involved in cognizing a film is thus a major challenge for the present research
work in this domain. It becomes a very interesting avenue of study to
understand the various factors which are involved in the procedure of
understanding films. It is believed that the cognition of films is similar or
even more complex in comparison to our comprehension of the environment around
The process by
which sensory input is used, transformed, elaborated, reduced, stored and
recovered is known as cognition. In the discourse of science, cognition is the
mental process which is constituted of the attention of working memory,
language comprehension and production, reasoning, calculation, decision making
and problem solving. Cognition is studied by various disciplines like
psychology, philosophy and linguistics. But, the use of the term differs across
the various disciplines. In cognitive science and psychology, the word
‘cognition’ refers to the information processing capacity of an individual. In
the discourse of social psychology, the word is used to explain attribution,
attitudes and group dynamics. On the other hand, in cognitive psychology and
cognitive engineering, the word is used to mean the information processing in
the operator’s or person’s brain.
essentially the faculty for the processing of information, changing preferences
as well as applying knowledge. Cognitive processes can be artificial or natural
as well as conscious or unconscious. All these processes get analyzed from
different perspectives in the contexts of linguistics, psychiatry, anesthesia,
psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, anthropology, systemics, as well as
1.6 What is language?
The aim of
cognitive scientists in studying language is to describe and account for the
systematicity, structure and functions of language and how all of these
mentioned functions get realized by the language system. But, a very important
reason for studying language remains in the fact that it is assumed that
language reflects the patterns of thought. Thus, studying language from this
particular perspective would mean studying the patterns of conceptualization.
One can very well get insights into the structure, nature and organization of
thoughts and ideas of the human mind through studying language. There is a
basic difference in the approach of cognitive scientists in the study of
language in comparison to scholars from other discourses. This lies in their
opinion that language reflects certain fundamental properties and design
features of the mind of human beings. This assumption has major implications
for the methodology, scope and models which have been developed within the
domain of cognitive linguistics. A very important feature to judge a model of
language is to comprehend whether it is psychologically plausible.
Human beings rely
on language to perform various works in life, but still they take language for
granted. Every daily activity which is performed by human beings depends on the
use of language as a form of essential communication. The entire societal
structure would be jeopardized in the absence of communication among the
members of the society. Language is the greatest tool for communication among
the people. In every situation, language plays the role of the most quick and
effective expression and is a way of encoding and transmitting ideas which are
complex and subtle. The notions of encoding and transmitting are of great
importance as they are linked to two very key functions which are related to
language. These are the symbolic function and the interactive function.
1.6.1 Interactive aspect of
the function of interaction in our everyday social lives. Language does not
merely pair forms and meanings. These pairings of forms and meanings should be
comprehensible and accessible to other people who belong to the community. The
main function of any language is to get the idea across to others and carry out
the process of communication. The process of communication involves the transmission
by the speaker and then the decoding or interpretation by the hearer. The two
processes are thus constituted of the construction of rich conceptualizations.
Language can be
utilized to create frames or scenes of experience, indexing and also to construct
particular context. Thus, it can be opined that language use might invoke such
frames which summon rich knowledge structures that make one recall and fill in
the background knowledge. Thus, it is safe to say that language does not only
encode particular meanings, but it goes on to carry out an interactive function
as it symbolizes the meanings which are a part of the shared knowledge in a
1.6.2 Symbolic function of
One of the
greatest functions of language is to the put forward the ideas and thoughts.
This means that language actually encodes and externalizes the thoughts of
human beings. This is done by language by the utilization of symbols which are
‘bits of language.’ These bits can be meaningful subparts of words like prefix
in a word (for example dis- as in disrespect) or whole words (like fun, run,
etc.) or also a string of words which might constitute a sentence. All these
symbols consist of forms which can be written, spoken or signed and they have
meanings with what these forms get paired in the conventional sense. A symbol
is better referred to as symbolic assembly since there are two parts which are
associated conventionally. Expressed differently, the symbolic assembly which
we are discussing about is a pairing of form and meaning.
A form can
actually be a sound or the orthographic representation that is seen on written
pages or also a signed gesture which is in a sign language. The meaning is the
semantic content or the conventional ideational which is associated with the
symbol. Concepts get derived from percepts, in turn. For example, one might
consider an apple as a piece of fruit. The different parts of the human brain
perceive the shape, texture, color, taste, smell and all these attributes.
Thus, a diverse range of perceptual information is gathered by us from the
world we live in and these are all integrated into one mental image which is a
representation available to our consciousness. This mental image leads us to
have the concept of an APPLE. When language is used and the form apple is
uttered, the symbol actually corresponds to the conventional meaning. Thus,
this links us to the concept rather than to a physical object directly which is
present in the external world.
abilities of human beings go on to integrate the raw perceptual information in
the form of well-defined and coherent mental image. The meanings which get
encoded by the linguistic symbols actually refer to the projected reality which
is a mental representation of reality. This mental representation of reality is
construed by the mind and plays a crucial role in mediating between what one
sees and what one knows in a given point of space and time.
function of language is to encode and externalize what one knows. So, symbolic function
of language is clearly linked with the process of conceptualization. Language
in general is a tool to conceptualize the world around us. By
conceptualization, we intend both production and comprehension of the reality.
Since reality is always in flux, any form of language should have enough
potential to represent as well as to process infinite aspects of the projected
reality. In contrast, human mind as an information processing system is finite.
It is argued by the famous scholars that in spite of being a finite system
human mind as well as the human language have enough potential to encode and to
process infinite number of realities in the virtue of being generative. In
other words, language is merely a prompt for the construction of a conceptualization
which is richer and more elaborate than the meanings which are actually minimal
being provided by language. Thus, what is encoded by language is not complex in
itself, but it can be seen as the rudimentary instructions to the conceptual
system to create and access ideas which are rich and elaborated.