Grounding: The Epistemic Footing of Deixis and Reference

Grounding: The Epistemic Footing of Deixis and Reference

Grounding: The Epistemic Footing of Deixis and Reference

Grounding: The Epistemic Footing of Deixis and Reference


This compilation of invited contributions, gathering an international collection of cognitive and functional linguists, offers an outline of original empirical work carried out in grounding theory. Grounding is a central notion in cognitive grammar that addresses the linking of semantic content to contextual factors that constitute the subjective ground (or situation of speech). The volume illustrates a growing concern with the application of cognitive grammar to constructions establishing deixis and reference. It proposes a double focus on nominal and clausal grounding, as well as on ways of integrating analyses across these domains.


Frank Brisard

"As if… there were no single Destiny, …
but rather a choice among a great many
possible ones, their number steadily di
minishing each time a Choice be made, till
at last 'reduc'd,' to the events that do hap
pen to us, as we pass among 'em, thro'
Time unredeemable, — much as a Lens,
indeed, may receive all the Light from
some vast celestial Field of View, and re
duce it to a single Point. Suggests an opti
cal person…"

Thomas Pynchon, Mason & Dixon

1. Grounding and grounding predications

Grounding is proposed as a technical term in Cognitive Grammar to characterize grammatical predications that indicate the relationship of a designated entity to the ground or situation of speech, including the speech event itself, its participants, and their respective spheres of knowledge. By definition, grounding predications are obligatory grammatical elements needed to turn nouns into full nominals, and verbs into finite clauses. When this happens, the resulting nominal designates an instance of the thing type presented by the head noun, just like a finite clause is taken to designate an instance of the process type expressed by the main verb. This selection of instances is made possible by the very nature of the grounding function, which incorporates some relation between the ground and a designated process or thing whose main import can arguably be called "deictic" (Langacker 1994). The relationship in question can be one of straightforward inclusion in the ground, but of course it need not be. Typical of . . .

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