[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[xmca] Language and Thought- Relevant and interesting

You can get the main idea from the abstract, but the paper is linked too.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jamie Alexandre <editor@crl.ucsd.edu>
Date: Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 7:06 PM
Subject: *** CRL Newsletter Announcement: New issue online ***
To: newsletter <newsletter@crl.ucsd.edu>




Volume 22, No. 2


This edition of the CRL Technical Report features:*

*Re-mapping topographic terms indoors: A study of everyday spatial
construals in the mountains of Papua New Guinea*
Kensy Cooperrider and Rafael Núñez
Department of Cognitive Science, UCSD


The Yupno of Papua New Guinea make extensive use of topographic terms—such
as uphill and downhill—for conceptualizing spatial relations (Wassmann,
1994). Given the ubiquity of topographic distinctions in everyday Yupno
language, an interesting question is whether such contrasts are also used
when topographic landmarks are not available, such as within traditional
houses. Yupno houses have flat, oval floor plans, a central fireplace, and
few, if any, windows. Yet in natural conversation topographic terms are
still widely used indoors. We conducted a field experiment to test whether
the use of these terms indoors followed a pattern, and, if so, whether the
pattern was motivated by the orientation of the houses in macro-space or,
instead, by the houses' own intrinsic asymmetries. 16 Yupno adults (8 men, 8
women) participated in a reference disambiguation task in which they pointed
to or grabbed real-word objects in response to pre-recorded imperative
sentences (e.g. "Point to the uphill orange"). The auditory stimuli
consisted of four topographic target words (two contrasting pairs). Two
different traditional houses were used between participants: one faced a
downhill direction in the macro-scale topography outside the house; the
other faced an uphill direction. Results demonstrate that in both houses
participants systematically evoked a micro-world construal of absolute,
topographic terms: objects toward the door were construed as downhill, while
objects away from the door were construed as uphill, irrespective of the
topographic conditions outside. Our results are best explained by a
systematic conceptual mapping of an asymmetry of the macro-world (downhill,
uphill) onto an asymmetry of the micro-world (toward the door, away from the
door). We discuss different factors that serve to support this construal, as
well as some implications for the taxonomy of spatial frames of reference.

To access the pdf version of the article directly, point your browser to:


Editor's Note:

This newsletter is produced and distributed by the Center for Research in
Language, a research center at the University of California, San Diego that
unites the efforts of fields such as Cognitive Science, Linguistics,
Psychology, Computer Science, Sociology, and Philosophy, all who share an
interest in language.  Our Technical Reports feature papers related to
language and cognition.  We welcome response and submissions from friends
and colleagues at UCSD and around the world.

Please contact the editor for comments, questions or information; to do so,
use the contact form at <
http://crl.ucsd.edu/contact/form.php?subject=newsletter>, or reply to this

Jamie Alexandre, Editor
Center for Research in Language, 0526
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA

newsletter mailing list
Subscription Form: http://crl.ucsd.edu/mailinglists/
xmca mailing list