COGNITIVE ASPECTS OF NATURAL NARRATIVE DISCOURSE PRODUCTION AND COMPREHENSION
In recent decades narrative discourse research has enjoyed unprecedented level of interest of academia worldwide. This article makes an attempt to explore the process of narrative construction and narration (verbalization of narrative, or storytelling) as a cognitive-communicative event arising in a specific context. Drawing on seminal works of Teun van Dijk on event mental models and the role of the context in discourse production, Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner’s blending theory and Ronald Langacker’s ideas about cognitive construals, a theoretical analysis was performed with the aim to explain how a particular event may operate in a subjective event mental model of the speaker, who then, depending on the specific conditions (and often constraints) of the immediate context of a communicative event, makes certain choices on what and how to tell, relying on and employing an arsenal of cognitive construals. First, it has been necessary to discuss the mechanisms of event mental model construction, as well as to characterize its immediate components; secondly, it seemed to be necessary to review certain elements of the contextual model which might be relevant for the speaker in shaping their story (comprising the immediate communicative situation and wider span of socio-cultural parameters); and, finally, to discuss cognitive construals which are employed by narrators to either foreground, shade or even withhold certain details of the events they provide account of. As a result of the analytical discussion it has been established that narration as verbalization of a story about certain events arises as a result of work of cognitive construals (namely, specificity, focusing, prominence and perspective) which single out from the mental model of events some relevant elements and organize them in certain way into a story, this makes the story comprehensible to the recipient in compliance with the pragmatic goals of the speaker.
2. Van Dijk T.A. (1980). Story Comprehension: An Introduction. Poetics. 1980. № 9. Р. 1–21.
3. Van Dijk T.A. Action, Action Description, Narrative. New Literary History / The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1975. № 6 (2). Р. 273–294.
4. Van Dijk T.A. Narrative Macrostructures. Cognitive and logical foundations. 1976. № 1. Р. 547–568.
5. Van Dijk T.A. Context Models and Discourse. Stamenow М. (Ed.). Language Structure, Discourse and the Access to Consciousness. Amsterdam : Benjamins, 1997. Р. 189–226.
6. Fauconnier G., Turner M. The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities. New York : Basic Books, 2002.
7. Van Dijk T.A. Discourse, context and cognition. Discourse Studies. 2006. № 8 (1). Р. 159–177.
8. Langacker R. Cognitive Grammar. A Basic Introduction. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2008.