LINGUIST List 23.2737

Thu Jun 14 2012

Diss: Cognitive Science: Tincheva: 'The SOURCE-PATH-GOAL image schema in political speeches'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <>

Date: 14-Jun-2012
From: Nelly Tincheva <>
Subject: The SOURCE-PATH-GOAL image schema in political speeches
E-mail this message to a friend

Institution: University of Sofia Program: Classical and Modern Philology Dissertation Status: Completed Degree Date: 2006

Author: Nelly Tincheva

Dissertation Title: The SOURCE-PATH-GOAL image schema in political speeches

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
Dissertation Director:
Prof Maya Pencheva
Dissertation Abstract:

The investigation proves that it is not only 'lower-level' languagestructures and discourse as a process that are susceptible to inquiriesbased on cognitive constructs. Approaching whole texts (in this casepolitical speeches) from a cognitive-construct perspective also proves tobe well-founded. The gestalt nature of textual entities, the results of thepresent inquiry verify, is governed by particular cognitive constructs (theSOURCE-PATH-GOAL image schema) which are possible to isolate and determineanalytically.

The hypothesis postulated here suggests metaphoric transfer to be themechanism allowing image schemas to function as the structural elementswhich control the operation of whole-text cognitive constructs andsuperstructural networks as gestalts. Therefore, the central objective ofthe thesis focuses on political speeches as a category shared by all ormost of the participants in a communicative situation/ members of aculture. The results obtained prove that it is possible to distinguishdefault elements from perceptual variables and determine the basiccognitive construct structure by incorporating salient slots into a(significantly) stable cognitive construct.

Such a text-type cognitive construct can be seen as characterized by ahigh-degree of generality of detail, which leads to variability in thecognitive construct instantiations. While 'online' superstructuregravitates toward the variability aspect of the text-type construct, theprototypical text-type cognitive construct, e.g. the political speechcognitive construct, is what organizes the whole mental representation of atext into a complete entity. All analytical angles employed supportunambiguously both the hypothesis as well as the theoretical modelproposed. The POLITICAL SPEECH cognitive construct and, consequently, theprototypical POLITICAL SPEECH superstructural progression, are bothconclusively proved to be governed by the SOURCE-PATH-GOAL image schema,which, when applied to the domain of politics, results in an IS-STEPS-DSconstruct as follows:

(a) INITIAL STATE (containing slots: leader, led, issue, time, space),(b) STEPS (containing slots: leader, led, (sequence of) activities, time,space),(c) DESIRED STATE (containing slots: leader, led, (absence of) issue, time,space).

To distinguish political speeches from other text-types, the hypothesizedPOLITICAL SPEECH cognitive construct relies on the possibility for a secondmetaphoric mapping of the same schema to take place - an assumption whichthe results reported here confirm. The POLITICAL SPEECH cognitive constructbasic structure is proved to be a three-part one and it is so organized asto evoke perception of WALKING along a PATH.

That PATH is the perceived connection between the current political STATEand a future one. To trigger such an interpretation, the slotconfigurations of IS, STEPS and DS borrow structure from yet another domainwhich employs the domain of movement as a source. This proves to be thereal world-domain of POLITICS, which the SOURCE-PATH-GOAL schemasimultaneously controls. Hence the double mapping of the same image schemain political speeches. However, political speeches cannot be distinguishedfrom other text-types solely on the basis of this structural specificity.The mapping operates simultaneously with mechanisms of overlapping betweentextual world, discourse world, and real world constructs in politicalspeeches. It is the combination between the three which characterizes themas a text-type.

Page Updated: 14-Jun-2012