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Unformatted text preview: cts up aspects of our experience and leads to inferences in our conceptual system. What I am calling “image schemata” in this book are all
gestalt structures, in the sense just described. (…) There are other kinds of
gestalt structure besides schemata. For example, there are gestalts for
complex categorical structures, for metaphorical projections, and for unified narrative patterns. 40 Chapter I Johnson (1987: 126) proposes a partial list of schemata:
COLLECTION Johnson (1987) discusses only a number of selected image schemata in
some detail. Those most fundamental in examining the domain of ‘war’ are
the schemata underlying the concept of ‘force’. There are seven basic image schemata, which underlie the notion of force. These are COMPULSION,
BLOCKAGE, COUNTERFORCE, DIVERSION, REMOVAL OF RESTRAINT, ENABLEMENT, and ATTRACTION. Compulsion is related to “the experience of being
moved by the external forces” (Johnson 1987: 45). Blockage represents a
situation in which our force meets an obstacle which stops or resists it.
Counterforce is a “head-on meeting of two forces” (Johnson 1987: 46). Diversion is viewed as a variant of counterforce, where as a result of the interaction of two or more forces their vector is changed. Removal of restraint is a case in which the obstacle blocking our force is removed by an
external force. Enablement originates from “a felt sense of power (or lack
of power) to perform some action” (Johnson 1987: 47). Attraction takes
place when through the operation of magnetic field or gravitation one object is pulled towards another. All of these schemata are related to such features of the notion of ‘force’ as interaction; movement and source, path,
goal related to it; the scale of intensity; and finally, causality. After these
detailed considerations Johnson admits that these schemata and features do
not exhaust the list of distinct force gestalts and suggests a few more, i.e.
IMPACT, CONTINUOUS STEADY FORCE, INTERMITTENT FORCE, DIMINISHING
FORCE. It is difficult at this stage not to see the obvious problem of all semantic investigations, that is the number and identity of elements necessary
for a description of meaning. Feature semantics could not solve the problem. Natural Semantic Metalanguage, with its ever increasing list of lexical Conceptual metaphor and its implications for discourse 41 primitives, did not solve the problem. Image schemata do not seem to solve
it either. Perhaps a desire for a complete definition cannot be satisfied?
Johnson used his force gestalts to explain the structure of the English modal verbs. His endeavour was based on the work of Talmy (1985)
and Sweetser (1990). The investigation led him from the experientially
grounded gestalts to the abstract notion of modality. In this way he hoped
to have proven that even the most abstract of human concepts emerge
from bodily experience.
5. Force d...
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