Cognitive Poetics: Grammar

According to Cognitive Poetics: An Introduction, what makes cognitive grammar “cognitive” is that it takes language in its psychological and social circumstances to consider grammatical form in terms of what that form is doing in the mind . Peter Stockwell uses prototype analysis to interrelate concepts in cognitive grammar, prototype analysis being a way of describing how the mind makes categories. He returns to a consideration of clause structure that he introduced in a previous chapter, and he narrows in on the subject position of the clause. The mind conceives the subject in a clause along four dimensions: its semantic role, its level of empathy, its definiteness, and whether its perceived as figure or ground. Each of these dimensions can be measured along a spectrum. For example, empathy ranges from speaker/human/physical object on the strong end to hearer/animal/abstract entity on the weak end. Semantic role ranges from agent to patient in various degrees.

Another concept Stockwell introduces is action chain, a way of modeling a clause that considers each of the participants in the action […]