Faculty & Staff

Giovanni Bennardo

Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1996 Professor

Professor Bennardo's area of specialization is linguistic and cognitive anthropology. His primary geographic focus is Oceania, in particular, Western Polynesia, the Kingdom of Tonga, where he conducted extensive fieldwork. Research and interests are interdisciplinary; he brings together linguistic, psychological, and anthropological perspectives to cognitive science. His doctoral and current research focuses on the linguistic, cognitive, and cultural representations of spatial relationships. His specific interest is the investigation of intra-modular and inter-modular conceptual structures or cultural models. He's taught at UCLA, U. of Missouri, Columbia, College of Charleston, South Carolina. He currently teaches courses in linguistic anthropology, cognitive anthropology, and cognitive science.


2013       Cultural Models: Genesis, Typology, and Experiences: Oxford University Press.

2011       A Companion To Cognitive Anthropology: Wiley-Blackwell.

2009       Language, Space, and Social Relationships: A Foundational Cultural Model in Polynesia: Cambridge University Press.

2002       Representing Space in Oceania: Culture in Language and Mind: Pacific Linguistics, The Australian National University.

2000       A Conceptual Analysis of Tongan Spatial Nouns: From Grammar to Mind. Languages of the World, 12. Munich, Germany: Lincom Europa.


Articles (last six years):


2011       Cognitive Anthropology. Oxford Bibliographies Online: Anthropology. Ed. John Jackson. New (refereed) York: Oxford University Press, September, 2011. 

2010       Space, Kinship, and Mind. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 5: 382-383.

2010        “Temporal Frames of Reference: A Conceptual Analysis and Empirical Evidence from English, German, and Tongan.” Journal of Cognition and Culture (with A. Bender and S. Beller, Freiburg University, Germany)

2008       “Metaphors in Tongan Linguistic Production about Social Relationships: ‘Ofa “Love” is Giving.” Anthropological Linguistics, 50, 2: 174-204.

2008       “Familiar Space in Social Memory.” Structure and Dynamics, 3, 2: article 2.

2008       “Influence Structures in a Tongan Village: ‘Every Villager is not the Same!’ ” Structure and Dynamics , 3, 1, article 2. (with Charles Cappell, NIU)

2007       “Cognition, Algebra, and Culture in the Tongan Kinship Terminology.” Journal of Cognition and Culture, 7, 2: 49-88. (with Dwight Read, UCLA)

2005       “The Tongan Kinship Terminology: Insights from an Algebraic Analysis.” Mathematical Anthropology and Cultural Theory, 2, 1: 1-51. (with Dwight Read, UCLA)


Book Chapters (last six years):


2011       Types of Collective Representations: Cognition, Mental Architecture, and Cultural Knowledge. In D. Kronenfeld, G. Bennardo, V. DeMunck, and M Fisher (Eds.) A Companion to Cognitive Anthropology pp. 82-101. Wiley-Blackwell Press. (with D. Kronenfeld)

2011       A Foundational Cultural Model in Polynesia: Monarchy, Democracy, and The Architecture of the Mind. In D. Kronenfeld, G. Bennardo, V. DeMunck, and M Fisher (Eds.) A Companion to Cognitive Anthropology pp. 489-512. Wiley-Blackwell Press

 2011      “Salience of Verticality and Horizontality in American and Tongan Kinship Terminology.” In Bojka Milicic and Douglas Jones (Eds.) Kinship, Language, and Prehistory: Per Hage and the Renaissance in Kinship Studies. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press. (with Dwight Read, UCLA)

2005       “Spatial Frames of Reference for Temporal Relations: A Conceptual Analysis in English, German, and Tongan.” In Bruno G. Bara, Lawrence Barsalou, and Monica Bucciarelli (Eds.). Proceedings of the 27th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. pp. 220-225. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum. (with Andrea Bender and Sieghard Beller, Freiburg University, Germany)

2005       “Culture and Mind: Cultural Models in Cognition.” In Bruno G. Bara, Lawrence Barsalou, and Monica Bucciarelli (Eds.). Proceedings of the 27th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. p. 23. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.

2005       “Linguistic Relativity and Spatial Language.” UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS). EOLSS Publishers, Oxford, UK. [http://www.eolss.net]


Book Reviews (last six years): 

2011       On the Edge of the Global: Modern Anxieties in a Pacific Island Nation by Niko Besnier, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. In Journal of Anthropological Research, 67, 3.

2007       Marquesan: A Grammar of Space by Gabriele H. Cablitz, New York: Mouton de Gruyter. In Oceanic Linguistics, 46, 2: 618-622.

2006       A Cognitive Theory of Cultural Meaning by Claudia Strauss and Naomi Quinn, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. In Anthropology and Humanism, 31, 2: 213-214.

2005       The Language Revolution by David Crystal, Cambridge: Polity Press. In American Anthropology, 107, 3: 516-517.