The Conceptual Integration Network Model as a Paradigm for Analysis of Complex Narrative Discourse

By Alonso, Pilar | Mosaic (Winnipeg), June 2004 | Go to article overview

The Conceptual Integration Network Model as a Paradigm for Analysis of Complex Narrative Discourse


Alonso, Pilar, Mosaic (Winnipeg)


Focussing on the metaphorical structure of Updike's short story "The Wallet," this essay shows, on theoretical and practical grounds, the applicability of the conceptual network model presented by Mark Turner and Gilles Fauconnier to the analysis of complex narrative texts, and its efficiency for the cognitive consideration of their interpretation processes.

**********

The conceptual integration network model, one of the latest extensions of blending theory, considers narrative a major cognitive operation equivalent to other more typically recognizable cognitive functions such as conceptual projection, conceptual integration, conceptual framing, or categorization (Turner; Fauconnier and Turner; Turner and Fauconnier; Grady, Oakley, and Coulson; Coulson and Oakley; Grady). This new and more comprehensive model of analysis expands the original theory of conceptual metaphor whose central contribution to linguistic studies was the consideration of metaphorical thinking as an inherent component of human cognition (Lakoff; Lakoff and Johnson; Lakoff and Turner). Recent research in the field has enriched this view by investigating the varied cognitive operations that underlie linguistic communication and has shown how knowledge domains are connected by different types of conceptual operations that are of vital importance in all areas of human production, action, and interaction. These operations usually include other identifiable cognitive moves implicit in our thinking processes, such as elaboration, composition, completion, fusion, and analogy, as well as metaphoric and metonymic mappings or counterfactuals (Turner and Fauconnier; Grady; Lakoff; Lakoff and Johnson; Barcelona). By way of variable combinations, these mental activities often result in more or less complex blended mental spaces where elements from given conceptual domains mix together through diverse projections between source and target inputs. The conceptual integration network model identifies at least four basic spaces: an input space and an output space (or source and target respectively), a middle generic space and a middle blended space (Fauconnier and Turner; Turner and Fauconnier). Projections between these spaces are not necessarily one-way mappings, as the earlier versions of the theory of conceptual metaphor claimed (Lakoff; Lakoff and Johnson; Lakoff and Turner). On the contrary, the conceptual integration network model contends that projections occur among all four spaces, the central ones (the generic and the blended) serving as intermediate running fields for all sorts of transformations undergone at the source and target. In the generic middle space the previously existent general knowledge and/or the specific information located in the source are reduced to skeletal structure, thus facilitating the online creation of alternative combinations of meaning with their own inferences and associations in the blend. The target profits from the emergence of this new blended reality as well as from the interaction it holds with the other spaces.

This all-embracing approach to cognition has favoured the understanding of the many steps involved in the communicative process and has come to shed new light on aspects concerning the configuration, development, and interpretation of complex meaning constructs (Turner and Fauconnier; Coulson; Alonso, "Grammatical"; Alonso, "Conceptual"). The aim of this essay is to further this line of investigation by applying the analytical procedures of the conceptual integration network model to a narrative text in an attempt to show how this descriptive model of human cognition can be used to untangle the intricacies encountered in this type of complex discourse. For that purpose, I explore the cognitive strategies employed in the creation of an apparently simple but very tightly blended work of fiction: John Updike's short story "The Wallet." My intention is to analyze the blend that constitutes the core of this story, through the identification of the many conceptual projections interacting in it. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Conceptual Integration Network Model as a Paradigm for Analysis of Complex Narrative Discourse
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.