COGS 101c: Language (Spring 2012)

Tues/Thurs: 6:30-7:50 pm 
Pepper Canyon Hall (PCYNH) Room 109

Course website:

Recent Announcements (more)

HW2 descriptive statistics


mean: 6.5 (72%)

median: 6.5 (72%)

min: 1.2 (13%)

max: 9 (100%)

stdev: 1.7 (19%)

(Mon Jun 11, 2:36 p.m.)
Assignment 2 Solutions, continued

6)    “When I was in math class, my teacher held me up by my hair until I could finally do the problems on my own.” “His mother was a constant but hidden source of help throughout his life – she was a glass floor, an invisible foundation.”
7)    Inferential dependence: “His conclusion leaned on his premises, and I was worried that his opponent’s replies would lead to the collapse of his entire argument.”
8)    Co-presence: “He was there for her when he needed help.”
9)    “The metal beams were assisting the roof.” This is not a sensible sentence, but if the mapping were bidirectional it should mean, “The metal beams were giving physical support to the roof.”

(Mon Jun 11, 2:22 p.m.)
Hi folks,

I've had some requests for solutions to Assignment 2. They were discussed in section, but that was a couple of weeks ago... So here they are again.

Happy studying,
1)    a, d, e, f
2)    Physical Support: presence of support-related language in each sentence (support, crutch, lean on, propped)
3)    Aid / Help: all four sentences are talking about help, either emotional (a, d, e) or economic (f)
4)    Source of support → source of help. Removal of support → removal of help. Being supported → being helped, etc.
5)    “I’ll carry you when you’re feeling down.” “The economy was buttressed by the stimulus package?”
(Mon Jun 11, 2:22 p.m.)


Ben Bergen (Professor)

Office Hours: Tues 1:00-2:00pm, Wed 2-3pm in CSB 133

Tyler Marghetis (TA)

Office Hours: Th 12-1 in Mandeville Coffee Cart

Sections: Wed 1:00 (CSB 004) & 2:00 pm (CSB 005)

Daniel Frost (TA)

Office Hours: T 2-3pm in CSB 131

Sections: Fri 11 am (WLH 2204) & 12 am (CSB 002)

Kristen Secora (TA)

Office Hours: Fri 3:30-4:30 in SSRB 207

Section: Mon 10:00 am (CSB 004)

Course Description

This course is an introduction to language and cognition. We will be looking at how language works as a cognitive function and how linguistic cognition relates to other aspects of cognition. Due to time constraints, the course will focus predominantly on higher-level, individual aspects of language, like meaning and grammar, spending less time on speech sounds, social aspects of language use, and language change. The main topics to be covered are: (1) meaning, (2) grammar, (3) figurative language, (4) linguistic relativism, and (5) language learning. The research on language and cognition is multi-disciplinary; evidence is drawn from text analysis, patterns of language acquisition, behavioral experiments, and brain imaging, among other sources. The purpose of this course is to provide a general orientation in language and cognition, an understanding of its central themes and assumptions, and exposure to its empirical methods.


[1] Bergen, Benjamin. 2012. Louder than words: The new science of how the mind makes meaning.
Ch. 1.

     Supplementary: Bergen, Benjamin. 2007. Experimental methods for simulation semantics. In
M. Gonzalez-Marquez, I. Mittelberg, S. Coulson, and M. J. Spivey (eds.) Methods in Cognitive

[2] Rosch, E., "Principles of Categorization", pp. 27–48 in Rosch, E. & Lloyd, B.B. (eds),
Cognition and Categorization, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, (Hillsdale), 1978.

[3] Pullum, G. Generative Grammar. The MIT CogNet Library.
     Pesetsky, D. Universal Grammar. The MIT CogNet Library.
     Marcus, G. Poverty of the Stimulus Arguments. The MIT CogNet Library.
[4] Goldberg, Adele. 2003. Constructions: A new theoretical approach to language. Trends in
Cognitive Science.

     Supplementary: Kaschak, Michael P. and Arthur M. Glenberg 2000, Constructing meaning:
The role of affordances and grammatical constructions in sentence comprehension, Journal of
Memory and Language 43: 508-529.

[5] Bates, E., Elman, J., Johnson, M., Karmiloff-Smith, A., Parisi, D., & Plunkett, K. (1998).
Innateness and emergentism. In W. Bechtel & G. Graham (Eds.), A companion to cognitive
science (pp. 590-601). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

[6] Lakoff, George. 1993. The contemporary theory of metaphor. In Andrew Ortony (Ed.)
Metaphor and thought (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge.

[7] Gibbs, R., J. Bogdanovich, J. Sykes, and D. Barr. (1997). Metaphor in Idiom Comprehension.
Journal of Memory and Language 37, 141 – 154 (1997)

[8] Casasanto, D. & Boroditsky, L. (2008). Time in the Mind: Using space to think about time.
Cognition (106), 579–593.

[9] Matlock, T. (2004). Fictive motion as cognitive simulation. Memory & Cognition, 32, 1389-

[10] Boroditsky, L. (in press). Linguistic Relativity. Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. MacMillan

      Supplementary: Majid, A., Bowerman, M., Kita, S., Haun, D. & S. Levinson (2004). Can
language restructure cognition? The case for space. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(3), 108-114.

[11] Li, P., Abarbanell, L., Papafragou, A., & Gleitman, L. (2011). Spatial reasoning in Tenejapan
Mayans. Cognition, 120, 33-5.

     Supplementary: Li, P., & Gleitman, P. (2002). Turning the tables: Language and spatial
reasoning. Cognition, 83, 265-294.

[12] Boroditsky, L., Fuhrman, O., & McCormick, K. (2010). Do English and Mandarin speakers
think differently about time? Cognition.

     Supplementary: Boroditsky, L., Schmidt, L., & Phillips, W. (in press). Sex, Syntax, and
Semantics. To appear in Gentner & Goldin-Meadow (Eds.,) Language in Mind: Advances in the
study of Language and Cognition.

[13] Maass, A., & Russo, A. (2003). Directional bias in the mental representation of spatial events:
Nature or culture? Psychological Science, 14, 296 –301.
     Supplementary: Ting Ting Chan and Benjamin Bergen. 2005. Writing Direction Influences
Spatial Cognition. In Proceedings of the Twenty-Seventh Annual Conference of the Cognitive
Science Society.

[14] Tomasello, M. (2006). Acquiring linguistic constructions. In D. Kuhn & R. Siegler (Eds.),
Handbook of Child Psychology. New York: Wiley.

     Supplementary: Adele E. Goldberg, Devin Casenhiser and Nitya Sethuraman. 2004. Learning
Argument Structure Generalizations. Cognitive Linguistics, 15, 289-316.

[15] McDonough, L., Choi, S., Mandler, J. (2003) Understanding spatial relations: Flexible infants,
lexical adults. Cognitive Psychology, 46, 229-259. REQUIRES LOGIN AND PASSWORD AS FOUND IN LECTURE 1 AND ON DISCUSSION BOARD

Course Details and Policies

A full syllabus and lecture slides can be downloaded under the "Documents" tab.

Links to the readings are embedded in the Syllabus but are also available in the above section by clicking on the name of the reading.

Links for each week's SRS will be added to the schedule below before each class period.  They are due at
5pm on that day.

Course Schedule

Week Date Topic Readings SRS Notes
1 Tue Apr 03 Introduction
Thu Apr 05 Meaning I
Sample Summary
2 Tue Apr 10 Meaning II
[2] Sample Summary
Thu Apr 12 Grammar I
[3] Sample Summary

3 Tue Apr 17 Grammar II
[4] Sample Summary
Thu Apr 19 Grammar III
[5] Sample Summary
4 Tue Apr 24 MIDTERM 1
Thu Apr 26 Figurative Language I
[6] Sample Summary
5 Tue May 01 Figurative Language II
Sample Summary
Thu May 03 Figurative Language III
Sample Summary
6 Tue May 08 Figurative Language IV
[9] Sample Summary
Thu May 10 Linguistic Relativism I
[10] Sample Summary
7 Tue May 15 Linguistic Relativism II
[11] Sample Summary
Thu May 17 Linguistic Relativism II
[12] Sample Summary
8 Tue May 22 Linguistic Relativism IV
Sample Summary
Thu May 24 MIDTERM 2
9 Tue May 29 Language Learning I
[14], page 1-20 Sample Summary
Thu May 31 Language Learning II
[14], page 21-53 Sample Summary
10 Tue Jun 05 Language Learning III
Sample Summary
Thu Jun 07 Wrap-up
11 Tue Jun 12 FINAL EXAM (7-10pm)