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The Conceptual Structure(s) of Modality: Essences and Ideologies

A Study in Linguistic (Meta-)Categorization

Günther Lampert and Martina Lampert

This study takes George Lakoff’s dictum seriously that arguments about conclusions will be pointless unless there is agreement on the premises. Subscribing to the view that linguistic categorization is necessarily theory-driven, it reconstructs and assesses, on the basis of domain-independent parameters derived from General Systems Theory and Leonard Talmy’s Overlapping Systems Model of Cognitive Organization, hegemonic western conceptualizations of modality. Arguing against such propositional models of modality, the book outlines, modifies, and extends conceptualizations from a Cognitive Linguistics point of view, grounding «modality» especially on Talmy’s Imaging System of Force Dynamics. The authors conceive of modality as an experientially and perceptually motivated radial category of Image Schemata, ultimately challenging the categorial status of modality as a cognitively motivated category.
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«… the ball seemed to keep rolling …»

Linking up Cognitive Systems in Language: Attention and Force Dynamics

Martina Lampert and Günther Lampert

Again firmly rooted in Leonard Talmy’s Cognitive Semantics, this new study moves beyond the analysis of single schematic systems in language contributing to the linguistic task of conceptual integration. It investigates for the first time effects of linking up Force Dynamics, a conceptual category generalizing over the traditional notion of the causative, and the Attention system of language, as detailed in Talmy’s most recent extended draft version. To accommodate the conceptual and formal complexities involved at the interface of Attention, Force Dynamics, and Cognitive State and to allow for an appropriate degree of fine-grainedness the analytical framework affords, the exposition has been constrained to the golf scenario, where forces are at work in the physical and sociodynamic domains.