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The Gestural Origin of Language$
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David F. Armstrong and Sherman E. Wilcox

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195163483

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195163483.001.0001

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Conceptual Spaces and Embodied Actions

Conceptual Spaces and Embodied Actions

Chapter:
(p.77) 5 Conceptual Spaces and Embodied Actions
Source:
The Gestural Origin of Language
Author(s):

David F. Armstrong

Sherman E. Wilcox

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195163483.003.0006

This chapter examines evidence for the ubiquity of iconicity in signed languages, a consequence of their transmission in the visual medium. Adopting a cognitive grammar framework, the iconic representation of space and time in signed languages is described. Iconicity is understood not as a relation between language and the external world, but as a mapping within multidimensional conceptual space, between the semantic and phonological poles of a symbol. This mapping can vary in distance from one of identity or self-symbolization, in which the thing represents itself, to one of iconicity, in which the semantic and phonological poles reside in roughly the same conceptual space.

Keywords:   cognitive linguistics, semantics, syntax, cognitivist framework, iconicity, sign language

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