The Study of Verbs in Cognitive Science



Verbs are said to play a central role in the lexicalization of events and states—thus they are crucial for understanding how we represent and use information about these events and states in linguistic utterances. This chapter introduces some key controversies in the study of verb meaning and structure from the interdisciplinary perspective of cognitive science. We begin with a methodological discussion on the interdisciplinary investigation characteristic of cognitive science, aiming to understand how different types of evidence might be relevant in uncovering the nature of linguistic and cognitive principles underlying verb meaning and structure, their representations, and processes. We then discuss three broad content areas bearing on verb representation and processing: argument structure, thematic roles, and the nature of semantic or conceptual structure. For each of these areas, we bring sample theoretical and empirical (experimental) research aiming to provide a context for interdisciplinary research conducted in the field and, more specifically, to the chapters collected in the present volume.


Verb representation Verb processing Argument structure Thematic roles Conceptual structure Linguistics Psycholinguistics Cognitive science 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of PhilologyUniversity of PatrasRio PatrasGreece

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