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Original scientific paper

Renata Geld, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb

 

 

Abstract

 

This paper describes and discusses issues pertaining to investigating meaning construal in
the language of the blind. It introduces key problems in this largely unexplored area and
proposes possible avenues of research by outlining four studies conducted over a period of
eight years. The central arguments are built around the fundamental cognitive linguistic
premise that language is an experiential phenomenon intimately related to general cognitive
processes. The author focuses on the role of salience (or attention) and demonstrates
how it is coded in the language of the blind. The main part of the paper starts with the
outline of two exploratory studies the aim of which was to identify possible differences in
salience and situatedness. The author discusses the contribution of the two studies and
proceeds by describing a more focused study whose hypotheses were motivated by some
of the questions raised in the previous two studies. The primary research question was
related to the idea of the primacy of space in the blinds’ mental imagery and meaning
construal. Finally, the author proposes a model integrating key language internal and
language external factors affecting the process of meaning construal in this extraordinary
population, and finishes by describing the fourth study whose primary aim was to double–
test the research instrument used to investigate spatial (topological) elements in the
language of the blind.
 

Key words

 

the blind, cognitive linguistics, meaning construal, salience, space, topology

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