Book: Language, Cognition and Space
Chapter: 15 Translocation, language and the categorization of experience
The goal of this chapter is twofold. The first is to provide an experientially-based classification of perceived motion situations. We believe that the one we off er in Section 3 is more systematic than the various distinctions made in the current literature on ‘motion events’ (e.g. Talmy 2000, Slobin 2003, Pourcel 2005, cf. Section 2). Notice also that by emphasizing experience, rather than the objective fact of motion, we adopt a phenomenological perspective situating motion in the lifeworld of the human subject (Husserl 1999 ), rather than in ‘objective reality’. This is consistent with the assumption, often emphasized by cognitive linguists nowadays (e.g. Lakoff 1987), but with roots in antiquity (cf. Itkonen 1991), that language refers to and classifies not reality in itself – but reality as conceived by human beings. This brings us naturally to the second goal of the chapter: to use the proposed taxonomy of motion situations in addressing the questions of how different languages express motion, and if linguistic differences imply differences in conceptualization.