Linking up Cognitive Systems in Language: Attention and Force Dynamics
PART I: THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS
Chapter 2 Language as an Entrée to the Mind: From Cogni- tion to Language To contextualize the objective of this study, the present chapter will introduce and briefly outline its conceptual reference system, Leonard TALMY’s Overlap- ping Systems Model of Cognitive Organization, which dates back, as a large- scale research trajectory, at least to the early 90s1 and has been developing ever since and offers an encompassive coherent “single theoretical framework,” in- cluding a “uniform terminology” (TALMY 2000, 1:7)2. It has been devised to re- construct the specific cognitive architecture of the human mind and integrating more specialized cognitive systems like vision or language largely on the basis of cross-systems compatibility in their (evolutionary) organizational design features. System-internally, however, language itself is conceived as compris- ing several extensive organizing systems, assembling, top-down, successively more specific conceptual categories, which, at lower levels, incorporate indi- vidualized concepts representing relevant conceptual content of a language. As an overall projection, this hierarchical model constitutes the principal aegis of Cognitive Semantics -- an approach to language that “is concerned with the patterns in which and the processes by which conceptual content is organized in language” (TALMY 2006a:543). Given a principled ‘communication’ across cognitive systems, the Overlap- ping Systems Model pursues a balanced view vis-à-vis modular and non-mod- ular stances in linguistics, delineating a hierarchically structured framework in which, at the most general level, “different cognitive systems can be compared with each other as to similarities and differences in their organizational...
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