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Spatial Concepts in Cognitive Linguistics Essay


Every human being is a unique individual that has his/her mentality and a set of values. They precondition the way he/she perceives the modern world and perspectives he/she has on different phenomena. However, revolving around this statement, we could not but notice the fact that some individuals have more touchpoints and similar perspectives than others. These convergences and divergences are preconditioned by the unique features of people’s culture, which, in their terms, result from the peculiarities of the area where these people live. The combination of these factors promotes the appearance of different world buildings across the world, which are reflected by the language. For this reason, numerous spatial concepts are created to describe the world and reflect that cognitive map of speakers.

Besides, the concept of sensorimotor knowledge is used to describe a set of feelings, emotions, and experiences obtained by a person when investigating the world that surrounds him/her (Lee 56). The feeling of rain and moisture touching a person’s skin is the example of sensorimotor knowledge as a person incorporates sensor and motor experiences. Moreover, using both sensor and motor aspects of bodily activity, a person manages to cognize the reality in several dimensions (Lee 56).

First of all, he/she might trace his/her movements or spatial motion, and later associate them with feelings that precede and follow a certain action. In such a way, physical alterations of the body position become connected with sensor feelings, which is extremely important for a person’s ability to cognize the world and make certain predictions. For instance, a fall could be associated with pain, and that is why avoided by a person. Besides, the concept of sensorimotor knowledge could also be applied to the categories of cognition that are used when analyzing the world of ideas and abstract concepts. They do not exist separately and rest on this kind of experience. The idea of happiness rests on sensorimotor knowledge of deep satisfaction, both physical and emotional. For this reason, we could admit its strong connection to other important domains.

First of all, we could speak about abstract domains that are responsible for our ability to interpret the world that surrounds us. The fact is that due to the peculiarities of the consciousness, a human being possesses unique abstract intelligence that helps to make certain conclusions about different abstract phenomena. In other words, a person uses abstract semantics to understand the significant properties of objects and ideas.

For example, we could create a certain concept of a thing we have never seen before, just using a set of ideas and predictions about it. A person who has never mourned because of the death of a close individual could imagine feelings associated with this pain because of the abstract domain peculiar to his/her mentality. In such a way, we become able to cognize the world that surrounds us using the power of thought and predicting the development of one or another phenomenon resting on previous experiences gained in the process of the interaction with numerous objects, both abstract and concrete. That is why a child and an adult have different perspectives on the world as they possess different spatial concepts and peculiarities of abstract semantics. In this regard, all concepts a person already has become extremely important and could be applied to abstract domains.

Nevertheless, resting on the information mentioned above, we could state that basic spatial concepts like sensorimotor knowledge could be applied to abstract domains as they help them to exist and evolve (Lee 87).

The fact is that the knowledge obtained in the course of the world’s exploration becomes extremely important for abstract intelligence. An individual can think this way only in case he/she possesses a certain amount of information that could be used as the ground for further speculations and assumptions. Besides, the concept of sensorimotor knowledge encompasses a wide array of facts and data pieces related to both some physical and sensorial experiences. For this reason, only incorporating this knowledge along with the abstract domain, an individual becomes able to make assumptions. To predict what effect an incandescent object has on a hand, a person incorporates his/her previous knowledge related to burns with abstract ideas of pain.

Moreover, different unique concepts peculiar to a certain language appear when a person interacts with the world and tries to cognize the main aspects of its functioning. An Englishman uses the word “pub” to describe a place where alcohol could be bought as it is peculiar to this nation’s unique worldview, when other cultures use traditional “bar” it is reflected in their culture. In such a way, an individual enriches his/her vocabulary and acquires a unique mentality.

Thus, the processes mentioned above also contribute to the creation of a certain prototype that is taken as the main landmark for language speakers. They explore the reality referring to this very prototype and creating their semantic network that reflects their concepts, perspectives, set of values, and visions. For instance, the ways representatives of different cultures cognize the world are different because of the divergence in their prototypes, and, as a result, semantic networks.

The vocabulary of a European includes words that could not be found in the vocabulary of an Asiatic person because of the above-mentioned semantic networks. Because this very semantic network could be taken as a result of a person’s attempt to cognize the world, we could state that the cognitive map that appears in the process of conceptualization of the basic knowledge is obtained when a person investigates the world (Lee 101).

For example, cognitive maps of an engineer and a health worker will differ significantly because of the peculiarities of their experiences and concepts used in their everyday lives. However, the differences between cognitive maps of people speaking different languages will be even more significant because of the divergences in mentalities and worldviews. English and Chinese engineers will have diverse cognitive maps, although their occupations and the fields of knowledge are similar. They still use different abstract notions and ideas to manipulate data and make assumptions. This divergence comes from their unique languages and worldviews.

Altogether, the language of a person determines his/her choice of spatial concepts that could be used to describe different experiences, feelings, and emotions obtained in numerous attempts to cognize the world. Moreover, these concepts are closely related to abstract domains as they create the basis for our abstract intelligence and enrich the cognitive map by introducing new phenomena and creating the basis for the further cognition of the surrounding reality.

Work Cited

Lee, David. Cognitive Linguistics: An Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2001. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020, July 29). Spatial Concepts in Cognitive Linguistics. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/spatial-concepts-in-cognitive-linguistics/

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"Spatial Concepts in Cognitive Linguistics." IvyPanda, 29 July 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/spatial-concepts-in-cognitive-linguistics/.

1. IvyPanda. "Spatial Concepts in Cognitive Linguistics." July 29, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/spatial-concepts-in-cognitive-linguistics/.


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IvyPanda. "Spatial Concepts in Cognitive Linguistics." July 29, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/spatial-concepts-in-cognitive-linguistics/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Spatial Concepts in Cognitive Linguistics." July 29, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/spatial-concepts-in-cognitive-linguistics/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Spatial Concepts in Cognitive Linguistics'. 29 July.

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