Bisociation and Conceptual Blending Theory

New Yorker magazine cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff, talks about the anatomy of the New Yorker cartoon and what makes them funny. He cites Arthur Koestler’s idea of bisociation as explained in his Act of Creation as a major influence to his thinking in making choices for which cartoons get accepted into the magazine.

Koestler’s book is also the starting point for Fauconnier and Turner’s work The Way We Think on Conceptual Blending Theory, an important notion in Cognitive Linguistics.

Loanwords and the growth and change of a language

We have truly come to understand that language is usage in the last thirty years.

So when someone says that they disapprove of loanwords coming into their language they are really not understanding this point. They are coming from the Old School which thinks grammar (and vocabulary) is perscriptive, not descriptive.

English is itself a language built upon loanwords. The language has been borrowing words from the very beginning from Latin, Old Norse, French and Greek just for starters. And in this day and age it borrows from whatever language it comes into contact.

Why languages do so is because new ideas come in faster than words can be created. Also where the idea comes from also influences its adoptive form. So really when people are complaining about the loanwords they are complaining about influences that maybe seen as from outside the culture.

One should not be surprised that such insularity still exists in this day and age.

metaphors we live by

942012_616118365075845_1374820453_n“There’s just too much friction between us.”

“It’s not my fault.”

RELATIONSHIPS ARE GEOLOGICAL FEATURES.

English is Rough

“We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”

James Nicoll

Living abroad for three years will still only get you half the native speaker vocabulary size

It seems the average non-native speaker of English only has a vocabulary size of about 4,500 words. And over half of these learners will have a vocabulary size of greater than 7,826 words. This is a somewhat depressing picture for language learners considering the worst of native speaker adults still will have a minimum size of 20,000 words with the high end at 35,000 words.

So what is the best way for non-native speakers to increase their vocabulary size? According to these statistics from testyourvocab.com the biggest factor is out-of-class activities. The more you do outside of the classroom the broader your vocabulary. Otherwise three years living abroad will do the trick. Even then the non-native speaker will only have 10,000 words (that is equal to the vocabulary size of an 8 year old native speaker). To reach 18,000 words over 10 years of living abroad is necessary.

the embodied

when exactly
does one
come to understand
the embodied mind?

concepts wholly
dependent,
spaces blend
in ways possible

through
the very thing
reality is not –
that is, the word

put simply,
your metaphors
no longer fool
anyone