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Behind the words - on the new cognitive science of language
As human beings, we are constantly surrounded by language. Our familiarity with language means that we rarely stop to think about how it actually functions. This talk is an invitation to take a step back and reflect on the processes that make language work in the first place. What lies behind the words? I will try to answer that question by reviewing insights from a linguistic research program that has become more and more popular over the recent decades: cognitive linguistics. Drawing on findings from experiments and other empirical studies, I will argue that what lies behind the words is a system of social and cognitive capacities, some uniquely human, some shared with other species, that pervade human interaction and thought and that come together in language.