• Grammar is treated as an autonomously isolated system within cognition.
• Every language is defined by a set of utterances whose elements can be sorted into a set of strictly isolated categories (i.e., phonemes, morphemes, words, sentences, and so on).
• A strict system of rules can account for all and only those units that a conventional user of that language will judge to be valid or well formed.
• Context (such as intent or function) is held to be irrelevant in such judgment, and any utterance that does not obey the rules is summarily discarded as bad data (thus salvaging the theorized rule system).
• Grammar is not strictly bounded within cognition (i.e., it represents an interaction).
• Categories are not strictly bounded within grammar (e.g., some entities are not strictly morphemes or words, and so on).
• Well-formedness judgments are not strictly bounded (i.e., some utterances are identified as being perfectly fine in some circumstances, but not nearly as fine in others).
• Context and meaning are relevant, and utterances with unusual forms will simply tend to convey unusual meanings (thus adjusting the theory to honor the data).
Form: a Word Shape
Concept: a Thought Feeling
Semantics: a Conception's Evoked Contents
Foundation: A Diagrammatic Semantic Structure
Meaning: the Construal of a Conception
Ymage: a Construed Conception Shape
Symbol: a Form-Ymage Pairing
Iconicity: When Form is Ymage
Synaesthesia and Ideasthesia
Grammar: Symbolic Assembly
Summary: Communication versus Language
Generation and Reception
Myth: Swiss Cheese Metaphor
Power, Precision, and Prominence
Communication from Generation
Awareness (A) and Irreality (I)
Nonphysical Context: Awareness
Idealized Cognitive Model (ICM)
The Archive (X)
Objective Reality (O)
The World (W)
Universal Somatosensory Experiences (USE)
The Vault (V)
Current Discourse Space (CDS)
Objective Scene (OS)
1) mechanism can tolerate mentalism (i.e., neurochemistry need not suffer a case of the vapours when we talk about “meaning”);
2) competence can appreciate performance (i.e., when the data runs counter to one’s predictions, one should reconcile the theory, and not question the validity of the data);
4) primitive behavior is shared behavior, both among species and among forms of communication.
Order of Events
This discussion of basic semeiognomic principles supports the importance of a person’s exposure to a variety of sensory experiences in their development of communication and language. As those are both symbolic systems, we will begin by refining your existing definition of the term “symbol,” and establish additional vocabulary that will facilitate the subsequent discussions.
The most fundamental ideas in this section of the tutorial are not those of the primary author (see Sources, especially Langacker); although Mansfield (1997) is the source for research on prominence and direct iconic proportion, and in later work the clarifying use of “ymage,” and the term “semeiognomy” itself (because there was not an existing label that adequately identified this field).
Generation to Communication
The tutorial on semeiognomy basics (above) thoroughly discusses the nature of the symbolic packages that are exchanged during communication. This section of the tutorial details the actual process of that transfer.
Communication into Language
This part of the tutorial moves you away from formalist models that treat language like a simplified game, and toward a functional analysis that describes what a real user is doing when they navigate language in real life.
Why is that shift important?
Because when you create real therapy programs, you are (in essence) developing a flying simulator with which to train real-life pilots. For that sort of real instructional purpose (i.e., not a video game), you would not base your model on the formalist type of broomstick flying portrayed in the Harry Potter novels. You would not measure your student’s progress based on their playground Quidditch score.
You would instead base your program on your deep understanding of functional flying as defined by real models of physics, and actual airplane control panels.
So we still need to go into far more detail about (a) language beyond its origins, including discussions of reality (e.g., objective reality, subjective reality, and areas beyond the spatial realm), and (b) the nature of form-meaning associations.
Communication and Sensory Lifestyles
If a person grows up in an environment with an impoverished inventory of sensory experiences (i.e., they experience an unusually limited portion of “everything” in objective reality), then they do not end up with a typical range of forms to draw upon as they develop language (i.e., they contain an unusually limited “entirety” as their subjective reality); therefore, that early lack of equitable access to sensational engagement significantly challenges the development of their communication.
• Realistic ⬌ Abstract (e.g., photos, cartoons, line drawings, sight words)
• Color, monochrome, greyscale, black and white
• How many in a field (from which to choose)?
• Contextual (i.e., a figure with a background)
• Multimodal (pictures with audio feedback, pictures with raised textures, and so on)
• conception is ultimately grounded in sensorimotor experience,
• grammar is a part of cognition (being deeply conceptual and imaginative in nature),
• syntax is not autonomous (nor are other categories), and
• proposed elements in our system are grounded in events that are directly perceived to occur (i.e., they are real), without our suggesting any props, filters, or other kludges.