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COPYRIGHT: John Barnden, 1997. This page of the databank may be freely copied for non-commercial research/instructional use provided this copyright notice is included.


Cognizing as Interacting with Non-Own-Mental Entities

Consider the sentence

             Take birthdays. One family may trot out party favors, ...

[= example from databank]. Here the agent is cast as interacting (physically) with entities, namely birthdays, that are not amongst his/her own mental entities. We therefore have a contrast with Ideas as External Entities, under which, for instance, the agent might ``grasp'' or otherwise interact with a mental entity.

(However, I am tentative about saying that ``take X'' sentences manifest Cognizing as Interacting with Non-Own-Mental Entities. It is possible that the X in ``take X'' should be analyzed as a metonymic reference to an idea of X, so that we would have a mixture of metonymy and Ideas as External Entities.)

Note that the entities interacted with may themselves be mental, if belonging to another person, as in ``drinking in her soul.''

For another type of sentence I tentatively suggest as manifesting the metaphor of Cognizing as Interacting with Non-Own-Mental Entities, consider

             To me, feminism has backfired against women.

[= example from databank]. I suggest that the backfire situation is cast as an entity which is physically ``directed towards'' the agent (``me''). For convenience, I include such directedness as a case of ``interaction'' very broadly construed.

Somewhat similarly, a ``for'' phrase can be used instead of a ``to'' phrase, as in

             For conservatives, today's military success compounds a paradox.

[= example from databank].

My comments about ``to X'' and ``for X'' sentences are in at least rough accord with the account of mental-state sentences in Langacker (1990: especially pp.222-226, 233-234), although he does not claim that such sentences are metaphorical.


Cognizing as Seeing
Cognizing as Physically Sensing


Langacker, R.W. (1990).
   Settings, participants, and grammatical relations.
   In S.L. Tsohadzidis (Ed.), 
      Meanings and Prototypes: Studies in Linguistic Categorization,
   London and New York: Routledge. 

Last mod: 1 Jun 2012