Jenny Lederer( She/Her/Hers )
Jenny's primary research areas are cognitive semantics, the syntax, semantics, and morphology of reflexivity, and language revitalization. Broadly, she is interested in identifying the ways in which language sheds light on the conceptual architecture of the human mind. One strain of her research program, begun under the mentorship of Professor George Lakoff at the University of California, Berkeley, is centered on political discourse — identifying which mental building blocks structure the conceptual models speakers use to reason about abstract, complex topics like immigration, sexuality, gender, and the environment. The same conceptual primitives that organize abstract thinking within political discourse — metaphors, metonymies, blends, frames, and image schemas- also play a role in structuring the grammar of language. In a second strain of research, begun in her dissertation work, chaired by Professor Eve Sweetser, and continued in current projects, she focus on how spatial schematic knowledge influences the way languages encode self-directed actions in their individual grammars. The investigation of this topic and variations in its grammatical expression is of great significance for both formal and cognitive theories of semantics, syntax, and morphology. Dr. Lederer has recently published her work in in the Journal of Pragmatics and Cognitive Linguistics. She teaches a wide range of courses in the department including undergraduate courses in introduction to linguistics, phonetics, phonology, morphology, and graduate courses in semantics and conceptual metaphor. More information about Dr. Lederer's teaching and research can be found on her personal webpage.