Talk by Roslyn M. Frank: “A cognitive approach to the schema of ‘dialogic subjectivity’ (elkarrekikotasuna) in Euskera: Three examples”.

Date and Time: November 30, Monday, 11.30 am.

Location: Carlos Santamaría Building, Room B14

Speaker: Roslyn M. Frank (University of Iowa) (

Title: A cognitive approach to the schema of ‘dialogic subjectivity’ (elkarrekikotasuna) in Euskera: Three examples


The talk begins with a brief overview of the way that ‘language’ has come to be defined as a complex adaptive system and how concepts such as distributed cognition and cultural conceptualizations are being brought to bear in order to analyze the cognitive dimensions of language, in this instance the Basque language. The role played by the sociocultural situatedness of language agents as well as language itself in the production of macro- and micro-level structure of a linguistic system is highlighted. Next, factors contributing to the stability of a linguistically instantiated schema are summarized, e.g., the notion of networking, that is, the way that mutually supporting instantiations of a schema can contribute to its stability and continuity across time. Even when the cognitive schema entrenched in the language is not consciously perceived by its speakers, the participating linguistic subsystems still provide mutual structural support for each other. As will be demonstrated, from a cognitive perspective the three subsystems that will be examined in the talk act to support each other and have contributed to the stability of the schema of ‘dialogic subjectivity’ (elkarrekikotasuna) across time. As a bridging mechanism for the last section of the talk, the need to consider the ‘dialogic dimension’ of language is brought forward which as Stawarska (2009) has noted, involves moving beyond first-person transcendental subjectivity and the limited scope of first and third modes at the exclusion of the first-to-second person mode of interrelatedness. In the last part of the talk the way that the Basque language emphasizes the first-to-second person mode of interrelatedness and structurally incorporates the schema of ‘dialogic subjectivity’ will be addressed. To illustrate how this schema is instantiated, three examples of subsystems that feed into the schema of ‘dialogic subjectivity’ will be analyzed. All three of them are present in the Basque language today. Moreover, as will be demonstrated, this cognitive schema is deeply embedded in the Basque language and shows significant time-depth. Although no knowledge of Basque is required to follow the presentation, Basque speakers may discover that Euskera has some remarkable cognitive dimensions that until now have gone relatively unnoticed, not the least of which is the way that schema of ‘dialogic subjectivity’ contrasts with the schema of ‘monologic subjectivity’ found in languages like Spanish and English.

Selected references: 

Azkarate, M., & Altuna, P. (2001). Euskal morfologiaren historia. Donostia: Elkarlanean, S.L.

Cuffari, E. C., Di Paolo, E., & De Jaegher, H. (2014). From participatory sense-making to language: There and back again. Phenomenology and Cognitive Science, 1-37. DOI 10.1007/s11097-11014-19404-11099.

De Jaegher, H., & Di Paolo, E. (2007). Participatory sense-making. Phenomenology and Cognitive Science, 6, 485-507.

Frank, R. M. (2005). Shifting identities: A comparative study of Basque and Western cultural conceptualizations. Cahiers of the Association for French Language Studies, 11(2), 1-54.

Frank, R. M. (2013). Body and mind in Euskara: Contrasting dialogic and monologic subjectivities. In R. Caballero-Rodríguez & J. E. Díaz Vera (Eds.), Sensuous Cognition: Explorations into Human Sentience: Imagination, (E)motion and Perception (pp. 19-51). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Frank, R. M. (2014). A complex adaptive systems approach to language, cultural schemas and serial metonymy: Charting the cognitive innovations of ‘fingers’ and ‘claws’ in Basque. In J. E. Díaz-Vera (Ed.), Metaphor and Metonymy through Time and Cultures: Perspectives on the Sociohistorical Linguistics of Figurative Language (pp. 65-94). Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Frank, R. M. (2015a). Cultural Linguistics and the future agenda for research on language and culture. In F. Sharifian (Ed.), Routledge Handbook on Language and Culture (pp. 493-512). New York/London: Routledge.

Frank, R. M. (2015b). The relevance of a ‘Complex Adaptive Systems’ approach to ‘language’: A bridge for increased dialogue between the disciplines of cognitive and evolutionary linguistics. Presentation at the 13th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, July 20-26 2015, Northumbrian University, Newcastle, UK. [Invited talk at the Theme Session “Cognitive Linguistics and the Evolution of Language: Converging Perspectives”]

Frank, R. M., & Gontier, N. (2010). On constructing a research model for historical cognitive linguistics (HCL): Some theoretical considerations. In H. Tissari, P. Koivisto-Alanko, K. I. Allan, & M. Winter (Eds.), Historical Cognitive Linguistics (pp. 31-69). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Fuchs, T., & De Jaegher, H. (2010). Non-representational subjectivity. In T. Fuchs, H. C. Sattel, & P. Henningsen (Eds.), The Embodied Self: Dimensions, Coherence and Disorders (pp. 203-214). Stuttgart: Schattauer Verlag.

Maynard, S. K. (2007). Linguistic Creativity in Japanese Discourse: Exploring the Multiplicity of Self, Perspective and Voice. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Michelena, L. ([1979] 1987). Miscelánea filológica vasca IV. In L. Mitxelena (Ed.), Palabras y textos (pp. 435-463). Bilbao: Universidad del País Vasco. Publicado en Fontes Linguae Vasconum XX, 33: 377-406

Moreno Cabrera, J. C. (1998). Allocutivity and voice in the Basque verb. In L. Kulikov & H. Vater (Eds.), Typology of Verbal Categories (pp. 169-178). Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.

Naruoka, K. (2008). Expressivity of Demonstratives: A Contrastive Study in Japanese and English Discourse. Japan Women’s University.

Sharifian, F. (2009). On collective cognition and language. In H. Pishwa (Ed.), Social Cognition and Language: Expression of the Social Mind (pp. 163-180). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Sharifian, F. (2011). Cultural Conceptualizations and Language: Theoretical Framework and Applications. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Stawarska, B. (2009). Between You and I. Athens   Ohio University Press.

Stewart, J., Gapenne, O., & Di Paolo, E. A. (2011). Introduction. In J. Stewart, O. Gapenne, & E. A. Di Paolo (Eds.), Enactivism: Towards a New Paradigm in Cognitive Science (pp. vii-xvii). Cambridge: MIT Press.