The purpose of DGKL/GCLA (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kognitive Linguistik/German Cognitive Linguistics Association) is to promote Cognitive Linguistics at the national and international levels. The association supports research and education in Cognitive Linguistics and the application of its results, in particular:
- contacts and cooperation among its members,
- the development of research projects,
- the development of curricula and international graduate and doctoral programs,
- the organization of national and international conferences and workshops.
Cognitive Linguistics rejects a modular view of language, i.e. the hypothesis that language, especially syntax, forms an autonomous system acquired through a specialized innate module of the human mind and functioning according to its own rules and principles. In contrast, Cognitive Linguistics proposes that language is grounded in, and thus at least partially motivated by, non-linguistic cognitive and perceptual systems. The theoretical and methodological tenets of Cognitive Linguistics include:
- Language is a sign system, i.e. a symbolic system of conventional pairings of form and meaning/use both on the lexical and the constructional levels.
- The study of linguistic meaning is equivalent to that of conceptual structure. Meaning is largely shaped by e.g. image schemas, conceptual metaphors, conceptual metonymies, and conceptual blends. Meaning is grounded in human experience (embodied) and cultural practice.
- Language acquisition can be accounted for without assuming a rich innate knowledge base (universal grammar).
- Linguistic descriptions and explanations should not (exclusively) be based on introspection but on authentic language (i.e. usage-based).
Membership in the association is open to everyone who is committed to its aims as well as to its basic theoretical and methodological tenets. GCLA/DGKL is affiliated with the International Cognitive Linguistics Association (ICLA).