By Barbara Dancygier
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Extra info for The Language of Stories : A Cognitive Approach Volume 0
In what follows, I will consider some details of the process. 2 Narrative spaces as mental spaces Mental spaces were deﬁned (Fauconnier 1994, 1997) as conceptual packets set up primarily by linguistic expressions (though visual or gestural prompts are also common), and being used in the on-line mental processes of meaning construction. Thus a mental space may be a recall of a past event in the course of a conversation about the current situation. For example, if the speaker says I was really tired last night, but I’m better now so do tell me what you think about my book she calls up a past space in the ﬁrst clause, describes her present state in the next, and evokes the spaces of the content of the book, the content of the hearer’s thoughts regarding the book, and the hearer’s expected conversational turn.
Naturally, narratives make heavy demands on cultural knowledge, memory, empathy, and other aspects of cognition, but they are not encumbered by the need to refer to discrete symbolic representations as independent steps in the process. Turner’s claim about the centrality of narrative thought and projection to conceptualization of any kind should not be read to suggest some evolutionary process which led to the emergence of the narrative module in the mind. In fact, claims about the evolutionary history of speciﬁc human abilities are becoming common.
Thus a pronoun like I is often used in novels to represent the narrator – a narrative construct, rather than an actual communicator. The discourse setting is that of a communicative act occurring across a spatial and temporal distance, with no clear addressee available (other than some generic reader). The consequences of such a set-up are farreaching, as they create the need for a different treatment of referential expressions designating characters and put the concepts such as the ‘present’ or the ‘past’ in a different context.