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A Multi-dimensional Approach to Discourse Coherence

From Standardness to Creativity


Pilar Alonso

This book presents a comprehensive study of the subject of text and discourse coherence, integrating some of the traditional trends of discourse analysis and creating new channels of research which help to understand the notion further. Based on the work of leading theoreticians and on the actual consideration of authentic linguistic material, the book identifies the structural and cognitive aspects of standard discourse coherence and, as a variation from other mainstream approaches, it also explores the more subjective and culturally-bound conceptual aspects of coherence construction in creative modes of discourse. To achieve these aims, the study incorporates concepts and analytical practices from cognitive linguistic theories of conceptualisation; additionally, it draws from theories of communication to address the idiosyncratic and socio-cultural aspects which affect the formation of coherent discourse patterns. The intention is to broaden the perspective of the subject and to focus on its complexity, as well as to stress the need to conceive of discourse coherence as a multi-dimensional phenomenon consisting of numerous procedural components.
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7. The conceptual integration approach to discourse coherence


As was mentioned above, Hoey distinguishes between collocation and the general concept of semantic association, which he relates to more abstract and subjective types of priming specifying that it affects not just words but whole semantic sets and allows for creativity (2005: 17-18). The analysis of lexical collocation in the media articles discussed above has shown, however, that there is a whole conceptual framework underlying the phenomenon of cohesive word collocation and elaborative collocation, and that this framework is contextually and culturally dependent and plays a role in the construction and recovering of discourse meaning. In order to explain the cognitive scope of this lexico-semantic framework I have turned to the conceptual integration network model proposed by Fauconnier and Turner (1994, 2000, 2002), which works as an extension of previous cognitive theories such as blending theory or the theory of conceptual metaphor. Research in this field has enriched the understanding of meaning construction by investigating the varied cognitive operations which underlie linguistic communication and has shown how knowledge domains are connected by different types of conceptual operations which are of vital importance in all areas of human production, action, and interaction. These operations usually include linguistically identifiable cognitive moves implicit in our thinking processes, such as conceptual projection, conceptual integration, conceptual framing, or categorisation, as well as metaphoric and metonymic mappings, counterfactuals, elaboration, composition, completion, fusion, analogy, and narrative (Turner 2000; Fauconnier and Turner 1994, 2000, 2001, 2002; Turner and Fauconnier 1998; Lakoff 1987, 1988, 1993; Lakoff and Johnson 1980;...

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