Retour vers liste

Détail de la contribution

Auteur: Mark TURNER

Embodied Cognition and the Ground of Communication

Abstract/Résumé: Revised title: "Embodied viewpoint and blended joint attention." The ground is a general conceptual frame for organizing specific communicative situations. It includes “the speech event, its setting, and its participants” (Langacker 1985:113). Roles in this frame—such as the time of the communicative event and the location or site of the speech event—take on values in specific communicative situations. The ground derives from one of the most basic human ideas, joint attention. Joint attention is a human-scale scene in which some people are attending to something and know they are all attending to something and know also that they are engaged with each other in attending to it (Tomasello 1995, Tobin 2008). In “communicative joint attention,” these people are not only jointly attending but also communicating with each other about the focus of their attention, even if the communication is very sparse, consisting perhaps of only pointing. I use the term “classic joint attention” to refer to perhaps the most fundamental scene of communicative joint attention, in which two people in face-to-face presence are not only attending to something that is directly perceptible but are moreover communicating about it in a sustained way, e.g., “That blackbird in the hedge has red stripes on its wings.” The frame of the ground is tied to this idea of classic joint attention. Inevitably, a great many of the structures of language are built to conduct and manage classic joint attention. Deictics and, more broadly, indexicals—such as “I,” “you,” “here,” and “now”— are form-meaning pairs tied to elements in the conceptual frame of the ground. Their utility depends on our ability to do what Fauconnier and Turner (2002) refer to as “simplex blending.” All of these ground phenomena are viewpoint phenomena. Viewpoint arises inevitably from embodiment: participants in any scene of communicative joint attention are embodied, and blending projects selectively from viewpoint in the input mental spaces to the blend. Linguistic constructions suited to the expression of viewpoint in scenes of communicative joint attention are routinely projected to express new viewpoint phenomena that arise in blends based on joint attention. This talk will present the ways in which conceptual blending draws on embodied viewpoint to create powerful and creative communicative systems—as in international TV news broadcasts—that go far beyond embodied viewpoint, classic joint attention, and everyday deictics.