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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.


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Chapter 1 Integrating Schematic Systems


The present study faces up to a long-standing research trajectory, formulated in Leonard TALMY’s Toward a Cognitive Semantics while contextualizing Force Dynamics as a newly identified conceptual category that generalizes over the traditional notion of the causative: to explore “how the force-dynamic system relates to other semantic categories in language” like Configurational Struc- ture, Perspective, and Attention, and eventually “integrate these … schematic systems into a unified account of conceptual structure in language” (TALMY 2000, 1:467). In light of this wide-scope scientific agenda, this book is a first attempt at contributing to the “linguistic task” of conceptual integration: Probing into (po- tential) link-ups of two systems, Attention and Force Dynamics, and touching upon some interface issues with Cognitive State, our study follows the analyti- cal rationale that has remained a vital aspect and substantial desideratum in TALMY’s (2006b:253) research perspective, even if his own focus has so far been on identifying and establishing these systems as fundamental semantic catego- ries as well as on detailing “their structure and patterns of operating” in highly fine-grained sample analyses. Pursuing this line of inquiry, TALMY (2006b:254) himself is very explicit about what remains an especially critical issue, namely how genuinely separate these systems are, whether they grade into each other, to what extent they “function with distinct principles of organization vs. with common ones” and, finally, “how they interact and do or do not integrate.” Though our objective may seem to be a modest one against the “larger aim of examining...

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