LSA 127: Semantics, grammar, and political linguistics in NTL

George Lakoff | session 1 | TuTh 1:30 – 3:15, 2060 Valley Life Sciences Building (VLSB)

The Neural Theory of Language (NTL) is concerned with the question of the how the brain, a biological structure that evolved to run a body, can give rise to meaningful thought and language. Some initial answers to that question come partly through neuroscience, partly through the computational modeling of neural computation, and partly through the study of embodiment in cognitive linguistics. This course is a brief introduction to what has been learned about semantics and grammar from this perspective.

Central to the course will be Embodied Construction Grammar (ECG), a form of computational linguistics whose notational system links directly to models of neural computation and cognitive linguistics. Background texts: Jerome Feldman, From Molecules to Metaphors (2006); George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh (1999); George Lakoff, The Political Mind (2008).

Note: The NTL research group will be available outside of class throughout the institute to offer tutorials on NTL and ECG. Those interested in such tutorials should contact J. Feldman (

Reading: Selected materials available online.

Areas of linguistics: Language and thought; Syntax, semantics, and morphology

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