Member of the Scientific council of Social Sciences
Associate Professor Mirjam Fried is a cognitive linguist whose research focuses on the relationship between language and human cognition. Her primary interest lies in grammatical organization of language, including its changes over time, as it manifests itself in speakers’ every-day linguistic behavior. She thus studies language as a window into particular mental processes, which are grounded in our general cognitive capacity and social practices. She is a pioneer in developing the approach known as Construction Grammar toward accommodating and integrating research questions brought up by grammaticalization theory within diachronic analysis. Most recently, she has been extending the constructional model into the domain of spoken language, whose complex multimodal nature poses a particular challenge for systematic analysis.
She works at the Linguistics Department at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, where she also leads the research team Empirical Perspectives on Communication and Cognition; its research goal is to develop a general model of integrated linguistic analysis that can capture the conventionalized relationships between the grammatical, acoustic, and gestural structure of spontaneously produced language. She was also the principal investigator of the OP RDE-Excellent research project Creativity and Adaptability as a Prerequisite for Europe's Success in an Interconnected World (2018-2022), whose primary objective was to develop a more open and truly interdisciplinary model for organizing research in humanities and social sciences.
She majored in Czech Studies and Classical Philology at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University and then studied general linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, where she received her doctorate in 1995. She worked there as Assistant Professor in 1998-2001, after a one-year appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor at University of Oregon. In 2001-2008, she taught at Princeton University and in 2008, she received Associate Professorship at the University of Helsinki. Since 2011, she’s been working at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, where she also served as Dean in 2014-2017. Since 2013, she has been a member of the Scientific Council of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
Her editorial work includes the Editor-in-Chief position for the journal Constructions and Frames (John Benjamins), which she co-founded in 2008 and which serves as a major outlet in the field; co-founder and long-time co-editor of the book series Constructional Approaches to Language (John Benjamins); Associate Editor of the journal Cognitive Linguistics (Mouton de Gruyter) in 2012-2017; and member of a number of editorial boards in international linguistics journals and book series. She is also a sought-after expert in evaluating grant proposals, including repeated ERC panel membership; Chair of the Finnish Academy of Sciences linguistic panels; and others.
"I take the invitation to join Neuron as a great personal honor, but above all as an opportunity to participate in meaningful support for the Czech scientific community, including in the humanities. Neuron’s mission accords quite naturally with my belief that the humanities, contrary to the popular myth that they have nothing useful to offer, should not be a sort of exclusive hobby of the select, but a visible part of public life and a contributor to its cultivation. Our society does not like to admit this, but it is precisely through the humanities that we can best learn and understand who we are as complex human beings. It is the humanities that can help prepare us as a society for coping with an increasingly unpredictable world in which we can take for granted little more than the acknowledged fact that it will be complicated and ever-changing. I thus find it appealing to be part of a community through which this voice can be heard – not only in the form of recognizing excellent scholarship, including the support of promising young researchers, but also in a dialogue with other scientific domains and the world of business." - She says about her work in the Neuron Scientific Council.