Embedded mental spaces and split of semantic actants in conceptual integration

The aim of this contribution is to investigate the participants of mental spaces and their behaviour during conceptual integration in cases of polysemy and metaphor. It is argued that the participants of mental spaces and their blends represent themselves mental spaces (and very often, complex blends) which are compressed and embedded in higher-level mental spaces that are run for ad hoc purposes. The paper demonstrates that, although the conceptual structure of the participants is compressed, it has an impact on conceptual integration: the embedded mental spaces can split into components which selectively project onto their counterparts. This results in changes in the actantial frameworks of the input spaces and, consequently, changes in the structure of blends. It is also shown that the decompression of such embedded mental spaces can be virtually endless and varies, particularly, for verbs and adjectives taken in figurative (metaphorical) meanings.

Keywords: conceptual integration, semantic actants, embedded mental spaces, metaphor, polysemy


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