Karin Wenz, Assistant Professor of English, University of Kassel

The way we describe the experience of our spatial environment reveals important  insights into the relation between language and cognition. Since the description of space presupposes a previous cognition of space of the environment, it may be assumed that the verbalization of spatial experience yields also insights into the process of perceiving space. The metaphorical schemata which represent loci and movement within the text reflect "the cognitive conditions of unhindered vision and movement in space" (Nöth 1995). By categorizing the structures of our perceptions, we find access to the world we live in. Categorization has to be seen as a motivated act of construction. The organization of our memory defines the concepts we choose and how we compose texts in the process of verbal linearization. Metaphors which are derived from cultural artifacts such as buildings or maps show that culture, too, provides spatial models for metaphoric schemata. So we can conclude that the mediation between perception and language is achieved by social, cultural and cognitive schemata which can be named as semiotic determinants of linearization.

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