Universitatea de Vest din Timişoara, Facultatea de Litere West University of Timisoara, Faculty of Letters
E-mail personal autor:
5 / 2011
Understanding and interpretation (II)
This two-part study aims to analyze the complex linguistic, pragmatic and cultural mechanisms involved in the act of text (discourse) understanding. The fundamental questions concerning this issue are as follows: How do we understand texts and what specific competences are involved in understanding? What exactly causes differences in understanding? And then, what are the causes of misunderstanding? Why, despite differences in understanding, can we find dominant ways of understanding texts? In short, what is understanding? Is there a relation between understanding and interpretation? And finally, what is interpretation?
The previous part of the study is concerned with the definitions of the three competences required in the process of understanding, i.e. linguistic, interdiscursive, and cultural competences. Now, this second part focuses on the analysis of both dominants and differences in understanding. The cause of this paradox in understanding is our world-based experience, which is the nucleus of our cultural competence. By means of frame theories borrowed from cognitive linguistics, we demonstrate that our understanding mechanisms are influenced by our embodied cognitive patterns that affect our individual and cultural experience. Therefore, our conceptual system and conceptual categories that define our experiences are quite similar, and thus they represent the basis of our cultural construals, which can differ across cultures and communities. This fact could explain both similarities and differences in understanding. In essence, understanding means building contextual bridges between differently determined world -based experiences. But, in this process, differences will always remain, at least as finer nuances, because understanding is interpretation. The only difference between understanding and interpretation is represented by their dynamics: while understanding is static and contextual, interpretation is trans-contextual and versatile.
Keywords: understanding process, understanding mechanisms, interpretation, linguistic competence, interdiscursive competence, cultural competence, frames, cognitive linguistics.
- Armengaud 1982: Françoise Armengaud, „Eléments pour une approche pragmatique de la pertinence” în Philosophica, Gand, nr. 29, 1982;
- Barsalou 1992: Cognitive Psychology: An Overview for Cognitive Scientists, Hillsdale, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum, 1992;
- Chomski, 1965: Noam Chomsky, Aspects of the Theory of Syntax, Cambridge, MIT Press, 1965.
- Cornea 1998: Paul Cornea, Introducere în teoria lecturii, Iaşi, Polirom, 1998.
- Cornea 2006: Paul Cornea, Interpretare şi raţionalitate, Iaşi, Polirom, 2006.
- Ducrot, Schaeffer, 1996: Oswald Ducrot, Jean Marie Schaeffer, Noul dicţionar enciclopedic al ştiinţelor limbajului, Babel, 1996.
- Eco 1997: Umberto Eco, Şase plimbări prin pădurea narativă, Constanţa, Pontica, 1997;
- Fillmore 1985: C. J. Fillmore, “Frames and the Semantics of Understanding”, Quaderni di Semantica, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 222-254, December 1985.
- Foucault 1999: Michel Foucault, Arheologia cunoaşterii, Bucureşti, Univers, 1999;
- Grice 1957: H. P. Grice, „Meaning”, în The Philosophical Review, Vol. 66, No. 3 (Jul., 1957), 377-388;
- Grice 1979: Paul Grice, Logique et conversation, „Communications”, nr. 30 (juin 1979) Seuil, Paris, , p. 57-72.
- Kerbrat – Orecchioni 1990: Catherine Kerbrat – Orecchioni, Les intéractions verbales, vol. I, Paris, Armand Colin, 1990.
- Kovecses 2006: Zoltán Kövecses, Language, Mind, and Culture, Oxford University Presss, 2006;
- Lakoff 1987: George Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1987;
- Maingueneau 1984: Dominique Maingueneau, Genèses du discourse, Liege, Pierre Mardaga, 1984 ;
- Mîrţu 2008: Mihaela Mîrţu, Studiu introductiv la Dominique Maingueneau, Lingvistică pentru textul literar, Iaşi, Institutul european, 2008;
- Rastier 1996: Fr. Rastier, (1ère éd. 1987) Sémantique interprétative, Paris, PUF.
- Rastier 1998: Fr. Rastier, Le problème épistémologique du contexte et le problème de l’interprétation dans les sciences du langage, în „Langages”, 129, pp. 97-111.
- Taylor 1989: John Taylor, Linguistic Categorization, Oxford: Claredon Press, 1989;
- Wittgenstein 2004: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Cercetări filosofice, Bucureşti, Humanitas, 2004.