-ISBN-10: 1589013565
Print-ISBN-13: 9781589010444
Print-ISBN-10: 1589010442

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics series