Cognitive semantics has two main principles:
- The principle that conceptual structure is derived from embodied experience
- The principle that semantic structure reflects the conceptual structure
Conceptual structure is a cognitive system, which presents and organizes the experience in a shape which we can express using language. Semantic structure is a system in which the concepts are encoded in a shape in which they can be organized in language.
The Main element which supports the conceptual structure is the experience. Knowledge is the result of cognitive ability – memory, will, reasoning. Differently is explained the language acquisition by children. Today modern theories described the thinking by symbolic, mental representations. We think in words. We can think through images when we need to arrange something. We think abstract when we have to foresee something. The words, images and abstract mental codes are symbolic, mental representations that psychologists study to understand the thinking. Whether the stimulus is present or not, we think of it on the base of what we receive before, our preceding experience.
Image recognition includes meaningful interpretation of the form based on past experience or previous experience and it is fulfilled through the analysis of signs and retrieval process of interpretation. Perception depends on the personal life experience of a man. Babies have a good perception from an early age, the infants localize the sound source as respond head in this direction. They can vary various sounds. At the age of 1-2 weeks they can distinguish between distance and depth.
Imagination is the reflection, representation in the thought of something (object, phenomenon), which has not been accepted in the past. This is the content of images, objects and phenomena that man has not met before. The imagination is the idea of something that we want to create and it is creating something new in the form of image, idea or concept.
This experience is represented through different image schemas. they represent specific, embodied experiences, however, in their nature they are not specific but schematic. They represent schematic patterns such as force, containers, unity, identity etc. they can be experienced both as abstract in one sense of the word, schematic but not abstract in the other-they are embodied. Conceptual structure can be divided into conceptual structuring system and conceptual content system. First one presents the information schematically while the other presents the information with more details.
The aspect of semantic structure that is not in focus, but is necessary in order to understand the profile, is called the base. When it comes to conceptual structure one should bear in mind that it isn’t only about our correspondence with the world. It is about our experience, both general and linguistic , that we possess and the conceptualization we have for it. The structure also includes our knowledge of the world and how to profile it in order to get it into a certain “frame concept” we need. In other words, lets take the following example: we may have a triangle with its hypotenuse and its straight line .All these parts are in ultimate relationship where the triangle is the base and the hypotenuse is a particular segment in the TRIANGLE base/domain/frame. Consequently, a concept profile isn’t enough to define the word concept because it presupposes other knowledge in its definition, however, the base itself as the TRIANGLE, is a conceptual structure that includes vast range of concept profiles as mentioned above. Hence, we need all to define the linguistic concept because the base alone isn’t enough. It this words the domain is a structure which function is to be a base for at least one base.
Another example: lets explain a part from the human body. If we have the line knuckle, finger, hand , arm , body. Here we also have the same ultimate relationship. The base in this case is the most general term – the body. The rests are segments in this frame.
The concept “weekend” can only be understood against a whole background system of the calendrical cycle.
Lakoff (1987) says that “the mind is an active participant in the creation of the semantic structures…the same experience can be conceptualized by the speaker in different ways…”
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