Turning back to experience in Cognitive Linguistics via phenomenology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Cognitive Linguistics began as an apotheosis of lived experience, but has over the years diversified into many different stands, interpreting the notion of "experience" and along with it the notion of "cognition" in conflicting ways: individual or social, prelinguistic or linguistic, unconscious or conscious? These issues are not only philosophical as they hold crucial implications for methodology. Here, I propose that most of them can be resolved with the help of phenomenology, "the study of human experience and of the ways things present themselves to us in and through such experience" (Sokolowski 2000. Introduction to phenomenology. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2). Cogent syntheses are proposed to the individual/social and prelinguistic/linguistic debates, showing that scholars like Langacker, Talmy and Itkonen have focused on complementary aspects of implicitly phenomenological investigations. Third-person, "objective" methods are necessary for extending the scope of such investigations, but epistemologically secondary. Thus, the focus of Cognitive Linguistics can be brought back to experience, albeit in a more mature manner than 30 years ago.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • consciousness, grounding, methodology, phenomenology, sedimentation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-572
Number of pages14
JournalCognitive Linguistics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 1
Publication categoryResearch

Total downloads

No data available

Related projects

View all (1)