”The same but different”. Variations and alternate conceptualisations. A cognitive linguistic approach
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The present dissertation is devoted to alternative conceptualisations and variations, based on the Cognitive Linguistics assumption that the same subject matter may be construed and interpreted in a number of ways. The phrase “The same but different” has become the motif for my project as it captures the essence of the cognitive operation of comparing, basic for human thinking. This operation enables us to discern the relatedness (similarity/difference) of different conceptualizations and their linguistic realizations. This area has been the object of interest of scholars beginning with ancient rhetoric, through various schools of stylistics, to cognitive psychology and finally Cognitive Linguistics. The theoretical considerations (Chapter One) focus on the Cognitive Linguistics concept of mental construal worked out by Ronald Lagacker (1987, 2008) and the schematic systems propounded by Leonard Talmy (2000), together with the theory of metaphor by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson (1980) and of conceptual integration by Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner (2002). This cognitively-oriented apparatus has been applied here to the analysis of selected verbal and verbo-visual examples which were divided into three types of constructions: alternative conceptualisations, variations on a theme, and variations on a motif. The point of departure for the empirical part of the dissertation is Exercises in Style (1947) by Raymond Queneau, a book that may be seen as a manifesto of the possibilities of construal (Chapter Two). Chapter Three has been devoted to further exploration of variant constructions. The examples include press articles reporting on the same subject matter, intralingual Bible translations, song lyrics makeovers, haiku poems exploiting the same motif, as well as famous paintings and their makeovers, variations on a motif in 20th century photography, and Internet memes. Chapter Four discusses my attempt to apply the idea of variations to the academic teaching of selected aspects of Cognitive Linguistics.