What is Cognitive Linguistics?

"Cognitive linguistics goes beyond the visible structure of language and investigates the considerably more complex backstage operations of cognition that create grammar, conceptualization, discourse, and thought itself. The theoretical insights of cognitive linguistics are based on extensive empirical observation in multiple contexts, and on experimental work in psychology and neuroscience. Results of cognitive linguistics, especially from metaphor theory and conceptual integration theory, have been applied to wide ranges of nonlinguistic phenomena." —Gilles Fauconnier. 2006. "Cognitive Linguistics." Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. John Wiley & Sons. Pdf of full article.

Some recent publications in Cognitive Linguistics

Candidates may apply for admission to the program, with the purpose of pursuing the M.A. degree, or to non-degree status, with the purpose of taking courses for credit that could be transferred to other institutions. See the Applying page for details.

The degree program follows Plan A as described in the Graduate Student Handbook of Case Western Reserve University. (The handbook can be found on the School of Graduate Studies site.) Accordingly, it requires 30 credit hours and a written M.A. thesis. Committees to supervise theses consist of three members of the faculty and otherwise conform to the requirements of the School of Graduate Studies. Click here for the basic guidelines for completing a MA Thesis.

A canonical interval for completing the program is four semesters, although periods of study longer or shorter can be arranged, and part-time enrollment is possible. The required courses include a two-semester theory sequence, a concurrent two-semester workshop sequence, electives, and 12 credit hours of thesis work. Please see the Current Students page for more detail.

Descriptions of courses

COGS 406 & 407: Theory of cognitive linguistics I & II. This two-semester sequence introduces students to core theoretical concepts in cognitive linguistics (cognitive grammar, construction grammar, conceptual integration, etc.) through readings and seminar-style discussions.

COGS 408 & 409: Workshop in cognitive linguistics I & II. This two-semester sequence gives students the opportunity to do empirical work and provides a direct introduction to empirical methods.

The Theory sequence teaches principles and concepts of language. The Workshop sequence trains students in hands-on research in challenging problems. The Workshop is an indispensable counterpoint to the Theory sequence, since theory cannot be well understood without direct engagement with specific problems. The Workshop will also develop a community of research and help guide students toward their distinctive research topics.

In addition to these courses, students take electives. Potential electives include:

COGS 404: Conceptual Blending

COGS 413: Special topics (e.g. computational approaches; frame analysis; unification grammar; linguistic relativity; cognitive phonetics, . . .)

COGS 415: Mental Space Theory

COGS 425: Discourse and Cognition

COGS 426: Cognitive Approaches to Music

COGS 427: Gesture in Cognition & Communication

COGS 452: Language, Cognition, and Religion        

GOGS 417: Cognitive Diversity

COGS 499: Independent Study (Students work one-on-one with a faculty member

More information about Cognitive Linguistics

For more information about the field, including possible careers and conferences, see the International Cognitive Linguistics Association site. For guidance concerning upcoming conferences that may enhance your scholarship at Case Western Reserve University, please contact Todd Oakley.