Publication details [#14812]

Paternoster, Alfredo and Valentina Pisanty. 2019. Understanding Language. Sesto San Giovanni (Milano): Mimesis edizioni. 176 pp. URL
Publication type
Book – monograph
Publication language


The book is based on the cognitive process of understanding a sentence, a text, a metaphor or a funny joke. The research questions start from the production/reception process in the decoding of the pragmalinguistic dimension of a message. Theoretical background is provided from language philosophy around linguistic comprehension. Different methodological perspectives are presented, from the analytical approach to the socio-semiotic dimension, from the linguistic to the cognitive approach, drawing from Wittgenstein, Eco and Lacan, among others. The main purpose is to offer a comparative analysis of verbal and visual metaphors in terms of neural connectivity, as crucial in the understanding of its creative processes. The analysis gives insights into the functioning of metaphoric process: data give evidence of the influence of visual modality in the comprehension and decoding of a metaphor, activating neural regions and confirming the idea of the multimodal nature of the metaphoric elaboration. Moreover, visual metaphors require more effort in terms of hemispheric cooperation in codifying the meaning than verbal metaphors.