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Cognitive Linguistics

An Introduction

Vyvyan Evans, Melanie Green

eBook (PDF) i

An authoritative general introduction to cognitive linguistics, this book provides up-to-date coverage of all areas of the field and sets in context recent developments within cognitive semantics (including primary metaphors, conceptual blending and Principled Polysemy), and cognitive approaches to grammar (including Radical Construction Grammar and Embodied Construction Grammar). While all topics are introduced in terms accessible to both undergraduate and postgraduate students, this work is sufficiently comprehensive and detailed to serve as a reference work for scholars from linguistics and neighbouring disciplines who wish to gain a better understanding of cognitive linguistics. The book is divided into three parts (The cognitive linguistics enterprise; Cognitive semantics; and Cognitive approaches to grammar), and is therefore suitable for a range of different course types, both in terms of length and level, as well as in terms of focus. In addition to defining the field, the text also includes appropriate critical evaluation. Complementary and potentially competing approaches are explored both within the cognitive approach and beyond it. In particular, cognitive linguistics is compared and contrasted with formal approaches including Generative Grammar, formal approaches to semantics, and Relevance Theory.

Key Features:

  • Exercises at the end of each chapter
  • Annotated reading list at the end of each chapter
  • Lively and accessible presentation
  • Full bibliography
  • Contains 200 diagrammatic illustrations


1. What does it Mean to Know a Language?
2. The Nature of Cognitive Linguistics: Assumptions and Commitments
3. Universals and Variation in Language, Thought and Experience
4. Language in Use: Grammar, Language Change and Acquisition
5. What is Cognitive Semantics?
6. Embodiment and Conceptual Structure
7. The Encyclopaedic View of Meaning
8. Categorisation and Idealised Cognitive Models
9. Metaphor and Metonymy
10. Word Meaning and Radial Categories
11. Meaning Construction and Mental Spaces
12. Conceptual Blending
13. Cognitive Semantics in Context
14. What is a Cognitive Approach to Grammar?
15. The Conceptual Basis of Grammar
16. Cognitive Grammar: Word Classes
17. Cognitive Grammar: Constructions
18. Cognitive Grammar: Grounding the Clause
19. Motivating a Construction Grammar
20. The Architecture of Construction Grammars
21. Grammaticalisation
22. Cognitive Approaches to Grammar in Context
23. Assessing the Cognitive Linguistics Enterprise.

About the Author

Vyvyan Evans is Chair in Linguistics, University of Bangor.

Melanie Green is Lecturer in Linguistics, School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences, University of Sussex


An extremely valuable introduction to the increasing field of cognitive linguistics. The reader is made familiar with the basic principles that underlie the cognitive enterprise and with the vast range of approaches within this field.
- Constructions
I whole-heartedly congratulate Evans & Green for their laborious work and, accordingly, recommend it to be used as a textbook … indispensable reading
This massive yet reasonably priced book provides a very useful guide to major parts of the 'cognitive' strand of linguistics and I have no doubt that every cognitive linguist will want it as a reference book.
- Times Higher Education Supplement
The book offers a thorough, well-organized, clearly-written and engaging overview of cognitive linguistics which makes it suitable to serve as a textbook or as a reference tool.
- International Cognitive Linguistics Association Website
This book provides a clear, careful and comprehensive introduction to what the authors call the ‘cognitive linguistics enterprise’, including cognitive semantics and cognitive grammar, synchronic and diachronic approaches, linguistic and socio-cultural perspectives, universal and language specific matters, older topics such as prototype theory, newer ones, such as blending and much more. The approach adopted is problem oriented rather than theory oriented. This means that cognitive, formal and functional approaches are not pitted against each other but are instead pitted against problems that have to be solved. This approach will draw readers into a learning process that will keep them interested in cognitive linguistics well beyond this book.
- Dr Brigitte Nerlich, University of Nottingham
Its breadth is unparalleled; the incorporation of exercises is a definite strength as well
- Cognitive Linguistics

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