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The Construal of Spatial Meaning: Windows into Conceptual Space explores the construal and expression of various aspects of the SPACE domain. Within the broad framework of Cognitive Linguistics, the research reported probes the interaction between language and cognition. We take linguistics to encompass both verbal and non-verbal communication systems and include metaphorical as well as literal forms of expression. Although the papers focus on the relation between physical and mental space as expressed in human communication, they cover a wide variety of research topics and reflec ... More
The Construal of Spatial Meaning: Windows into Conceptual Space explores the construal and expression of various aspects of the SPACE domain. Within the broad framework of Cognitive Linguistics, the research reported probes the interaction between language and cognition. We take linguistics to encompass both verbal and non-verbal communication systems and include metaphorical as well as literal forms of expression. Although the papers focus on the relation between physical and mental space as expressed in human communication, they cover a wide variety of research topics and reflect the multidisciplinary character of the study of space. Through the structure of this book the editors wish to convey to the reader the metaphor that the different approaches in the analysis of SPACE offer windows through which researchers are able to catch glimpses of ‘inner space’. An eye-tracking experiment shows eye movement to reflect spatiality during visualizations of both pictures and spoken scene descriptions. A study of a child shows how the development of linguistic communicative ability may be seen as a transition from pointing in physical space to pointing in mental spaces. A study of drawings based on verbal stimuli suggests that people are engaging in an imaginative embodied simulation of metaphorical motion. In one gesture study on route direction with blocked visibility, participants tend to use the dominant hand for referential aspects and the weak hand for self-orientational functions. In another, through gestures and body postures, a girl with the Patau syndrome extracts and conveys intricate information in communication situations. In yet another gesture study, speakers express lateral (left/right) direction in co-speech gestures when using next to to complement the linguistic spatial unit with unlexicalized locative information. An analysis of the motion situation distinguishes between primary and secondary figure and ground, and subdivides Talmy’s notion of Manner into manner of static existence and dynamic activity and makes Talmy’s telic Path dependent on autonomous resultant state situations. One cross-linguistic study offers experimental support for basic-level verbs of locomotion without making recourse to the loose notion of Manner, while another, in which German and French children describe motion events, supports the view that general cognitive factors and language-specific properties determine children’s construction of the semantics of space when encoding Manner and Path. In a usage-based study of children’s acquisition of Dutch spatial adjectives it is suggested that children, who often use spatial adjectives to express contrast, store specific adjective–noun/object pairings from the input and start by reproducing them with the same communicative function as in the language they hear around them. A corpus-study of Danish directional adverbs shows how the forms can be described and explained as different ways of profiling a dynamic motion event in a basic Path event frame. A construction-grammar analysis of some complex predicate constructions reveals systematic differences between English and Spanish in the organization of the argument structure, and argues that fundamental typological distinctions should be based on the relative importance of constructional and lexical constraints. In a corpus-based study of road, path, way it is shown that both non-metaphorical and metaphorical instances of these terms are closely connected with people’s embodied experiences of travel through space along paths, roads, or ways. The last paper, investigating negation, opens up a window to the ‘inner space’ by suggesting that antonyms are organized into conceptual spaces. ‘Not’ is a degree modifier operating on the configurational construals in SPACE. In combination with BOUNDED antonyms it operates on the boundary and bisects a spatial structure, while with UNBOUNDED antonyms it modifies the UNBOUNDED SCALE structure and evokes a range on the scale in SPACE, like ‘fairly’.
Keywords: Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, antonyms, conceptual space, constructional constraints, corpus data, directional adverbs, embodied simulation, eye-tracking, gesture, manner, metaphorical motion, patau syndrome, path, pointing, route direction, verbs of locomotion
|Print publication date: 2013||Print ISBN-13: 9780199641635|
|Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013||DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641635.001.0001|
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