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Meaning, Mind and Communication

Explorations in Cognitive Semiotics

Edited By Jordan Zlatev, Göran Sonesson and Piotr Konderak

This volume constitutes the first anthology of texts in cognitive semiotics – the new transdisciplinary study of meaning, mind and communication that combines concepts and methods from semiotics, cognitive science and linguistics – from a multitude of established and younger scholars. The chapters deal with the interaction between language and other semiotic resources, the role of consciousness and concepts, the nature of metaphor, the specificity of human evolution and development, the relation between cognitive semiotics and related fields, and other central topics. They are grouped in four sections: (i) Meta-theoretical perspectives, (ii) Semiotic development and evolution, (iii) Meaning across media, modes and modalities, (iv) Language, blends and metaphors.

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Chapter 20. Commutation of Cognitive Source Domains as a Semiotic Tool for Paradigmatic Analysis (Vlado Sušac)


Vlado Sušac

Chapter 20

Commutation of Cognitive Source Domains as a Semiotic Tool for Paradigmatic Analysis

1. Introduction

The theoretical postulate of this chapter is based on an attempt to unify the traditional structuralist approach in semiotics and the cognitive theory of conceptual metaphor. The former is based on the definition of sign as a connection between the signifier and the signified, realized through the richness of syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations and possibilities within the message (Saussure 1916). The latter represents a relatively new theory of metaphor, which at the end of the last century transferred this seemingly trivial linguistic phenomenon from the field of stylistics into the area of cognition and human ways of thinking (Lakoff and Johnson 1980, 1999) My aim is to test the possibility of replacing certain dominant metaphorical concepts, primarily in political discourse, with alternative ones. It does not mean giving preference to one type of conceptualization over another (e.g. viewing institutions or political organizations as PLANTS instead of MACHINES), but examining the conditions and mechanisms under which such exchanges are possible, if possible at all. A precondition for such a possibility is the formal overlapping of the target metaphorical domains as the first step of analysis. Smaller or more significant differences in connotative meanings may be further evaluated by placing lexical realizations deriving from such an alternative metaphorical concept into the original context. Consequently, the contextualization of signs and their related concepts inevitably introduces corpus...

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