Perceiving Is Categorizing

Karin Wenz, Assistant Professor of English, University of Kassel

The interpretation of different perceptual cues take place at a high cognitive level, where they are mapped onto the cognitive representation of space. That means that there is no direct connection between perception and language. Perceptual features are reflected in language only via conceptualization. As Lakoff (1987) defines it: "SEEING TYPICALLY INVOLVES CATEGORIZING". Seeing includes always seeing-as, that is categorizing what is perceived. Perception has to do with the interaction between the perceiver and the perceived world. Lakoff and Johnson (1980) describe metaphor as a fundamental principle of conceptual organization, which is based on facts of our physical and cultural experience, as the field of spatial metaphors show. The natural connection between body and space (movement in space, upright posture) is the basis for our cognition of space. The embodiment of concepts provides an iconic connection between the perceiver and the perceived world. The mediation between perception and language is achieved by social, cultural and cognitive schemata which can be named as semiotic determinants of linearization.