» Details

From Attention to Meaning

Oakley, Todd

From Attention to Meaning

Explorations in Semiotics, Linguistics, and Rhetoric

Series: European Semiotics / Sémiotiques Européennes - Volume 8

Year of Publication: 2009

Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2009. 268 pp., 3 ill., 29 tables and graphs
ISBN 978-3-03911-442-9 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.420 kg, 0.926 lbs

available Softcover
available PDF
  • Softcover:
  • SFR 85.00
  • €* 75.80
  • €** 77.90
  • € 70.80
  • £ 57.00
  • US$ 92.95
  • Softcover
  • eBook:
  • SFR 89.55
  • €* 84.25
  • €** 84.96
  • 70.80
  • £ 57.00
  • US$ 92.95

» Currency of invoice * includes VAT – valid for Germany and EU customers without VAT Reg No
** includes VAT – only valid for Austria

Note for the purchase of eBooks

Due to new international tax regulations, Peter Lang will offer its eBooks to private customers exclusively through the following platforms:

Apple Inc.

Institutional customers such as libraries and library suppliers are requested to direct their queries concerning the acquisition of eBooks at customerservice@peterlang.com

Peter Lang eBooks are also available through the following library aggregators:

EBL EBook Library
EBSCO Publishing
Dawson Books
Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
Gardners Books
Elsevier B.V.


Book synopsis

Of all the tasks you perform, perhaps none is more consequential for the performance of other tasks than paying attention. When you attend, you perceive. When you attend and perceive, you remember. When you attend, perceive, and remember, you learn. When you learn, you have the option of acting deliberately. Perceiving, thinking, learning, deciding, and acting require the constant adjustment of the attention system. The author proposes a model of the greater attention system as comprising three distinct but interdependent sub-systems: the signal system, the selection system, and the interpersonal system, with eight elements distributed among them: altering, orienting, detecting, sustaining, controlling, sharing, harmonizing, and directing. The chapters in this book develop an «attentional» analysis of meaning under the unifying framework of mental spaces theory. In addition, each chapter explores the implications of an attention based approach to meaning for research in semiotics, linguistics, and rhetoric. Data for the investigation originate from the author’s own field work carried out in cultural institutions.


Contents: Attention and Cognitive Science – Attention and Semiotics – Attention and Linguistics – Attention and Rhetoric.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Author: Todd Oakley is Associate Professor of Cognitive Science and Co-Director of the Center for Cognition and Culture at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


«Rhetorical theorists interested in understanding what rhetoric can accomplish by way of asking, what makes rhetoric possible, will find this a satisfying and compelling read.» (David Kauffer, Carnegie Mellon University)
«Todd Oakley’s Book is a most innovative, radical and deeply inspiring contribution to what must be considered a cutting edge in Cognitive Linguistics: the role of attention in language and discourse. It is the first encompassing proposal for a general theory of attention in relation to meaning construction in discourse and a claim for a ‘Cognitive Rhetoric’. As such the book is a must for anybody interested in Cognitive Linguistics and Cognitive Semiotics.» (Cornelia Müller, European-University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder)


European Semiotics: Language, Cognition, and Culture. Vol. 8
Edited by Per Aage Brandt, Wolfgang Wildgen and Barend van Heusden