Iconic signs, motivated semantic networks, and the nature of conceptualization

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This chapter attempts to demonstrate how certain mental space images are structurally reflected in their corresponding iconic signs in Japan Sign Language (JSL). Section one provides a general introduction, and section two offers a brief summary of the framework developed by Tyler and Evans (2001, 2003) for explaining the relationship among imagic proto-scenes, spatial scenes, and polysemy, used throughout the chapter. In section three, detailed illustrations of the polysemy network formed by such proto-scenes for the English preposition ‘over’ are provided and then compared with numerous related JSL signs. In section four, it is conclud-ed that the proto-scenes proposed by Tyler and Evans appear to be reflected rather directly in the related iconic signs of JSL, providing indirect support for the existence of such imagic proto-scenes.


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