Publication details [#8755]

Peña Cervel, María Sandra. 2008. Dependency systems for image-schematic patterns in a usage-based approach to language. Journal of Pragmatics 40 (6) : 1041–1066. 26 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


Image-schemas have been found to provide the conceptual material for the construal of many linguistic expressions. However, their organization into different levels of genericity has been largely ignored on the basis that all of these structuring principles belong to the same level of categorization. In the 90s, Quinn, Cienki, and Clausner and Croft went a long way toward elucidating some aspects connected with the establishment of a hierarchy of such constructs. However, these researchers do not manage to provide a clear description of the internal make-up of image-schemas and fail to account for the way these patterns are interrelated, partly because of the little emphasis they make on actual use in context. For instance, while for the interpretation of John is in love we resort to the internal logic of the CONTAINER schema, the construal of John is full of love abides by the basic logic of FULL–EMPTY. Nevertheless, FULL–EMPTY draws part of its conceptual structure from the more basic CONTAINER schema. This dependency is economical from a cognitive point of view and helps us to better organize part of our knowledge. The present proposal draws heavily from qualitative evidence. This paper defends that attested language use gives us clues about inferential patterns that guide what Lakoff and his followers have addressed in terms of the so-called internal logic of image-schemas. Furthermore, understanding the inferential nature and communicative import of such patterns depends largely on a solid analysis of the ways in which they go into different dependency relationships. In this sense, the research presented therein is embedded within the so-called usage-based models (see Barlow and Kemmer, 2000, Dirven, 2005; Geeraerts, 2005; Langacker, 2005). The present proposal makes up for the drawbacks mentioned above by summarizing the main theoretical points put forward by Peña (2003) in Topology and Cognition and introduces some innovations and modifications derived from the consideration of domains other than emotions and from the inclusion of both metaphorical and non-metaphorical expressions.