Entrenchment, Salience, and Basic Levels

Hans-Jörg Schmid

in The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199738632
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Entrenchment, Salience, and Basic Levels

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One of the basic tenets of cognitive linguistics is that the human capacity to process language is closely linked with, perhaps even determined by, other fundamental cognitive abilities. This article looks at possible manifestations of such abilities—most notably among them perception, memory, and attention allocation—in linguistic competence and use. It deals with mechanisms that influence the storage of concepts and constructions in long-term memory and with factors involved in the retrieval and activation of concepts and constructions from memory during ongoing language processing. It also illustrates the use of the notions of entrenchment and salience in cognitive linguistics and provides initial definitions. Moreover, the article examines the role of entrenchment in the emergence, sanctioning, and blocking of linguistic units; discusses the more specific linguistic effects of entrenchment and salience in the lexicon; reviews an attempt to measure the relative entrenchment of categories in lexical taxonomies; and focuses on the effects of entrenchment and salience in the area of syntax.

Keywords: cognitive linguistics; perception; memory; attention allocation; linguistic competence; long-term memory; language processing; entrenchment; salience; syntax

Article.  9642 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Cognitive Linguistics

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