The vertical experience in English and Japanese spatial discourse
AuthorKataoka, Kuniyoshi, 1960-
AdvisorHill, Jane H.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe importance of 'deixis' is that it is anchored to the immediate interactive context and resists a pre-given formulation of truth-value without taking into account such factors as when, where, to whom and even how it is said. This fact serves as an acute reminder for linguists that language use fundamentally concerns face-to-face communication and is not solely based upon the biological construals of the linguistic faculty. In this study, I will exclusively focus on spatial deixis and also closely examine spatial expressions such as coordinate terms, locative phrases, and (deictic) motion verbs. The selection of these elements largely depends on the current interest among cognitive linguists/anthropologists in preferred 'lexicalization' patterns and spatial motions/configurations, which promote image-schematic projection of the source concept. These phenomenological extensions of space will most palpably be embodied in stretches of discourse which particularly incorporate somatic descriptions and mental imageries. The novelty of the research is thus characterized by exclusive attention to 'vertical' space realized in 'on-going discourse' about spatial experience. The data types are mainly audio-(and occasionally video-)taped conversation and narration. I look at the utterance by the people who are experientially familiar with the concepts of verticality, rock climbers. They routinely and intensively exploit spatial notions for various purposes such as body-movement instructions, negotiation of geographic locations, and narration of 'danger-of-death' experience. There, multiple frames of reference and coordinate systems emerge and compete for the most suitable perspective which the speaker prefers to assume in accordance with cognitive, linguistic, and experiential constraints. I specifically ask the following questions: (1) is the vertical dimension conceptualized as the source or target domain for the image-schematic projection of the horizontal plane?, (2) are the orders of spatial descriptions constrained by language-specific 'lexicalization' patterns and/or habitualized cognitive styles?, (3) how are experientially salient portions in 'danger-of-death' narratives (e.g., Climax/Peak) related to particular modes of perspective-taking (e.g., intrinsic or extrinsic)?, and finally, (4) what is the role of 'experience' in achieving spatial coherence in the 'way-finding' negotiation? I conclude that verticality may be a more complex concept than has been previously conceptualized and has covert but influential consequences on cognitive processes and linguistic representations.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquistion and Teaching