- Saussurean structuralism and cognitive linguistics
- Histoire Épistémologie Langage (HEL)
- Volume | Issue number
- 34 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- 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 connection 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 weak variety of LR. Stronger varieties of LR are defended in CL, in agreement with a very "rich" conception of meaning, which 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).
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.