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Unformatted text preview: the extension of the category. Experiential domains and Idealized Models motivate the links in the chains. They may but need not be
culture specific. Specific Knowledge supersedes general types. In human
categorization ‘and everything else’ is a possible category. Category
members do not have to share common properties. These principles may
explain (motivate) the existing categories, but cannot predict the new
An analysis of the Japanese classifier hon enables Lakoff (1987: 110)
to formulate another list of principles of the linguistic organization. Here he
includes: centrality, basic level members at the centre, conventional mental
images and the knowledge about them, image schema transformations, metonymy in mental imagery and in experience, and metaphors.
Finally, he suggests that there are four types of cognitive models:
propositional models, image-schematic models, and metaphoric and
metonymic models. If cognitive models are synonymous to ICMs, it remains unclear why one should posit the three last types. The existence of
image schemata has been posited by Langacker (1987, 1991), and metaphoric and metonymic mappings explained in Lakoff – Johnson (1980).13
Why insist on calling them models? At first, Lakoff claims that these
three and Fillmore’s propositional structure are the structuring principles
of ICMs. The meaning of ‘principle’ adds to the confusion. That is, are
13 Moreover, the status of ICM vs. Fillmorian propositional structure is not delineated, either. If and how they differ is not spelt out. Conceptual metaphor and its implications for discourse 39 propositional structures and image schemata parts of ICMs or are they external to ICMs? Are metonymy and metaphor principles cum rules or
processes responsible for the change within the models? All of these
doubts amount to a fundamental question: Do we need ICMs at all?
Doesn’t Ockham’s razor require us not to create unnecessary constructs?
Do we need an empty label that can be filled in with any concept posited
by other authors? It seems that Lakoff (1987) does not give an adequate
grounding for the independent existence of ICMs. He simply does not define how they differ from constructs posited earlier and in what way they
improve the descriptive adequacy of cognitive linguistic theory.
4. Image schemata
As image schemata underlie the concept of ICM (Section 3 above) and
the Generic Space of the Blending Theory (Section 6 below), it seems
therefore necessary to refer to Johnson’s (1987) work, in which he elaborates the notion of meaning as being experientially grounded. He claims
that our meaning construction emerges from our bodily experience. The
physical experience of the human body is the basis for a series of image
schemata, which recur in a wide range of human everyday activities.
Johnson (1987: 44) clearly indicates the inspiration of his theory with gestalt theory and says:
I am using the term “gestalt structure” to mean an organized, unified
whole within our experience and understanding that manifests a repeatable
pattern or structure. (…) [E]xperiential gestalts have internal structure that
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