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The non-modular nature of cognitive grammar.

1. Introduction

The non-modular linguistic program called cognitive grammar (CG), proposed and pursued by Ronald Langacker in the general theory of cognitive linguistics (cf. Langacker 1987, 1988a, 1988b, 1990, 1991a, 1991b, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2008),1 can be best characterized in opposition to Noam Chomsky's generative grammar (TG), a modular approach to language. According to Langacker (1987: 35), TG theory represents

   a conception of grammatical structure [which] emphasiz[es] discrete
   components [and which] naturally encourages the investigator to
   focus his attention on phenomena consistent with this type of
   organization. He concentrates primarily on prototypical instances
   from each component, where the distinctions seem readily apparent,
   and tends to overlook any data that do not fit neatly into the
   pre-established boxes. [...] A case in point is the putative
   distinction between syntax and lexicon. In the classic conception
   (now considerably modified), syntax was thought to deal with novel,
   multiword expressions (phrases, clauses, and sentences) assembled
   in accordance with general rules. Lexicon was the province of fixed
   expressions, most no larger than single words; not predictable by
   rules of any generality, they had to be listed individually. The
   two classes of phenomena thus stood sharply opposed with respect to
   novelty, generality and size.

The sharp opposition between lexicon and syntax has led to a situation where, as Langacker notes, "a large body of data fitting neither category would be mostly ignored" (ibid.). A case in point is idiomatic language, which includes various stock phrases, collocations and formulaic expressions. Because in each language one can find a huge number of such conventional expressions, "knowing them is essential to speaking it well" (ibid.). This is why

a seemingly perfect knowledge of the grammar of a language (in the narrow sense) does not guarantee fluency; learning its full complement of conventional expressions is probably by far the largest task involved in mastering it (ibid.).

Naturally, "the knowledge of conventional expressions" can hardly be wholly accounted for by means of rules, which are a sine qua non of the generalization postulate embraced by generative grammar. Yet, the generalization postulate itself should not be treated as a dogma, for, according to cognitivists, this postulate is based on the misguided belief--on the so-called rule-list fallacy. Langacker (1987: 41) comments:

   The reluctance of generative grammarians to concern themselves
   seriously with conventional expressions is largely inspired by
   their abhorrence of lists. [.] It would be fallacious, however, to
   invoke the principle of economy to argue that conventional
   expressions should not be listed in a grammar--one could just as
   well argue that phonology should be excluded from a linguistic
   description because a grammar containing a phonological component
   is more complex than a grammar without one.

Because, as Langacker observes, the principal goal of generative grammar was to achieve the economy of description and thus to capture "significant linguistic generalizations," it was hoped that, by capturing these generalizations, a particular statement could be eliminated from the grammar in favor of a much smaller number of rules. However, this line of thought, which illustrates the rule/list fallacy, is misguided because, in Langacker's view (p. 41),

   one is forced to choose between rules and lists: the options are
   posed as rules alone vs. lists alone. If these are the only
   options, it can be argued that the rules must be chosen, for lists
   by themselves do not express generalizations. There is in reality a
   third choice, however, both rules and lists.

In what follows we shall demonstrate how a non-modular approach to language structure such as cognitive grammar captures generalizations without falling into the trap of the rule-list fallacy.

2. The continuum of linguistic units

In accordance with Langacker's theory of cognitive grammar, a linguistic expression of any size is claimed to have a bipolar structure made up of the semantic pole--[S] (symbolized by capital letters) and the phonological pole--[p] (small letters), as shown in (1) (cf. Langacker 2005):


The pairing of [S] and [p] presupposes a continuum of linguistic units , which we present, after Dirven and Verspoor (2004: 70; modified) as follows:


Types       simple word    compound        derivation
mor-        a bank; an     a bank          banker
phemes      account        account

Types of    individual-    specialized      more gener-
concepts    ized concept   concept, i.e.    alized or
                           hyperonym        abstract

Types       Inflection    word order
mor-        He banks      Does he
phemes      here          bank here?

Types of    highly        highest
concepts    abstract      abstract
            concept       concepts

The continuum of linguistic units thesis can best be illustrated by a Polish expression such as piikapodstotem 'the ball under the table', whose cognitive/semantic structure and the so-called elaborative relations, holding between the component structures at different levels of conceptual integration, are shown in (3) below (cf. Kardela 2000: 16):


Dotted lines are correspondences; the lines and all figures in bold are profiles, and the symbols tr and lm are salient substructures within so-called relational profiles. Solid arrows symbolize elaborations of more schematic structures by less schematic structures. At the lowest level of conceptual organization, the component structure [STOL] elaborates the maximally schematic structure of the [INST] case. At a higher level of conceptual integration, the composite structure [STOL-EM-INST] elaborates the structure of [POD]; the "highest order structure" [PILKA-POD-STOL-EM] is a direct result of the elaboration by [POD-STOL-EM] of the structure [PILKA].

What needs to be emphasized is the way the grammatical cases are treated by cognitive linguistics. According to cognitivists, cases (here: the Instrumental case) are claimed to have meanings in heir own right, forming a network of interrelated senses which are organized in terms of radial categories (for a discussion of radial categories, see, for example, Lakoff (1987) and Taylor (1989). Thus the preposition-governed Instrumental case expressing Location, which appears in phrases such as pitka pod stotem, is held to be a variant of the Instrumental case, the latter being defined by Janda (1993:181) as a case in the cognitive structure of which "an instrumental acts on an accusative in a setting." The meanings of the Instrumental case, including the commitative sense, found in the expression pitka pod stotem, can be presented as follows (Janda 1993):


Naturally, it is not only instrumental case but all other cases as well are held to form networks of interrelated senses. Consider, for instance the so-called Ethical Dative, one of the variants of the Free Dative as shown in (5), which appears in sentences such as (6):


(6) Tylko mi-DAT nie choruj!

Do not fall ill (for me/on my account)!

As noted by Janda (1993: 83), the use of the Ethical Dative is "largely subjective (pragmatic) [in that] it is a device employed by the speaker to capture the hearer's attention." What the speaker does in this case is "map the case relationship [by the above schema] onto the speech act domain, using the dative sphere to claim the existence of a relationship between the hearer and the narrated event. [...] the speaker projects this sort of a dative relationship onto his interlocutor in order to involve him in his narration" (ibid.). In order to see how "the speaker involves the hearer in his narration," we have to introduce the notion of so-called personal sphere, one of the cognitive principles held to structure the meanings of morphological cases in general and the dative senses in particular.

"Personal sphere" can be defined as a "mental sphere which consists of persons, objects, localisations and facts so closely connected with a given person, who is called the target person, that "any change which these objects, facts and persons undergo will directly or indirectly affect the target person" (cf. Dabrowska 1997: 17). Generally, as argued by Dabrowska, the use of the dative signals that one's own sphere--the private sphere, sphere of influence or sphere of potency--has been infringed. We can present, after Dabrowska (1997: 65; modified), the personal sphere as follows:


The importance of personal sphere as a theoretical construct can best be illustrated with the following examples involving the Polish dative (source: Dabrowska 1997: Chapter 2):

(8) a. Piotr-NOM rozbit samochod Roberta-GEN

b. Piotr-NOM rozbit samochodRobertowi- DAT.

'Peter crashed Robert's car'.

(9) Ola umyla Robertowi-DAT gtowe.

'Ola washed Robert's hair (lit. head).'

(10) Piottr zgasit Oli-DAT swiatto.

'Peter switched the light off on Ola/for Ola.'

(11) a. Matka zajrzata Jasiowi-DAT do szuflady

'Mother looked into Johny's drawer'

b. ?? Matka zajrzata Jasiowi do gazety.

'Mother looked into Johny's newspaper.'

(12) Gtos mu-DAT sic tamat (sphere of potency; lack of control over one's actions).

'He faltered (lit. His voice was breaking).'

(13) Towarzyszyta mu-DAT bardzo atrakcyjna brunetka (private sphere).

'He was accompanied by a very attractive brunette.'

(14) Tylko mi-DAT nie choruj (Ethical Dative and sphere of empathy).

'[Now be a good girl and] don't get ill.'

The message conveyed in (8a) and (8b) is that Peter crashed Robert's car; however there is a slight difference in meaning between the (a) and (b) examples: the utterance in which the NP Robert is expressed in the dative stresses the fact that Robert was affected by the crash to a greater extent, that, for example, he will not be able to use the car for some time. The difference between (9) and (10) on the other hand is that in (9) the degree of affectedness of the target person is more intensive than that in (10): the washing of Robert's hair affects Robert to a greater extent than the switching off the light does to Ola. The inappropriateness of (11b) stems from the fact that looking into somebody's newspaper, unlike looking into somebody's drawer, has no effect on the target person (here: Johny). (12) illustrates the lack of control over one's action. As noted by Dabrowska (ibid.: 37), "the loss of control [here] counts as an infringement of the sphere of potency, thus opening the way for a dative construal. The dative case thus replaces the nominative when the most prominent participant is unable to act." The example in (13) reports the breach of the target person's privacy, hence the use of the dative form mu 'to him'. Finally, we have (14), which is a typical example of the use of the Ethical Dative.

Given that the Ethical Dative is, as Dabrowska notes, closely connected with the sphere of empathy (which is "close" to the target person's body;" cf. (7)), it follows that the degree of "affectedness" of the target person in this case will be relatively stronger than in the case, say, when the dative evokes the sphere of influence. (2)

3. The semasiological and onomasiological perspectives on the form-meaning relation

Generally speaking, the meaning of a linguistic expression can be studied from two perspectives: from the semasiological point of view and from the onomasiological perspective. As noted by Grondelaers, Speelman and Geeraerts (2010: 989), who quote Baldinger (1980: 278), whereas "semasiology ... considers the isolated word and the way its meanings are manifested, [...] onomasiology looks at the designations of a particular concept, that is at a multiplicity of expressions which form a whole ([Baldinger] 1980: 278). The distinction between semasiology and onomasiology, the authors observe (2010: 989), "equals the distinction between meaning and naming: semasiology takes its starting point in the word as a form and charts the meanings that the word can occur with; onomasiology takes its starting point in a concept or referent and investigates by which different expressions the concept or referent can be designated or named."

"What is the purpose of onomasiological analysis?," Dirven and Verspoor (2004) ask. And they answer:

The main purpose of onomasiological analysis is to discover patterns in a group of conceptually related words, called a lexical field. A lexical field is a collection of words that all name things in the same conceptual domain. Thus words such as breakfast, lunch and brunch are related and belong to the same lexical field because they all name things in the domain of "meals". A conceptual domain, in its turn, can be defined as any coherent area of conceptualization such as meals, space, smell, colour, articles of dress, the human body, the rules of football, etc., etc. (Dirven and Verspoor 2004: 37).

One of the best known representatives of onomasiological studies is no doubt Milos Dokulil, whose theory of onomasiology has had an enormous impact on modern onomasiological research. The basic concept of Dokulil's theory is the notion of onomasiological category, a category which offers a means of structuring those parts of a given concept that are "pointed to" or "named" by the expressions used by the speaker. In Dokulil's theory, onomasiological categories possess a dual structure: an onomasiological base and an onomasiological mark. The onomasiological base is a collection of concepts and their functions which designate (or refer) to a class of objects or phenomena of which a given object or phenomenon to be named is part of, while the onomasiological mark is this part of linguistic unit which explicitly points to the (part of) of the concept to be named. In the case of taxi-driver, for instance, the onomasiological base is driver, because the concept of DRIVER is common to the whole conceptual 'grouping' of different kinds of drivers, e.g. truck-driver, locomotive driver, bus-driver, tram-driver, etc., while the concept's respective onomasiological marks are truck, locomotive, bus and tram. In contrast to the base, which is, as a rule, "simple", the mark can be either simple or complex. Thus whereas in the case of taxi-driver, taxi is a complex mark because it specifies the object of the action DRIVE (taxi-driver = 'sb. drives a taxi', in the case of driver, the ACTION ('sb. drives') is conceptualized with no reference to the object of the activity of driving.

In Dokulil's' theory all onomasiological structure is defined with respect to four basic types of conceptual categories: SUBSTANCE, ACTION, QUALITY, CIRCUMSTANCE, which form the onomasiological base, and in relation to the motive, i.e. "the determining element of mark". Thus the concept of the category SUBSTANCE, for instance, can be defined by its relation to the category ACTION (worker--work), QUALITY (anxiety--anxious) or CIRCUMSTANCE (cinema goer--sb goes to the (place called) cinema).) (For a succinct presentation of Dokulil's theory, as well as the whole onomasiological research, including his own, see Stekauer 2005.)

Now, because, as Langacker (1987: 11) notes, "cognitive grammar embraces the spirit of classic Saussurean diagrams [representing the linguistic sign--H.K]," one may reasonably expect that the cognitive theory should be able to account for the signifier-signified relation in a principled way. In particular, the theory should, in contrast to the Saussurean theory of linguistic sign, account for linguistic units extending far beyond morphemes and words, and thus--in view of the semasiology-onomasiology distinction--it should be able to provide a much richer account of the signifier-signified relation.

Perhaps the best exemplification of the "extended" signifier-signified relation is the postulation by cognitive grammar of the so-called compositional path, i.e., a path along which smaller linguistic units are assembled to form larger, composite linguistic units. The compositional path of pencil sharpener, for instance, looks as follows (Langacker 1988: 25):


The figure in (15) shows the way in which the phonological and semantic poles of categorial schemas (THING/X, PROCESS/Y, ER/er (schematic conceptualization for Instrument) and EN/en (schematic representation of "deadjectival process") are elaborated by the respective component structures: PENCIL/pencil-SHARP/sharp-EN/en-ER/er.

But what exactly is the nature of the [S]/[p] relation in composite structures such as (15)? Assuming as Langacker does, that the relations between the semantic and phonological poles of an expression involve composition--c, integration--i and symbolization--s, in the case of a composite expression like jar lid, for instance, the relations are as follows (Langacker 2008: 162):


The picture of the relations in (16) becomes much more complex when the semasiological and onomasiological perspectives on expressions' meanings are taken into account, that is, when an attempt is made to account for both the polysemy (semasiology) and the synonymy (onomasiology) of jar lid. Suppose, for instance, that the expression jar-lid is used (disrespectfully) in the sense of 'coffin lid' or in (the somewhat twisted) sense 'anti-civil rights policies (implemented by the government)', as in (17):

(17) The tight jar lid was loosened a bit by the communist regime so that the Polish audience could finally see Slawomir Mrozek's play Immigrants.

Seen from the semasiological and onomasiological perspectives, these two extended meanings of jar lid, i.e., [COFFIN LID] and [ANTI-CIVIL RIGHTS POLICIES (IMPLEMENTED BY GOVERNMENT)] and the "synonymous expressions" such as coffin lid and anti-civil rights policies, might take the shape of a "3-D schematic structure" as shown in (18):


Still, the figure in (18) does not do justice to the complexity of the semasio-onomasiological relations. (3) The table given below, from Dirven and Verspoor (2004: 41), illustrates the complex nature of these relations:


Conceptual        In semasiology (how senses of
relations         one word relate to each other)

1. hierarchy      generalizing  and specializing,
(top/ bottom)     e.g. school of artists vs. school
                  of economics
2. contiguity     metonymic extensions of senses
(close to sth.)   (school as
                  institution->lessons-> teaching
3. similarity     metaphorical    extensions of
(like sth.)       senses (win an argument)

Conceptual        In onomasiology (how concepts
relations         and words relate to each other

1. hierarchy      conceptual domain: Taxonomies
(top/ bottom)     (e.g. animal, dog, labrador) and
                  lexical fields: e.g. meals
2. contiguity     conceptual metonymy, e.g.
(close to sth.)   CONTAINER FOR

3. similarity     conceptual metaphors, e.g.
(like sth.)       ARGUMENT IS WAR

In what follows, we shall discuss, based on (19), the cognitive processes that, as we see them, are associated with either a semasiological or onomasiological perspective.

4. Metaphor, metonymy and conceptual blending in word formation

Consider first the network of interrelated senses, associated with the semasiological perspective, for the -er suffix in English, as given in Panther and Thornburg (2003: 297; henceforth PT).

(20) The network of interrelated senses of the -er suffix:

According to PT, the central sense associated with - er is 'professional human agent', which has a number of metaphoric and metonymic extensions, including 'human experiencer', 'human possessor', 'human like plants' (both possessing, through metaphorical extensions, agent-like properties), 'purpose location', 'instrument' (exhibiting agent-like properties), 'quasi-instruments (denoting 'articles of clothing worn by an agent when involved in a particular action', etc.

An example which illustrates fairly well the complexity of the semasiological relations is an expression such as hoofer 'professional vaudeville/chorus dancer'. According to PT, while the -er suffix is associated with the meaning 'professional human agent', the nominal base [HOOF] opens access, via metaphorical and metonymic mappings, to the sense 'professional activity'. Consider (PT: 289):


Still, as noted by PT, the sense creation in the case of hoofer is even more complex as the encircled part of the above diagram itself contains a more elaborate structure, which can be represented as follows (PT, 290):


The rounded boxes stand for the source and the target domain in the metaphorical relation involving the conceptual structure of hoof. The horizontal arrows symbolize correspondences between people and animals captured by the PEOPLE ARE ANIMALS metaphor. Within the source domain the concept HOOF, part of the body of ungulate animals, is elaborated and is linked, via the metonymic relation, to the trampling movement of these animals. This movement, in turn, metonymically evokes the expectation of noise produced on a hard surface. It is precisely these features of the source domain, metonymically evoked, PT note, that are metaphorically related to the target domain FOOT, providing in this way, together with the metonymic schema in (22), the structure to the entire concept of HOOFER.

Now, as stated in (19), metonymic relations are held to obtain not only in the case of semasiology, but in the case of onomasiology as well. The role of these two relations in this case is different, however. In contrast to the semasiology-based metaphor and metonymy, the metaphor and metonymy in the onomasiology-related word formation process structure this part of the concept which is named by the synonym used. This requires a comment.

It will be recalled that, when formulating the goals of onomasiological theory, Dirven and Verspoor made reference to the notion of "conceptual domain", defining it as "any coherent area of conceptualization such as meals, space, smell, colour, articles of dress, the human body, the rules of football, etc" (cf. the quotation above). It is precisely some portions of such a domain-- say, the cognitive domain 'meals'--that, as Dirven and Verspoor claim, are "named" by expressions such as, lunch, breakfast and brunch.

While one can hardly question the basic tenets of this analysis, a slight modification of the notion of 'cognitive domain' as used by the authors is called for. In particular, what Dirven and Verspoor call a 'cognitive domain' appears to correspond to what Langacker (1988b) calls a matrix domain, i.e. a cluster of domains. Indeed, because a 'cognitive domain of meals' or a 'cognitive domain of the human body' are complex concepts, it is more appropriate, it seems, to refer to such concepts as "matrix domains" or, as we will call them here--matrix concepts (MC). Thus, given a matrix concept of [WORK], the English suffix -er can be claimed to "name" (or: (en)code)) the "agentive part" of this MC; the suffixes -un and -able, found, for instance, in the expression unworkable, could be said to jointly "name" a "privative" part of the MC, say, [LACK OF POSSIBILITY OF BEING WORKED OUT]; and the noun phrase hard work could be seen as encoding this part of the MC which relates to the [QUALITY OF WORK].

Now, because "the part of the concept that is named by a given (synonymous) form" is structured in terms of (cognitive) metonymy (as stated in (19)), we have to define the term "metonymy" first. Following Janda (2011: 360), we define this term as "an inferential relationship between two concepts: a source concept [...] which provides mental access to a target concept in a given context" (cf. Radden 2009). This being the case, we assume, following Janda again, that (i) the source is associated with the source words on which the derivation is based, (ii) the context for the metonymic relationship is created by the affix, and (iii) the target is the concept which corresponds to the derived word.

In conjunction with this, consider now the following "naming functions" of the suffix Czech suffix -nik, discussed in Janda (2011: 379):

(23) The metonymic relations of the Czech suffix -nik

Source Target                 Source           Target

ABSTRACTION FOR ENTITY    sluzba 'service'   sluzebnik 'servant'
ACTION FOR AGENT          pracovat 'work'    pracovnik 'worker'
ACTION FOR LOCATION       chodit 'walk'      chodnik 'sidewalk'
CONTAINED FOR CONTAINER   caj 'tea'          cajnik 'teapot'
LOCATED FOR LOCATION      ryba 'fish'        rybnik 'fishpond'
MATERIAL FOR ENTITY       para 'steam'       parnik 'steamboat'
QUANTITY FOR ENTITY       pet 'five'         pettnik '5 crown piece'
MATERIAL FOR AGENT        zlaty 'gold'       zlatnik 'goldsmith'

Now, if, as Janda claims, "the context for the metonymic relationship is the affix" (p. 360), then we can take the affix to be precisely "this part of linguistic unit which, together with the word's stem, explicitly points to the (part of) of the concept to be named. " Thus, on this analysis, -nik in the derivative sluzebnik 'servant' can be said to be capable of pointing to this part of the Czech matrix concept [SLUZBA/SERVICE] which is structured by the ABSTRACTION FOR ENTITY metonymy; in the case of chodnlk 'sidewalk', -nik can be held to name this part of the matrix concept [CHODIT/WALK] which is structured by the ACTION FOR LOCATION metonymy; and, finally, -nik in zlatnik 'goldsmith', can be said to relate to this part of the matrix concept [ZLATY/GOLD] which is structured by the MATERIAL FOR AGENT metonymy.

Let us note in passing that although Janda does not address the semasiology- onomasiology distinction directly, she offers a critique of Milos Dokulil's theory, stating that (p.366)

   [In] some ways, [Dokulil's] model is parallel to the one I advance
   [...]. Dokulil presents a set of terms used to define the
   relationships between the "mark" (= source) and the base (=
   target), and he analyzes derived words in terms of "onomasiological
   types", which contain a semantic relationship, a word-class
   relationship, and an affix. However, Dokulil's set of terms is very
   small and very abstract, consisting of only four terms: "substance"
   (substantives), quality (adjectives), "action (verbs), and
   "circumstance" (adverbs). Dokulil thus conflates the semantic and
   the word-class aspects of word-formation, rather than trying to
   tease them apart. He claims that all relationships are
   bi-directional, but the resulting sixteen possible are illustrated
   by only a handful of examples.

Janda's critique of the alleged "small and abstract number" of Dokulil's "set of terms" most certainly does not apply to the impressive list of so-called conceptual categories involved in the onomasiological naming processes in Polish, proposed by Grzegorczykowa and Szymanek (2001); also Szymanek (1988). According to these authors, the set of conceptual categories includes:

(24) Conceptual categories (Grzegorczykowa and Szymanek 2001):

   PART-HOLE; SET-ELEMENT: dominikanin 'Dominican--member of a group
   (order) of the Dominicans'; QUANTITY, SIZE, INTENSITY: stolik
   'small table'; EMOTIONS AND EVALUATIONS: chudziutki '(pitifully)
   slim/lean'; PROVENANCE, BELONGING: lisia jama 'a fox earth';
   SUBSTANCE: lniana suknia 'linen dress'; SEX, KINSHIP: actorka
   'actress', burmistrzowna 'mayor's daughter'; PERSONALITY: mysliciel
   'thinker'; zabojca 'killer'; COMPARISON: mrowiskowiec 'a building
   with many apartments (resembling an ant hill)'; OPPOSITION:
   niesprawiedliwy 'unjust'; RESULTATIVITY: uspolecznic 'to
   socialize', 'to nationalize'; TIME (beginning and end): zakochac
   sic 'fall in love'; przekwitnqc 'shed blossom'; SPACE, MOVEMENT,
   DIRECTION: pod stolem 'under the table', odbiec 'run away';
   POSSIBILITY, FACTIVITY, NECESSITY: karalny 'punishable'; poznawalny

Turning now to the metaphor-related onomasiological aspect of word formation as stated in (19), note first that, according to cognitive linguistics, we use one domain of the metaphor, the so- called source domain, to structure another domain of the metaphor, the so-called target domain (cf. Lakoff and Johnson 1980, Lakoff 1987, Johnson 1987, Kovecses 1986). In the case of the LOVE IS A JOURNEY metaphor, for instance, we structure the concept of LOVE (target domain) in terms of the concept JOURNEY (source domain), and in the case of ANGER IS HEAT OF A FLUID IN A CONTAINER, we structure the concept of ANGER in terms of the concept of HOT FLUID (IN A CONTANER). But on what grounds can we really postulate the existence of such cognitive metaphors? According to Lakoff and Johnson (1980), the evidence for such metaphors comes from a huge number of expressions we find in every day language. Thus, in the case of LOVE we have expressions such as our marriage is on the rocks, look how far we have gone, etc., which appear to point to the "ups and downs" of love relationships (just as they point to the "twists and turns" of a journey) and in the case of ANGER, one has expressions such as explode, boil with anger, etc., which "name" the "explosive character" of this emotion. Seen from the onomasiological point of view, the aforementioned expressions should be seen as naming this part of the concept of ANGER which structures its "explosive character", i.e., in terms of the HOT FLUID (IN A CONTANER) metaphor. (4)

Finally, let us take a look at the blending process, which appears to be primarily associated with the onomasiological perspective. In conjunction with this, consider once again expressions such as jar lid and pencil sharpener. These expressions represent rather simple cases of concatenative morphology, where each morpheme exhibits an [S]-[p] symmetry, that is, where one to one correspondence obtains between the expressions' semantic and phonological poles. Yet, it is obvious that many morphological formations do not exhibit this kind of symmetry. A case in point are non-concatenative formations such as blends. In the case of motel, for example, the semantic pole of this expression consists of two units: [MOTOR] and [HOTEL], while its phonological pole, of one unit only as motel is a monomorphemic word. (5)

Still, more complex cases of blends are represented by expressions such as glitterati and swooshtica. Figure (25) represents the conceptual integration (and composition) of two concepts (and meanings), [GLITTER] and [LITTERATI] (Kemmer 2003: 84), while the figure in (8) shows what happens at the phonological pole of swooshtica, when two morphemes swoosh and swastika are integrated (Kemmer 2003: 82):

(25) Glitterati: the conceptual integration process

(26) Swooshtica: the phonological "overlap"

Figures (25 and (26) show the essential properties of the blends. Figure (25) represents the conceptual integration of two mental spaces associated with the concept (and the word) 'glitterati', i.e., the mental space relating of glitter and the mental space of litterati, (cf. Kemmer, 84); figure (26), in turn, shows the integration of segments at the phonological pole of the blend swooshtica: swoosh and swastika (Kemmer, 82). Notice also that in the case of the conceptual integration and in the case of "phonological integration" the resultant blends contain elements that are absent in either of the input spaces. In the case of glitterati, the blend contains such elements as HOLLYWOOD, ENTERTAINMENT, SHOW BUSINESS (but lacks now LITERARY PEOPLE, KNOWLEDGE). In the case of swooshtica, we have a phonological overlap: a number of segments appearing initially in swoosh and swastika are now gone; what is new are the phonological relations established between the sequence of the vowels and the cluster sw, the relations that are only partly based on syllabic segments.

5. Cognitive syntax: The construal of events

Since in Ronald Langacker's model of cognitive grammar linguistic units are claimed to consist of the semantic and phonological poles, with the symbolic relations holding between them, the obvious question to be asked is: Where is syntax in cognitive grammar?

From our discussion it should be apparent by now that cognitive linguistics embraces a much broader view of syntax than the generative theory does. In contrast to the generative grammar's treatment of syntax, the role of syntax in cognitive linguistics is to combine entire linguistic units, with both their phonological and semantic/cognitive poles. In what follows we take a look at the "cognitive syntax" of the event structure of Polish clauses involving the reflexive pronoun sic/siebie.

Generally speaking, an event can be viewed from two perspectives: from the energy chain perspective (or force dynamics perspective) and from the absolute (or zero construal) standpoint. Under the force dynamics construal, an event is held to involve the flow of energy which is transmitted from one participant to another (Langacker 1991b: 283):


The initial element of the chain, which is called the head of the chain, transmits energy to the second element in the chain, the second element imparts this energy to the third until the last element of the chain, the tail, is arrived at. The energy chain, presented in (27), gives rise to the so-called canonical event model, which underlies the prototypical transitive construction and which, as Langacker (1991b: 285, 286) puts it, represents "the normal observation of a prototypical action":


The canonical event model includes elements which provide specifications for semantic roles such as agent, patient, instrument, experiencer, etc. (6)

The energy chain plays a fundamental role in the characterization of grammatical categories such as subject and object. Depending on which part of the chain is profiled, i.e. which part is "made salient", the subject can be seen to code an agent, a patient or an instrument. Consider (Langacker 1991b: 333; also Ungerer and Schmid 1996: 176)


Notice that when the whole chain is profiled, then the agent becomes a subject and the patient, an object, as in (29a). When the instrument and patient plus the flow of energy between them are profiled, then the instrument is a subject, while the patient becomes the object (cf. 29b). Finally, when the last part of the energy chain, i.e. the patient is profiled, then the patient becomes the subject, as in (29c).

As already mentioned, the canonical event model, given in (28), represents the prototypical transitive construction: the participant, who is typically an agent, initiates the energy which is transmitted onto the Patient. However, there exist constructions which depart from their transitive prototype in that they form a hierarchical organization in which each instance of such departure represents a "less transitive" type. The departures from the prototype, which are marked, inter alia, by the presence of a reflexive, form a cline (cf. Maldonado 1992: 63):

(30) The transitivity hierarchy

transitive > reflexive > oblique intransitive > middle > intransitive absolute The hierarchy in (30) can be exemplified by the following examples (cf. Kardela 2000: 183):

(31) Wszyscy uczniowie przeczytali tc ksiazkc. (transitive)

All students have read this book.

(32) (Ja) zapamie/talem siebie jako malego chlopca skorego do bojki. (reflexive)

I remembered myself as a boy ready to fight.

(33) Piotr dlugo zastanawial sic nad problemem przeludnienia. (oblique intransitive)

Peter reflected on the problem of overpopulation for a long time.

(34) Ksiazki o sredniowieczu dobrze sic sprzedaja (middle)

Books on the Middle Ages sell well.

(35) Dlugo myslalem zanim napisalem pierwsze zdanie. (absolute)

I reflected a lot before writing the first sentence.

According to this hierarchy, the most prototypical transitive construction is (31), since the energy flows from the agent, which is coded as a subject uczniowie, to the patient, which is coded by the direct object, ksiqzkc. A less prototypical construction is (32), in which one participant is coded by both the subject, ja 'I', and the reflexive siebie 'myself. Finally, the least prototypical is (34), in which only one participant appears. The absolute construal construction in (35) ends the hierarchy; it codes the scene in the "most neutral terms" and is a point of departure for the alternative way of viewing an event, namely, through the prism of the absolute construal of events.

Consider now the following examples:

(36)a. Kiedy leje jak z cebra dzieci bawia sie w domu.

When it pours with rain, the children play indoors.

b. * Kiedy sic rozleje jak z cebra dzieci bcda bawic sic w domu.

(37) Mleko sie rozlalo po kuchence.

The milk spilled all over the cooker.

(36a) exemplifies the absolute construal of events: the scene of raining is construed as a normal weather phenomenon, with no reference as to whether the rainfall was expected or not; (36a) thus can be seen as providing the most "neutral" description of the event of raining. The ungrammaticality of (36b) stems precisely from the fact that, contrary to expectations, natural static forces of nature such as rainfall are portrayed as gathering "dynamicity". In contrast, it is perfectly natural to view (37) as involving an element of dynamicity, since the event of the milk spilling creates a sense of unexpectedness. What signals this dynamicity is the reflexive sic, as the following contrast documents (cf. Kardela 2003: 683):

(38) * a. Nagle padalo-Imperf.

Suddenly it rained.

b. Nagle sic rozpadalo-Perf.

Suddenly it (started to) rain(ed).

(38a) is an equivalent of (37a), the ungrammaticality of which stems from the fact that the absolute construal is "unnaturally" dynamicised by the presence of the adverb nagle "suddenly". In contrast, the adverb nagle is perfectly legitimate in sentence (38b) because it portrays the suddenness of the rainfall.

In order to account for the contrast in (38a-b), we have to introduce the notion of upstream flow of energy. Thus note that whereas in the energy chain, presented in (28), the energy flows "down-stream", from the agent to the patient, the energy in the absolute construal flows "up-stream". This is so because the causer which "dynamicises" the event comes "from outside". One way of accounting for this process is to assume that the causation involved here is determined by the principle of A/D functional layering. This requires a comment.

In Langacker's theory of cognitive grammar, the combination of any two linguistic units which stand in the so-called valence relationship, is subject to A/D asymmetry, where one of these units is autonomous, while the other is dependent. The notion of dependence is defined by Langacker as follows:

(39) Dependence (Langacker 1987: 300)

One structure, D, is dependent on the other, A, to the extent that A constitutes an elaboration of a salient substructure of D.

David Tuggy (1992: 242) explains:

   [The A/D parameter] can be understood as the extent to which one
   structure can be conceived of independently of its syntagmatically
   linked partner. An autonomous structure does not need its partner
   in order to be a complete concept, whereas a dependent structure is
   incomplete, and its partner supplies what is lacking to complete

A/D asymmetry is one of the basic cognitive principles that organize all of linguistic structure. In accordance with this principle, in the stem-affix combination, for instance, the stems are treated as autonomous, while affixes, as dependent elements in that they "need a partner to form a complete concept." As we will show in a moment, the A/D principle applies not only to morphological structure (cf. Kardela 2000), but also, in the case of the absolute construal of events, it applies to syntax and semantics as well. Before we go on though, it is necessary to briefly digress on the nature of semantic relations involving this construal.

In Langacker (1991a, 1991b) a distinction is made between thematic relations and thematic relationships. Whereas the former term is used to cover any semantic role such as agent, patient, instrument, etc., the latter refers to conceptually autonomous event components and thematic roles which instantiate these relationships, excluding the roles of agent or instrument. The thematic roles which enter into thematic relationships can be represented as follows (Langacker 1991b: 288):


Given the distinction between thematic relations on the one hand and thematic relationships (and thematic roles) on the other, an event can, as already mentioned, be looked upon from two perspectives: from the force-dynamic construal, represented by the flow-of-energy chain (cf. (27), (28) and (29)), and from the point of development of the action itself, involving the absolute construal. In the latter case one starts with the theme itself, the "minimal action structure," and by functionally elaborating the successive layers of such a relationship (i.e. by making reference to causation and energy flow), one can arrive at the full thematic relationship. Specifically, starting with the autonomous core of action and adding a conceptually dependent layer of causation involving a participant which supplies energy, we can expand in this way the description of the event, from the absolute autonomous construal to a fully fledged force- dynamics dependent structure. The A/D asymmetry based on the functional layering so defined can be represented by the following formula (Langacker 1991b: 292):

(41) (T) > (E1(T)) > (E2(E1(T))) > (E3(E2(E1(T))))) > (E4(E3(E2(E1(T)))))))

T represents a thematic relationship, i.e. a role such as theme (which can be represented by the thematic role of zero, mover, patient, experiencer), and E which stands for the energy responsible for the process. (8)

Consider now the following sentences:

(42) a. The dry moss caught fire.

b. A piece of broken glass set the dry moss on fire.

c. Mark used a piece of broken glass to set fire to the dry moss.

d. Peter persuaded Mark to set fire to the dry moss with a piece of broken glass.

An event whose functional structure is elaborated to the greatest degree (i.e. E4(E3(E2 (E1(T))))) is exemplified by (42d) and (42c), while an event described in absolute (or zero) terms (which involves only (T)), is given by (42a). By adding successive layers of causation to the event portrayed as the absolute construal (cf. (42a)), the structures of the events involved become more elaborate which, as already remarked, enables one to describe the events in terms of force dynamics. One might say that structures such as (42c) and (42d) which are arrived at in this way (i.e. by "ascending"--via causation--the energetic chain) meet those "descending" the detransitivization scale (see the examples in (31) through (35).

With this in mind, we can now return to Polish data. Consider now the following dynamicity hierarchy for Polish middles (cf. Kardela 2000: 197)

(43) The dynamicity hierarchy for Polish middles

(i) no energy input (or: zero) > (ii) no energy control > (iii) energy control > (iv) counter-to expectation energy impact

(44) i) Jan drzemal 'John was taking a nap' > (ii) Jan zdrzemnal sic 'John dozed off; Jan poslizgnal sic na mokrej podlodze i upadl 'John slipped on the wet floor and fell down' > (iii) Jan przeszedl sic po Starym Miescie wstcpujac do wspanialych kosciolow 'John took a walk round the Old Town visiting the superb churches (lit. going into the superb churches); Jan wslizgnal sic do pokoju 'John sneaked into the room' > (iv) Wczoraj Jan przeszedl samego siebie 'Yesterday John surpassed himself [lit. John went beyond himself].

(44(i)) represents cases of an absolute construal, with no energy input. The activity of John's taking a nap is described without taking into account all the circumstances accompanying this activity. In (ii) John does not have control over his activities: he is dozing off or slipping on the wet floor regardless of his will. (44(iii)) involves construals which suggest some energy control: John willfully takes a walk round the city, visiting the churches. Finally, in (44(iv)), which involves the sequence of the emphatic sam and the heavy reflexive siebie, the activity depicted leads to a counter-to-expectation change: (44(v)) could, for instance, be said of a person (here John) who, even to his own surprise, performed very well at the concert, playing the violin.

Now, the obvious question to ask is: Why do we need a dual perspective on event structure? One of the reasons has to do with the appearance of the reflexive sic in the context of causality (see Grzegorczykowa 1996, for a discussion of causation in Polish involving the reflexive sic). We have already seen that a reflexive pronoun in Polish (as well as in Slavic and Romance languages) is a marker of the deagentivisation process, where a construction containing a reflexive loses its transitive character (cf. (31) through (35)) However, a reflexive in Polish (and in many other languages) can have an opposite function: it can be a marker of the causation process, which involves the absolute construal of events and the upstream flow of energy.

Consider the following examples involving the "heavy" reflexive sobie and the "light" reflexive sic (cf. Kardela 2007: 164-165):

(45) a. Marysia ufarbowala sobie wlosy na rozowo.

Mary has dyed her hair pink.

b. Marysia sama sobie ufarbowala wlosy na rozowo.

Mary has dyed her hair pink all by herself.

c. Marysia kazala sobie ufarbowac wlosy na rozowo.

Mary had her hair dyed pink.

(46) a. Zakrcc kurek--woda sic przelewa.

Turn off the tap--the water is overflowing.

b. Zakrcc kurek--wanna sic przelewa!

Turn off the tap--the bathtub is overflowing!

c. Zakrcc kurek--nie pozwol wodzie przelewac sic przez wierzch wanny!

Turn off the tap--Do not let the water flow over the rim of the tub!

(45a) is ambiguous, it can either mean (45b), i.e. that Mary did the dying herself without going to a hairdresser's, or (45c), in which case the hairdresser did the actual dying for Mary. Observe now that in the first case we have an energetic chain construal, where the reflexive sobie marks the departure of the transitive construction from its prototype. The reflexive here functions as a de-agentivizer (detransitivizer). On the second reading, (45a) must be treated as a causative construction, with the hairdresser being the causer of the dying. Here the reflexive functions as a causitivizer. It is obvious then that these two ways of looking at the event of dying are not equivalent: in (45b) Marysia is an agent and still performs the activity, while in (45b) the causer of this activity is the hairdresser, not Marysia.

Turning to (46), observe that (46a) has an energetic construal: woda 'the water' is a patient/theme. Because only this role is profiled here, woda is coded as the subject of the sentence (cf. (29b). The addition of sic in (46b) changes the whole configuration: the verb becomes "transitivized" and wanna 'the tub', not woda, becomes its subject. More importantly, this means that (46b) could never be derived via the energy chain construal because on this construal, only an agent or instrument are held to belong to the source domain and thus induce changes in the patient. Finally, (46c) is a case of a typical causative construction with a causative verbpozwolic (przelewac sic) 'let (it overflow)'.

Following Maldonado's (1993) analysis of dynamic construals in Spanish, we would like to claim that the function of sic in constructions such as wanna sic przelewa 'the bathtub overflows' is to impart dynamicity and "unexpectedness" to the absolute construal of a scene. The event thus described acquires a quality of accidentality and, as Maldonado puts, it "goes counter to the expected conceptualization." (See the discussion in Maldonado (1993: 551) of examples such as El tejado se llovio 'The ceiling got rained through' [lit. The ceiling rained], La banera se salio 'Watter dripped out of the bathtub [lit. The bathtub went out].)

To conclude, the upstream flow of energy (cf. (41), (42), (43) (44)) correlates with the appearance of the reflexive clitic se/sic, which is a reflection of the dynamicity process. The process starts with absolute construal constructions such as (35) or (44(i)), through a middle construction such as (34) and gathers in strength "the higher we get" on the dynamicity hierarchy. Note again that the greatest degree of dynamicisation in (44) display the Polish middles involving "the counter-to-expectation energy impact". The unexpectedness of the event in Jan przeszedl sam siebie 'John surprised him himself [lit. John himself went beyond himself], for instance, is marked by the presence of two reflexive forms: the emphatic sam 'all by himself and the reflexive siebie (9)

6. Conclusion

If one were to propose, appropriately enough in a cognitive context, a metaphor which could aptly describe a non-modular approach to linguistic structure, a suitable metaphor in this case would no doubt be the metaphor of 'cake slicing'. That is, in a non-modular approach, linguistic structure is expected to be cross-cut so that each, even the smallest meaningful linguistic element, becomes a well-structured linguistic unit which is held to involve all "levels" of conceptual organization, including the unit's phonological structure, its morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. This can be envisaged, in the form of a 3-D structure, as follows (cf.(18)):

(47) The 3-D schematic structure of a linguistic continuum

Naturally, this "3-D cross-cut" of the form-meaning gestalt is, as we hope to have shown, a well- organized structure. Underlying the form-meaning relation in this gestalt are cognitive processes and principles including conceptual integration, metaphor, metonymy, A/D asymmetry, personal sphere as well as the deagentivization and dynamicization processes associated with the construal of events.


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(1) Other models of grammar developed in the cognitive linguistics paradigm include Adele Goldberg's (1995, 2006) construction grammar, the theory of conceptual metaphor (cf. Lakoff and Johnson 1980; Johnson 1987, Lakoff 1987, Lakoff and Johnson 1999) and the theory of mental spaces and conceptual integration (cf. Fauconnier 1991, Fauconnier 1997; Fauconnier and Turner 2002). Cognitive in spirit is also Ray Jackendoffs model of grammar, developed in the mainstream linguistics paradigm (cf. Jackendoff 1983, 1987, 1990, 2002).

(2) As noted by Dabrowska (1997: 60):

The emphatic use of the dative pronoun is possible only when the relationship between the nominative and the dative participant is so close that the dative participant shares all the emotions of the nominative participant. The archetype of this kind of relationship is that between a mother and her young child; the relationship between lovers would also be a good example. The close emotional link motivates the use of the dative case, since the dative participant is seen as affected by anything that happens to the nominative participant: the latter is in the former's sphere of empathy, another subregion of the personal sphere. The main difference between this use of the dative case and lexically governed and non-pronominal free datives is that in this case, information about inclusion in the personal sphere is not stated explicitly in the sentence, but must be deduced from the context.

(3) The semasio-onomasiological relations are particularly complex when identical modifying expressions (or identical marks in the sense of Dokulil) are used by the speaker. A case in point is a slang expression such as jar head, which is used to denote a Marines soldier. Although at first glance jar lid and jar head seem to have nothing in common, as jar lid denotes part of the concept of 'jar' while jar head is an expression which relates metonymically, via the concept of 'head', to the concept of 'soldier', still, from the point of view of mental lexicon and the information processing mechanism, the use of the modifier jar can be crucial in retrieving from the mental lexicon both the meaning of jar head and the meaning of jar lid. The modifier jar can also play an important role in the acquisition of the two expressions (and concepts) by a child or a learner of English as a foreign language.

(4) Note that, as things stand now, the idea of onomasiology as a theory accounting for the relations between synonymous expressions, which name (parts of) concepts, must be modified to include such multifarious expressions as (in the case of 'anger') foam at the mouth, sth begins to get to sb., wrestle with anger, fly off the handle, blue in the face, do a slow burn, etc. (Kovecses 1986: 11). It is precisely for this reason--because of its highly unconstrained character (where, effectively, any expression can be associated with a given conceptual metaphor)--that the theory of conceptual metaphor as proposed by Lakoff, Johnson and Kovecses, has been subject to increasing criticism (see, for example, Strugielska 2012).

(5) In fact, similar "mismatches" between the semantic and the phonological poles obtain in a great number many other cases, including, for instance, the irregular past tense verb form brought, as contrasted with the regular form worked, and, say, the plural nominal form geese, as contrasted with the regular plural form places. In the case of brought and worked we have the respective structures [[BRING][PAST]]/[brought] and [[WORK][PAST]]/[[work][ed]], while in the case of geese and places, the structures are [[GOOSE][PL]/[geese]] and [[PLACE][PL]/[place][iz]], respectively.

(6) In contradistinction to traditional approaches, however, these roles, called by Langacker "role archetypes", are treated not as linguistic roles but as pre-linguistic conceptualisations. Thus, the archetypal agent is a person who volitionally "initiates physical activity" as a result of physical contact in the transfer of energy to an external object. The archetypal patient "absorbs" the energy and undergoes a change of state (represented as a wavy arrow in (28)). The instrument is a physical object which is manipulated by the agent and serves as the "intermediary" in the transmission of energy. The experiencer is a person who is engaged in mental activity, and the mover (or theme) is an entity which changes its location.

(7) The same contrast: lack of energy vs. suddenness/dynamicity of event, signaled by a reflexive, is displayed by Spanish data. Consider the following examples from Maldonaldo (1992: 537; also quoted in Kardela 2003: 683):

(i) a. No quiero desayunar ahora, prefiero esperar a que Valeria se despierte.

I don't want to have breakfast now. I would rather wait until Valeria wakes up.

b. Me (*0) desperte a media noche y ya no me (*0) pude dormir.

I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn't go back to sleep.

(ii) No (*me) pude dormir durante una semana.

I couldn't sleep for a week.

Notice that the lack of the reflexive me in (i) b)) leads to ungrammaticality as it is precisely the presence of the reflexive me here that designates (or profiles) the change of state: from sleep to waking up. In contrast, in (ii), the presence of the reflexive is illegitimate because sleeping is a static event, stretching over a week. What this means is that the Spanish reflexive particle se, just as the Polish particle sic, reflects the dynamic character of the event construal.

(8) The A/D asymmetry involved in this layering can best be captured by quoting from Langacker (1991b: 292):

Thus, if T represents a thematic relationship, and E the input of energy responsible for the occurrence of a process, the progressive assembly of the complex event conception in (a) The ice cracked; (b) A rock cracked the ice; (c) A waiter cracked the ice with a rock; (d) The manager made a waiter crack the ice with a rock; (e) The owner had the manager make a waiter crack the ice with a rock (see also the examples in (17)--H.K.], can be represented as follows: (T) > (E1(T)) > (E2(E1(T))) > E3(E2(E1(T)))) > (E4(E3(E2(E1(T))))). The brackets indicate A/D organization, but if one ignores them and reads each formula linearly, it is equivalent to an action chain (the initial formula, T, represents the degenerate case of an action chain with a tail but no head.

(9) A similar situation holds in Spanish. Consider the following examples (Nishida 1994: 442; also quoted in Kardela 2003:688)

a. ME pase un dia entero viendo la tele (preferred)

b. --pase un dia entero viendo la tele.

I spent one entire day watching TV.

As noted by Nishida, native speakers of Spanish strongly prefer sentences with se over those without the reflexive se. This is so, Nishida claims, because they wish to "highlight the fact that the totality of an object is involved in the situation [...] or that the event was completed" (1994: 442). (The reason for this is that perfective forms, accompanied here by the reflexive se, denote a completion of the event.) By marking "the totality of an object involved in the situation," the perfective form of the verb plus the clitic sie/se, play a fundamental role in the causation process involving the absolute construal of events.

Henryk Kardela

Maria Curie-Sklodowska University

Nowa Humanistyka

20-031 Lublin

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Author:Kardela, Henryk
Publication:SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics
Date:Jun 1, 2014
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