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Creativity in language is achieved through simulation

Teenie Matlock (University of California, Merced) 
Thursday, May 17th

In the late 1990s Barsalou (1999) and other cognitive psychologists argued that grammar plays a role in constraining mental simulation of states and actions in the communication of concepts. On this view, the meanings of grammatical elements are believed to impose constraints on conceptual content of words and phrases.  Theoretical work to support this assumption has been provided again and again by cognitive semanticists, including Talmy (1983) and Langacker (1987) over the years.  Still, relatively little is known about how grammatical form creates meaning in real time, and the extent to which it is driven by simulation. Of special interest is how grammatical form creates, biases, and sustains perceptions and belief states in comprehension and production. Discussion will include results from investigations of literal and non-literal language in spatial, social, and political domains.

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