Language, Thought and Space (I): Lumpers and Splitters – Replicated Typo
zolyblog.info: Space in Language and Cognition: Explorations in Cognitive Diversity (Language Culture and Cognition) (): Stephen C. Levinson: as a textbook in the study of the relationship between language and cognition, Publisher: Cambridge University Press (April 14, ); Language: English. relative, and absolute FoR (Levinson, ; Pederson et al., ; Levinson, Reference system addressing the intricate relationship between language, culture, landscape, and cognition described by one speaker as 'The language is like a . Speakers also often choose named places to orient figures in space as shown. In A. Majid, & S. C. Levinson (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Language of The guardians of space: Understanding ecological and historical relations of the from the Fourth Cushitic Omotic Conference, Leiden, April (pp .
Since the languages of the world differ profoundly in the range of reference frames they provide, it is clearly premature to draw conclusions from the facts of only one kind of language about any innate or universal concepts they are assumed to reflect. Levinson maintains that no direct one-to-one mapping between non-linguistic concepts and the semantics of linguistic expressions should be assumed, but points out that, with regard to reference frames, fundamental diversity is not only found on the linguistic level but also in non- linguistic codings of spatial scenes.
Language and spatial cognition
Thus, although language cannot be regarded as a direct window to cognition, distinctions expressed in language clearly need to be supported by cognition. His conclusion from the facts presented in the later chapters of the book is that ''human spatial thinking is quite heavily influenced by culture, and more specifically by language; when languages differ in crucial respects, so does the corresponding conceptualization of spatial relations'' p That this is a non- trivial finding is obvious through the fact that much scientific research is concerned not only with spatial concepts and language, but also with other domains, such as time, that are generally assumed to be based on, or at least closely related to, the domain of space.
Chapter 2, Frames of Reference -- Much of this chapter draws on a previous, well-received publication of the author, in which he develops his conception of spatial reference frames Levinson First, he points out that - in contrast to some assumptions in the literature - it is not the objects themselves, or their change of location, that constitute the differences between different ways of perceiving spatial relations, but rather the underlying abstract ''coordinate systems''.
Then, he summarizes diverse accounts of spatial reference frames in the literature, points to numerous contradictions and confusions of terminology, and goes on to propose his own classification.
He distinguishes three basic kinds of frames of reference: This account cross-cuts many other distinctions previously drawn and re-defines several conceptions that could not be properly captured using oppositions like 'egocentric' vs.
Language and spatial cognition - Wikipedia
Levinson's intrinsic frame of reference is based on a binary relation between referent and relatum identical to originwhile the relative frame of reference uses a ternary one between referent, origin, and relatum.
In both frames of reference, the origin can be the speaker, the addressee, or a third entity. The widespread term 'deictic' is not - in Levinson's view - a sensible characterisation for spatial frames of reference since it confuses binary and ternary relations, which are logically different.
Absolute frames of reference rely on arbitrary fixed bearings, 'cardinal directions', which can be related to compass bearings although they usually do not correspond directly to them. Using such a system requires maintaining one's orientation with respect to the fixed bearings at all times. As Levinson shows in detail in later chapters, people using languages that rely on absolute frames of reference are in fact permanently aware of their 'absolute' orientation, although it is not clear how they do it, i.
Obviously, such people need to maintain a constant background calculation of cardinal directions, no matter where they are, whether or not they are in familiar surroundings, and in which direction they are oriented. Chapter 3, Linguistic Diversity -- In this chapter, Levinson presents in more detail how the semantic parameters outlined in the previous chapter are selected and arranged in different languages.
An overview shows the ways in which a ''Where''-question the availability of which apparently is a language universal can be answered by either employing a frame of reference or by using placenames, deictic expressions and gestures, or by relying on contiguity or topology. In this classification, 'deictic' expressions are not used in frames of reference but rather as a means of providing landmarks, such as 'here' and 'there', yielding radial specifications without an underlying coordinate system.
The three frames of reference can also be applied to the vertical dimension, which does not play a major role in this book, but is briefly outlined in the present chapter.
Language, Thought and Space (I): Lumpers and Splitters
Furthermore, the frames of reference are differentiated into further subgroups, including some observations with regard to the area of motion, and some information about distributional patterns across languages is presented. Chapter 4, Absolute Minds: Glimpses into Two Cultures -- This chapter provides some deeper insight into two cultures Hopevale and Tenejapa communities where absolute frames of reference play a major role.
Levinson presents fascinating anecdotes as well as detailed statistical results from the investigation of both linguistic and non-linguistic features in field work carried through by himself and other MPIP researchers.
The methods used are described in some detail, and it is pointed out in which ways the investigations can be said to be significant or still require continuation or improvement. The analysis shows how the two communities differ in some crucial respects and still share fundamental cognitive properties based on the fact that they both rely on absolute frames of reference in language and cognition. Chapter 5, Diversity in Mind: Methods and Results From a Cross- linguistic Sample -- In this chapter, cross-cultural investigations are examined in detail testing - and confirming - the hypothesis that there is a correlation between linguistic and non-linguistic codings of comparable spatial scenes.
After establishing the details of this correlation, Levinson rules out further possible determinants other than language itself that could bring about this parallelism.
His conclusion is that ''populations converge on a particular non-verbal coding strategy largely because they have learnt to do so by communicating with each other'' pi. Chapter 6, Beyond Language: Frames of Reference in Wayfinding and Pointing -- While previous chapters concentrated on language and non- linguistic coding abilities such as those needed in memory and reasoning, this chapter addresses two further areas reflecting aspects of spatial cognition, namely, wayfinding and gestures during speaking.
It turns out that people living in cultures relying on absolute frames of reference are specifically - and astonishingly - good at finding their way home even in unfamiliar surroundings, as well as at estimating directions even to places where they have never been before.
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This implies that these people integrate information about the location of places into a mental map without ever using a real oneincluding angles and distances in relation to other places.
This kind of mental map is fundamentally different to the kind of 'strip-map' Tolman readily available to people in cultures utilising primarily relative frames of reference. This amazing ability of 'absolute speakers' seems to be imparted through language: Such gestures can point in all directions, even 'through' i. Chapter 7, Language and Thought -- The last chapter can be characterised as an empirically motivated philosophical essay about the nature of the relationship between language and thought, and about the implications with regard to theories of conceptual structure as well as the Whorfian hypothesis of linguistic relativity.
Levinson contends that, in contrast to claims that language merely reflects underlying concepts, language facilitates cognitive development, making available the concepts to be developed, and permanently re structuring cognition. A brief look into language acquisition data supports this hypothesis via the fact that no frame of reference seems to be innate; none is acquired before the age of four, and which frame of reference is acquired first depends on the predominant one in the respective culture.
Thus, fixed arbitrary bearings equivalent to 'north' are acquired by children in 'absolute' cultures between the ages of four and six - the same age at which Western children acquire the supposedly innate intrinsic frame of reference that our languages rely so much upon. In a comprehensive overview pLevinson proposes a list of universals of frames of reference in language and associated cognition, such as: This list exemplifies the fundamental contrast between Levinson's findings and such widespread Western traditional ideas as those recapitulated in Chapter 1.
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