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  • The Oxford handbook of cognitive linguistics
  • Ewa Dąbrowska
The Oxford handbook of cognitive linguistics. Ed. by Dirk Geeraerts and Hubert Cuyckens. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Pp. 1,334. ISBN 9780195143782. $150 (Hb).

Cognitive linguistics began to emerge as a new approach to the study of language in the late 1970s and has expanded very rapidly since then, now boasting a community of scholars at least 2,500 strong, a host of national and international associations, and several journals and book series devoted mostly or exclusively to cognitive linguistic research—and, of course, a large number of publications in more general venues. With an ever-greater number of postgraduate programs devoted mostly or entirely to this type of research and growing interest from related disciplines, the time is ripe for a handbook that provides a comprehensive survey of the research in cognitive linguistics and related areas that could serve as a guide for the novice and a reference work for the established scholar. Dirk Geeraerts and Hubert Cuyckens are especially qualified to edit such a volume, both having published widely in core areas of cognitive linguistics as well as playing important institutional roles (Geeraerts is a former president of the International Cognitive Linguistics Association and the founding editor of Cognitive Linguistics; Cuyckens is a former ICLA board member).

The Handbook consists of an introductory chapter by the editors followed by forty-eight topical chapters divided into six parts. Part 1, 'Basic concepts', introduces the reader to cognitive processes and structures that are thought to constitute the conceptual underpinnings of language. Some of the chapters deal with constructs that owe their existence to cognitive linguists: construal and perspectivization (ARIE VERHAGEN), mental spaces (GILLES FAUCONNIER), conceptual integration (MARK TURNER), force dynamics (WALTER DE MULDER), and embodiment and experientialism (TIM ROHRER). Other topics covered in this part, while not unique to cognitive linguistics, have been redefined and developed in distinctive ways. These include schematicity (DAVID TUGGY), entrenchment, salience, and basic levels (HANS-JÖRG SCHMID), frames, idealized cognitive models, and domains (ALAN CIENKI), image schemas (TODD OAKLEY), and attention phenomena (LEONARD TALMY). There are also five chapters devoted to more specific areas of linguistic enquiry: spatial semantics (JORDAN ZLATEV), polysemy, prototypes, and radial categories (BARBARA LEWANDOWSKA-TOMASZCZYK), iconicity (WILLY VAN LANGENDONCK), metaphor (JOSEPH E. GRADY), and metonymy (KLAUS-UWE PANTHER and LINDA L. THORNBURG); these have been included among the other 'basic concepts' because of the key role they have played in virtually every area of cognitive linguistic research.

Part 2, 'Models of grammar', contains overviews of three of the most fully developed theoretical frameworks within cognitive linguistics: cognitive grammar (RONALD W. LANGACKER), word grammar (RICHARD HUDSON), and several varieties of construction grammar (WILLIAM CROFT).

The next part, 'Situating cognitive linguistics', is devoted to discussions of the early antecedents and a brief history of the field and its relationship to other broad frameworks (BRIGITTE NERLICH and DAVID D. CLARKE), functional linguistics (JAN NUYTS), and autonomous (i.e. formalist) linguistics (JOHN R. TAYLOR). While acknowledging important differences between these frameworks, the authors emphasize common themes and concerns, and important areas of convergence.

Part 4, 'Linguistic structure and language use', contains four chapters corresponding to traditionally defined subfields of linguistics, namely phonology (GEOFF NATHAN), inflectional morphology (LAURA JANDA), word formation (FRIEDRICH UNGERER), and discourse and text structure (TED SANDERS and WILBERT SPOOREN). The remaining contributions deal with more specific topics: nominal classification (GUNTER SENFT), complementation (MICHEL ACHARD), clause structure and transitivity (JOSÉ M. GARCÍA-MIGUEL), grammatical voice (RICARDO MALDONADO), modality (TANJA MORTELMANS), tense and aspect (RONNY BOOGAART and THEO JANSSEN), adpositions (SOTERIA SVOROU), pronominal anaphora (KAREN VAN HOEK), and idioms and formulaic language (RAYMOND W. GIBBS). This part does not cover all...