Case in Cognitive Grammar

Silvia Luraghi

in The Oxford Handbook of Case

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199206476
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Case in Cognitive Grammar

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology



In cognitive approaches, language is viewed as an integral part in the whole of human cognitive capacities, rather than a separate module. Furthermore, it is assumed that language can be externally motivated. A consequence of this assumption is that meaning is viewed as being pervasive. According to cognitive approaches, grammatical forms are meaningful elements. This assumption is not new to linguistics: historical linguists of the nineteenth century have devoted long discussions to topics such as the meaning of the accusative, etc. This article summarises some assumptions that must be kept in mind in order to understand the CG analysis of case meaning. First, it considers views on grammatical forms common to various cognitive approaches in the framework of earlier research on the same topic, and then looks at the context out of which CG originated. It also discusses relevant assumptions within the CG framework and provides some diachronic evidence for the CG approach to cases. The article considers radial categories, polysemy versus homonymy, trajector-landmark asymmetry, diachrony, and relative markedness.

Keywords: case; cognitive grammar; grammatical forms; linguistics; radial categories; polysemy; homonymy; trajector-landmark asymmetry; diachrony; relative markedness

Article.  5845 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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