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Book of the Month - September 2015

Our September Book of the Month is The Communicative Mind: A Linguistic Exploration of Conceptual Integration and Meaning Construction by Line Brandt.

Integrating research in linguistics, philosophy, semiotics, neurophenomenology, and literary studies, The Communicative Mind presents a thought-provoking and multifaceted investigation into linguistic meaning construction. It explores the various ways in which the intersubjectivity of communicating interactants manifests itself in language structure and use, and argues for the indispensability of dialogue as a semantic resource in cognition.

The author introduces Cognitive Linguistics to the notion of enunciation, demonstrates the centrality of subjectivity, and engages the reader in critical discussions of cognitive-linguistic approaches to semantic construal. The book engages the reader in critical discussions of cognitive-linguistic approaches to semantic construal and addresses the philosophical implications of the identified strengths and limitations. With its constructive criticism of the “general mechanism” hypothesis, according to which “blending” can explain everything from the origin of language to binding in perception, Brandt’s book brings the scope and applicability of Conceptual Integration Theory into the arena of scientific debate.

The book contains five main chapters, entitled “Enunciation: Aspects of Subjectivity in Meaning Construction”; “The Subjective Conceptualizer: Non-actuality in Construal”; “Conceptual Integration in Semiotic Meaning Construction”; “Meaning Construction in Literary Text”; and “Effects of Poetic Enunciation: Seven Types of Iconicity”.

To find out more, please click here to read a sample extract and contents page. 

We are offering all of our readers a generous 60% discount on this best-selling title. To redeem your discount, please enter the promotional code BOMSEP15 during checkout. Please note that this is a time-limited offer that will expire on 30th September 2015.

Please see below for highlights of the praise this book has been receiving:

“This is a significant book. It begins by making a claim for an interdisciplinary collision of linguistics (especially semantics and pragmatics), literary studies, neurophenomenology, cognitive psychology, and philosophy. The result is an assertion that all of these related dimensions can be resolved into a single over-arching discipline: that of cognitive semiotics. This is an ambitious project, but over 600 pages of surprisingly readable and clear argument, it is exactly what emerges. Brandt develops the argument from everyday spoken and written discourse to literary discourse. The book thus moves into cognitive poetics, and addresses in turn fiction and poetry. The analyses here are in themselves worth the price of the book. Indeed, chapters 4 and 5 could stand alone as required reading for all literary scholars. The book stands as an example of a communicating mind, and its success as an act of communication seems to me to be evident from the first page to the last.”

—Professor Peter Stockwell, University of Nottingham

“The Communicative Mind represents an extensive and highly original contribution to a cognitive theory of meaning within the emerging paradigm of cognitive semiotics by articulating a synthesis of hitherto unconnected traditions in linguistics and semiotics: enunciation theory and cognitive linguistics, as well as bringing in insights from phenomenology and neuroscience. It resituates meaning construction in its actual, social or intersubjective contexts, and thus avoids the limitations of a reductive analysis focusing on the processing of ‘linguistic stimuli’. The theoretical framework is applied to investigations of fictive interaction, fiction and poetry, thereby showing its value for cognitive poetics. In sum, the book is an excellent illustration of the present ‘cognitive turn’ in the humanities, without falling into the reductionist pitfall, since it highlights the essential roles of human subjectivity and sociality.”

—Jordan Zlatev, Professor of General Linguistics, Lund University

“Brandt brings together a remarkably diverse set of methodologies to elucidate the ways in which language depicts conceptualizers and enunciation. This work shows us new and useful directions in analysing literary texts as complex subjective networks of mental spaces—and challenges psychologists and neuroscientists to tackle cognitive complexities which are at present beyond them.”

—Eve Sweetser, Professor of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley

The Communicative Mind presents the semiotics community with one of the most original investigations into the relationship between cognition and language in recent memory. Brandt’s study covers topics as diverse as syntactic constituents, fictivity and other non-actual construal of events, acts, and relations, as well as enunciation in literature and poetry. Her treatment of these topics is so rich and provocative that it will influence generations of scholars and researchers working at the intersections of cognitive science, phenomenology, and linguistic pragmatics.”

—Todd Oakley, Professor and Chair of Cognitive Science, Case Western Reserve University

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