The purpose of this study is to verify the correlation among linguistic meaning, cognitive process and the body. Specifically, this will intend to observe and understand how metaphor is represented into gestures to be used as we speak. Metaphor is a w ...
The purpose of this study is to verify the correlation among linguistic meaning, cognitive process and the body. Specifically, this will intend to observe and understand how metaphor is represented into gestures to be used as we speak. Metaphor is a way of understanding and experiencing a concept through another, which suggests that we are likely to recognize abstract concepts through concrete ones that we have already been familiar with. This kind of conceptualization can be found not only in our linguistic expressions but also across all the human activities and cultures. Most of all, it spontaneously appears in gestures as another major means of communication. In this study, we are going to analyze the metaphoric gestures which Korean users use as they speak so that we can grasp their ways of conceptualization.
Recently, cognitive psychologists’ interests in embodied cognition have been increasing. The researchers who focus on embodied cognition emphasize that people use their bodies to describe what they know. The idea of embodied cognition implies that the body movement system and spoken language processing methods are constantly linked to each other when we use gestures or move. This agrees with what cognitive psychologists insist, which is that gestures, together with spoken language as meaningful utterance, spontaneously play a role of conveying meanings. For this reason, cognitive psychologists are likely to be concerned with, rather than conscious gestures, unconscious ones which act jointly with linguistic utterance.
Going back to Korean users, this study will deal with Korean users’ metaphoric gestures, focusing on, among various metaphors, ontological metaphor to concretize abstract concepts. The shapes made by gestures are classified as the former of the two domains of metaphoric conceptualization, source domain and target domain, respectively. Korean users give the gestures of supporting something small or big on their hands or touching it as they speak. It sometimes looks rounded or angled as shaped by their hands. Size and shape of what is depicted by their hands are related to how Korean users understand its concept of target domain. For instance, the idea of ‘Rule and Institution’ is inclined to appear as a shape of quadrangle. When they specifically intend to indicate something, they would use their index finger to point at something very small or use their tips of fingers to pinch it. As they also try to recognize the semantic relations between two ideas, they tends to gesture a shape of ‘connection’ or ‘being in contact,’ or to use container metaphor, which expresses their inclusion relation. Such metaphoric gestures correspond to the metaphoric conceptualization which is usually observed in linguistic expression. Therefore, we can tell that not only linguistic utterance but also gestures function as means of delivering meanings.
In this way, this study will help comprehend Korean users’ ways of conceptualization and contribute to clarifying the correlation of linguistic expression, meaning, and gesture.