Edited By Małgorzata Fabiszak, Karolina Krawczak and Katarzyna Rokoszewska
Rats Can’t Swim: How Brandt and Brandt’s Model of Conceptual Integration Operates Behind Selected American Political Cartoons
The objective of this paper is to apply a revised model of conceptual integration as proposed by Brandt and Brandt (2005; also L. Brandt 2013) to the analysis of an American political cartoon pointing to Barrack Obama’s presidency in the years 2009–2011. Political cartoons have a long-standing tradition in America (Hess & Northrop 1996) and, as a phenomenon, frequently become an excellent target for linguistic analysis (Bormann et al 1978, Bergen 2003, Sani et al 2012). It seems that a successful analysis of such instances may also be carried out using the tools of Cognitive Linguistics, in particular with the aid of conceptual integration theory as proposed by Fauconnier & Turner (2002) and further elaborated by Brandt and Brandt (2005). To successfully decode the actual message hidden behind each analyzed political cartoon, the knowledge from various domains must be activated. This happens via “manipulating webs of mappings between mental spaces” (Fauconnier 1994: 1). Since political cartoons derive extensively from both linguistic and visual input as well as recall other extra-linguistic phenomena, it seems vital to introduce the revised model of conceptual integration as more satisfactory in the proposed linguistic analysis. In the author’s view, not only stable elements of Fauconnier and Turner’s (2002) basic network model but also a modified schema proposed by Brandt and Brandt (2005) may contribute to a more thorough linguistic analysis and more successful decoding of the information conveyed in political cartoons.
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