Friday, February 06, 2015

That sums it up

I'm in the process of reading How Words Mean right now. I must admit that it is a tough go. I thought maybe it was because I wasn't overly familiar with Cognitive Linguistics. But, just in case, I decided to check out what others were saying...
Although the book is not an introduction to cognitive linguistics (which E has published in another book), many chapters are devoted to reviewing and explaining, often repetitively, the principles, major figures, and, in excruciating detail, the theoretical terms and apparatus of cognitive linguistics. This is unfortunate, because I believe the readers most interested in the novel content of the book would be cognitive linguists who need no such review and might not get to the final chapters where the author's view of word meaning and interpretation is finally explained. For other cognitive scientists (another target group), the book is too detailed and ponderous in the early going for them to get through. Furthermore, it does not provide an overview of the phenomenon it is attempting to explain, although such an overview could have been of great interest to cognitive scientists. Finally, I suspect that the general linguist would be able to get through the book well enough but would find the amount of linguistic insight to be small compared to the time and effort of reading it. In sum, I think that there is a shorter, more focused potential book—or perhaps multiple potential books—inside the present one, trying to get out. Instead, the author seems to have been afraid of omitting anything important, thereby making the book less useful for most audiences.—George Murphy in Language 87 (2011), 393
Yep. That's pretty much what the other reviews were saying, too. And I concur...but I'll finish it anyway. But I sure am glad I got it via interlibrary loan and didn't buy it ($55.00 for the paperback, $145 for the cloth)!

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