Variation, structure and norms

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportBidrag til bog/antologiForskningfagfællebedømt

After a period when the focus was essentially on mental architecture, the cognitive
sciences are increasingly integrating the social dimension. The rise of a cognitive
sociolinguistics is part of this trend. The article argues that this process requires
a re-evaluation of some entrenched positions in linguistics: those that see
linguistic norms as antithetical to a descriptive and variational linguistics. Once
such a re-evaluation has taken place, however, the social recontextualization of
cognition will enable linguistics (including sociolinguistics as an integral part),
to eliminate the cracks in the foundations that were the result of suppressing the
sociocultural underpinnings of linguistic facts. Structuralism, cognitivism and
social constructionism introduced new and necessary distinctions, but in their
strong forms they all turned into unnecessary divides. The article tries to show
that an evolutionary account can reintegrate the opposed fragments into a whole
picture that puts each of them in their ‘ecological position’ with respect to each
other. Empirical usage facts should be seen in the context of operational norms
in relation to which actual linguistic choices represent adaptations. Variational
patterns should be seen in the context of structural categories without which
there would be only ‘differences’ rather than variation. And emergence, individual
choice, and flux should be seen in the context of the individual’s dependence
on lineages of community practice sustained by collective norms.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TitelCognitive Sociolinguistics : Social and cultural variation in cognition and language use
RedaktørerMartin Pütz, Justyna Robinson, Monika Reif
Antal sider20
Udgivelses stedAmsterdam/Philadelphia
ForlagJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Publikationsdato2014
Sider53-73
Artikelnummer3
ISBN (Trykt)9789027202789
StatusUdgivet - 2014
NavnBenjamins Current Topics
Vol/bind59
ISSN1874-0081

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