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Zooming In

Micro-Scale Perspectives on Cognition, Translation and Cross-Cultural Communication

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Edited By Wojciech Wachowski, Zoltan Kövecses and Michał Borodo

This book explores the influence of culture and cognition on translation and communication and brings together revised versions of papers delivered at the First International TransLingua Conference, organized in 2015 by the Institute of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics and the Department of English at Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The volume investigates various languages and cultures (including Japanese, Hungarian, English, Czech, Polish, German and Swahili) and examines a range of linguistic and translation issues from a micro-scale perspective. Alongside these case studies, it also includes reflections by two internationally renowned scholars, Elżbieta Tabakowska and Zoltán Kövecses, on the interplay between language, culture and cognition and the influence of collective and individual memory on translation.

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5 On “paying attention”: The objectification of attention in English and Polish (Marcin Trojszczak)

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MARCIN TROJSZCZAK

5 On “paying attention”: The objectification of attention in English and Polish

Introduction

The question of embodied and ultimately physical motivation of metaphorical expressions referring to abstract objects such as LOVE, TIME, or MIND has been one of the central topics in contemporary cognitive linguistics (see Lakoff and Johnson 1980, 1999; Gibbs 2005, 2008; Kövecses 2010; Johansson Falck and Gibbs 2012; see also Mahon 2015 for a recent discussion). Despite various and often disparate approaches, it is generally assumed that metaphorical expressions are motivated by physical experiences in relation to physical entities (e.g. Lakoff 1990; Sweetser 1990; Jäkel 1995, 2003). The role of physical motivation has been emphasized in Objectification Theory (Szwedek 2007, 2011), which claims that the “ultimate experiential basis is our experience of physical objects, the only entities directly accessible to our senses” (Szwedek 2011: 350). Szwedek (2014) proposes to see objectification, that is, the process of identifying, conceptualizing and verbalizing abstract objects in terms of physical objects, as one of the most important processes in the phylogenetic development of abstract reasoning in humans. In other words, objectification1 is a central conceptual process that enables us to understand and talk about abstract conceptual entities.

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