The Spatial Image - a Conceptual Analysis

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Cognitive Linguistics
Dr. Beatrix Weber Professorship for English Linguistics SS 2012

The Spatial Schema

and its Figurative Meaning Extensions
A Conceptual Analysis

presented by Oliver Sicker

Date of Submission: Mat. Number: E-Mail:

01 November 2012 3203947 oliver.sicker@mailbox.tu-dresden.de

Table of Contents
1. Introduction ..................................................................................................2 2. Spatial Relations and their Metaphorical Meaning Extensions in the View of Cognitive Semantics ..................................................................2 3. Methodological Considerations .....................................................................4 4. Semantic and Conceptual Analysis of the Image Schema 4.1. Conceptual Analysis of the Spatial Meaning of 4.2. ....................5

..............................5

and Related Image Schemas in the Context of the Physical World ........................................................................................8

5. Conclusion ...................................................................................................14 6. Works Cited .................................................................................................16

1.

Introduction
It is quite remarkable that of the things that we talk or think about a considerable part has no actual existence. They are abstract concepts, ideas and notions, which have no physical substance and no shape, and can neither be seen nor felt. To be able to formulate them in speech and thought, we cognitively give them the form of physical objects, that morph and move and can be arranged in space. In that way, we can use words which are based on a physical world to express abstract thoughts. Through convention, concepts of the physicalspatial world are ascribed particular figurative meanings for their abstract usage. The image schema essentially describes a spatial orientation, but in toto its meaning includes and its worldly implications. numerous abstract senses. The aim of this paper is to identify some of these abstract senses through an analysis of the physical-spatial meaning of

2.

Spatial Relations and their Metaphorical Meaning Extensions in the View of Cognitive Semantics Spatial relations play a central role within the cognitive linguistic investigation into the interplay between cognitive processes and linguistic structure.1 It is argued that spatial concepts grounded on physical, bodily experience form the basis of and structure our cognitive perception as well as our natural language. 2 Spatial prepositions as lexical representation of these spatial relations found a lot of interest in that regard. Numerous semantic analyses have been carried out on the polysemy of spatial prepositions, of which most focus mainly on their spatial meanings, whereas others place their primary focus on the figurative meaning extensions of these prepositions. To the second category belongs Frank Boers cognitive semantic investigation of the spatial dimensions UP-DOWN3 and FRONT-BACK and their metaphorical meaning extensions.4 In this work he describes spatial prepositions with the help of radial networks, in the centre of which he locates their spatial meaning, while their figurative senses form the periphery as metaphorical extensions of the central literal sense. According to Lakoff and Johnson's Conceptual Metaphor Theory these metaphorical extensions are cross-domain mappings, which are motivated by “pre-conceptual embodied experience”, or by more complex conceptual structures, which build on these embodied experiences.5 The meaning extensions of metaphors are not idiosyncratically bound onto 1 2 3 4 5 Taylor (1993): 151 Johnson (1987) Image schemas and transcriptions of cognitive links are printed in SMALL CAPITALS Boers (1996) Evans (2007): 35

2

specific instantiations, but constitute metaphorical schemas of great generality like EVENTS...
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