- Semantiek en linguïstisch relativisme: een vergelijking tussen Saussureaans structuralisme en cognitieve linguïstiek
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- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
Cognitive Linguistics (CL) is often regarded as a continuation of Saussurean structuralism.
This paper explores the relationship between the two paradigms, focussing on the onnection between semantics and views on the language-thought relationship. As it turns out, the similarity in this respect is, in fact, only partial. Saussure explicitly rejects Linguistic Relativism (LR): his purely differential view of meaning actually allows for only a very weak variety of LR. Much stronger varieties of LR are defended in CL, in agreement with a very "rich" conception of meaning. This conception of meaning can be shown to build on 19th-century Humboldtian views rather than Saussurean structuralism.
It is argued that this return to earlier approaches can be regarded as both positive (e.g. in its sensitivity to culture-related aspects of meanings) and negative (e.g. in its naïve appeal to etymology).
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