Review of Cognitive Linguistics and Second - [email protected]

Alicia Charles | Download | HTML Embed
  • May 3, 2016
  • Views: 9
  • Page(s): 5
  • Size: 164.60 kB
  • Report



1 Chang,H.(2016)./CognitiveLinguisticsandSecondLanguageLearning ReviewofCognitiveLinguisticsandSecondLanguage Learning:TheoreticalBasicsandExperimentalEvidence ReviewerHeesunChang TheUniversityofGeorgia,Athens,GA Tyler,A.(2012).Cognitivelinguisticsandsecondlanguagelearning: Theoreticalbasicsandexperimentalevidence.NewYork: Routledge. ISBN:9780415802505 Pages:252 JournalofLanguageandLiteracyEducationVol.12Issue1Spring2016

2 Chang,H.(2016)./CognitiveLinguisticsandSecondLanguageLearning Andrea Tylers book, Cognitive Linguistics and environment. According to this approach, being Second Language Learning, provides a clear usage-based,languageisalwayscontextdependent introduction to theoretical basics of cognitive and thus a speakers choice of particular linguistic linguistics (CL) and the pedagogical application of form is largely determined by the context and the CL to second language (L2) education. The book speakers perception or conceptualization. For reflectstheauthorsendeavortobridgeCLwithL2 instance, the seemingly synonymous sentences learning, presenting experimental evidence of the Jerry is sending George a sweater and Jerry is effectivenessofCLinEnglishlanguageinstruction, sending a sweater to George, in fact connote and is partitioned into two parts. Part 1, the first different perceptions of the same reality, with the twochapters,comprisingoftheintroductionofthe emphasis on George in the former and on foundations of CL tuned toward second language sweaterinthelatter. learning and teaching, entitled The Basics of Cognitive Linguistics, is followed by Part 2, Next, the author elaborates on the relationship ApplyingCognitiveLinguistics.Thesecondhalfof between human language and cognition, thistextconsistsofChapters3to7,withChapters introducing important CL tenets such as 3,4,5,and6discussingtheapplicationofCLtoL2 embodiment, metaphors, and categorization. learning and its pedagogical effectiveness, and Drawing on several examples, the chapter Chapter 7 fomenting future directions of CL elaborates how language manifests our cognition applicationandresearch. and perceptual system which have been formed through our bodily experience. Aspects of first Chapter 1 provides an overview of the significance language learning are discussed from a CL of the CL approach to language in contrast to perspective, followed by the discussion of the traditional approaches. Tyler critiques the applicationofCLtoL2learning. traditional view of language, which sees language as merely a set of rules that are context Chapter3reviewsseveralstudiesthatdescribehow independent and are isolated from a cognitive the five CL tenets introduced in Chapter 2 process and conceptual system; from a traditional construal, metaphor, categorization, embodiment, perspective, language involves many rules that are and the usage-based nature of language benefit largely arbitrary and idiosyncratic. When it comes andinfluencesecondlanguagelearning.Eachtenet tolanguageeducation,formisemphasizedmoreso isbrieflyexplicatedagain,followedbyanumberof than underlying conceptual meaning, whereby studies illustrating each tenet. The studies suggest learners need to rely heavily on memorizing many that the CL tenets provide a better account for rulesofexception.Incontrast,aCLapproachviews many aspects of the target language and its language in a radically different way. It sees patterns, and therefore allow L2 learners a deeper languageasreflectionofembodiedmeaning,which understanding of the language structures. Then, derives from our cognitive processes and our Tyler provides several studies on cross-linguistic physical and socio-cultural interactions with the influences and ends the chapter with discussing world. From a CL perspective, there are how a different conceptual system of L1 influences indispensableconnectionsbetweenthestructureof orinterfereswithL2learning,andhowCLcanoffer language and the socio-physical environment in deeper insights into research on cross-linguistic which we live, and the form of language is not influence. constructed isolated from meaning. Briefly InChapters4to6,Tylerfocusesontheapplication outlining a CL perspective on issues of L2 of CL to three areas of English language learning, education, the author emphasizes the benefits and whichhavebeenrecognizedassomeofthebiggest necessitiesofCLparadigmsinL2education. challenges that English language learners face Chapter 2 expands on the theoretical foundations modals, prepositions, and sentence structure. Each of CL relevant to the discussion and analysis of chapter involves CL-based linguistic analysis of language structures dealt with in the rest of the modals, prepositions, and sentence structure book. Tyler begins with emphasizing the central respectively, followed by experimental evidence place of meaning in a CL approach to language, indicating the effectiveness of applied CL on these introducing the concept of embodied meaning threenotoriousareasinL2education. which arises from the ways we interact with the 151

3 JournalofLanguageandLiteracyEducationVol.12Issue1Spring2016 The focus of Chapter 4 is on English modals. For example, the preposition to in the sentence Pointing out the difficulty of their mastery, Tyler Sofieworkedtothelimitsofherabilitiesandtoin contrasts the CL-based account and traditional Harry ran to home base are not independent accountsofmodalverbs(e.g.,can,could,will,shall, separate words; instead, the two uses are in fact andmight).Onereasonforthedifficultymastering closely related to each other in a motivated way. modalsisthattheprecisedefinitionswhichcapture The author notes that diverse figurative senses the nuances of delicate modal meaning have been extends from the central spatial meaning of a absent. Moreover, it is noted that almost every preposition, based on the general cognitive English modal possesses two basic meanings: one principles, such as real-world force dynamics, related to the socio-physical world of ability, differentconstruals,andmetaphoricalthinkingand obligation, or permission (e.g. The doctor said I experiential correlation. Next, she shows polysemy should get more sleep), and the other related to a networksofthesemanticsofthethreeprepositions speakers mental reasoning and logical prediction to, for, and at, detailing how each figurative sense (e.g. [Doorbell rings] Speaker: That should be extends from a central sense in a motivated way. Catherine now). Unfortunately, the traditional Thesystemicaccountofseemingly-arbitrarysenses account fails to address or explain any systemic of a preposition will significantly help L2 learners relationships between the two basic meanings. On internalizeitsconceptualmeaningsandhowthose the other hand, the CL alternative, based on the diverse meanings are polysemously connected, notions of force dynamics and metaphorical without having to memorize every individual extension,offersnotonlyprecisedefinitionsforthe meaning (or use) of it. This is confirmed through individual modals, but also a systematic two complementary research studies that test the explanation of how the two meanings are related. utility of CL-based instruction of the three Thissystemicexplicationwillpreventlearnersfrom prepositions. The results indicate that participants simply memorizing superficial meanings and receiving CL-based instruction significantly linguistic forms of modals; instead it will offer a improvedtheirabilitytoaccuratelyunderstandthe conceptual understanding of modals, which will meaningsofthetargetedprepositions. consequentlyhelpL2learnersmakeproductiveuse of modals. Lastly, Tyler introduces three ThetopicofChapter6issentencestructurewitha experimentsthatdelveintotheeffectivenessofthe focus on dative alternation. Similar to the two CL approach to modals in L2 learning, studies previouschapters,Tylerbeginswithdiscussingthe concluding that those participants who received difficulty of mastering the relationship between CL-based instruction significantly outperformed verbsandthesentencestructuresinwhichtheyare the control group by improving their realized. Different patterns of verbal argument understandinganduseofmodals. structures make it more difficult for learners to learn sentence structures: some verbs are followed Chapter 5 addresses English prepositions. Tyler by one noun (e.g. kickoreat),somebytwonouns starts with briefly elucidating the reasons learning (e.g.giveorsend),andsomeverbsarefollowedby prepositionsischallenging.Thefirstreasonisthat none (e.g. occur or sneeze). Moreover, some verbs it is hard to characterize the semantics of can be used in two patterns of argumentative prepositions, and the second is that one structure. preposition has diverse extended meanings which may seem largely arbitrary. It is criticized that Forexample,considerthetwosentencesJohngave traditional linguists tend to present diverse senses a plate to Edie and John gave Edie a plate. associated with a preposition as idiosyncratic, Traditional account of these two syntax forms is suggesting memorization of every individual thattheyaresynonymous,andthatthepatternV idiosyncratic sense as a pedagogical treatment for NP to NP is the basic pattern. In contrast, a CL prepositions. In contrast, CL has a polysemy account has a different perspective toward this approach, which argues that those seemingly- phenomenon, arguing that the structure of the idiosyncraticsensesareinfactnotidiosyncraticbut sentence itself is meaningful by embodying are closely related to each other in systematic and differentconstrualsonreality.Thatis,theyarenot motivatedways. synonymous because they in fact differ pragmaticallyandconceptually.Itisarguedthata 152 CLapproachcanprovideasystematicanddeeper

4 Chang,H.(2016)./CognitiveLinguisticsandSecondLanguageLearning explanationofthedifferenceembeddedinthetwo thorough because I believe there are other senses syntactic constructions. The pedagogical that the models fails to explain clearly. For implicationisthatinsteadofunderstandingVNP1 example, to in the sentence She jumped to her to NP2 and V NP2 NP1 as synonymous, learners feet does not seem to fit any of the senses in her need to accurately conceive that they actually model. Moreover, her analysis of the figurative represent two different perceptions; they are not meaning extensions might not be equally effective thesame.Inthisway,learnerswillbeabletomake for every ESL learner. From a Korean-L1 productive use of different sentence structures perspective, for instance, the attachment sense correctly with the true understanding of the (e.g. Danny nailed the board to the fence) in the linguistic structures with regard to the meanings polysemy model of to may be closer to the central manifested in them; learners are not merely sense than the limit sense (e.g. Sofie worked to memorizing alternative forms of the same thing. thelimitsofherabilities).Therefore,stickingtoher Tworesearchstudiesareintroducedasevidenceof model in L2 education might result in forcing the efficacy of CL approach in L2 education. The learnerstofollowaparticularwayofthinkingwhen resultsfrombothstudiesindicatethatparticipants there is a more convincing way of conceptualizing receiving CL-based instruction performed much the polysemy network with regard to their L1 better on both comprehension and production background. tasks. Inaddition,Ithinkitisimportanttonotethelong- Thelastchapteroffersabriefsummaryofthemain term effects of CL-based pedagogy. Is the effect pointsdiscussedinthebook.Inthischapter,Tyler fleeting or permanent? Another issue I found is reemphasizes the CLs key tenet, embodied that most examples are based on the English meaning, and its implications for effective L2 language, so the value of CL on other L2 learning instruction. The author points out that a CL seemstorequiremoreempiricalstudieswithother approach offers a different paradigm of languages, and in this regard its inherent efficacy conceptualizing the nature of language from more still remains questionable. It is possible that the traditionalunderstandingswhichfailtoaccountfor pedagogicaleffectivenessofCLmaynotbeequally the conceptual meanings behind its form. The effective with different languages. Lastly, there are chapteralsointroducesanadditionaltenetofCLas many other linguistic aspects for L2 learners to an additional remark on research and application, learn,likeforexample,theaccurateuseofEnglish andthebookendswithsuggestingtheimportance articlesorplural/singularforms.Itmighthavebeen ofhavinganappropriateunderstandingoflanguage betterifthebookhadaddressedabroaderrangeof incontextofL2pedagogyandresearch. theapplicationofCLtoL2pedagogy. In this book, Tyler introduces fundamental tenets Despiteafewlimitations,overallthebookisagood of CL and bridges them to L2 education. I believe resourceforpeopleinthefieldofsecondlanguage this book would provide new insight for both L2 acquisition and education. It clearly demonstrates teachersandlearnerswhohavedealtwithlanguage the fundamental connection between linguistic asasetofrulesthatsimplyneedtobememorized; structures and underlying meanings, which is CL offers a new paradigm for understanding and argued to be inseparable. Although it includes learning a language. The authors illustration of some technical terms, the concepts are illustrated claims is supported by diverse examples and in accessible language. The book is academic but previous studies, which make her points less does not require an advanced linguistics abstruse. Particularly, it is beneficial that the background to read; nonetheless, one or two application section deals with the grammatical courses in linguistics would be helpful in better elementsthatL2learnerstypicallyfindchallenging. understanding the content in that it offers She also suggests future directions for CL research contrasts between the traditional approach of and pedagogy, which I think will be helpful for understanding language and acquisition, and the potentialCLresearchers. CLapproach.Ibelievethisworkcanbeutilizedasa textbook in both undergraduate and graduate Nonetheless, there are a few areas of need. The courses, such as second language learning and polysemy network models of the prepositions to, language and cognition. for and at in Chapter 5, seem to be insufficiently 153

5 JournalofLanguageandLiteracyEducationVol.12Issue1Spring2016

Load More