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MA Cognitive Linguistics

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  • Entry requirements
    Entry Good first degree normally required. Applicants who do not speak English as their native language must pass the IELTS English test with a score of 6.5 in all four components or a TOEFL exam with a score of 600.
  • Academic Title
    MA Cognitive Linguistics
  • Course description
     The MA in Cognitive Linguistics is primarily aimed at those students who wish to undertake a taught programme of graduate-level study in order to pursue research in some aspect of Cognitive Linguistics.

    Cognitive Linguistics is a modern and innovative approach to the study of language and mind, and their relationship with embodied experience and culture. The MA provides a focused and comprehensive programme of graduate-level training in the core subject matter of Cognitive Linguistics, including the most important theoretical frameworks. The subject matter covered includes conceptual structure and organisation, figurative language, grammar and mind, the relationship between language, thought and culture, lexical and cognitive compositional semantics, the issue of embodiment, and contemporary methodology in Cognitive Linguistics. The MA also provides a platform for those interested in pursuing an advanced research degree such as a PhD.

    The MA in Cognitive Linguistics involves 4 compulsory modules and 2 options plus a research dissertation of 20,000 words maximum. 

    Compulsory modules (20 credits each):

        * Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics
        * Metaphor and Thought
        * Grammar and Mind
        * Language of Space and Time

    Optional modules (20 credits each)

    2 modules from the following:

        * Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
        * Language, Thought and Reality
        * Linguistic Ethnography
        * Language, Mind and Brain
        * Language, Culture and Society

    Module Descriptions

    Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics
    This module provides an introduction to and overview of the Cognitive Linguistics enterprise. In particular it provides an introduction to the historical origins of the approach known as Cognitive Linguistics, including its basic assumptions and key theoretical commitments, an overview of the range and nature of the theoretical paradigms which make up the Cognitive Linguistics enterprise, and the range and nature of phenomena investigated by cognitive linguists and applications. In addition, a significant part of the course is concerned with the theoretical and empirical methods employed in cognitive linguistics. For instance, recent work has placed special importance on securing convergent evidence from a broad empirical basis, including using samples from unrelated languages, corpora, and employing methods from cognitive sciences such as Psychology, Neuropsychology and Computer Science.

    Metaphor and Thought
    This module represents an introduction to the main theoretical paradigms in cognitive linguistics that investigate figurative language, particularly metaphor. These include conceptual metaphor theory, approaches to conceptual metonymy, Mental Spaces Theory, Conceptual Blending Theory and the Theory of Lexical Concepts and Cognitive Models. This course introduces students to the main motivations, architectures and methodologies associated with these theories, as well as considering applications and descriptive and theoretical problems and challenges for these approaches. The course also considers recent experimental approaches to metaphor.

    Language, Thought and Reality
    This module introduces students to issues pertaining to the relationship between language, thought, and our perception of reality. Its central debate addresses whether language may influence our thinking, including our understanding of the world. This important debate is also known as the linguistic relativity question, and is central to the fields of linguistics and cognition, especially in cognitive linguistics and cognitive psychology.

    Grammar and Mind
    This module provides an overview of approaches to grammar in cognitive linguistics.  Such approaches are characterised by assigning meaning a central role in the nature and organisation of grammar, and viewing grammar as an outcome of the nature of our embodied experience and our cognitive apparatus. Moreover, such an approach views grammar as an outcome of situated language usage. This module introduces the student to some of the main theories and methodologies characteristic of this approach, and also addresses the relation between grammatical organisation and conceptual structure and the way grammatical structure derives and evolves, as motivated in part by experience of the world and cognitive mechanisms.

    Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
    Linguistic anthropology is a module adopting a cross-disciplinary approach to the study of language. It considers various topics through the prism of language as related to biology and evolution, and ultimately to society and culture. The module introduces and reviews key notions in the discipline, such as the origins and evolution of language, linguistic diversity, language death, theories of culture, cultural and linguistic relativity, ethnography and communication, sociolinguistics, structuralist anthropology, and cognitive psychology.

    Language, Culture and Society
    Language, Culture and Society is a survey module reviewing facts and processes involved in ethno-linguistic diversity, in language and development, in multilingualism, and in sociolinguistics. It is concerned with contemporary issues pertaining to language and society. It relates the daily practice of language to individual lives, socio-economic dynamics, political agendas, planning policies, and more.

    Language, Mind and Brain
    This module looks at the psychology of language, with a focus on the relationship between language and cognition. The first part of the module introduces the study of the brain and of the neuropsychology of language. The second part examines models of language processing. That is, we try to explain how speech gets perceived and words recognised, how reading tasks are completed, how sentences and discourse get comprehended, and how speakers produce speech. From this neurocognitive perspective, the module questions the nature of the relationship between language and thought, and debates the controversy of the direction of this relationship, based on the ideas developed by Chomsky, Fodor, Jackendoff, Levinson, Whorf, and cognitive linguistics approaches.

    The Language of Space and Time
    This module constitutes an introduction to the nature of and relationship between time and space. It also introduces the manner in which language is employed in cognitive linguistics to investigate how these domains of experience are conceptualised. The module focuses on the way in which space and time have been investigated as distinct domains of experience, as well as the way in which they appear to interface. The module introduces students to cross-linguistic and experimental approaches that have been deployed within cognitive linguistics in investigating time and space, as well as specific theories of linguistic and conceptual organisation and structure, which attempt to provide accounts of the nature of spatial and temporal conceptualisation.

    Linguistic Ethnography
    Linguistic ethnography is a module which focuses on research methodology. Ethnography is particularly relevant as a qualitative approach to behaviour studied in its socio-cultural context. In this module we are concerned with linguistic behaviour: the specific type of behaviour under investigation. Students are introduced to qualitative methodologies of fieldwork, ranging from participant-observation to semi-structured interviews. The module also introduces students to the professional code of conduct in ethnographic fieldwork, and in particular, to the importance of ethical considerations. The course will endow students with the necessary skills for implementing a micro-scale linguistic ethnographic study.

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