Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gibbs: "Introspection and Cognitive Linguistics" (2006)

A short and nice article about the pitfalls of linguistics without experiments. Concludes with a handy list of recommendations for empirical practices that may help root out far-fetched and thin evidence.

It also contains a short discussion of dead metaphors (p. 144-45). Gibbs acknowledges that speakers and hearers may in fact not process a metaphor like flip your lide from scratch every time they hear it. He cites his own book The Poetics of Mind (1994) for this claim, as well as Lakoff's Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things (1987).

He also refers to an experiment with idioms that were deliberately picked to be obscure ("the goose hangs high" and the like). This experiment seems to confirm the intuition that anything can be rationalized in retrospect, and that we don't need to compute meanings in a compositional way to understand phrases. The study is reported in the article "Intuitions about the transparency of idioms: Can one keep a secret by spilling the beans?" (1995).

According to Gibbs, his qualms about introspection are shared by people like Lera Boroditsky, Sam Glucksberg, Gregory Murphy, and John Vervaeke (misspelled as "Veraeke") and John Kenndy (sic!).

No comments :

Post a Comment