Idiomatic Creativity

A cognitive-linguistic model of idiom-representation and idiom-variation in English

Andreas Langlotz | University of Basel
ISBN 9789027223708 | EUR 120.00 | USD 180.00
ISBN 9789027293763 | EUR 120.00 | USD 180.00
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This book revisits the theoretical and psycholinguistic controversies centred around the intriguing nature of idioms and proposes a more systematic cognitive-linguistic model of their grammatical status and use. Whenever speakers vary idioms in actual discourse, they open a linguistic window into idiomatic creativity – the complex cognitive processing and representation of these heterogeneous linguistic constructions. Idiomatic creativity therefore raises two challenging questions: What are the cognitive mechanisms that underlie and shape idiom-representation? How do these mechanisms define the scope and limits of systematic idiom-variation in actual discourse? The book approaches these problems by means of a comprehensive cognitive-linguistic architecture of meaning and language and analyses them on the basis of corpus-data from the British National Corpus (BNC). Therefore, Idiomatic Creativity should be of great interest to cognitive linguists, phraseologists, corpus linguists, advanced students of linguistics, and all readers who are interested in the fascinating interplay of language and cognitive processing.

This book has a companion website:

[Human Cognitive Processing, 17] 2006.  xi, 325 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“The book is essential for anyone involved in the study of idioms. Langlotz convincingly demonstrates that the systematic discursive behavior of idioms is an epiphenomenon of their internal semantic structure. The book shows that the systematic lexicogrammatical behavior of idioms is the result of the speaker's ability to manipulate idiomatic constructions to make them fulfill their cognitive modelling function.”
“Idioms are mostly conceived of as cliched, lifeless bits of language that have little to do with real metaphorical thought and linguistic creativity. Andi Langlotz's book presents a clear, convincing argument for the idea that idioms are multifaceted with many being wonderfully creative and reflections of both compositional and metaphorical thought processes. This book examines the vast literature on idiomaticity in linguistics and psycholinguistics, and offers a new cognitive linguistic model that beautifully accounts for the amazing diversity of idiomatic language. Simply put, this is the best, most theoretically and empirically advanced work ever done on idioms, yet should also be closely studied by all those with interests in creativity and figurative language.”
“Andreas Langlotz’s monograph is going to be the standard book on English cognitive phraseology. The book analyses the correlations between compositionality and variability for idioms from the word-field of success, progress and failure. The author gains fundamental insights into the working principles of the human mind.”
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Terminology & Lexicography


Main BIC Subject

CF: Linguistics

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LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
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