AD HOC CATEGORIES IN THE EKPHRASTIC SPACE OF JOHN BERGER'S ESSAYS ABOUT PAINTING: A COGNITIVE LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS

Authors

  • Tetyana V. Lunyova Kyiv National Linguistic University, Ukraine

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.32589/2311-0821.1.2020.207221

Keywords:

a cognitive linguistic analysis, ad hoc category, ekphrastic space, John Berger, essay about painting

Abstract

Abstract
The study presents a cognitive linguistic analysis of the process of ad hoc category construction as a means
of ekphrasis in John Berger's essays about painters' works of art. After offering a theoretical description of an ad
hoc category as contrasted with a natural category, the paper proceeds with a detailed analysis of how an ad hoc
category is constructed in one of Berger's essays. It then examines the typical features of the process of ad hoc
category creation in the ekphrastic space of the essays.

Résumé
The purpose of this study is to reveal the linguocognitive characteristics of the ad hoc categories
in the ekphrastic space of Berger's essays. The methods applied in the research are conceptual
semantic and contextual interpretative analyses as well as analysis in terms of conceptual metaphors.
The material of the study is Berger's essays about 20th-century painters. Ultimately, this study
determines that ad hoc category construction in the ekphrastic space of Berger's essays is always
connected with generalising ekphrasis comprising a whole body of a painter's work rather than
simple ekphrasis directed towards one picture. Also descriptive ekphrasis is important for the creation
of the ad hoc categories, and interpretative ekphrasis bears a crucial role in this process. The property
that establishes the identity of an ad hoc category is always given an explicit verbal representation.
When the identifying property is used to characterise the painter whose work is the prime focus
in the essay, this property is unambiguously presented in semantically rich verbal contexts larger than
one sentence, but when the ad hoc category identifying property is used to represent an artist who only
receives a cursory mention, this property is given very briefly. The implicit members of the ad hoc
categories tend to remain implicit, thus highlighting the achievements of the painter under discussion.
According to this study, there are three subtypes of the ad hoc categories in the ekphrastic space
of Berger's essays: a completely novel one, a category that is developed through reconsideration
of a well-established category, and a category in doubt. The existence of such subtypes signifies that
human categorisation is a flexible process with natural categories and completely novel categories
at the extremes of a range of categorical possibilities.

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