Fields of conceptual coherence:how "making-sense" makes sense

McDonough, Terry (2016) Fields of conceptual coherence:how "making-sense" makes sense. In: UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference 2016, 2016-07-192016-07-22, Bangor University. (Unpublished)

Full text not available from this repository.


The ‘assumption of coherence’ (Brown and Yule 1983: 192), or how a text (as a discursive event) “makes sense”, is often described as a ‘property of interpretations’ (Fairclough, 1992, p.83; Charteris-Black, 2014, p.55). In this paper I argue that discourse coherence is an emergent property of conceptual relations structured by an integrated network of conceptual domains. The working hypothesis is that if we view coherence as the effect of an integrated conceptual network (Fauconnier, 2009) framed by a discourse space (Langacker, 2002) then we can begin to resolve the ‘assumption of coherence’. I argue that it is the assumed coherence of integrated conceptual networks which constitutes not only the formation of meaning at a meta-textual level but also the ‘entrenchment’ of ideological construals, a matter which is of significant import to cognitive linguistic approaches to critical discourse analysis (Hart, 2014, inter alia). In this paper I build upon the integrated model of discourse processing proposed in McDonough (forthcoming) by establishing a correlation with the relational network model of neurocognition (Lamb, 1999) so that we can begin to develop a “fully cognitive” account of discourse coherence. I demonstrate this by mapping a selected discourse practice, namely, the development of ‘austerity’ as a concept in texts produced between 2009 and 2011. By mapping emergent conceptual properties, I demonstrate that coherence is generated as the result of the sum totality of conceptual relations rather than as a formal property of textual structure. Furthermore, I claim that it is the proliferation of recurrent conceptual networks in speech communities, and the recurrent commonality of their production, that leads to the entrenchment of coherent ideological narratives.

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Paper)
Journal or Publication Title:
UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference 2016
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
28 Oct 2016 14:20
Last Modified:
11 Sep 2023 12:00