Monday November 25, 2013
KL 232 (Chancellor’s Conference Room)

Professor Teenie Matlock, UC Merced

Title: Framing framing: When the more subtle details of language matter

Abstract: When people communicate they share messages that have an impact, in some cases, a social impact. Decades of cognitive research shows that our everyday reasoning, for instance, reasoning about politics, is somehow influenced by language, but often such work ignores the linguistic details of this interaction. This presentation, which includes examples of literal and non-literal language, will review and summarize the results of a number of studies on imperfective and perfective markings in English, specifically, past progressive (was VERB+ing versus VERB+ed), and how these differences influence the way people conceptualize actions (quantity and magnitude) in a variety of domains, including politics. Together the studies discussed provide evidence that our use and understanding of the more subtle aspects of language play a vital role in determining how we view the world and what actions we take, and that language is a dynamic system grounded in our everyday experiences in the world.

Bio: Teenie Matlock is Founding Faculty and McClatchy Chair in Communications at UC Merced. She is also Affiliate Faculty at UC Berkeley. The author of over 50 articles, which span multiple areas of cognitive science, Matlock came from Stanford University in 2004, where she was a Research Associate, to start a cognitive science program at UC Merced. She is a standing member of the NIH LCOM study section, a member of the Cognitive Science Society governing board, and a member of the Environmental Communications editorial board. She recently became Associate Editor for Cognitive Linguistics. She is the recipient of many NSF grants with collaborators, primarily with colleagues in the School of Engineering. Her research efforts center around semantics in everyday language.

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