Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Barsalou: Perpetual symbol systems

A view from cognitive linguistics

Ronald W. Langacker a1
a1 Department of Linguistics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0108


Barsalou's contribution converges with basic ideas and empirical findings of cognitive linguistics. They posit the same general architecture. The perceptual grounding of conceptual structure is a central tenet of cognitive linguistics. Our capacity to construe the same situation in alternate ways is fundamental to cognitive semantics, and numerous parallels are discernible between conceptual construal and visual perception. Grammar is meaningful, consisting of schematized patterns for the pairing of semantic and phonological structures. The meanings of grammatical elements reside primarily in the construal they impose on conceptual content. This view of linguistic structure appears to be compatible with Barsalou's proposals.