The conceptualcontent which is evoked by an expression is not its only meaning.
What isequally important is how that content is construed by the human mind. Owing tothe conventional semantic value, each symbolic structure construes the contentin its certain fashion. The visual metaphor is what is inevitable as in it thecontent is likened to a scene and construal to a particular way of viewing thatcontent.
It is never claimed that all meanings are based on space or visualperception. However, the visual metaphor suggests that there is a path toclassify the many sides of construal, if only for expository purposes.While viewing ascene, what a human being sees is dependent on how closely the person examinesit and what the person chooses to look at.
It also depends on which elementsthat person pays most attention to and from where it is viewed. To comprehendthe construal phenomena one needs to delve deep into these four labels:specificity, focusing, prominence, and perspective. These four apply toconcepts in all domains. Hence, it is clear that in the process of filmcognition too these four labels will come into play on the part of theaudience.3.4.
1. SpecificityOne of thedimensions of construal is the level of detail and precision at which aparticular situation is characterized. The temperature on a particular day canbe described by saying that it is hot. However, the person can opt for a lotmore specific by saying that it is in the 80s, about 85 degrees, or exactly85.
2 degrees. Likewise, mother ismore specific than relative and white pigeon is more specific than bird. Granularity and resolution are thealternate terms for specificity.What it means tosay that an expression is highly specific is that it describes a situation infine-grained detail, with high resolution. The expressions which have lesserspecificity have coarse-grained descriptions and the low resolution revealsonly gross features.The opposite ofspecificity is schematicity.
Thus relativeis schematic with respect to mother,and bird with respect to white pigeon. It needs to be mentionedthat a schematic characterization is instantiated by any number of morespecific ones, of which each serve the purpose of elaboration.A relationshipwhich is elaborative is represented by a solid arrow: A ? B.Expressions can bearranged in elaborative hierarchies. Here each expression is schematic withrespect to the ones that follow:bird ? pigeon ?white pigeonhot ? in the 80s ?about 85 degrees ? exactly 85.2 degreesIt has to beunderstood that participating in elaborative relations are both novel expressionsof any size and also lexical items. In lexicon, such relations constitutetaxonomies which mean hierarchies of conventionally recognized types.
Anexample is cited below:thing ? object ?book ? geography bookIt has to beunderstood that a person can make an expression as specific as he or she likesand it can be of any length or stretch in case of films. Making the stretchlonger means the person can describe a situation more precisely and in greaterdetail. However, there are practical limits. Since the stretch is finite innature, a certain expression can only be specific to a particular extent andthis is possible with respect to certain facets of the overall situation incontext.There can beexpressions as the one mentioned below which exhibit a mixture of schematic andspecific description:Somebody saw arugged thug wearing a black jacket.Likewise, lexicalmeanings too are specific in only some respects while being schematic in theothers. What is very fundamental to cognition is the phenomenon ofschematization.
This is constantly occurring in every realm of humanexperience. Schema extraction is actually the reinforcing of something inherentin multiple experiences. This is done by identifying the commonality among themat whatever level of granularity it can be ascertained. Thus, a schema shouldbe seen as immanent in its varied instantiations. It is not separate anddistinct.
The very nature of schema is to capture the common thing which can beestimated after having experiences. Schema serves a categorizing function andthus can be applied to any new experience which exhibits the sameconfiguration.In every aspect oflanguage structure and film cognition, schemas and elaborative relationshipsare very essential. It can be claimed that all conceptual generalizations arisevia schematization from structures which are more specific. In the field ofsemantics, schemas and categorizing relationships which are based on eitherelaboration or extension make the network which represents the senses ofapolysemous lexical item. As therepresentations of conventional patterns, schemas provide the basis forassessing the proper formation of language. An expression is taken to bewell-formed to the extent that it bears relationships of elaboration (ratherthan extension) to the schemas which are invoked to categorize it.
This notion ofspecificity is also applicable in case of films across the world. In theclosing scene of the famous film White, which is one of the films of the ThreeColors Trilogy, the director, Kieslowski, shows the male protagonist looking athis wife who is jailed on the accusation of killing him, something that he hasframed her for as revenge. He looks at her from a distance as she makes somegestures expressing her desire to be with him. His face is held in close up bythe camera and the audience can very well see each of his facial reaction, hisfrowns, his tears and his grin which all in unison express his pain of love andhatred which are dichotomous, yet prevailing in his mind at the same time. The expression of these emotions in the sceneby the use of cinematic apparatus makes the audience find specificity of theprotagonist’s emotions which are shown on the screen.
In juxtaposition to this,if this would have been a long shot and his expressions would not have been soconspicuous, the audience would have missed out on the subtlety of his emotionsand they might have comprehended the sequence depending on the schema ofemotions in their minds which goes with the sequence.3.4.2 FocusingHuman beingsaccess particular portions of the conceptual universe through the linguisticexpressions. This dimension of construal which is known as focusing includesforeground vs. background which can be described as the arrangement which helpsone understand the meaning of something.A lexical itemgives direct access to a set of cognitive domains ranked for the centrality asa part of the conventional value.
The inventory of the domain is actually arepresentation of a selection of conceptual content. The central domains areforegrounded (in the sense of being more accessible) vis-à-vis peripheral ones.It has to be understood that the domains which are selected are active tovarying degrees. Also, of all the domains in the matrix, only a limited numbercan be activated on a particular occasion. A high level of activation can bedefined as a kind of foregrounding. It has to be understood that focusing is amatter of degree. Focusing is actually relative to particular purposes, andlevels of organization, dimensions of structure. 3.
BackgroundDifferent sorts ofasymmetries lend themselves to the metaphoric description as foreground vs.background. These are differentiable but can be seen to manifest a very generalfeature of cognition. What they all involve is the departure from a baseline,the exploitation of previous experience for the interpretation of thesubsequent experience. The manifestation in perception is a phenomenon which iscalled figure vs. ground. For example, a sudden sound stands out as figureagainst the ground of silence and a small, moving cursor against the morestable background on a laptop screen. The other manifestation iscategorization.
This happens when the categorizing structure is recognizedwithin the experience being categorized. What lies in the background is thecategorizing structure and it is taken for granted as a pre-established basisfor assessment. The target is in the foreground of awareness as the structurewhich is being observed and assessed by the spectator in case of films.One can speak ofbackground and foreground for any situation where one conception precedes andin some way helps the emergence of another as in films too.
Thus, in this broadsense, it can be said that expressions invoke background knowledge as the verybasis for the process of comprehension. For example one can take the sentence’I want to put the canned tuna on the top rack of the refrigerator.’Presupposed knowledge comes into play in this case. Although it seems that theinformation is too explicit, the interpretation lies in the cultural knowledgepertaining to food storage and refrigerator organization. If this knowledge isabsent, one might go on to interpret that it is needed to take out the tuna fromthe can first and then kept on the rack and the can should be placed somewhereelse or so on.
At the same time, the basic knowledge of our physical world aswe experience it is very important for comprehension. In case of films too oneneeds to understand the cultural context or the comprehensive process mightremain faulty or incomplete. In the same way,the source domain of a metaphor has a kind of precedence vis-à-vis the targetdomain.
The source domain provides a conceptual background in terms of whichthe target domain is comprehended and the source domain is more directlyanchored in bodily experience. The spectator views the target against thisbackground. Thus, the blended space comes into play which is a hybrid domainand the source and target domains jointly constitute the background from whichthe blended conception emerges.
At each step ofcognition, the current expression is constructed and interpreted against thebackground of those that have happened before. The prior events are very importantdeterminant (together with context, background knowledge, etc.) of somethingwhich can be termed as the current discourse space (CDS). This CDS is actuallya mental space which comprises everything presumed to be shared by thecharacters on the screen during the movie and the spectator as the basis fordiscourse at a given point of time. Having its inception from that basis, everysuccessive event shown in the movie updates the CDS in some way.