Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Kognitive Sprachforschung

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Abstract Turner

Compression and Decompression in Integration Networks

This lecture will review some of the most recent research on conceptual mappings. I will highlight the role of compression, which systematically transforms relations like analogy, disanalogy, cause-effect, into other relations such as identity, change, part-whole. We will see that cultures build elaborate networks over long periods of time and transmit them from one generation to the next. Novel integrations are supported by such networks, but also lead to their modification. Mappings (such as "TIME IS SPACE"), taken to be primitive in traditional metaphor theory, are in fact emergent in such networks. Grammatical change is driven in part by similar forces. Emergent structure is a property of entire networks of mental spaces, not just of particular blended spaces. This accounts for the paradox that novel concepts (e.g. complex numbers in mathematics) can be manipulated conceptually by means of familiar "simple" structures and that complex meanings (e.g. causatives) can be encoded by "simple" grammar.