Mental Spaces: Aspects of Meaning Construction in Natural Language

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Aug 26, 1994 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 190 pages
Mental Spaces is the classic introduction to the study of mental spaces and conceptual projection, as revealed through the structure and use of language. It examines in detail the dynamic construction of connected domains as discourse unfolds. The discovery of mental space organization has modified our conception of language and thought: powerful and uniform accounts of superficially disparate phenomena have become available in the areas of reference, presupposition projection, counterfactual and analogical reasoning, metaphor and metonymy, and time and aspect in discourse. The present work lays the foundation for this research. It uncovers simple and general principles that lie behind the awesome complexity of everyday logic.
 

Contents

Pragmatic Functions and Images
3
12 Images
10
13 Reality
14
14 Mental Spaces
16
15 Scope of Indefinites
22
16 Simple Ambiguities
27
Roles and Multiple Connectors
35
22 Roles
39
33 Remarks about Combinatorial Cancellation and Previous Procedural Approaches
100
34 Presupposition Transfer
105
Counterfactuals and Comparatives
109
42 Comparatives
127
Space Version of Goldsticks Algorithm
139
Transspatial Operators Philosophical Issues and Future Perspectives
143
52 Philosophical Issues
152
53 More Questions and Some Speculations
161

23 FirstOrder Equivalences
51
24 Indefinites
55
25 Names and Roles
63
Presuppositions Floating Transfer and Projection Strategies
82
32 Presuppositions and Spaces
85
Notes
168
References
176
Index
187
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page xxii - Expressions do not mean; they are prompts for us to construct meanings by working with processes we already know. In no sense is the meaning of [an]. . .utterance 'right there in the words.
Page xviii - Language does not itself do the cognitive building — it "just" gives us minimal, but sufficient, clues for finding the domains and principles appropriate for building in a given situation. Once these clues are combined with already existing configurations, available cognitive principles, and background framing, the appropriate construction can take place, and the result far exceeds any overt explicit information.
Page xxii - Language, as we use it, is but the tip of the iceberg of cognitive construction. As discourse unfolds, much is going on behind the scenes: New domains appear, links are forged, abstract mappings operate, internal structure emerges and spreads, viewpoint and focus keep shifting.
Page 1 - The plans we use for expressing and interpreting include procedures for language and the representations "that we set up as we talk or listen and that we structure with elements, roles, strategies, and relations
Page xxxvii - The simple idea behind the approach explored in this book is that when we engage in any form of thought, typically mediated by language (for example, conversation, poetry, reading, story telling), domains are set up, structured, and connected. The process is local: A multitude of such domains - mental spaces - are constructed for any stretch of thought, and language (grammar and lexicon) is a powerful means (but not the only one) of specifying or retrieving key aspects of this cognitive construction.

Bibliographic information