Image Schemas

Todd Oakley

in The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199738632
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Image Schemas


Image schemas behave as “distillers” of spatial and temporal experiences. These distilled experiences, in turn, are what cognitive linguistics regards as the basis for organizing knowledge and reasoning about the world. Image schemas are neither images nor schemas in the familiar senses of each term as used in philosophy, cognitive psychology, or anthropology. This article examines the notion of image schemas in cognitive linguistics by presenting a preliminary sketch of its terminological history. It also reviews a range of studies illustrating the application of image schemas, as well as studies that establish the psychological and neuropsychological reality of image schemas. In particular, it discusses the transformations of image schemas, the polysemy of individual words or constructions, the polysemy of related words or constructions, semantic change and grammaticalization, cognitive approaches to literary and textual criticism, psycholinguistics, cognitive development, language acquisition, and neurocomputational modeling for the psychological reality of image schemas.

Keywords: image schemas; cognitive linguistics; polysemy; words; constructions; semantic change; grammaticalization; psycholinguistics; neurocomputational modeling; language acquisition

Article.  9778 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Cognitive Linguistics

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