Course title:

Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics


Tutor: Dr. Snezha Tsoneva-Mathewson


Mode of delivery: Seminars

Course place and status within the program


Competence expectations

Students will gain insight into a new approach to linguistics and also learn more about how human cognition works. On a more practical level, students will develop a greater awareness of the meaning of words and syntactic expressions which is of paramount importance in the art of translation. The course will teach them some basic methods of argumentation, a skill which can be transferred to any area of academic and social interest.

Aims and objectives of the course

The purpose of this course is to introduce some of the basic tenets of Cognitive Linguistics. Some of the specific issues that are examined include:

- How humans categorise and how categories are internally structured. Prototype theory vs. logical or classical model of categorisation.

-Cognitive models and cultural models

-The nature and ubiquity of metaphor and metonymy in everyday language and what it might tell us about human cognition

-The relationship of semantics and syntax, in particular the notion that grammatical constructions themselves carry meaning independently of the words in the sentence  

Weekly organization of topics & reading assignments

Week 1 Ch. 1. What does it mean to know a language?

Week 2 Ch. 2. The nature of cognitive linguistics: assumptions and commitments

Week 3 Ch. 3. Universals and variation in language, thought and experience

Week 4 Ch. 4. Language in use: knowledge of language, language change and language acquisition

Week 5 Ch. 5. What is cognitive semantics?

Week 6 Ch. 6. Embodiment and conceptual structure

Week 7 Ch. 7. The encyclopaedic view of meaning

Week 8 Midterm test

Week 9 Ch. 9 Metaphor and Metonymy

Week 10 Ch. 14 What is a cognitive approach to grammar

Week 11 Ch. 19 Motivating a construction grammar

Week 12 Ch. 20 The architecture of construction grammars

Week 13 Ch. 23 Assessing the cognitive linguistics enterprise

Week 14, 15 Revision and preparation for the final exam

Course requirements


Mode of assessment

The final grade will be cumulative of the grades below:

10% class participation

30% midterm paper

60% final paper




Vyvyan Evans and Melanie Green, Cognitive Linguistics: An Introduction

Кръпова, Илияна. Лекции по езикознание. 2001, Сема.

Some additional materials are be provided by the tutor.