Volume 14, Issue 2, 2014
What’s in a Path? On Path Verbs: From Thought to Language
The main requirement for Gärdenfors’s “meeting of the minds” is that speakers’ mental spaces are sufficiently similar. If this requirement is not met, communication cannot take place. This meeting of the minds is not always easy to achieve even among interlocutors who share a mother tongue, and it becomes even more complicated when an interlocutor is speaking in his/her second language. The reason for this is that the “geometries of meaning” of different languages frequently do not match. In this paper the focus is on what happens when two languages, i.e. Croatian and English, conceptualize space in different ways, that is, when they have different geometries of space. We first look at the findings of neuroscience, psycholinguistics and cognitive linguistics. Next, we compare Croatian and English and analyze what consequences these differences in the conceptualization of space have for Croatians as L2 speakers of English when it comes to English path verbs. Finally, we look at what crosslinguistic differences between Croatian and English can reveal about the English path verbs.