On the relationship between the cognitive and the communal

A complex systems perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This paper presents a specific take on the relationship between the global and the local in language. In particular, it draws a distinction between the cognitive and the communal plane of language representation and attempts to model the relationship between the two using complexity theory. To operationalise this relationship and examine it with corpus linguistic methods, it proposes a concept of a cognitive corpus, setting it against the more usual idea of a corpus as representing the language of a certain community of speakers. As a case study, the paper compares the properties of chunking at the cognitive and communal planes. The study shows that (1) chunks at the cognitive plane seem to be more fixed than at the communal, (2) their patterning at the communal plane can be seen as emergent from the patterning observable in individual languages, but that (3) there is also similarity in the shape of the patterning across the two planes. These findings suggest that although the processes leading to multi-word unit patterning are different at each of the planes, the similarity in the shape the patterning takes might be regarded as an indication of the fractal structure of language which is a common property of complex adaptive systems. For example, Zipf’s law, which is able to model the patterning at each of the planes, can be seen as one of the symptoms of such structure. Since the cognitive and the communal planes of language are in constant interaction with each other, such conceptualisation suggests intriguing implications for ongoing change in English and the role second language users might play in it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChanging English : Global and local perspectives
EditorsMarkku Filppula, Juhani Klemola, Anna Mauranen, Svetlana Vetchinnikova
Number of pages34
Place of PublicationBerlin, Boston
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
Publication date2017
Pages277–310
ISBN (Print)978-3-11-043857-4
ISBN (Electronic)9783110429657
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameTopics in English Linguistics [TiEL]
PublisherDe Gruyter
Volume92
ISSN (Print)1434-3452

Fields of Science

  • 6121 Languages

Cite this

Vetchinnikova, S. (2017). On the relationship between the cognitive and the communal: A complex systems perspective. In M. Filppula, J. Klemola, A. Mauranen, & S. Vetchinnikova (Eds.), Changing English: Global and local perspectives (pp. 277–310). (Topics in English Linguistics [TiEL]; Vol. 92). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110429657-015
Vetchinnikova, Svetlana. / On the relationship between the cognitive and the communal : A complex systems perspective. Changing English: Global and local perspectives. editor / Markku Filppula ; Juhani Klemola ; Anna Mauranen ; Svetlana Vetchinnikova. Berlin, Boston : De Gruyter Mouton, 2017. pp. 277–310 (Topics in English Linguistics [TiEL]).
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Vetchinnikova, S 2017, On the relationship between the cognitive and the communal: A complex systems perspective. in M Filppula, J Klemola, A Mauranen & S Vetchinnikova (eds), Changing English: Global and local perspectives. Topics in English Linguistics [TiEL], vol. 92, De Gruyter Mouton, Berlin, Boston, pp. 277–310. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110429657-015

On the relationship between the cognitive and the communal : A complex systems perspective. / Vetchinnikova, Svetlana.

Changing English: Global and local perspectives. ed. / Markku Filppula; Juhani Klemola; Anna Mauranen; Svetlana Vetchinnikova. Berlin, Boston : De Gruyter Mouton, 2017. p. 277–310 (Topics in English Linguistics [TiEL]; Vol. 92).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

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Vetchinnikova S. On the relationship between the cognitive and the communal: A complex systems perspective. In Filppula M, Klemola J, Mauranen A, Vetchinnikova S, editors, Changing English: Global and local perspectives. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. 2017. p. 277–310. (Topics in English Linguistics [TiEL]). https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110429657-015