Topology and Cognition
What Image-schemas Reveal about the Metaphorical Language of Emotions.
M. Sandra Peña Cervel
National University of Distance Education (Madrid)
This book is meant to overcome some of the problems and controversial issues which were raised by the traditional treatment of the metaphorical phenomenon within the framework of Cognitive Linguistics. Additionally, it has been my intention to counteract the unwelcome tendency to view emotions as elusive and chaotic entities which display no coherent structure. Criticism of previous accounts has pointed to an inability to incorporate the experiential grounding into a sound theory of metaphor. The existence of image-schemas and their great potential for lying at the base of a great number of metaphorical expressions is attested in the English language and proves that the experiential component plays a very important role in the conceptualization of a seemingly abstract domain: emotions.
Along these lines, the way metaphorical expressions which incorporate image-schematic structure are constructed and processed is shown. Another focus on attention is on the way in which mental spaces combine as guided by the basic conceptual structure provided by image-schemas to prepare the source of some metaphors for the mapping process. In relation to this, the notions of interaction and schematic enrichment have proved useful and have allowed us to determine the principles of focalization of meaning constituents within their frames of reference. This discussion also makes it possible to establish hierarchies of prominence inside image-schemas depending on their intrinsic nature, i. e. on whether they act temporarily or not as subsidiary to other schemas.
This book is not only addressed to the researcher interested in the study of metaphor from the point of view of Cognitive Linguistics but also to any university student who wants to revise the main notions of this theory as well as a brief history of metaphor. The contents of this book have been organized into eight chapters. Chapter 1 constitutes the introduction to the work. In chapter 2 the different approaches to metaphor undergo critical revision mainly from a cognitive standpoint. This chapter provides the reader with a brief overview of the study of metaphor throughout history, from the classical period, through the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth centuries, and the Romantic period, down to the twentieth century. All these approaches fall under the general rubric of objectivism and rely on the assumption that metaphor is a linguistic device used in order to enhance poetic language.
On the other hand, it is argued that the cognitive theory of metaphor assigns metaphor a central role in language and thought. Within this framework it is also postulated that metaphor does in fact account for a large portion of what we both know and think, not to mention what we even feel and do in our daily lives. Additionally, an overview of experientialism as opposed to objectivism is given and special emphasis is placed on metaphor as a kind of idealized cognitive model. In chapter 3, another structuring principle, image-schemas, is dealt with by offering a lenghty description of its characteristics and nature. An alternative proposal for a taxonomy of schemas is made after pointing to the main inadequacies of existing hierarchies of such constructs. By specifying the general theoretical postulates that serve as our point of departure, the ground is prepared for the analysis of the corpus and the presentation of the results derived from it in chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7. Finally, chapter 8 offers some concluding remarks.
ISBN 9783895863097. LINCOM Studies in Cognitive Linguistics 01. 320pp. 2003.