chapter  19
16 Pages

Integrating Sociocultural Theory and Cognitive Linguistics in the Second Language Classroom

ByJAMES P. LANTOLF, PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY

Fauconnier and Turner (2002, p. 3) argue that if the twentieth century was “the age of the triumph of form,” the twenty-first century is likely to be the century where meaning comes to the fore and perhaps even supercedes form as the major focus of interest in the social sciences. In the last century, for the most part, social sciences followed the model of the hard sciences on the assumption that by uncovering “deep hidden forms behind ostensible forms” it was possible to unlock the mysteries of the universe, including the world created and inhabited by humans (Fauconnier & Turner, 2002, p. 4). However, as Fauconnier and Turner (p. 4) argue, structuralism does not reveal the full picture of what it means to be a human being, because it leaves out the central role of meaning. In an especially forceful analogy the authors (pp. 4-5) recount the episode in the Iliad where Hector slays Patroclus mistaking him for Achilles because he is wearing his cousin’s body armor. Fauconnier and Turner (p. 5) point out that

having the armor is never having Achilles; having the form-and indeed even the intricate transformations of form (all those 1s and 0s [reference to computational models of phenomena ranging from hurricanes to human thinking]) is never having the meaning to which the form has been suited.