Pre-conference workshop on cognitive linguistics

28 July 2014


The pre-conference workshop is aimed at PhD students and early-career researchers who are interested in developing expertise in some of the key research areas in Cognitive Linguistics. Sessions will generally involve a mixture between lecture and hands-on empirical work (text analysis, corpus analysis, experiments, etc.). The instructors will specify, in their workshop description, what level their respective session is aimed at (basic to advanced) and what background is required. Workshop descriptions can be found below.

10am to 1pm Dr Veronika Koller (Lancaster):
Corpus approaches to metaphor analysis
Dr Christopher Shank (Bangor):
1pm to 2pm
2pm to 5pm Dr Thora Tenbrink (Bangor):
Cognitive discourse analysis and spatial cognition
Dr Christopher Hart (Lancaster):
Cognitive Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis

Note: There will be coffee/tea breaks at 11.30 and at 3.30pm.


With the exception of Veronika Koller's workshop, all events, including coffee breaks and lunch, will take place in the Conference Centre (building 25 on this map). Lunch and coffee will be available in the Foyer of the Conference Centre, just outside the classrooms.

  • Veronika Koller workshop: Engineering Building, Room B70 (Building 51 on map) (Note: coffee break in Engineering Building Foyer)
  • Christopher Shank workshop: Conference Centre Meeting Room 5
  • Thora Tenbrink workshop: Conference Centre Meeting Room 2
  • Christopher Hart workshop: Conference Centre Meeting Room 3


Registrations will be processed on a first come, first served basis. The minimum number of participants for this event is 25, the maximum is 50.

The fee (45 GBP) includes a buffet lunch (1-2pm) and two coffee/tea breaks. Accommodation is not included in the fee, but we have reserved 35 spaces in the university residence halls for prospective workshop participants.

Workshop descriptions:

Dr Christopher Hart ( Cognitive Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis

This session will provide participants with an overview of the Cognitive Linguistic Approach (CLA) to Critical Discourse Analysis.  This approach seeks to reveal ideological properties of conceptual structures invoked in public discourses.  This approach links various construal operations identified in Cognitive Linguistics with the realisation of four types of ideological discursive strategy: structural configuration, framing, identification and positioning.  The session will introduce students to the methods of the CLA demonstrating its utility through practical analyses of texts spanning several salient political and media discourses, including discourses of immigration, the economic crisis and recent political protests.

Recommended reading (available on request from the lecturer)

  • Hart, C. (in press, 2014).  Cognitive Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis.  In E. Dabrowska and D. Divjek (eds.), Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics.  Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.

Dr Thora Tenbrink ( Cognitive discourse analysis and spatial cognition

This workshop will address what goes on in people's minds in a particular situation, and how they think about the world. CODA (Cognitive Discourse Analysis) is a new methodology that applies insights from cognitive linguistics to analyse the linguistic choices that people make in cognitively complex situations, such as when they observe and describe a scene or event, or when they 'think aloud' while solving a problem.

We will start by considering what kinds of thoughts, concepts, and cognitive processes can be accessed through language, and then discuss each step of a research process that involves verbalisation of thought: from data collection via transcription to analysis and (possibly) triangulation with other kinds of data. The main emphasis will lie on the systematic analysis of linguistic choices, aiming to identify indicators for specific cognitive phenomena that are of interest for the research purpose at hand. In this process, insights from the wider field of cognitive linguistics highlight the significance of specific linguistic choices.

One area in which this method has been applied widely is spatial cognition, an interdisciplinary research field that addresses how we understand and cognitively represent our spatial surroundings. This starts from the many meanings of 'left' and 'right' (depending on perspective and other concepts that typically remain implicit) and further relates to many issues of practical relevance in everyday life: wayfinding, scene description, object perception and reference, furniture assembly, architectural design, and many more. This workshop will draw on practical examples from this research area to illustrate the general approach.

There is no prerequisite for taking this seminar. It is open for students and researchers interested in cognitive linguistics and its application, or more generally in the way humans think, from first semester students to researchers working in related projects.

Participants are encouraged to contribute actively to this seminar by bringing ideas and samples from their own work, relevant for any step of the research process as just outlined. Feel free to contact the lecturer by email in advance, so as to ensure a lively and highly interactive seminar, supporting ongoing research and project development in a practical way rather than theorising about potential opportunities.

Recommended readings (all available from the lecturer on request):

  • Tenbrink, Thora (in press). Cognitive Discourse Analysis: Accessing cognitive representations and processes through language data. Language and Cognition.
  • Taylor, Holly A. and Thora Tenbrink. 2013. The spatial thinking of Origami: Evidence from think-aloud protocols. Cognitive Processing 14:189–191.
  • Hölscher, Christoph, Thora Tenbrink, and Jan Wiener. 2011. Would you follow your own route description? Cognition 121, 228-247.
  • Tenbrink, Thora, Evelyn Bergmann, and Lars Konieczny. 2011. Wayfinding and description strategies in an unfamiliar complex building. In Laura Carlson, Christoph Hölscher, and Thomas F. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society, pp 1262-1267.

Dr Veronika Koller ( Corpus approaches to metaphor analysis

In this workshop, I will first discuss some definitions of metaphor in cognitive linguistics with participants and illustrate some of its main functions in discourse by drawing on examples generated with the help of corpus analytical methods. I will then outline some previous, lexical approaches to finding metaphor candidates in a corpus and point out the respective merits and shortcomings of those methods. Semantic annotation is presented as a more comprehensive way of identifying potential metaphors; this part of the workshop will include some discussion from a cognitive linguistics perspective on the theoretical assumptions underlying semantic tagging.
Participants will have the opportunity to practice metaphor identification by doing exercises with a corpus comprising of texts from the domain of health communication.


  • Koller, V. (2004): Metaphor and Gender in Business Media Discourse: A Critical Cognitive Study. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. chapter 3
  • Koller, V./ Hardie, A./ Rayson, P./ Semino, E. (2008): “Using a semantic annotation tool for the analysis of metaphor in discourse”., 15: 141-60.
  • Stefanowitsch, A. and Gries, S.Th. (eds) (2006): Corpus-based Approaches to Metaphor and Metonymy. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Dr Christopher Shank ( Grammaticalization

Grammaticalization refers to the change whereby lexical terms and constructions serve grammatical functions in certain linguistic contexts and, once grammaticalized, continue to develop new grammatical functions".

This workshop emphasizes the mechanisms for the creation of grammar and the universal paths of development that grammatical morphemes follow. The implications of grammaticalization as well as lexicalization for language typology, language change, synchronic and diachronic analysis of both form and meaning are explored.

The aim is to introduce students to current literature on grammaticalization, to acquaint students with the principles, concepts and basic assumptions of the theory of grammaticalization as well as the process of lexicalization and to demonstrate the role and/or importance that grammaticalization processes play within both cognitive and usage based approaches to language change.