REMINDER TOMORROW - USYD Department of Linguistics Research Seminar

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Sebastian Fedden

Oct 6, 2016, 12:01:22 AM10/6/16
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Dear colleagues,


Our USYD Department of Linguistics Research Seminar continues with a talk by:


Dr Nick Riemer

The University of Sydney


Cognitive Linguistics: material histories of an idealist doctrine


Fri, 7 October 2016, 12.00-13.30

Rogers Room, John Woolley Bldg A20, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006


You’re welcome to bring your lunch to the talk. After the talk we’ll have our Linguistics Afternoon Tea.


You will find the abstract and a CV of our speaker below.







Set up without any serious basis in experimental psychology, the widely influential linguistic framework originating in Langacker and Lakoff nevertheless presents itself as a “cognitive” theory. How was this bold move achieved, and what ideological stakes might it involve? Developed during the heyday of American neoliberalism, in a period when antiscientism was in the ascendant in American humanities, Cognitive Linguistics (CL) advances a confabulated model of individual psychology as the basis for understanding people’s most quintessentially social attribute, language. I will suggest several interpretations of what might materially be involved in this retreat into the mind, interrogating, among other things, the political work of George Lakoff. Lakoff’s political corpus, just as significant in scope as his work on linguistics, deserves to be approached from the point of view of the history of linguistics. As I will try to show, far from constituting an anomaly with respect to “pure” linguistic research, Lakoff’s political uses of cognitive linguistics suggest an interesting interpretation of the underlying tendencies of the CL tradition, in which questions of expertise – intellectual, disciplinary and political – and material concerns within and beyond the university take on key importance.



Nick Riemer’s research interests cover the history and philosophy of linguistics, Modern English language, especially verb semantics, meaning in language (semantic description and theory; polysemy; semantic change), semiotic theory (the foundations of semiotics; semiotics and grammar), metaphor, language and subjectivity, especially the place of emotion in theories of language. He is a member of the Laboratoire d'Histoire des Théories Linguistiques CNRS/Université Paris Diderot, Paris, France.

Dr Sebastian Fedden | Lecturer in Linguistics

School of Letters, Art and Media | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences


N367, John Woolley Bld A20 | The University of Sydney | NSW | 2006

T +61 2 9351 7518  | F +61 2 9351 2434


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