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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 24. Objects and Nouns: An Account of the Vision-Language Interface (Francesco-Alessio Ursini)


Francesco-Alessio Ursini

Chapter 24

Objects and Nouns: An Account of the Vision-Language Interface

1. Introduction

A core aspect of cognitive semiotics is the transdisciplinary analysis of how different domains of meaning are interrelated. In this chapter, I propose that two goals are necessary for such an analysis. First, one must identify core cognitive modalities and their underlying ontologies, defined as the sets of basic categories and relations on which cognitive processes operate (Smith 1995; Brandt 2004; Brier 2009; Durst-Andersen 2011). Second, one must study the properties and relations underpinning these ontologies and their governing processes. If successful, an integrated account of how meanings are related hopefully becomes possible.

Recent works have pursued the first goal by proposing that building blocks for a general cognitive ontology may include mental representations of objects, events and places (Metzinger and Gallese 2003; Zacks 2010), beliefs and goals (Gallese and Metzinger 2003), and social, cultural and historical relations (Brier 2009). Cognitive linguistic analyses have suggested that similar categories can be found in language and non-linguistic concepts (Jackendoff 1990; Evans 2009).

However, few works have pursued the second goal, mostly by analysing the parallels between language and belief planning systems (Gallese and Metzinger 2003), or language and spatial cognition (Ursini 2011; Jackendoff 2012). By leaving aside the study of possible connections between ontologies (e.g. how visual and linguistic primitives of spatial cognition are connected), these works render the second goal a still outstanding problem...

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